Friday, February 28, 2014

The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife
by Paula McLain

This novel is literary yet warmly, emotionally resonant--recommended for book clubs! 

Genre: Literary Fiction

Review: Hadley is a Midwestern young woman in search of  adventure when she meets 21-year-old Ernest Hemingway. They fall in love through letters, and decide to get married. 

Soon, they set out for 1920s Paris, where Ernest will launch his writing career over the next five years. Set in America, Paris, Spain, and Austria, this novel follows Hadley, Ernest, and later, their baby son. Hadley is a strong, intellectual character in her own right. McLain does not overshadow her with Ernest's personality, and readers understand the nuances of a woman caught between eras, between wife and the chic woman of the 20s. 

Extras: I enjoyed this photo gallery on Paula McLain's website

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Rise and Shine: A Story of Sisters

Rise and Shine
by Anna Quindlen

Can't wait to read other novels by Anna Quindlen!

Genre: Literary Fiction

Review: Weighty and wonderful and funny. Serious and literary without being annoying. 

This novel is essentially a story about sisters.  40-somethings living in NYC, but their relationship is relatable for all ages. Meghan is a mega-watt celebrity, star of morning show Rise and Shine. Bridget is the younger sister, a social worker in the Bronx. They are both devoted to Meghan's son, Leo. 

As you read the summary, you think Meghan's "falling apart" on air, sabotaging her career, or her failing marriage, will be at the core of the novel. But there is so much more there. Read to find out! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Quiet: great nonfiction read

Quiet: The Power of Introverts 
in a World that Can't Stop Taking
by Susan Cain

Genre: Nonfiction

Review: Cain explores the lives of introverts through case studies about people she has met and interviewed. She studies the research from neuroscience, personality psychology and social psychology and presents it succinctly and insightfully for the reader. She traces the history of the "extrovert ideal," and discusses how this manifests in businesses and schools. Finally, she provides practical advice on raising introverted children and thriving as an introvert in relationships and career, and points out a few things extraverts can learn from us introverts. 

This powerful book was years in the making and could be a revelation to closet introverts!

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches

The Dead in the Vaulted Arches

A Flavia De Luce Mystery
by Alan Bradley

Genre: Mystery, series

Review: The whole village waits beside Flavia, Daphne, Ophelia, and Father at Buckshaw Halt train station for the arrival of Harriet, Flavia's long lost mother.  Suspicious cousin Lena appears on the scene, and Aunt Felicity reveals secrets of the past. Flavia has a dream to bring her mother back to life, and she finds out more about her mother's life and her own. 

Although the story has elements of mystery, this novel is more character-driven and more emotionally resonant than the other books in the mystery series, and I loved it. The novel subtly shows how Flavia's relationship with her family changes. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Every Day

Every Day
by David Levithan

Genre: YA fiction

Review: Every day, A. wakes up in a different body. Each person is the same age as him, but may live nearby or hours away. A.'s life has always been like this, and accepting it is all that can be done. That is, until A. inhabits the body of Justin and meets Rhiannon, falling in love with her during a perfect day at the beach. Can living such a strange life lead to true love or only loss? 

This is an inventive story with a complex array of emotional pitfalls and possibilities for deftly-drawn characters.

 An intriguing read!

Read about his latest books at the author's website: