Archive for November, 2010

THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Siddhartha Mukherjee’s monumental THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES meticulously outlines the trajectory of cancer (derived from the Greek word “karkinos,” meaning crab) over thousands of years, starting in ancient Egypt. In 2010, seven million people around the world will die of cancer. Many have experienced the horrors of this disease through personal experience. The author provides us with a global view of this “shape-shifting entity [that is] imbued with such metaphorical and political potency that it is often described as the definitive plague of our generation.”

November 25, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Non-fiction, Pulitzer Prize, Reading Guide, y Award Winning Author

STRANGERS AT THE FEAST by Jennifer Vanderbes

Let me say it straight out: STRANGERS AT THE FEAST is astoundingly GOOD. Page-turning, jaw-dropping, laugh-out-loud, cry-into-your-sleeves, gasp-with-recognition GOOD. It takes on nothing less than the theme of what is wrong with America today and it does it very well.

The action takes place over one Thanksgiving day with lots of flashbacks. There hasn’t been a family like the Olsons since Zoe Heller’s The Believers – with a dollop of the movie Pieces of April blended in. This family DEFINES dysfunction.

November 24, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Family Matters, NE & New York

SKIPPY DIES by Paul Murray

The Ireland that is the setting for Paul Murray’s delightful novel SKIPPY DIES, is not the one we have heard about recently in the news—crippled by debt and threatening to bring down the Euro. Instead, the novel is set in the not-so-distant past when the roaring Celtic Tiger was a prominent player on the world economic stage. SKIPPY DIES is set in an Ireland where the “past is considered dead weight—at best something to reel in tourists, at worst an embarrassment, an albatross, a raving, incontinent old relative that refuses to die.”

It is in this Ireland that the boys of Seabrook College, the primary characters in the novel, come of age. One of their frequent haunts away from school is Ed’s Doughnuts House, a franchise branch of an international food chain. And it is at Ed’s where, in the very first chapter of the book, Skippy dies.

November 23, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Coming-of-Age, Contemporary, Reading Guide, United Kingdom, World Lit

PLAY DEAD by Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben’s first book, PLAY DEAD is finally back in print, and although not as good as his more famous books, it certainly is thrilling and enjoyable. The life of former supermodel and current businesswoman Laura Ayars changes significantly after she secretly marries Boston Celtic star David Baskin. While honeymooning in Australia, Laura returns from a business meeting to find a note from David that he is swimming. When David never returns, Laura notifies David’s best friend T.C. and he, along with the police determine that David has drowned.

November 22, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, NE & New York, Thriller/Spy/Caper, y Award Winning Author

PAYING BACK JACK by Christopher G. Moore

Having succeeded so spectacularly in his last case that he’s forced to hightail it out of Bangkok for a spell, PI Vincent Calvino begins his tenth adventure contemplating an expensive case of scotch and the view from his hotel suite in the seaside tourist destination of Pattaya.

Having also saved his satisfied new client from a drive-by assassination, Calvino is anticipating the juicy steak that’s next on his agenda when a beautiful woman falls past his balcony to her death. Calvino is so deeply implicated in her murder that it takes his friend Colonel Pratt to extricate him.

November 21, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Sleuths Series, Thailand-Bangkok

REMARKABLE CREATURES by Tracy Chevalier

Mary Anning may be one of the most famous real-life heroines you’ve never heard of. She was the first to discover an ichthyosaurus and complete pterosaur in Lyme, Great Britain, as well as the squaloraja, a transition animal between sharks and rays. he and her older friend Elizabeth Philpot – a middle-age spinster whose fossil fish collection ended up in Oxford – are now given their due in this complex and fascinating novel by Tracy Chevalier.

November 20, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Facing History, Reading Guide