28 October 2015

Finders Keepers, by Stephen King

A sequel to Mr. Mercedes.

This, like almost everything I've ever read by Mr. King, did not disappoint.

It's the story of a family that was affected by the tragedy central to the plot of Mr. Mercedes.  In particular, it's about a young man who literally finds buried treasure, and uses it to help his family. When the burier of the treasure is released from prison prematurely, the plot picks up speed.

To Read, and "Naked Cities," by Adam Gopnik (NYer 5 Oct 2015)

"Naked Cities" is a "Books" article by Adam Gopnik in the 5 October 2015 New Yorker magazine. In it, Gopnik discusses the past and current state of several American (and, in passing, British) cities, and mentions some books about them that might be worth reading.

I found the section of the article concerning Detroit to be of particular interest. Once In A Great City, (Simon and Schuster) by David Maraniss, is the main citation for this part. Several fascinating people are mentioned, including Smokey Robinson, Martin Luther King Jr., Henry Ford II, and Walter Reuther.

On Reuther: "...he was a social democrat who worked in the Soviet Union and denounced Stalinism [who knew?]; a labor leader who survived attempts by the owners not just to intimidate but to assassinate him...He thought auto-workers needed not only higher wages but less stressful work, and proposed regular sabbaticals for them..."

 New York Times Review of Once In a Great City

20 October 2015

The Robber Bride, by Margaret Atwood

This book begins with the return of a dead woman, Zenia. We see her return from three points of view, that of Tony Fremont, Charis, and Roz.

Tony is an historian, especially interested in war. She has a habit of reversing words, "war" becomes "raw," "Fremont" "tnomerf," etc. Roz is the publisher of a large and successful women's  magazine. Charis is a sort of New Age person, perhaps she could be called an "earth mother" type, respectful of all forms of life, aware of auras, vegetarian.

All three of these women have lost men to Zenia. Tony got hers back, but now worries that he's threatened by Zenia's apparent resurrection. Roz and Charis were not so lucky.

New York Times Review.

19 October 2015

With Intent to Kill, by Nancy Kopp

Why I finished this book I can't really explain. At one point, early on, I decided that it wasn't very good, but since it is a mystery I wanted to see how it comes out. That is my excuse, I suppose, but in the end, the resolution is so contrived and weak that my persistence was not justified.

In this novel an assistant DA works with a sheriff's detective in suburban Wisconsin to discover and prosecute the murderer of a four-year-old boy.

I have now wasted sufficient words to describe a waste of words.

A brief review from Publisher's Weekly.

08 October 2015

Two Lives, by William Trevor

Two Lives is a volume of two novels. The first is Reading Turgenev, the second My House in Umbria.

After Rain NY Times review 

NPR review of Trevor's Selected Stories 

Paris Review interview with Trevor 

Reading Turgenev is the life of Mary Louise Quarry. My House in Umbria is the life of Emily Delahunty.

NY Times Review of Two Lives 

From the NYT review linked above:
"...Mary Louise...has spent the last 31 years in an asylum for the mentally impaired.... Emily Delahunty...has been on her own since her teens... has finally fetched up in the Italian countryside, presiding over a handsome villa...These two women are presented to us in the summer of 1987, when unexpected events will jolt each one, at least temporarily, out of her familiar patterns of behavior..."

To Read

Lucia Berlin: several titles, none available at PC Library as of 12 August 2015. An article in the NYer about her and her work.

Legal Limit, by Martin Clark


Let Me Be Frank With You, by Richard Ford

This is subtitled "A Frank Bascombe Book." It consists of four stories, loosely connected, in which Bascombe is the principle character and first-person narrator. Frank is 68 now, married again, and retired. The stories are set after Hurricane Sandy has devastated much of the New Jersey coastline from the previous Bascombe novels.

New York Times review

NPR review

The four stories are:
  • "I'm Here" 
  • "Everything Could Be Worse" 
  • "The New Normal" 
  • "The Deaths of Others"