The View From Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman

My introduction to Elinor Lipman was the humorous campus novel, My Latest Grievance. I read a few more of her books but they were fluffy and lacked the edge of Grievance. However, there was one more Lipman on my shelf – The View From Penthouse B – and I picked it up, needing some froth after a book I found traumatic. And I’m glad I did.

The View From Penthouse B is a farce. The story revolves around sisters Gwen and Margot. Gwen is unexpectedly widowed, and Margot invites her to join forces as roommates in Margot’s luxurious apartment. Margot has her own woes – divorced amid scandal (her ex, Charles, was a doctor who got caught in a terribly unsavoury malpractice situation) and then made poor by a Ponzi scheme, Margot is struggling to make ends meet.

Though we call ourselves roommates, we are definitely more than that, something in the order of wartime trenchmates. She refers to me fondly as her boarder – ironic of course, because no one confuses a boarding house with an apartment reached via an elevator button marked PH. In a sense, we live in both luxury and poverty, looking out over the Hudson while stretching the contents of tureens of stews and soups…   Continue reading

Quick reviews (because I’m overwhelmed with study and the books were underwhelming)

So much to learn about E.coli, so little time. So many books that I’ve read but haven’t had time to review. This short post satisfies one one of these issues.

the-imperfectionists-tom-rachmanThe Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman Continue reading

Best Books of 2013 – a List of Lists

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I made a (little cranky, ranty) mention yesterday about the number of ‘Best Books of 2013’ lists being published in November. Because clearly the people who compile these lists don’t read in December.

I read in December – I guess I have time because I don’t write a column about books for the New York Times…

Anyway, one of the best books I read last year was Foal’s Bread by Gillian Mears, read in the last half of December. So readers, you may still have THE book of 2013 ahead of you.

But if you are yet to discover THE BEST BOOK OF 2013, here are some ‘Best of…’ lists. It’s a list of lists – go forth and add to your TBR stack. Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – Beach Reads

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new ‘top ten’ challenge is posted. I haven’t participated until now but this week’s topic – Top 10 Books I’d Recommend As Great Beach Reads – reeled me in simply because I have a bit of checklist for beach reads.

Specifically, I like them to be light and easy-to-read (so that I can read a little, doze in the sun, read some more, have a swim…). That said, I don’t want complete trash! I want a book that is well written and with a decent plot (this rules out lots of chick-lit which you can pick up for a couple of dollars from the bargain bin at the newsagent of your holiday destination). So here’s my list (in no particular order) – Continue reading