THE MARRIAGE PLOT by Jeffrey Eugenides

“Reader, I married him.”

What sensitive reader hasn’t thrilled to the last lines of the novel JANE EYRE, when the mousy and unprepossessing girl triumphantly returns to windswept Thornfield as a mature woman, marrying her one-time employer and great love, Mr. Rochester?

That era of these great wrenching love stories is now dead and gone. Or is it?

November 16, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Literary, NE & New York, Reading Guide, y Award Winning Author

TRICK OF THE DARK by Val McDermid

Scottish author Val McDermid is arguably best known for her Carol Jordan/Tony Hill series. This series (7 in all so far), featuring psychologist Tony Hill and Detective Inspector Carol Hill became the basis of the television programme Wire in the Blood. McDermid also created the Lindsay Gordon series and the Kate Brannigan series as well as a number of stand-alone mysteries. Now comes TRICK OF THE DARK — an excellent crime novel that may well herald the start of an exciting new series.

September 24, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Class - Race - Gender, Mystery/Suspense, United Kingdom, y Award Winning Author

ALL IS FORGOTTEN, NOTHING IS LOST by Lan Samantha Chang

This is a beautiful book. If you want to read something that has the same effect as gazing at a vast and perfect ink-wash painting, calming and yet utterly absorbing, reach for this. Like the tiniest haze of seeping ink will be skillful enough to convey a distant village nestling in the hills, or the flight of a crane; there is not a word misplaced in this small and lovely work. Its theme is poetry, and indeed the exquisite style does full justice to the subject.

September 12, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Literary

THE ART OF FIELDING by Chad Harbach

Set in the world of college baseball, this is a book about aspiration, failure, and recovery. There are many good things in it, both about baseball and college, but not enough of them for me to recommend the novel wholeheartedly. Harbach captures the baseball world (as in the quotation above) with convincing authenticity; more of this in a moment. He also has some spot-on observations of academe…

September 7, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Debut Novel, US Midwest

THE TWISTED THREAD by Charlotte Bacon

Publisher Voice marketed Charlotte Bacon’s THE TWISTED THREAD as a mystery, but it’s more a mainstream novel with elements of suspense. The action takes place at Armitage Academy, a prestigious boarding school for children of the rich and a few scholarship students from the surrounding, and much poorer, community. Much of the mystery surrounds the death of Claire Harkness, one of the most popular girls in the school. She is found, naked in her room, showing signs of recently giving birth. Not only had no one realized her pregnancy, but where is the missing baby? And why did she feel she had to keep it a secret in the first place?

September 3, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense

36 ARGUMENTS FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD by Rebecca Goldstein

With a doctorate in philosophy from Princeton, Guggenheim and MacArthur (genius) awards, several novels, and non-fiction studies of Gödel and Spinoza under her belt, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein is nobody’s fool. But I can’t decide whether her decision to populate her latest novel exclusively with people like herself is good or bad. Set in and around Cambridge, Massachusetts, partly at Harvard but mainly at another elite university which might be a fictionalized Brandeis, the entire cast of characters seems to consist of academic philosophers, psychologists, mathematicians, or theologians, all determined to prove that they are smarter than anybody else.

February 20, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, NE & New York, Reading Guide, Theme driven, Unique Narrative, y Award Winning Author