Tag: book recommendations

Our Frail Blood by Peter Nathaniel Malae

Our Frail Blood by Peter Nathaniel Malae, is a brilliant, heroically Catholic novel. Dense, Proustian in its savor of the quality of time and its lost chances. Emphatically West Coast in its culture, in a way that convinces us that there really is a distinct West Coast culture. And it exemplifies what that culture might consist of. It’s also an indictment of early 20th century America. A bill of charges against an egoism untempered by obligations to family or tradition. Selfishness, even selfhood, gone wild. Clownish.

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Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love by Sarah Butler

A box of ARC’s arrived and as I was making a reading pile, this books red cover grabbed me. Inside was a letter from the editor, and I immediately took it to the couch and gave it my full attention (the writing whispered of Elliott Holt, more on that in a minute). Two sittings later I was done with the book, sadly, and wished it would never end. In the best cases, characters in books that I love live on, and they still reside in the town where I left them. Perhaps the author is writing the rest of their lives. I suspect Alice and Daniel are still steadily gazing at the stars that hang over London, right where I left them when this book ended.

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Mary Coin by Marisa Silver

Marisa Silver’s Mary Coin, based off the famous “Migrant Mother” photograph, proves this analogy doesn’t necessarily extend to literature. Expertly, Silver weaves the stories of three seemingly disconnected characters. Of course, there’s the titular Mary Coin, there’s modern day professor Walker Dodge, and Depression-era photographer Vera Dare. Upon first glance, based solely on timing, you could see how the first and last of that group may interact but it’s the true joy of this novel to discover the ways in which all three characters are tied together.

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The Morels by Christopher Hacker

The Soho press catalog came my way and aside from all the crime fiction, there was this interesting book about a writer/artist, his family, and how fucked up things get when a certain “novel” is published. In The Morels, it was really hard to see what was coming, but things ended badly, as they say. The hero, (you can call him all kinds of things) Arthur Morel is a monster, if you look at it the wrong way, and a legend if you turn it over and look at the other side. I suppose this fits the Soho Crime vernacular, a little, because there is a crime in these pages, of the most unbearable sort, or wait, did that crime happen? That’s what they want you to think.

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Flaca, the Fifth Story in This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

I liked the touch that they met in their Joyce class. And the ethnic bit that Veronica (her real name), who is a teacher, has a new student whose mother says she has “the touch”. How many worlds is Diaz, who teaches at MIT, living in, I wonder? How many worlds are his stories living in? “You were the white girl who danced bachata…” I had to look up “bachata”

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The Third Story in This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

I’m getting personal because I want to give a honest reaction to this story. There comes a poignant break, where the guy parts ways with the object of his desire and goes off to college. Up to that point, the couple are both living on the same streets. I remember the friends in public schools that I never saw again, because my head was in books and all they knew was the neighborhood.

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Books I Don't Know – The Pile, Part 2

The Paris Review is putting together a collection of short stories called “Object Lessons”, the Paris Review presents The Art of the Short Story. Writers on their favorite short stories. Dave Eggers on James Salter, Ann Beattie on Craig Nova, David Means on Raymond Carver, and that’s just a few of the notables, on sale 10-12 from Picador.

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The Amazing Amy books are a wonderful piece of skywriting on Flynn’s part, and these little moments blow in and out of the book. The years leading up to the disappearance which is the central theme of this novel are so precisely woven together that I can only imagine how wonderfully fantastically intricate Flynn’s flowchart on her office wall must have been.

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