If you are into the current vampire-fiction-frenzy and demand well-written books instead of ones that appear to have been published without editing, this is the book to read. There are over 30 authors contributing short stories that are each unique to the genre. Renown authors such as Eric Van Lustbader, Ann Rice, Stephen King, and even King's son, Joe Hill, contribute. There is a humorous tale starring Bela Lugosi, who, while in a morphine-induced state, meets Vlad the Impaler, who is in an equally opium-induced state that is quite creative. There is a sort of Great Gatsby sequel with some character tweaks. There even is an Old West tale. I enjoy searching for new ideas on old themes. This collection spins an assortment of short stories that each distances itself from the next. No two tales are similar. It also has a comprehensive guide at the end of the book listing additional author recommendations.
The Help is Kathryn Stockett's debut novel about black domestic servants working in white Southern households in the early 1960s. The author gives us three remarkable woman who are changing the times: Skeeter, Aibileen and Minnie. Skeeter has just graduated from college and her mother would like her to marry, but she wants to be a journalist. It is Skeeter's idea to work with the black "help" to document life of the hired help in the tumultuous civil rights time. Skeeter works with Aibileen, a black maid who is a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. We also hear personal stories and challenges from Minnie, Aibileen’s best friend, a short, fat, and sassy maid. These three women come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. These brave woman are challenging the stereotypes and segregation in this town.
I read this new book only because I was, and to some extent still am, a Rolling Stones fan. If you liked the movie Almost Famous you might enjoy this book. The author was a huge Stones fan growing up in Brooklyn in the disco 80's, he started a Fanzine called Beggars Banquet and at seventeen managed to track down Ron Wood and give him a copy. The Stones were living in New York in the 8o's and the this 17 year old kid managed to become a marginal part of the inner circle. The book has a lot of behind the scene tales of the band's relationships and was quite heady stuff for a kid. I enjoyed the book but it came at a time when the Stone's were going corporate and the bad boy partying except for Wood and Richards were over.
Do you know the story of Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick (Cheney)? I didn't... and it's quite a story. Nancy Horan has written this novel recreating what she thinks might have been the growing relationship between these two historical characters: the famous architect, and the wife of one of his clients. In real life, their romance created a tremendous scandal, and Ms Horan has delineated, in fiction, how two complex and powerful personalities might have connected and- created controversy.
This novel has been incredibly popular - and is a favorite choice for book groups. We are going to discuss it in our Novel Experience group!
Two women meet briefly at the start of World War I and meet again during the bombing of Coventry, England on the night of November 14, 1940. We learn how the women have spent their lives between the wars. But what really compels in this book is the depiction of that terrible night.
Humphreys used historical records and personal accounts of that night to help in her depictions of everything from what it felt like in the shelters, to the bombing of Coventry Cathedral. While the story is clearly fiction, some of the images will remain with you long after you have closed the book.
This is one of the best mysteries that I have ever read. It was so suspenseful that I let the last 30 pages drag out for 3 days; only reading 10 pages a day because I didn't want it to end. The plot is simple. U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels and his new partner, Chuck Aule, ferry to Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of an inmate of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane. The mystery is how could a female patient held in a cell that is no bigger than a closet, manage to escape out of a locked cell, past several locked and manned checkpoints, then flee a rat-filled island that is surrounded by pounding waves and 50 degree water. Something strange is taking place on the island. The government funded hospital should be able to easily house more than 500 patients, yet there are less than a hundred incarcerated. There are almost three times as many staff and guards on the island than inmates. The head doctor could be a former Nazi. Rumors of illegal surgeries are hinted. The time is the early 1950's when hallucinogens were first being introduced into psychiatric treatment. This novel was optioned to Hollywood and Martin Scorsese directed the film that stars Leonardo DiCaprio. It's supposed to open in early October. The film adaptation will be tricky to pull off since this book is not bound to basic laws of physics. Visualization of the intricate character studies might be compromised. I recommend reading this book first if you are planning to view the film.
Kristin Hannah gives us an epic look into a lifeflong friendship and the ups and downs of life through the years. This books begins when the main characters, Kate and Tully are in junior high and follows them through 40 years of friendship-- high school and college on into adulthood, other relationships, careers, children, a husband, lovers, geographic moves. The friendship defines each of these women and it is central to who they are. With that said, some of the issues they face feel more like a lifetime movie than real life. But, the author does a great job of placing the reader in these women's lives and feeling the love and friendship that endures.
Two reporters have been murdered. On the eve of the publication of their scandalous sex-trafficking exposé, the two are brutally slain. In addition, a well-respected lawyer has also been murdered with the same gun on the same night. How are these murders connected? All the evidence, including fingerprints on the murder weapon, point to Lisbeth Salander. To the police, it is an open and shut case. Salander’s visit to the two reporters’ apartment just before the murders, the fact that the now-dead lawyer was her legal guardian, and her previous history of mental illness, instability and violence, are all nails in her coffin. The only problem is that she has disappeared.
To Mikail Blomkvist, friend and former lover of Salander’s, it is obvious that the murders had everything to do with the sex-trafficking story. He is determined to find Salander and prove her innocence, even if it means withholding evidence from the police.
In this second installment of Larsson’s Swedish trilogy, Salander, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo returns as the antisocial but brilliant computer hacker, who is also blessed with a photographic memory. Readers learn about her troubled upbringing in which she was placed in a children’s psychiatric facility for her violent behavior at the age of twelve. The pieces of the puzzle fall into place as her secrets reveal her as the improbable central character in the sex-trafficking scandal and the murders.
Anna Roitman had always been an outsider. Her family came to Queens from Russia when she was a little girl and Anna spent her life straddling the two cultures but never firmly grounded in either one. As a teen and young woman, she used her considerable sultry, exotic appeal to attract artistic, bohemian men. Much to her parents' dismay, Anna's love affairs were intense, but brief. But when she was still unmarried at 35, even Anna was finally won over by the idea of a stable marriage to a good Russian-Jewish man. Alex K. was wealthy and stylish, even if he wasn't into literature and foreign films. Anna soon came to love her lavish lifestyle, but after having a son, things started to change. Anna felt trapped and bored. She finds Alex increasingly repugnant. Then she meets the man of her dreams. If the story sounds familiar, it's because this book is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Reyn does a excellent job of maintaining the pathos of the original work while creating a tactile atmosphere of the Manhattan and Queens lifestyles of Russian-Jewish immigrants. It is a relevant story of an individual's feelings of displacement, and how that relates to the immigrant experience.
Michael Steinberger's Au Revoir to all that: food, wine and the end of France is a fun and interesting look at the state of food in France. Like in America, the rise of the food star has made many first-rate chefs abandon food for media exposure. Chefs used to work hard to create new and interesting dishes. But now chefs strive to have the book deals, tv shows, and marketing of their brand. Very few top chefs remain in their kitchens. And as Steinberger notes this is a problem. France used to be the number one country for food excellence. Spain is currently the top-rated country and even England has better ratings than France.
Steinberger also gives us a fascinating glimpse into the world of the coveted Michelin star system. As the chefs have been complaining for decades, there is no specific criteria for the stars. Michelin claims it is all about the food. Yet there are numerous instances where the ambience has allowed the restaurant to receive the three stars. Also, the cost of upkeep of a three star restaurant has become such a problem that a number of chefs have refused the three stars.
Many wonderful food facts about France are included, the most shocking being that France is the number two market for MacDonalds. Yes, you read that correctly. After the USA, France is the second largest consumer of McDonalds. Steinberger also presents information about how the French wine industry, formally number one in the world, has shrunk so dramatically.
This is a great read for Francophiles, foodies and anyone interested in the state of three star, chefs, restaurants, and food in today's world.