Friday, July 15, 2016

Titles on the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read List

A new and updated list of books recommended by the NEA for the Big Read program has been released. This is an amazing list, one to keep handy for those times when you are looking for a book to read. For more details about the authors, check out this NEA link.

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Five Skies by Ron Carlson

Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines

How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001 by Joy Harjo

Sun, Stone, and Shadows, edited by Jorge Hernández

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link

Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel

The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick

True Grit by Charles Portis

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea

This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff

The Latehomecomer by Kao Kalia Yang

Book of Hours by Kevin Young

To Live by Yu Hua, translated from the Chinese by Michael Berry

Ways of Going Home by Alejandro Zambra, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Macy's new CEO was an English Major in college.

According to today's Wall Street Journal, Macy's new CEO Jeff Gennette majored in English at Stanford.

Hurray for liberal arts majors! Best of luck in your new role, Mr. Gennette.

P.S. Please get rid of the unattractive plastic shopping bags and return to heavy paper bags like those used by Marshall Fields. Thanks!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Highly Recommended Reading: Back Lash by Chris Knopf

If you are looking for a good mystery to read on vacation this summer, then check out Back Lash by Chris Knopf. Back Lash is the seventh book in Knopf's mystery series featuring Sam Acquillo. Even if you haven't read the previous books, you will enjoy this one (but read the others, too, because they're great). In this outing, Sam heads out from his cottage home near Southampton, overlooking Little Peconic Bay, to the Bronx to investigate a cold case: the murder of his father.

Sam's father was murdered forty years ago, beaten to death in a bar in the Bronx. A conversation with the now-elderly bartender who had been on duty on the night of the murder spurs Sam into looking into what happened, and why. Sam quickly finds out that although the crime occurred long ago, there is plenty of present-day interest in keeping a lid on it. He uncovers connections to organized crime, police irregularities and a whole lot of danger.

There is lots of action and suspense in Back Lash. and I found the ending to be a complete surprise. Add to that Sam Acquillo's dry wit and a compelling supporting cast of characters and Back Lash totals up to a great read. Check it out!


Saturday, April 30, 2016

2016 Edgar Awards

Here is a partial list of winners:

Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy (Penguin Random House – Dutton)

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Atlantic – Grove Press)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney (HarperCollin Publishers – William Morrow)

by Allen Kurzweil (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper)

The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards (HarperCollins Publishers-HarperCollins)

“Obits” – Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King (Simon & Schuster – Scribner)

Footer Davis Probably is Crazy by Susan Vaught (Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books)

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis (HarperCollins Publishers – Katherine Tegen Books)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Highly Recommended Reading: The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

Are you a fan of Gone Girl, Girl on a Train or Luckiest Girl Alive? Then you'll like The Passenger by Lisa Lutz.

The novel begins with Tanya Dubois' husband dead at the bottom of the stairs. She didn't kill him, but must nonetheless take off because her identity can't withstand close scrutiny by the cops. The rest of the exciting book is about her life on the run, and the slow reveal of the reason she initially had to hide her identity.

The Passenger is an exciting and entertaining read. Check it out!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Clever Plot in The Promise by Robert Crais

In The Promise, private detective Elvis Cole is hired to find a missing woman who allegedly embezzled money from her employer. As he delves into the job, he finds that the missing woman is involved with bad guys and may be selling plastic explosives to terrorists. Cole also finds that nothing is what it seems to be, except for his regular crew: Joe Pike and Jon Stone.

Is this the greatest Robert Crais book ever? No. It's fun to read, but a little thin. A number of chapters are told from the perspective of a police dog, who is a key character in the story along with her human partner. Additionally, lots of information about what makes dogs so effective in military and police work is woven into the book. This is an entertaining plot element, but it is not one rich in story, language or humor. Still, I enjoyed The Promise. The plot has many intriguing twists and turns. If you are putting together books for a vacation read, add this to the stack.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Casting about for a book to read?

Here is an interesting list of 80 books. Published at Esquire and selected by eight well-known writers, these are titles that the writers suggest that everyone should read.

If you are looking for something to read today, why not start with Louise Erdrich's novel The Round House? In the Esquire list The Round House is suggested by Roxanne Gay; and it is highly recommended reading by me. The book also won the National Book Award for Fiction. Check it out!

Here's hoping you have a good book to read on this chilly Sunday in January.

The Hallelujah Saguaro
by Amy S Dixon