Book of the Month: I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman (2006)

2021-05-24T16:34:48-04:00

Book of the Month: I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman (2006) Critical Evaluation "The fact that she is 65 gives Ms. Ephron unavoidable subjects for contemplation: age, loss and vanity. None are automatically delightful. But she retains an uncanny ability to sound like your best friend, whoever you are, even when she is describing the death of her own best friend in a sobering piece called “Considering the Alternative.” When, in the end, she has no better way to ward off mortality than staying silky smooth by using the right bath [...]

Book of the Month: I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman (2006)2021-05-24T16:34:48-04:00

Book of the Month: Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter (1939)

2021-05-24T16:11:40-04:00

Book of the Month: Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter (1939) Critical Evaluation "The three short novels that make up Pale Horse, Pale Rider -- Old Mortality, Noon Wine, and the title story itself -- ask in turn the three questions that, as the critic Mark Schorer put it, humankind has always asked: What were we? What are we? What will we be? Old Morality addresses the first of these: It is a coming-of-age story about the self-deceptions that can turn a family's history into both romance and burden. Noon Wine shows how the easygoing past can be transformed in an instant into a terrible [...]

Book of the Month: Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter (1939)2021-05-24T16:11:40-04:00

Book of the Month: The Overstory by Richard Powers (2018)

2021-05-24T15:32:14-04:00

Book of the Month: The Overstory by Richard Powers (2018) Critical Evaluation "Richard Powers is the exception, and his monumental novel “The Overstory” accomplishes what few living writers from either camp, art or science, could attempt. Using the tools of story, he pulls readers heart-first into a perspective so much longer-lived and more subtly developed than the human purview that we gain glimpses of a vast, primordial sensibility, while watching our own kind get whittled down to size. But: Birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim. People will only read stories about people, as this author knows perfectly well. “The Overstory” is [...]

Book of the Month: The Overstory by Richard Powers (2018)2021-05-24T15:32:14-04:00

Book of the Month: Klara and the Sun (2021)

2021-05-24T15:16:59-04:00

Book of the Month: Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (2021) Critical Evaluation "For four decades now, Ishiguro has written eloquently about the balancing act of remembering without succumbing irrevocably to the past. Memory and the accounting of memory, its burdens and its reconciliation, have been his subjects. With “Klara and the Sun,” I began to see how he has mastered the adjacent theme of obsolescence. What is it like to inhabit a world whose mores and ideas have passed you by? What happens to the people who must be cast aside in order for others to move forward? " Jones, [...]

Book of the Month: Klara and the Sun (2021)2021-05-24T15:16:59-04:00

Book of the Month: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (2005)

2021-05-24T15:48:18-04:00

Book of the Month: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (2005) Critical Evaluation " More to the point, The History of Love is a significant novel, genuinely one of the year’s best. Old Leo (a new entry in the Jewish-lit canon) nurses the loss of his true love, as well as his only son—a famous writer—and his own great manuscript. Krauss’s novel is emotionally wrenching yet intellectually rigorous, idea-driven but with indelible characters and true suspense. It draws a career arc that may very soon surpass her husband’s, in book clubs (it’s a Today show pick) as well as Hollywood. (Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated comes out this [...]

Book of the Month: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (2005)2021-05-24T15:48:18-04:00

Book of the Month: A Swim in a Pond in the Rain (2021)

2021-05-24T15:33:09-04:00

Book of the Month: A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders (2021) Critical Evaluation "Saunders lives in the synapses — he looks at all the minute and meaningful decisions that produce a sentence, a paragraph, a convincing character. He offers one of the most accurate and beautiful depictions of what it is like to be inside the mind of the writer that I’ve ever read — that state of heightened alertness, lightning-quick decisions." Sehgal, Perul, "George Saunders Conducts a Cheery Class on Fiction’s Possibilities,"  The New York Times. January 21, 2021. First Excerpt   "Years ago, on [...]

Book of the Month: A Swim in a Pond in the Rain (2021)2021-05-24T15:33:09-04:00

Book of the Month: Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (1993)

2021-01-28T19:21:18-05:00

Book of the Month: Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (1993) Critical Evaluation "By writing black female protagonists into science fiction, and bringing her acute appraisal of real-world power structures to bear on the imaginary worlds she created, Butler became an early pillar of the subgenre and aesthetic known as Afrofuturism. (Kara Walker cites her as an inspiration; and, as Hilton Als has pointed out, Butler is the 'dominant artistic force' in Beyoncé’s visual album 'Lemonade.') In the ongoing contest over which dystopian classic is most applicable to our time, Kellyanne Conway made a strong case for George Orwell’s 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' [...]

Book of the Month: Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (1993)2021-01-28T19:21:18-05:00

Book of the Month: A Promised Land by Barack Obama (2020)

2020-12-14T14:13:07-05:00

Book of the Month: A Promised Land by Barack Obama (2020) Critical Evaluation "Barack Obama is as fine a writer as they come. It is not merely that this book avoids being ponderous, as might be expected, even forgiven, of a hefty memoir, but that it is nearly always pleasurable to read, sentence by sentence, the prose gorgeous in places, the detail granular and vivid. From Southeast Asia to a forgotten school in South Carolina, he evokes the sense of place with a light but sure hand.” Ngozi Adichie, Chimamanda, "Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Barack Obama’s ‘A Promised Land’," The New York [...]

Book of the Month: A Promised Land by Barack Obama (2020)2020-12-14T14:13:07-05:00

Book of the Month: The Library Book by Susan Orlean(2018)

2020-09-21T12:32:31-04:00

Book of the Month: The Library Book by Susan Orlean (2018) Critical Evaluation "The most cinematic thing that’s ever occurred inside the Los Angeles Central Library appears to be this one fire, and even the fire wasn’t all that cinematic, as fires go. Afterward, the most compelling related dramas were the various efforts to dry the books. Really, no one should search this material for a movie. But — and here’s both the mystery and the charm of Susan Orlean — it has made for a lovely book. Or rather, two books. The first is about the fire itself — which [...]

Book of the Month: The Library Book by Susan Orlean(2018)2020-09-21T12:32:31-04:00

Book of the Month: Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel (2009)

2020-09-21T10:44:45-04:00

Book of the Month: Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel (2009) Critical Evaluation "Cromwell is the picaresque hero of the novel — tolerant, passionate, intellectually inquisitive, humane. We follow his winding quest in vivid present-tense flashbacks, drawn up from his own prodigious memory: how he left home before he was 15, escaping the boot of his abusive father, a brewer and blacksmith who beat him as if he were 'a sheet of metal'; how he dreamed of becoming a soldier and went to France because 'France is where they have wars.' Cromwell learns banking in Florence, trading in Antwerp. He marries, has [...]

Book of the Month: Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel (2009)2020-09-21T10:44:45-04:00
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