THE TWO DEATHS OF DANIEL HAYES by Marcus Sakey

A man wakes up, shivering and alone on a desolate beach. He has no idea who he is or why he’s there. He and the reader gradually get clues: he’s Daniel Hayes; he lives in Los Angeles; he’s in northern Maine; and the cops want him, but he doesn’t know why. So beings a new mystery from Marcus Sakey, known for the BLADE ITSELF and THE AMATEURS. Determined to confirm his identity and find out why he traveled cross-country in a drunk, drug-induced haze, Hayes re-traces he cross-country journey to Los Angeles.

August 6, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Mystery/Suspense

BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP by S. J. Watson

BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP is a debut novel from British author S.J. Watson, and the book has already made considerable waves in the world of publishing. This is due in part to the fact that film director Ridley Scott bought the movie rights. There’s a big question behind the media blitz: is all the hype justified?

August 4, 2011 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Mystery/Suspense, Thriller/Spy/Caper, Unique Narrative

AFTER LYLETOWN by K.C. Frederick

“In his mid-forties, he feels he’s come to a pretty good place in his life, and he couldn’t have got there if he hadn’t been able to survive some of his earlier selves, forgiving, maybe, but also forgetting, even erasing. From his present vantage point, it isn’t exactly magnanimity he feels toward the passionate but confused graduate student he’d been twenty years ago. From that time onward he’s been acutely aware of the importance of chance in the affairs of human beings, and he hopes it’s given him a better understanding of people who are down on their own luck. But what he feels toward the person he’d been then is mostly relief that he’s been able to move beyond him.”

August 1, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Facing History, y Award Winning Author

RICH BOY by Sharon Pomerantz

Family sagas have long been a staple among American best-sellers; the examples are wide and vast. The very predictability of the family saga genre promises an absorbing yet familiar reading experience: the once-poor yet highly attractive and charismatic main character who overcomes all kinds of adversities, goes through heartbreak and scandal, and then emerges older, wiser, and in most cases, wealthier than before (or at the very least, with enough knowledge to BECOME wealthier).

July 14, 2011 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Family Matters, Reading Guide

THE TRAGEDY OF ARTHUR by Arthur Phillips

The very first thing I did after finishing The Tragedy of Author – Arthur Phillips’s ingenious faux-memoir – was to Google to see what was true and what wasn’t…only to find that much of Phillips’s traceable past has been erased.

Did he really have a gay twin sister named Dana, a scam artist father who spent his adult life in prison, a Czech wife and twin sons of his own? Methinks not. What I do know is that Arthur Phillips shares his birthday with the Bard himself, that he was born in Minnesota, and that he is indeed a writer to be watched very carefully. Because what he’s accomplished in this novel – er, memoir – is sheer genius.

June 24, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Alternate History, Contemporary

YOU ARE FREE: STORIES by Danzy Senna

What does it mean to be biracial and free in postmillennial America? The writer James Baldwin is quoted as saying, “Freedom is something that people take and people are as free as they want to be.”

By that definition, do the young interracial women that inhabit Danzy Senna’s first collection of short stories want to be free? Or do they want to belong to a collective… something, larger than themselves? The answer, as one might suspect, is complicated.

June 2, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Short Stories