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2024-05-15 10:00
I have resisted reading this book, because it was basically the “It” book of 2022.  Where the Crawdads Sing was the last “It” book that I read, and it did not li… Read More
2024-05-08 10:00
This book definitely provided a learning experience, especially with regard to the origins and beliefs of Rastafari.  I did not previously know that the Rasta revered Haile Selassie, th… Read More
2024-05-01 09:30
Molly is a hotel maid who seems to be on the autism spectrum.  She misinterprets other people’s emotions and sarcastic comments, and consequently she is a poor judge of character… Read More
2024-04-17 22:56
Vacca Vale is a fictitious Indiana city that was once a thriving industrial metropolis.  Now it is dying, and developers plan to demolish a sizeable greenspace.  The title of the b… Read More
2024-04-03 09:30
Lara and her husband Joe own a Michigan cherry orchard, and all three of their adult daughters are at home helping out during the Covid lockdown.  It’s the perfect time for Lara t… Read More
2024-03-31 21:04
Lucy Grealy was an author and poet and a dear friend of Ann Patchett’s, ever since they were roommates at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.  This homage to Lucy and to her friends… Read More
2024-03-27 09:30
This book's political angle hits uncomfortably close to home.  The Crisis, a period of economic collapse, yielded way to a dystopian, fascist, xenophobic society with a Stepford tinge t… Read More
2024-03-20 09:30
Utopia Avenue is the name of a very talented eclectic band assembled in England in the 1960s.  The backdrop of this musical era helps make this a nostalgia trip worth taking.  Grif… Read More
2024-03-18 22:29
As ghost stories go, this one is not particularly gruesome or even scary, but it’s a good one nonetheless, and actually, it’s more of a haunted house story.  Every nine year… Read More
2024-03-17 21:11
Jason Taylor is the smart, funny, and especially endearing first-person narrator of this gem, which takes place in a small English town in the 1980s.  Jason has a stammer, which is diff… Read More
2024-03-13 09:30
Some authors have the talent to produce a novel, or at least a short novel, about a fairly unremarkable life.  Such is the case here.  Zorrie Underwood’s life begins with an… Read More
2024-03-06 11:00
So many time travel novels are about someone falling in love with a time traveler.  Such is the case here as well.  Five people are transported from various times in the past to tw… Read More
2024-02-28 11:00
Three siblings—Matthew, Zoe, and Duncan—happen upon a badly beaten and barely conscious boy in a field.  This discovery has a marked impact on each of them, as does the real… Read More
2024-02-25 22:56
Mercury is the name of a very special horse—so special that Viv has sacrificed all of her ideals for this horse, which she does not even own.  Like Gone Girl, this novel contains… Read More
2024-02-11 21:26
Tim Farnsworth, a partner in a New York law firm, suffers from bouts of the ultimate wanderlust.  When the urge to walk hits him, he can’t stop until he drops.  He eventually… Read More
2024-01-31 10:30
This book needs a different title.  For one thing, it sounds like it’s about the family of Israel’s current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and it is to some degree, but… Read More
2024-01-24 10:00
I may not be the target audience, which is probably women in their thirties, for this juicy novel, but I devoured it with relish.  Nina, the first-person narrator, is a successful autho… Read More
2024-01-10 10:00
Two trans women, Reese and Amy, fell in love, but then Reese cheated with married men, and Amy has detransitioned back to a man, because being a trans woman was just too difficult.  Now… Read More
2023-12-13 11:00
The author here is on a mission to prove that Ted Bundy and other serial killers are not genius masterminds.  In this novel, the Ted Bundy character is known simply as The Defendant, an… Read More
2023-12-06 11:00
Historical fiction is not really my thing, and since I know that Maggie O’Farrell has a very fertile imagination, I would prefer that she stay away from semi-true stories.  I like… Read More
2023-11-29 11:00
I love time-travel novels with their tricky handling of interference with the past.  In this one, the author has conjured up a unique world--a series of identical valleys with a twenty… Read More
2023-11-22 10:30
Tookie, a Native American woman living in Minneapolis, is arrested for stealing a corpse.  Plus, said corpse had crack cocaine hidden in his armpits.  After ten years in prison rea… Read More
2023-11-20 22:35
Louise Erdrich’s older books, such as this one, read like folklore that has been passed down through the Ojibwe tribe for generations, rather than a novel that has sprouted from her im… Read More
2023-11-19 21:36
Lipsha is a young Chippewa man who falls in love with his uncle’s girlfriend, Shawnee Ray.  She has a good head on her shoulders, and why she would put up with either of these men… Read More
2023-11-15 10:30
After reading The Feast of Love, I thought I would love every Charles Baxter book, but sadly that was not the case.  Baxter’s prose itself is entertaining, but the storyline and c… Read More
2023-11-13 22:38
My biggest problem with this book is that I did not totally understand what happened.  Nathaniel Mason is a grad student in Buffalo in the 1970s.  At a party he meets Jerome Coolbe… Read More
2023-11-12 22:13
This is my first Charles Baxter novel, but it most certainly will not be my last.  In fact, I wish all novels could be as good as this one, as I completely fell in love with the writing… Read More
2023-11-08 11:00
The title is a MacBeth reference, but here it’s a New Zealand environmental activist group that surreptitiously plants vegetables on unoccupied lands they don’t own.  Mira f… Read More
2023-11-01 09:30
This is my least favorite Chang-rae Lee book.  As expected, the writing is stellar, but the plot is just too bizarre.  Tiller is a 20-year-old, living with thirty-something Val and… Read More
2023-10-30 22:18
Sixty-year-old Jerry Battle works part-time at a travel agency, now that his son Jack is at the helm of the family landscaping company.  However, Jack’s “lofty” attemp… Read More
2023-10-29 22:25
Henry Park is a Korean-American with an unusual job:  he is expected to cozy up to a particular person in order to get dirt on them.  After his assignment to a psychiatrist turns i… Read More
2023-10-25 09:30
Daniel and Jonah are two key characters in this novel, but they are both dead from the beginning.  Daniel was a handsome, popular, athletic teenager who disappeared.  His body was… Read More
2023-10-11 09:30
I was reluctant to read this novel, because, for me, Toibin’s biographical novel about Henry James, The Master, was a dud.  However, the German author Thomas Mann proves to be a m… Read More
2023-10-08 21:14
Gustave von Aschenbach is an aging German writer who suddenly decides to vacation in Venice.  While there, he becomes obsessed with a beautiful Polish boy named Tadzio.  Aschenbach… Read More
2023-09-27 09:30
I had misgivings about this book, as there is so much bad historical fiction out there.  However, I found myself engrossed in this story and wondering how factual it was.  (The aut… Read More
2023-09-20 10:00
A Colombian family of three—Elena, Mauro, and baby Karina—go to the U.S. to escape the violence in their home country.  Ironically, the constant stream of shootings in the U… Read More
2023-09-13 10:00
Strange hybrids inhabit this novel.  Chapman is a faun—half man, half beast—who, along with his brother Nathaniel, marches westward during the early settlement of this count… Read More
2023-09-06 10:00
William’s 3-year-old sister dies when William is 10 days old.  The behavior of his parents after this tragic loss causes William to feel that he should have been the child who die… Read More
2023-08-30 09:00
Drinking molten gold?  That I’d never heard of until I read this book, which is a tale of alchemy, deception, and thievery, along with a will-they-or-won’t-they love story… Read More
2023-08-16 09:30
I expect an emotional response to a good book, but this novel just made me angry.  This is the second book I’ve read lately in which a man hides a huge financial fiasco from his w… Read More
2023-08-09 09:00
In the interest of full disclosure, I have not read David Copperfield, the book that inspired this one.  Here we have first-person narrator Damon Fields, aka Demon Copperhead, whose tee… Read More
2023-08-02 09:00
Inspired by the life of a twelfth century poet, this novel about a reluctant nun never really gave me a reason to keep reading.  Deemed unmarriageable because of her unusual height, sev… Read More
2023-07-19 09:30
Ivan Doig died eight years ago and left a body of work about the West--more in the vein of Mark Twain than, say, Cormac McCarthy.  This has got to be the most wholesome, G-rated book I… Read More
2023-07-16 20:42
Theo Ryan is a drama professor at a well-respected university in North Carolina.  He has written several plays but knows that only “Foolscap” has any merit.  His friend… Read More
2023-07-12 09:30
The “Hell” part of this book’s title is certainly appropriate, and the subject matter is very timely.  Jason Mott makes crystal clear the life-and-death hazards of bei… Read More
2023-07-09 20:31
I honestly have never pondered what it would be like if the dead returned to life, completely intact.  In this novel, that is what happens, and the “Returned” person may sho… Read More
2023-07-05 09:30
Lai Zhen, an expertise on survival, finds herself under attack at a shopping mall.  She squeezes through ductwork as her assailant draws closer.  Then an unknown app called AUGR be… Read More
2023-06-28 09:30
This book is a difficult read on several levels.  On the one hand, it waxes poetic in too lyrical and metaphorical a fashion and has too many internal soliloquies and musings.  All… Read More
2023-06-21 10:00
Rachel, our first-person narrator, has trouble finding a happy medium.  She has an unhealthy fixation on calorie-counting, partly thanks to her body-shaming mother, but when she does th… Read More
2023-06-07 09:30
My favorite thing about this novel is the title.  For me, it refers to good deeds that could have been performed but were not—sins of omission.  Also, if one purpose of readi… Read More
2023-06-04 20:44
Full of implausible coincidences and near misses, this novel still brings to life two strong Italian characters, Enza and Ciro.  Enza comes from a large family and meets Ciro when he is… Read More
2023-05-31 09:30
When do we get to the good part?  This is the question I asked myself through the first two sections of this novel.  (There are four in total).  The first section is a novel a… Read More
2023-05-24 10:00
The Hildebrandt family members are basically all at a crossroads, but the title also is the name of a Sunday night youth group at their church in a Chicago suburb.  Russ Hildebrandt, th… Read More
2023-05-17 10:00
A more appropriate title for this book would be Broken Promises.  Wedding vows are broken.  A priest divulges the details of a woman’s confession to her husband.  A man… Read More
2023-05-10 09:30
Novels about troubled marriages are a dime a dozen, but this one is better than most.  Malcolm is gorgeous and gregarious but is dishonest with Jess, his wife, about his plans for buyin… Read More
2023-05-03 09:30
Superstar actress Katie Barstow, along with her husband, her brother and his pregnant wife, and five other Hollywood A-listers, celebrate Katie’s wedding with a Serengeti safari in 196… Read More
2023-05-02 21:27
Chris Bohjalian rarely disappoints, and this novel is one of his most gripping.  I am amazed at how prolific he is and how each of his novels is totally different from the last.  I… Read More
2023-05-01 22:19
As a history lesson about the Armenian genocide in the early 1900s, this novel is terrific.  The love story, on the other hand, and the discovery of family secrets generations later are… Read More
2023-04-30 21:06
Stephen Drew is a disillusioned pastor in Vermont, where homicides are rare.  When one of his parishioners, Alice Hayward, and her husband die in an apparent murder-suicide, he decides… Read More
2023-04-26 09:30
This novel has many similarities to A Separation, but I found it to be both less suspenseful and more satisfying.  Again, we have an unnamed narrator who is an interpreter (versus a boo… Read More
2023-04-23 16:40
What do you do when your mother-in-law calls, asking about the whereabouts of your husband, when you’ve been separated from him for six months?  Our nameless first-person narrator… Read More
2023-04-19 09:30
Two women, both running away from dangerous men, swap tickets and identities in an airport.  The implausibility of this occurrence becomes less so, thanks to a revelation late in the bo… Read More
2023-04-12 09:30
An American oil company called Pexton has polluted the soil, air, and water of the fictional village of Kosawa.  Several Kosawa men, including Thula’s father, travel to the capita… Read More
2023-04-05 09:30
I have lots of adjectives for this novel—gripping, chilling, creepy, disturbing, to name a few, in a Silence of the Lambs sort of way.  No, Ansel is not a cannibal, but he is a se… Read More
2023-03-29 09:30
David Winkler’s dreams come true—literally.  However, sometimes they are nightmares, such as the one in which he fails to save his infant daughter from a flood.  Rather… Read More
2023-03-22 09:30
Theo is an astrobiologist whose 9-year-old son Robin is prone to outbursts and may be on the autism spectrum.  Robin’s behavior has deteriorated since his mother died in a car acc… Read More
2023-03-08 10:30
It’s ironic that a book about a fast horse proceeds at a slow trot rather than a gallop.  It does gather speed in the home stretch but not enough.  Part of my problem is that… Read More
2023-03-01 10:30
Wallace is an overweight gay Black biochemistry grad student who feels like he is swimming upstream in an all-white world.  He describes himself as shy, but the dialog indicates otherwi… Read More
2023-02-22 10:30
History does tend to repeat itself, especially where families are concerned.  Mick Riva abandons his wife and children, multiple times, after he becomes a superstar singer.  His gl… Read More
2023-02-15 10:30
The title character of this bleak, semi-autobiographical novel is a gay boy growing up with an alcoholic mother in Glasgow, and to describe it as dreary and depressing is a huge understateme… Read More
2023-02-08 10:30
It’s Thanksgiving in 1941 in Honolulu, and we readers know what’s coming.  Joe McGrady, a police detective investigating a double homicide, heads to Hong Kong to track down… Read More
2023-02-01 10:30
Edie is a 23-year-old Black woman who is barely subsisting in every way and whose roach-infested apartment is about to be yanked out from under her.  So is her job, for that matter, and… Read More
2023-01-25 10:00
Stephen King is a master of suspense, and this book exudes it, despite its overly familiar plot devices—a book within a book and a hired assassin planning to retire after one last lucr… Read More
2023-01-18 10:00
After I finished his book, I was stunned to discover that the author is a woman.  Her focus is on four male characters who meet in college and become lifelong friends; the female charac… Read More
2023-01-11 10:30
Larry Lavin was a smart and charming guy who came to be a massive cocaine dealer while attending the University of Pennsylvania.  After college he indulged in a hedonistic lifestyle, fu… Read More
2023-01-04 10:30
The Oppenheimer triplets despise one another, for reasons that I never understood.  Their family is extremely wealthy, but true affection is in short supply.  In fact, Sally and Le… Read More
2022-12-28 10:30
In a moment of pique, Giovanna's father says that Giovanna's face has become like that of his estranged sister, Vittoria.  Having never met the much maligned Vittoria, Giovanna becomes… Read More
2022-12-21 10:30
Piranesi is a sweet and innocent young man who inhabits a world of fifteen people, thirteen of whom are dead.  The only other living person he has ever seen is an older man whom he call… Read More
2022-12-11 22:28
In 1990 Budapest—not Prague—a group of half a dozen twenty-somethings congregate at bars and jazz clubs.  All are expats, trying to make their mark.  John, a journalist… Read More
2022-12-07 10:30
Why are so many atrocities committed in the name of religion?  I was not familiar with the Irish Magdalene Laundries until I read this book, and I still can’t believe they existed… Read More
2022-11-30 10:30
This sprawling, multi-generational novel takes place in Zambia, beginning with its colonial beginning as Northern Rhodesia.  The family tree shown at the beginning of the novel is inval… Read More
2022-11-23 10:30
Naamah is Noah’s wife, as in Noah of the Old Testament.  This is not a biography by any stretch.  Magical realism abounds, but then the premise of having two of every animal… Read More
2022-11-09 11:00
Among the plethora of recent novels about women working in counterintelligence during wartime (The Lost Girls of Paris, The Book of Lost Names), this one stands out and ranks right up there… Read More

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