SALVAGE THE BONES by Jesmyn Ward

This bighearted, voluptuous, riveting book – one of my favorites of the decade – is filled with contradictions. It tells an apocalyptic and ancient tale but its topic is fresh and timely. It is told without any pretensions yet it’s lyrical and bracing. It focuses on the microcosm of a family under pressure yet its theme is universal and its messages integrate age-old mythologies.

February 8, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Family Matters, Literary, National Book Award Winner, Reading Guide, US South, y Award Winning Author

LET’S TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME by Gail Caldwell

LET’S TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME is, at its core, a love story. It’s a story of how a close connection with a friend can ground us and provide us with a life worth living. And it’s a story that any woman who has ever had a friend who is like a sister – I count myself among those fortunate women – will understand in a heartbeat.

August 24, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Non-fiction, Reading Guide, y Award Winning Author

THE EVOLUTION OF BRUNO LITTLEMORE by Benjamin Hale

Consider the big questions. For instance, what does language afford us? Is self-consciousness and all it implies (self-reflection, guilt, joy…) embedded in language, daresay a function of language? Why do we create art? Nature or nurture, what shapes us? How is love possible? Where does rage come from? Cruelty? What are we to make of the animals, those we imprison, those we consume, the beasts we love as companions? What, indeed, does it mean to be a human being and can it, whatever it might mean, be fully realized? Now, take these questions and a bunch more just like them, and wrap them up in a narrative so unique and compelling, so rich as to bring transparency to the questions. Then shape the story around a unique voice that ranges from the mindlessly inarticulate to the Mensian complex. If you can imagine experiencing all that, you have a sense of what this book affords the adventurous reader.

June 26, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Character Driven, Coming-of-Age, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Literary

THE RIDGE by Michael Koryta

Michael Koryta scores again with THE RIDGE, a thriller set in an isolated and rugged area of Eastern Kentucky. Inexplicable events are happening near a hilltop known as Blade Ridge. Sawyer County Deputy Sheriff Kevin Kimble and his colleagues get involved after an eccentric old drunk named Wyatt French is found dead in his lighthouse, an apparent suicide. No one understands why French spent time and money building a wooden lighthouse “in the middle of nowhere.” French had his reasons, but what he knew was so bizarre that no sane person would ever believe him.

June 10, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Thriller/Spy/Caper, US South

WHEN THE KILLING’S DONE by T.C. Boyle

Never one to shy away from sacred cow territory or the ruthless ways in which humans stampede it, T.C. Boyle’s latest wise epic puts ecologists on a restless collision course with agitated animal rights activists. In his vintage style of tackling issues with snarling drama and incendiary humor, Boyle plots a political novel without sending the reader a preachy message, although he comes right up under it.

February 24, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: California, Contemporary, Theme driven, y Award Winning Author

LOVE IN INFANT MONKEYS by Lydia Millet

Humans have varied and convoluted relationships with the animals on this planet. We eat some, wear others, and a few enjoy or endure the precarious position of becoming household pets. Sometimes the relationships people have with their animals make the headlines. … And these complex moral issues are at the fore in the short story collection, LOVE IN INFANT MONKEYS by Lydia Millet–a short story collection which “treads newly imaginative territory with charismatic tales focused on our fascination with famous people, animals and human-animal relations.”

December 3, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Short Stories, y Award Winning Author