Archive for the ‘2010 Favorites’ Category

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


Hints of travel writer Ian Frazier’s latest project showed up in a recent issue of the New Yorker magazine, when an excerpt from TRAVELS IN SIBERIA was published. Having evocatively captured the spirit of a Native American reservation and the American Great Plains in earlier work, Frazier set his sights on a much grander level—he decided to travel across Siberia. A self-confessed lover of all things Russian, Frazier travels across Siberia despite warnings to the contrary

November 10, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Non-fiction, Russia

FREEDOM by Jonathan Franzen

It’s been years since a novel’s impact was so colossal that I was unable to pick up and focus on another novel one, two, four–even twenty-four hours after closing the book. The force of Franzen’s characters, particularly Patty Berglund, pierced me with such legion intensity that I am temporarily ruined for the next book. I apologize for the lack of restraint in my accolades–that which is diametrically opposed to Franzen’s utterly fluid and immaculate prose, his graceful, poised restraint.

November 7, 2010 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Contemporary, Literary, y Award Winning Author


In the snow-encrusted archipelago of St. Hauda’s Land, moth-winged bulls and a creature that can turn things white with her gaze share an island with more human lives: people who lose love as quickly as they gain it and who must struggle with the baggage of the past.

November 1, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Allegory/Fable, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Speculative (Beyond Reality), United Kingdom

MOZART’S BLOOD by Louise Marley

In spite of the bodice-ripper cover, MOZART’S BLOOD is not a romance. Unless of course by romance you mean a romantic age or setting. It is a vampire tale set in the world of opera and spans centuries. The details of the struggles, competition and fleeting rewards of being an opera singer create a very romantic backdrop indeed.

October 31, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Speculative (Beyond Reality)

THE LEGACY by Kirsten Tranter

Every now and then, a novel comes along that is addicting. Nothing else gets done. Dinner gets burned, if it is even made, phones aren’t answered, and appointments are canceled. This is one of those novels. It is seductive, darkly sexual, haunting, and even frightening. You start waiting for the penny to drop, as the pages keep turning and the clues keep mounting. This is one very hypnotic novel.

October 29, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Australia, Character Driven, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Literary, New York City, Noir, Reading Guide