Archive for March, 2010

HAUNTING BOMBAY by Shilpa Agarwal

It’s 1960 and partitioned India is rife with factions, superstitions, violence and oppression.

The Mittal household, living in a rambling bungalow in the old colonial enclave of Malabar Hill, Bombay, presents a comfortable, serene exterior to the world. But behind the walls, amid the remnants of British raj furnishings and “the aroma of sandalwood, peppers and fried cumin,” the extended family seethes with desire and discontent.

March 31, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Facing History, India-Pakistan, World Lit

SOLAR by Ian McEwan

Reading SOLAR, Ian McEwan’s entertaining and clever new novel, reminded me of an appearance by Al Gore on the Daily Show. Jon Stewart, it seemed, had grown increasingly tired of all the talk and dire warnings about global warming. He asked Gore if the former vice president was at all concerned that the urgency with which the warnings were declared, took some of the attention away from the solutions. In other words, was there a disconnect between the message and the solutions, which seemed so abstract? Stewart wanted tangible solutions—something we could all sink our teeth into.

March 30, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

MEMORY by Donald E. Westlake

As a long-time fan of Donald Westlake, I was very sad to read of his sudden death from a heart attack on December 31st, 2008. So naturally I was surprised to hear that there was a previously unpublished Westlake due to be released by Hard Case Crime in March 2010. When I learned that this was a book that Westlake wrote in the 60s, well I was intrigued.

MEMORY has to be one of the bleakest, darkest novels written by Westlake in the course of his long, outstanding career.

March 29, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Grandmaster, Mystery/Suspense, Noir

NOTHING TO ENVY by Barbara Demick

There is much earthy wisdom in the saying: “One death is a tragedy; a thousand is a statistic.” By narrating the life stories of six North Korean defectors and their daily struggles, author Barbara Demick underscores this point beautifully. Her moving book NOTHING TO ENVY: ORDINARY LIVES IN NORTH KOREA, lets us look at the human angle behind the news headlines.

March 27, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Korea, National Book Award Finalist, Non-fiction, y Award Winning Author

THE BIG MACHINE by Victor LaValle

THE BIG MACHINE is a genre-busting romp through the fields of good and evil. Part mystery, part science fiction, part philosophy, and part theology, this book takes us on a heady journey from underneath the earth’s surface to the wonderment of the universe.

March 26, 2010 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Mystery/Suspense, Speculative (Beyond Reality), Thriller/Spy/Caper


Fifteen years ago, ER’s Dr. Greene tried in vain to save a pregnant woman whose preeclampsia he had originally misdiagnosed. She bled out to her eventual death. It was one of the most grueling, shocking hours of television ever. It was also one of the best; some consider it the top episode in the series.

LOSING CHARLOTTE does not concentrate on describing the blow-by-blow stark visuals of a the fatal hemorrhaging. That takes place in an operating room where her family (and we) don’t witness the final ebb of life. But this sensitive novel does revolve around the loss of a hopeful mother-to-be, similar to the ER story.

March 25, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Debut Novel, Family Matters, NE & New York, New York City