Archive for the ‘New York City’ Category

THIS BEAUTIFUL LIFE by Helen Schulman

Somewhere on the journey from the comfortable upstate college town of Ithaca to the glistening moneyed world of downtown Manhattan, the Burgamots have lost their way.

August 2, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Family Matters, NE & New York, New York City, Reading Guide

THE ASTRAL by Kate Christensen

THE ASTRAL, by Kate Christensen, gets its title by way of its namesake, the Astral building in Brooklyn, New York. This building houses the protagonist of this book, an aging poet named Harry Quirk. His last name befits him and his family. They are interestingly dysfunctional in many ways.

Harry was once a somewhat well-known poet, teaching poetry workshops and writing his lyrical poems in rhyming and sonnet style. His publisher and mentor has moved to Europe and his style is now out of favor in the United States. His wife, Luz, decides after thirty years of marriage that Harry is having an affair with his best friend, Marion. Despite Harry’s pleading innocence – and he is innocent – Luz does not believe him and she kicks him out of their apartment in the Astral.

August 1, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Drift-of-Life, Family Matters, New York City, Satire, y Award Winning Author

RAGTIME by E. L. Doctorow

E.L. Doctorow’s 1974 masterpiece, Ragtime, takes its name from the a style of music, the melodious offspring of blackface cakewalks and patriotic marches, that perfectly captures the optimism and energy of the America in the early 1900s. It’s aptly titled too, for Doctorow manages to capture the energy of the era, a time of hitherto unheard of growth and prosperity, a time when coal miners took on the capitalists for safer work conditions and fair pay, and won; a time when a single, socially- minded photographer, documenting immigrant ghettos, took pictures powerful enough to move a president and serve as evidence of the necessity of improved housing conditions for the poor; a time when American entrepreneurs amassed more wealth than some European monarchy, through little more than hard work and talent. However, it was also the era of Jim Crow legislation and the venomous prejudice that made it impossible for a black man to materially enjoy his success, say, by driving a shiny new Model T Ford – but more on that later.

July 30, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Classic, Facing History, National Book Critic Circle (NBCC), NE & New York, New York City, y Award Winning Author

RULES OF CIVILITY by Amor Towles

If a novel could win an award for best cinematography, this would take home the gold. Amor Towles’s sophisticated retro-era novel of manners captures Manhattan 1938 with immaculate lucidity and a silvery focus on the gin and the jazz, the nightclubs and the streets, the pursuit of sensuality, and the arc of the self-made woman.

July 27, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Debut Novel, Facing History, Humorous, New York City, Reading Guide

PORTRAIT OF A SPY by Daniel Silva

As Daniel Silva’s PORTRAIT OF A SPY opens, art restorer and master spy Gabriel Allon and his wife, Chiara, are living quietly in a cottage by the sea. Silva sets the stage with a series of events that are eerily familiar: Countries all over the world are “teetering on the brink of fiscal and monetary disaster;” Europe is having difficulty absorbing “an endless tide of Muslim immigrants;” and Bin Laden is dead, but others are scrambling to take his place. Government leaders in America and on the Continent are desperate to identify and thwart the new masterminds of terror.

July 25, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Denmark, France, New York City, Saudia Arabia, Sleuths Series, Thriller/Spy/Caper, United Kingdom, Washington, D.C.

VACLAV & LENA by Haley Tanner

Once upon a time, in the exotic land of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, a young boy named Vaclav – an aspiring magician – falls in love with a thin, skittish girl named Lena. And, like any alchemy, the combustion is magical…and it endures.

There is a refreshing fairy tale quality about VACLAV & LENA, a lovely debut book by Haley Tanner. Slowly but surely, I fell under the spellbinding tale of this would-be magician and his girl. It’s an endearing tale that unfolds with gentle fireworks rather than major pyrotechnics – rather like the magic seen in the starlit sky on a summer’s night in Coney Island.

July 4, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Debut Novel, NE & New York, New York City