Archive for the ‘2009 Favorites’ Category

THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy

What is Pulitzer Prize winning THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy really about? The plot is easily summarised as a man and his young boy moving south on foot through a post-apocalyptic North America towards southern shores, in hope of better chances of survival. The core reasons for the novel’s existence may be a little harder to grasp.

June 20, 2010 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags:  · Posted in: 2009 Favorites, Literary, Pulitzer Prize, Speculative (Beyond Reality), United States, y Award Winning Author

THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE by Aimee Bender

Ever since the publication of her story collection,THE GIRL IN THE FLAMMABLE SKIRT, Aimee Bender has established herself as a writer of minimalist magic realism, a description that seems contradictory given the lush prose of the founding father of magic realism, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and the emotional adjective-laden writing of popular American author Alice Hoffman. But Aimee Bender has claimed her niche as a writer who tells stories the way we pass on fairy tales to our children: spare plots that contain wondrous images and, ultimately, wisdom. Her plots center on one or two magic elements in an otherwise ordinary world. In her latest novel, THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE, Bender focuses on narrator Rose, a girl who learns, to her horror, that she can taste the emotions of those who cooked or grew her food, whether that person is her desperate mother or the farmer who grew the organic lettuce in her salad. As Rose matures along with her “gift,” she learns about the peculiar history of her family and gains insight into her odd brother Joseph, who suffers, too, but in a wholly different manner.

June 2, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2009 Favorites, 2010 Favorites, Contemporary, Family Matters, Reading Guide

STARVATION LAKE by Bryan Gruley

Chicago Wall Street Journal bureau chief Gruley has hit on a winning combination for his debut novel – visceral amateur hockey and in-your-face small-town newspapering.

Narrator Gus Carpenter, hockey goalie and editor of the Pilot, isn’t too happy about either role. He had escaped insular Starvation Lake, Michigan, and landed a job at the Detroit News intending never to look back. But the big story that was supposed to win him a Pulitzer earned him a one-way ticket back home in disgrace instead.

May 16, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2009 Favorites, Mystery/Suspense, Sleuths Series, US Midwest

BRUNO, CHIEF OF POLICE by Martin Walker

A paean to the Dordogne, an exploration of fractious French history, and the debut of the most self-possessed, accomplished, even-tempered, life-savoring Holmesian character ever, Walker’s first Bruno novel proves once and for all that heavyweight journalists can write mystery novels.

April 30, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2009 Favorites, France, Sleuths Series

OLIVE KITTERIDGE by Elizabeth Strout

Big-wristed Olive Kitteridge is the imposing, even frightful, over-sized woman at the center of this novel. She lives in a small town on the coast of Maine, where traditionally people keep to themselves, living out lives of granite-like individuality. She trucks no silliness, has little patience for people she does not care for, which is virtually everyone, and has no problem speaking her mind, in fact seems genetically predisposed to it. She is a retired high school math teacher, who, her adult son tells her, was the “scariest teacher in the school.” She is one of those individuals you meet and wonder, how does a person get this way?

January 19, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2009 Favorites, Contemporary, Literary, NE & New York, Pulitzer Prize, Reading Guide, Short Stories, y Award Winning Author

GO WITH ME by Castle Freeman, Jr.

We actually get to meet the iconic Sheriff Ripley Wingate in Freeman’s acclaimed, dialogue-driven third novel, GO WITH ME. Ripley only appears briefly – at the beginning and the end – but he sets the story going and his existence is something of a reassurance to the good ol’ woodchucks that gather and blather at Whizzer’s defunct sawmill.

A scared, defiant young woman, Lillian, comes to Wingate for protection against the thuggish Blackway. She has offended Blackway and in return he has stalked her, trashed her car and killed her cat. She believes, with reason, he is going to kill her. But Wingate tells her there’s nothing he – the law – can do…

January 15, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: 2009 Favorites, Humorous, Mystery/Suspense, NE & New York, Reading Guide