THE INTERESTINGS by Meg Wolitzer

The greatest gift that any writer can give her readers is providing them with a fictional world they can immerse – and ultimately lose – themselves in.

That’s precisely what Meg Wolitzer achieves in THE INTERESTINGS, surely the most fully-realized and satisfying book of her career.

This panoramic saga focuses on a group of Baby Boomers from the time they meet at a camp for the creatively gifted as teenagers through middle age. The bond that draws these divergent characters together is powerful and special; they dub themselves “The Interestings.” And the bond, for the most part, is stretched, sustained, and redefined as they age.

March 24, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: 2013 Favorites, Coming-of-Age, Contemporary, New York City, Reading Guide

BLUEPRINTS FOR BUILDING BETTER GIRLS by Elissa Schappell

Poor Holden Caulfield. In Catcher in the Rye, he muses, “Girls. You never know what they’re going to think.” How right he was! In Elissa Schappell’s new short story collection, the old blueprints for Appropriate Female Behavior — the name of a vintage etiquette manual, 1963 edition — have all been tossed away. And now the girls and women are forced to muddle through with the new rules: Be yourself but also be what your boyfriend, parents, and girlfriends want you to be as well.

October 11, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Humorous, Short Stories

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

LOLA, CALIFORNIA by Edie Meidav

In this artful, cerebral novel spanning four decades and encompassing the tribal conventions and counterculture movements of the 70′s and 80′s, the reader is plunged into a cunning world of philosophy and hedonism that is best described as baroque rawness or stark-naked grandiloquence. If these terms appear to be incompatible pairings, the reader will grasp the seeming polarity as axiomatic soon after feasting on Edie Meidav’s complex narrative style. A carnal vapor infuses every provocative page of this unorthodox psychological crime thriller.

August 4, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: California, Character Driven, Mystery/Suspense, Thriller/Spy/Caper

NEXT TO LOVE by Ellen Feldman

NEXT TO LOVE starts out very strong. We meet three childhood friends in Massachusetts – Babe, Millie, and Grace – whose men are on the cusp of going off to World War II. Ms. Feldman deftly juggles their stories and breathes life into their characters. Grace is the beauty who is married to the heir of one of the town’s most illustrious citizens and has a young daughter; Millie is married to Pete, the pharmacist’s son; and Babe is the feisty wrong-side-of-the-tracks gal who is in a committed relationship with an upstanding man who wants to become a teacher.

July 28, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, NE & New York, Reading Guide

JOY FOR BEGINNERS by Erica Bauermeister

A few years ago, a new phrase burst into our vernacular: “the bucket list,” based on a movie in which two men confront their limitations and prepare a list of things they must do. The list is predictably exotic: skydiving, flying over the North Pole, eating dinner at Chevre d’Or in France.

In JOY FOR BEGINNERS, it’s the women’s turn to enact that list. On an uncharacteristically sunny day in Seattle, six women assemble to celebrate their friend Kate’s clean bill of health from breast cancer. Unbeknownst to them, right before arrival, Kate’s daughter had suggested an exhilarating white water rafting trip down the Grand Canyon. Her friends urge her on and she agrees to go on one condition: that she gets to choose a challenge for each of her friends to overcome.

June 9, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Reading Guide, Theme driven