I owned a bookstore in Indiana for 36 years and am happy to be back serving customers. I read mostly character driven fiction.
A Francophile’s dream. Travel back to 1927 Paris as four characters’ lives intersect amid encounters with Proust, Hemingway, Josephine Baker, Gertrude Stein and Sylvia Beach. You can almost hear the Seine lapping and smell the croissants in the boulangeries.
Apeirogon is centered on a day in the lives of Israeli Amir and Palestinian Rami both of whom have lost children in the ongoing conflict. They are real people fictionalized in this novel except for ten pages in the middle of the book in their own words. The book is broken into 1001 sections some a sentence long others a few paragraphs; they serve to a create quiet space amid the text to reflect on the last passage. Much as in the bird ringing stations on the West Bank, McCaan has netted and tagged Amir and Rami so that we may follow them on their journey. Apeirogon solidifies McCaan as one of the premier authors of his generation.
Mutant rats carrying plague that cannot be treated with antibiotics, and the race to keep them out of the wrong hands propel this fast paced thriller.
In The Body: a Guide for Occupants, Bill Bryson explores the wonders of the the vast systems that make up the human body. Almost every page contained some fact that astounded me and made me want to read it out loud to someone. Bryson is able to explain the complexities of science in language a layman can understand, but not without challenging the reader. He sent me searching the web numerous times.
Why is it so difficult for even seasoned interrogators to determine when a stranger is telling truth? What does this tell us about our dealings with strangers in everyday life? I guarantee you will not look on others the same after you read this book.
With prose as spare and quiet as the Norwegian forests in which it is set; this novel still speaks with power and grace. One of my top 20 novels of this century.
This short novel is a mystical murder mystery, but also a deep dive into South American culture and mores of the 1980's.
A 79 year old man with the 11 year old grand-nephew he just met in tow travels to Nice,France where he tries to unravel from some cryptic photos whether his mother was a Nazi collaborator or part of the resistance. This novel is as much an homage to Nice as a mystery; Donoghue’s descriptions of the history and sights of Nice made me put it on my bucket list.
If Holden Caulfield was growing up in contemporary rural America, Salinger might have written something like Opioid, Indiana. 17 year old Riggle is struggling to make sense of his town where drugs, poverty, and isolation are obstacles he must confront.
Kate Atkinson can do no wrong for me, and after several intriguing novels she has returned to Jackson Brodie and her mystery series with its plot twists and witty prose. Welcome back.
A 104-year-old Zen Buddhist nun; a lunchbox with a mysterious diary; a few lessons in physics; original and captivating.
The siege of Leningrad is the background for this tragi-comic novel that follows two jailed Russians ordered to find a dozen eggs for an officers daughter's wedding cake amid the chaos and horror of World War II.
One of my favorite works of fiction this century. McEwan tells of a young girl's mistaken accusation that leads to her struggle to atone for the tragedies that ensue.
This classic is a great book to read a chapter at a time with an 8-12 year old, but it is also one the adult will enjoy.
Brock Clarke's novels always make me smile and sometimes laugh out loud as he allows us to revel in his character's foibles even as he treats them with gentle respect. So, pick up this book; get a few chuckles, and learn more about the teachings of John Calvin than you probably know.
These short stories take place in the inland swamps of Florida where we encounter a pair of abandoned children, a homeless women and others in an eerie, perilous environment where man is more dangerous than the the snakes and alligators.
James Lee Burke writes landscape description as evocative as any contemporary author, and his mysteries have depth often exploring the violence that occurs when socioeconomic cultures clash.
For those who prefer character driven fiction, Gone So Long will captivate you. A violent act changes the lives of Dubus' three main characters, and I cared deeply that they find peace with themselves and each other. It takes great talent for an author to make me feel this way.
Since so many protagonists in fiction today have some emotional defect, it is a pleasure to read a novel where the main character is a truly likable gentleman. Such a person is Count Rostov, banished to the Metropol Hotel after the Russian revolution he soon endears himself to staff and guests and becomes part of an intrigue to aid a young woman.