Archive for December, 2009

SPOONER by Pete Dexter

Pete Dexter’s latest novel tells the tale of Warren “Spooner” Whitlow, from the moment of his calamitous birth, when he arrives “feet first and the color of eggplant, an umbilical cord looped around his neck, like a little man dropped through a gallows on the way to the world” all the way through until his casually accidental death, and all the things that happen in-between. By the time Spooner slips away from life, he has “accumulated titanium rods running down the inside of both femurs, ceramic hips, a small metal plate under his scalp, fourteen implanted teeth, three screws in his bad ankle, one screw in his good ankle, and Jesus only knew how many screws holding his elbow in place.”

December 31, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: 2009 Favorites, Coming-of-Age, Contemporary, Drift-of-Life, Family Matters, Humorous, Literary

THE FINANCIAL LIVES OF THE POETS by Jess Walter

In THE FINANCIAL LIVES OF THE POETS, author Jess Walter has created an everyman character with a twist. Forty-six year old newspaper reporter Matt Prior has been laid off from his job. With his severance package running out, panic has set in. Questionable monetary choices, including most notably, Matt’s unsuccessful launch of the website poetfolio.com, which was to give financial advice in verse, but instead ate up their savings before it launched, and his wife Lisa’s brief e-Bay buying spree and a bit of financial juggling with their mortgage, have left the Priors in a home worth less then what they owe on it; a very topical situation.

December 30, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2009 Favorites, Contemporary, Drift-of-Life, Humorous, Literary, Satire, United States, y Award Winning Author

THE IMMORTALITY FACTOR by Ben Bova

THE IMMORTALITY FACTOR was first published in 1996 as BROTHERS. It is now presented, according to Bova, not as a science fiction novel, but as a contemporary novel. Due to advancements in the field of cellular regeneration, it is no longer science fiction.

December 29, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Speculative (Beyond Reality)

THE VIRGIN QUEEN’S DAUGHTER by Ella March Chase

In 1554, Lady Elinor de Lacey pays her first visit to London. She is five years-old. Elinor, (Nell), and her beloved nurse, Hepzibah Jones, accompany the child’s parents, John, Baron of Calverley, and his wife Thomasin, to the capital city for the express purpose of filling up chests with books and scientific equipment for the Baron to bring home to Lincolnshire. A brilliant and learned man, he studied with Dr. John Dee in Cambridge. Dr. Dee is a noted mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist, and, much later in the story, consultant to Queen Elizabeth I. De Lacey plans to spend 3 weeks studying with the scientist. The family lodges with the Lieutenant of London’s Tower and his family.

December 29, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Asia, SE, Debut Novel, Facing History, United Kingdom

CAIRO MODERN by Naguib Mahfouz

Set in the 1930s and published in 1945, CAIRO MODERN is, by turns, ironic, satirical, farcical, and, ultimately, cynical, as the author creates a morality tale which takes place in a country where life’s most basic guiding principles are still uncertain. World War II has kept the British on the scene as a foreign power, a weak Egyptian monarchy is under siege by reformers, and the army is growing. As the novel opens, four college students, all due to graduate that year, are arguing moral principles, one planning to live his life according to “the principles that God Almighty has decreed,” while others argue in favor of science as the new religion, materialism, social liberation, and even love as guiding principles. None of the students have any respect for their government, which they see as “rich folks and major families.”

December 28, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Classic, Egypt, Nobel Prize for Literature, Satire, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

INVISIBLE by Paul Auster

INVISIBLE is my first Auster novel. It’s odd that I never got around to reading him before, but his name came up a few months ago–in praiseworthy terms–from someone whose literary opinions I respect, and so when Auster’s latest book appeared, it didn’t take much to convince me to grab a copy. While the novel is ostensibly the story of what happens to a promising young student named Adam Walker, Auster’s cleverly-constructed tale examines much larger issues, such as the impenetrable nature of truth, the long-lasting affects of grief, the savage tentacles of colonialism and fascism, and the passivity and futility of “good” in the presence of determined evil.

December 26, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2009 Favorites, Contemporary, Literary