Book Review

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.

Book Review: Home

May 21, 2012

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.

Book Review: Sacre Bleu

May 7, 2012

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.

Book Review: The Book of Jonas

Mar 26, 2012

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. 

Book Review: The Darlings

Mar 12, 2012

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.

Book Review: When the Killing's Done

Feb 27, 2012

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.

Book Review:

Feb 13, 2012

What would your legacy look like three generations down the line? Would it be a fledging family business? A statue symbolizing a conquest? Moral values and religious beliefs?

Jonathan Evison’s West of Here is a novel of the western expansion. It juxtaposes the legacy of the past with the drama of the present in the fictional town of Port Bonita, on Washington state’s Pacific coast. While everything changes, basic human nature remains the same as the two very distinct worlds collide in interwoven chapters.