With the London games looming, it’s difficult not to catch Olympic fever. After reading Chris Cleave’s Gold, I’ll be paying closer attention to the cycling events. Sprint. Individual pursuit. These were the races vividly portrayed in this story about Zoe, Kate and Jack: three cyclists who met each other on the same day when they were 19; and how their odd little triangle of love and friendship developed over the next 13 years, through victories and defeats in Athens, Beijing, and potentially London.
Jess Walter’s novel, Beautiful Ruins, is entertaining, but the work seems scattered because the author has so many people and narrative styles running through it that the reader loses sight of a main character.
I’m a sucker for a good prep school story. I’m not sure if it’s the promise of knowledge there for the taking, secret societies, or general student angst that usually leads me to those books, but there was something unique about Elizabeth Percer’s debut novel, An Uncommon Education. The education of Percer’s brilliant protagonist, Naomi Feinstein, was not provided by private boarding schools. Her “preparatory” education came from her father, who recognized early that his daughter could remember everything she ever read.
One beautiful thing about reading is the travel it allows. Through books, you can visit other times, places, or even dimensions. In “The Chaperone,” Laura Moriarty takes us to the far reaches of Douglas Avenue, Winfield, McPherson and New York City.
Laura Moriarty’s first three books were set in Kansas towns, all based on times and places she actually lived. With her latest book she takes a leap backwards to 1922 Wichita, when soon-to-be silent film star Louise Brooks was 15-years-old, heading off to New York City for the first time.
Even though Frank Money lived in Lotus, Georgia since he was four, he never considered the town his home. According to Frank, “Nobody in Lotus knew anything or wanted to learn anything.” Left to their own devices, Frank and his friends roamed the unpaved streets and countryside with Frank’s little sister Cee in-tow, biding their time until they could leave Lotus for good. That opportunity came for the boys when they enlisted to fight in the Korean War. Cee’s opportunity presented itself later when she took off with a stranger—who took off with her car.
When an author goes on a book tour, he might fall into a routine that sounds something like this: • Fly into a city. • Go from airport to hotel. • Go from hotel to bookstore. • Read from your book. • Return to hotel. • Fly out in the morning.
When Christopher Moore goes on book tour, he adds one more step. • Spend some time at the local art museum.
At Home on the Range, a cookbook presented by Elizabeth Gilbert, by her great-grandmother Margaret Yardley Potter
Elizabeth Gilbert always believed that her calling as a writer came from her great-grandfather, Sheldon Potter. He had “inspired bookishness” and would give her challenging reading assignments during their visits. But when she unpacked and began to read At Home on the Range—a cookbook penned by her great-grandmother, Margaret Yardley Potter—Gilbert started to wonder about the existence of a Family Voice.
The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau begins on a fateful night when the family of Jonas, a 15-year-old Muslim, is killed by Americans. Running for his life in the rugged mountains surrounding his home, Jonas is rescued by an American who dies the same evening. He is taken in by an international relief organization and adopted by a Christian family in Pittsburgh, Pa. As he and his new family do their best to find common ground, the dead American soldier’s mother, also coincidentally in Pittsburgh, is determined to uncover what happened to her son.
First-time novelist Christina Alger’s pedigree reads just like that of her characters’ in The Darlings: Harvard, NYU School of Law, work at Goldman Sachs. Alger takes the adage, “write what you know,” to heart and tells an entertaining story of the rise and fall of some of the “1%” during the financial crash of 2008.
The book opens at 2:00 a.m. on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, with the alleged suicide of Morty Reis off the Tappan Zee Bridge. Reis’ investment fund is suspected of a Bernie Madoff-style ponzi fraud.
T.C. Boyle has written adeptly on subjects ranging from academic politics, to illegal immigration, to the women who loved Frank Lloyd Wright. When the Killing’s Done, Boyle’s 14th novel, is set principally off the Santa Barbara coast on the sparsely inhabited Channel Islands.
Opening with a quote from Genesis in which man is instructed by God to have “dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air, over every living thing that moveth upon the earth,” Boyle sets out to explore that very dominion we attempt to exert over the earth.