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3) CAKES INSPIRED BY ARTThiebaud, Mondrian, Klimt 
4) BOOKS INSPIRED BY ART Naipaul, Tartt, Chevalier. 
5) ART INSPIRED BY BOOKSPicasso, Millais, Dali. 
6) LIVING WITH GREAT ARTPicasso, Bacon, Uccello. 
7) THREE FRENCH NUDES     –  Duchamp, Léger, Picasso. 


2) SHARP OBJECTS by Gillian Flynn. I liked this more than Gone Girl. Unusual, scarred protagonist with a thing for words. Unlikely but interesting supporting cast. 
3) THE ENGLISH PATIENT by Michael Ondaatje who paints a passionate picture of the desert (beautifully reproduced cinematically by Anthony Minghella) and of obsessive count Almasy's searing affair with a colleague's wife. This is a grand, tragic story that would make a great opera.
4) CHANSON DOUCE by Leila Slimani. This won the Goncourt and was a huge best-seller in France. It starts with a ghastly crime scene, which I suppose was the reason for its success, and then goes on to provide the reasons for the crime. The characters are unsurprising and so is the plot. There was nothing lawyerly about the mother, nothing musical about the father, nothing touching about the nanny. Paris didn't even feel like Paris. A predictable, disappointing book with no delights.
5) CAT’S EYE by Margaret Atwood. Too many skippable details on art (not unlike Proust) but a compelling story of bullying, strength and a revenge not pursued but evolved. Sparkles of wit, humor and Atwoodian brilliance.
6) LADY ORACLE by Margaret Atwood. A backward unfolding of a woman’s efforts to be herself. Not as boring as that might sound.
7) BAISE-MOI by Virginie Despentes. The ferocious writing of Ms. Despentes drags her raw, damaged characters roaring and raging across the pages and leaves you breathless and feeling a bit milquetoasty. 
8) AMERICANAH by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. I immediately related to the immigrant experience her character shares with such amused grace. Ms. Adiche’s style is smooth and easy to read and her plots and characters always surprising.
9) CRAZY RICH ASIANS by Kevin Kwan. A twist on a ChickLitish story where brand-name snobs are wowed by immense wealth. The best thing about this book is the many educational mentions of Chinese traditions and customs, always a good thing. 
10) HALF A YELLOW SUN by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. We feel complicity with her finely-observed characters full of quirks & flaws, as they yearn and strive and love while huge political events sweep over and through them.
11) THE CUCKOO’S CALLING by Robert Galbraith. JK Rowling is a very meticulous writer who provides a plethora of information about place, character and plot. But, no matter how exotic the details, her characters don’t live and breathe for me, they’re like nicely costumed puppets.
12) THE ODYSSEY by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson. Kindle’s formatting makes a mess of her iambic pentamers we get half a page of empty space with vertical punctuation or a vertical word down the right side which ruins the rhythm. There are some odd choices of language for a classical work, like: “Stepping foot” on land and “dove in” and a few other strange words and phrases.  
13) THE NAÏVE AND SENTIMENTAL LOVER by John le Carré. This may be another attempt at something Graham Greene-ish, like his Our Man in Havana-inspired The Tailor of Panama. The secondary characters steal the show at first, being far more exotic and lovable than the stodgy protagonist but we come to respect him in the end even though we still don’t really like him that much.

This post first appeared on N.L. Lumiere, please read the originial post: here

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