THIS IS A STORY OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE by Ann Patchett

Before Ann Patchett achieved fame as a novelist, she honed her writing skills as a contributor to Seventeen, where she worked for eight years. She also wrote articles for such publications as Elle, Vogue, Gourmet, and the New York Times Magazine. These free-lance jobs paid Ann’s bills and taught her self-discipline, flexibility, and humility. THIS IS A STORY OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE is a compilation of Ann Patchett’s most memorable essays.

All of Patchett’s pieces are nicely done, but some are particularly meaningful.

February 24, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Non-fiction

THE KEPT by James Scott

From the opening line of this striking debut novel, the mood and voice are both haunting and laced with shame.

“Elspeth Howell was a sinner.”

It is three years shy of the turn of the twentieth century, upstate New York, bitterly cold and snowy with grey, smudgy skies. Elspeth is trudging miles from the train station to her family’s isolated home, and she is carrying gifts for her five children and pious, Bible-quoting husband. She’s been gone for four months, not unusual for her midwifery practice. As she rises up the crest of the last hill, she sees her house…

January 18, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Debut Novel, Family Matters, Literary

STATE OF WONDER by Ann Patchett

What an apt title! Patchett at her best is a magician of wonder, and this is indeed among her best…I found myself reading STATE OF WONDER slowly and more slowly, allowing myself to sink into her depth of character, enjoying the deliberate pace of her revelation, reluctant to start another chapter until I had digested the one just finished. The urge to spin out a book for as long as possible is rare for me — but I remember it well from reading Bel Canto, a pivotal experience which reawakened a love of fiction that has never let up.

June 7, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Brazil, Contemporary, Latin American/Caribbean, Reading Guide

THE DEVIL’S STAR by Jo Nesbo

In Jo Nesbø’s The Devil’s Star, Harry Hole is an alcoholic who will be lucky to reach his fortieth birthday. His job as an inspector in Oslo Police Headquarters is hanging by a thread. He would not have a position at all if his supervisor, Crime Squad Chief Inspector Bjarne Møller, did not feel sorry for him, especially since he knows what a terrific detective Harry is when he manages to stay sober. Harry’s self-loathing is deepened by regret over his crumbling relationship with his lover, Rakel. He is all too aware that he cannot offer Rakel the stability and security that she and her young son, Oleg, need and deserve.

March 24, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Norway, Psychological Suspense, Sleuths Series, y Award Winning Author

ANNE FRANK: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife by Francine Prose

Francine Prose, in ANNE FRANK: THE BOOK, THE LIFE, THE AFTERLIFE, takes a comprehensive look at an individual who, more than six decades after her death, remains an iconic figure all over the world. Prose considers THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK to be “the greatest book ever written about a thirteen-year-old girl.” After rereading the diary as an adult, she concludes that it is not merely “the innocent and spontaneous outpourings of a teenager,” but rather “a consciously crafted work of literature,” one that Anne revised thoroughly, hoping to reach a wide audience someday.

October 1, 2009 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Non-fiction