The Top 50 from the Best Books of 2019 List of Lists

This is my annual community service to book-bloggers – a list of the books that appear most frequently on the 56 lists that I listed on Best Books of 2019 – A List of Lists. Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from Olive Kitteridge to Doppler

six-degrees-olive-kitteridge

It’s time for #6Degrees (and for the first time, I’m hosting – that’s code for you absolutely must join in, please)!

We begin with Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize winner, Olive Kitteridge. The story is set in a small town in Maine, as is John Irving’s beautiful saga, The Cider House Rules. Continue reading

My Education by Susan Choi

I’m playing with emphasis in my review of Susan Choi’s latest book, My Education. Spend a moment over at Goodreads and you’ll quickly discover what elements of the story I’m skimming over but I figure that if the publisher doesn’t reveal much in the blurb, then it’s not up to me to do it for them.

My Education begins with graduate student, Regina Gottlieb, encountering the notorious Professor Nicholas Brodeur for the first time. Brodeur has a reputation for seducing undergraduates and his appeal is obvious to Regina –

“That first time seeing him, even before being sure who he was, it was already clear that his attractiveness was mixed up with a great deal of ridiculousness. He wore a long duster coat, in the heat of September. His filthy blond hair stuck up and out in thatchy spikes from heavy use of some kind of pomade, as if it were 1982, not ’92, and he wore Lennon shades with completely black lenses, as if it were outdoors, not in, and overall, in his resemblance to a Joy Division poster, he comported himself as if twenty and not, as I’d come to find out, almost forty.”

But no one had warned Regina about Brodeur’s equally charismatic and volatile wife, Martha. And so unfolds the story of Regina’s mistakes, which demonstrate what happens when you’re forced to trade-off desire and duty.

“Regina, I don’t have problems in my marriage because of you. I have you because of problems in my marriage.” Continue reading