Thumbs up for When I’m Gone, Look for Me in the East by Quan Barry. Literature.
A young monk-to-be is sent on a quest across Mongolia to look for the reincarnation of a previous religious master. With him is his twin brother, who was himself named as a reincarnated master as a child, but dropped out of religious life in favor of women and cigarettes.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Pétronille by Amélie Nothomb. Literature.
An authoress – who happens to share the name of the actual author – who is obsessed with Champagne finds a drinking buddy in the mercurial Pétronille. This is a brisk, readable, sometimes very funny little novella that is definitely not taking itself too seriously. Not bad. Makes me want a drink.
Intoxication doesn’t just happen.
… >> Read more
Two thumbs up for Less is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer. Literature.
I enjoyed the previous book, Less, very much. This one, in which the eponymous Less stumbles across America, is even better. I wouldn’t suggest reading this if you haven’t read Less (though I suppose you could), but if you have and are wondering whether to read this one too, the answer is yes.… >> Read more
Two thumbs up for Less by Andrew Sean Greer. Literature.
What a delightful trifle of a book! I can’t believe a comedy – a truly funny and shockingly good-hearted comedy – won the Pulitzer Prize. (Can comedies win things?) Our titular character, Arthur Less, almost fifty, a good but not famous or rich novelist, is invited to the wedding of his younger ex-lover.… >> Read more
Two thumbs way up for Popisho by Leone Ross. Magical realism.
In Popisho – a vibrant archipelago in which everyone has a single magical gift – Xavier Redchoose will use his gift to cook a perfect meal for each resident, once in their life. The governor’s daughter is getting married, and the governor is pressuring Xavier to cook the wedding feast – jumping the line, so to speak.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye: Five Fairy Stories by A. S. Byatt. Short stories.
This was a recommendation from a friend and boy, was she right. I am grateful that there are people alive who can still write like this – I say “still,” because this style is 19th century, the best of the 19th century in fact, full of long elegant sentences, replete with allusions, and unafraid of paragraphs that take up a page.… >> Read more
Two thumbs up for A Perfect Spy by John Le Carré. Fiction.
A spy disappears. His handlers worry he is a turncoat, they argue, they investigate – but that is no more than a third of the text. The remainder is said spy in a rented room writing his life story, mostly centered around his larger-than-life con man father. Those sections dip into and out of first and third person, past and present tense, and it should not work but Le Carré is a genius.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Anglican Women Novelists: From Charlotte Brontë to P.D. James edited by Judith Maltby and Alison Shell. Literary criticism.
At the risk of sounding facetious: it is a book of short biographies and literary analyses of Anglican Women Novelists; and it is excellent. Does the topic interest you? Then read it. You will discover interesting things, your literary conversations will expand, and you will discover even more authors you want to read.… >> Read more