“Falling Man” by Don DeLillo ★★★★1/2

    Sensitive and thoughtful fictional account of how several individuals survived and processed the events of 9/11 and its aftermath. He said, "It still looks like an accident, the first one.  Even from this distance, way outside the thing, how many days later, I'm standing here thinking it's an accident." "Because it has to … Continue reading “Falling Man” by Don DeLillo ★★★★1/2

“The Swimming Pool Library” by Alan Hollinghurst ★★★

Will Beckwith, a young man in his 20s, is cruising for sex in a public restroom when 80-year-old Lord Nantwich collapses from a heart attack. As others scatter so they are not discovered in a known location for cottaging, young Will resuscitates the victim, and in so doing, saves his life. The two acquaintances are … Continue reading “The Swimming Pool Library” by Alan Hollinghurst ★★★

“The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Díaz, Audio narrated by Jonathan Davis & Staci Snell ★★★

Oscar de León represented his native Dominican Republic well and was a hit with the ladies...up until he hit elementary school. Then his heart was broken and his life spiraled downward. He went from being a player to becoming an overweight nerd. He had a good and kind heart but the poor kid had zero … Continue reading “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Díaz, Audio narrated by Jonathan Davis & Staci Snell ★★★

“Private Life” by Jane Smiley ★★★

  Private Life primarily follows the life of Margaret Mayfield spanning her life in the generation following the Civil War up to World War II. After the childhood deaths of two of her brothers and the resulting depression and suicide of her father, a doctor who blamed himself for not being able to save everybody, … Continue reading “Private Life” by Jane Smiley ★★★

“Up the Down Staircase” by Bel Kaufman ★★★

  In Bel Kaufman's Up the Down Staircase, we step into the shoes of a harried yet still idealistic teacher.  Despite the fact this takes place in a 1960s New York City public high school, teenagers will always be teenagers and bureaucracy is timeless, so I'm sure teachers are still fighting the same uphill battles. This … Continue reading “Up the Down Staircase” by Bel Kaufman ★★★

“So Worthy My Love” by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss ★★★

Durham County, circa mid-1500s.  Lord Maxim Seymour, Marquess of Bradbury, is living in exile after being falsely accused of plotting the assassination of Queen Elizabeth I. His title, possessions, and properties have been taken from him and given to his accuser, the father of his betrothed. Wishing to seek revenge, he infiltrates his (former) home … Continue reading “So Worthy My Love” by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss ★★★

“War Dances” by Sherman Alexie ★★★★

A nice mix of short stories and poetry by an insightful writer. I sometimes wondered if some of his writings may be his personal truths or if he was telling others' stories or just making up stories.  It was all very honest; he understands the inner workings of people. What stood out for me was his story … Continue reading “War Dances” by Sherman Alexie ★★★★

“Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy ★★★

Well, I now have the bragging rights that I survived the reading experience of this one. Good story but waaaaaaaaay too long.  It started off interesting as we come to know the main players, The Karenins, Levin, Kitty, Count Vronsky; and begin to see the sometimes negative results of poor choices made because of passion. … Continue reading “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy ★★★

“The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides ★★★

The "marriage plot" refers to the central theme behind a lot of our favorite English novels by Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, the Brontë sisters, and their ilk--how young women had very few options in their lives and very little time available to them to secure their position in society. They relied on procuring a satisfactory … Continue reading “The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides ★★★

“Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton ★★★★★

Along with providing food for thought regarding the tug-of-war between passion versus responsibility, I think this may have been Wharton's warning to her readers to avoid making a hasty decision on whom you will marry.  Avoid the shrews!   Ethan Frome was the most handsome man in his little town of Starkfield, Massachusetts.  He was an … Continue reading “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton ★★★★★