Monday, April 27, 2015

Fans of "Life After Life": There's a sequel!

Kate Atkinson's novel Life After Life (2013) is excellent. So it is great to learn that her new book is a follow-up to that first novel. The sequel, A God in Ruins, is about Teddy Todd, the younger brother of Ursula (the character featured in Life After Life).

I'm looking forward to reading this and finding out what Ms. Atkinson has in store for us now.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Winners of the Common Good Books Poetry Contest

Garrison Keillor owns a book store in St. Paul called Common Good Books. Common Good Books recently held its second annual poetry contest. The contest produced seven winners: three winning $500 and three winning $1000. The poems submitted by the three top prize winners are posted on the bookstore's web site. They are very good, particularly "Dear You" by Lisa Kundrat. Check 'em out at the link.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Recommended Reading: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies is a highly entertaining novel set in a small community in contemporary Australia. The book focuses on three women who are sending their five-year old children to school for the first time: Jane, a young, single mom. Madeline, who has a teenage daughter from her first marriage and two children with her second husband. And Celeste, who has twin boys and an uber successful, well-to-do husband.

The story of Celeste, Madeline and Jane operates on three levels. At the first level, the novel is about what is happening within each woman's nuclear family. And let me tell you, it is not all good.

Second, there is the relationship between the three friends and the school, where there are cliques (for children and adults), bullying (again, children and adults) and lots of drama.

And third, there is the murder.

Murder, drama and bullying all sound serious. And they are. Yet this book is charming, funny (I laughed out loud. When does that happen?), and structured to create the maximum amount of mystery concerning both who is the victim of the murder and who is the perpetrator.

Big Little Lies is very good read. Check it out.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Yes! The Norske Nook Book of Pies.

I was drifting around on the web looking for books to read when I saw that the University of Wisconsin Press is publishing The Norske Nook Book of Pies and Other Recipes. The Norske Nook, a restaurant in Osseo, Wisconsin, is the premier place for pie, fabulous, fabulous pie.

I must know their secrets! I will buy the book.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Where has the time gone?

I just realized that I haven't posted here in weeks! To make up for this, here is a quick look at some the the better books I've recently read.

Florence Gordon by Brian Morton  

Florence Gordon is the best novel I've read thus far in 2015. Florence is in her mid-70s. She is a Manhattanite, an academic, an activist and feminist. In the novel, Florence hits a peak in her career when her latest book gets a stellar review in the New York Times. Coinciding with this professional success, her college-age granddaughter, daughter-in-law and son rent an apartment in the city for the summer. How the family connects, and fails to connect, is the story. I greatly enjoyed this book.

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

Red and Abby Whitshank are aging out of their large, comfortable family home. The winding down of life, as well as a telling of how their love began, is the story told in A Spool of Blue Thread. It is a family drama presented in three acts. A cozy read.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

This is a tense and disturbing novel about relationships gone bad. Very bad. Although frequently compared to Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, I think The Girl on the Train is darker, perhaps because of the main character's severe alcoholism and down-and-out status. A good psychological thriller with a conclusion that is completely surprising.

The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson.

It's 1909 and Maud Heighton is studying painting with other women at a Paris art school. Running out of cash, she lucks into a dream job as a companion for a young woman. Everything is great; until everything goes horribly, horribly wrong. Entertaining thriller set in an interesting time in The City of Light.


That's it for this post. More soon!