And just those. If I don’t like a book, I just might toss it in favor of another (gasp). Really, what is the point of complaining about books?
Also, no spoilers alert! Look here for reviews, but no reveals.
Sinners and the Sea, by Rebecca Kanner
Sinners and the Sea tells the story of Noah’s Ark from the viewpoint of his unnamed wife. It’s a fascinating, beautiful, and addictive read.
Kanner gives us an impassioned look at what life was like for Noah’s wife, the family’s many struggles, and the giant, terrifying adventure of the ark.
How Did I Not Know About Marvel’s Pride & Prejudice?
It came out ages ago. I am hugely, abominably embarrassed. I wouldn’t even share this mortifying tale, except for the hope that others might benefit.
Let me say up front that this Marvel P&P is a gem. Regency romance meets comic book—pure genius!
Today, January 28, marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and celebrations abound both here and in the U.K. For many years now, P&P has been one of my favorite books. I confess, however, that when I first tried to read it I simply could not get into it.
So Glad Jane Austen Made Me do It
I am usually very skeptical about all the Jane Austen riffs. But I must spotlight and gush about an absolutely delightful collection of Austen-inspired short stories, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress. These charming vignettes reflect the spirit of Austen, almost like the literary equivalent to a tribute album.
The Inspector Bordelli Series: Columbo in Florence
I couldn’t resist the cover of Death in August by Marco Vichi: a vintage Florence streetscape with the famed Palazzo Vecchio clock tower in the distance, all diffused by a red-orange sunset. This is the first of several mysteries set in Florence and featuring Inspector Bordelli. I’m psyched (as always) to have discovered a great new detective series.
Summer Moonshine by P.G. Wodehouse: Fun and Frivolous
Moonshine here does not mean Tennessee hooch, though this being Wodehouse, the characters tend to reach for potent liquid bracers at key plot points. Here, moonshine takes the British connotation, of nonsense or silliness. Certainly, this novel has a carefree absurdity which reminded me a bit of Shakespeare’s classic romp A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Please Seat Me at The Cat’s Table
I really loved this wonderful novel! I admit I had a hard time getting into it, but once I did, I found myself so emotionally taken. Oh, did I ache for these characters. They are such a fascinating group, collected at the ‘Cat’s Table’—the farthest from the Captain’s table on the steam liner Oronsay. The story is told via the wonder of an eleven-year-old boy, Michael, as he explores the secrets of the ship.
Four Queens: Medieval Power and Intrigue
This biography reads like a real-life game of Risk, roiling with war, the crusades, and the machinations of 13th-century medieval Europe. The queens are like chess pieces, married off to forge alliances between different fiefdoms. Reminder, they are queens, not pawns, and each manages to exert strong influence into the politics and ambitions of her realm.
Titanic Reads … A Night to Remember
For the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, I decided to read A Night to Remember by Walter Lord. I had never read the classic, which was first published in 1955, has never been out of print, and is still considered the definitive text on that disastrous event. I can’t believe I hadn’t picked this book up before—what a gripping read.
Fascinated and Haunted by The Buddha in The Attic
Caveat Reader: I loved this beautiful little novella, which just won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Though, several in my book group did not. Julie Otsuka tells the story of the Japanese “picture brides” who emigrated to California during the early twentieth century. Otsuka employs a sing-song narrative of many voices, which I found captivating.
The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad
I really enjoyed this searing, beautiful, and understated book by Jamil Ahmad. I approached it thinking it would be one of those books that I would learn a lot from but did not expect it to be a page turner. What a wonderful surprise to find myself hooked!
War Horse & Private Peaceful both by Michael Morpurgo
I’ve been surprised to hear that many of my friends who saw War Horse—the play on Broadway or the new Steven Spielberg film—did not know that both were based on a wonderful novel by children’s author Michael Morpurgo. He has written dozens of children’s books, which are extremely popular in the UK, and indeed, worldwide.
Touch, A Beautiful and Spooky Read
“Stay off the ice,” wrote Alexi Zentner, as he signed my copy of Touch. I hadn’t yet read the book, so I didn’t understand that loaded and ominous warning…
Ode to the Twin Towers: Let the Great Word Spin
Esquire Magazine called Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin “the first great 9/11 novel.” This may sound odd since the book takes place 27 years before the World Trade Center attack. The novel examines a day in the life of New York City, using the Tolstoy approach of many characters.
Why Harry Potter Is All About The Books
Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.–Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 Like most muggles, I raced to see Deathly Hallows Part 2. But for me, Harry Potter is really all about the books.
Can You Pick 5 Favorite Books?
Recently, The New York Times Magazine conducted a poll via Twitter: “What are your top 5 fiction books?” My feed lit up with a stream of titles: The Great Gatsby, Infinite Jest, Crime and Punishment, Jane Eyre. It was like a reader’s stock ticker with books instead of companies.