Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Half Broke by Ginger Gaffney

Sunday, January 5th, 2020

A review

On Sale 2/4/2020

Horses, New Mexico, introversion, damaged people, lesbians: what’s not to love, right? I gobbled up this compelling memoir in one Sunday afternoon and was left wanting more and a little homesick for my one-time home in New Mexico.

Ginger Gaffney is a horse trainer who happened onto an opportunity to work with residents at an alternative half-way house/rehab ranch. There she find broken people, unbroken horses, and connections that change everyone, both 2 and 4-legged.


My Year in Books: 2019

Friday, January 3rd, 2020

According to my tracking on Goodreads, I read 165 books in 2019. I’ll be the first to admit that there is some literary fluff in there, but they can’t all be War and Peace, right? But, one of them actually was and another was The Brothers Karamozov.

A Serial Year

Having finally started Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley books late in 2018, I devoured the rest this year and have now joined the ranks of her fans waiting impatiently for the next installment. (Please, someone take her website in hand and bring at least into the current century.) George’s writing is masterful and her vocabulary keeps me on my toes. She creates characters that I find absolutely irresistible.


An American Marriage: A Novel by Tayari Jones

Friday, November 29th, 2019

A Review

Book cover: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

I remember the day I spotted Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage on the new releases table at Phoenix Books in Burlington, Vermont. I was captivated by the cover. Yes, I often judge books by their covers. Sue me. I put it on my TBR list that day, but it took me more than a year and a half to get around to reading it. Silly me.

I almost turned away from the book very early, because I could see what was coming. At least, I thought I could. I hate foreshadowing and predictability and I thought I had been suckered into a bad case of both by a beautiful cover. I was wrong. I held on for a few more pages and the next then I knew, hours had passed.


Bowie’s Bookshelf: The hundred books that changed David Bowie’s life by John O’Connell

Sunday, November 10th, 2019

A Review

On Sale 11/12/2019

Veteran music journalist John O’Connell has taken the list of 100 books David Bowie says changed his life and offered book lovers and Bowie fans closer look at both subjects.

I read voraciously, so I was a bit surprised to find very few books on Bowie’s list that I have read and quite a number I’d never heard of. For this reason, I appreciated the short synopsis of each book included in the essays. I also liked that O’Connell ends on each essay with pairing suggestions: A Bowie song to listen to while reading the listed book and another book or two to read, if you find you like this one.


My Autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland

Monday, November 4th, 2019

A Review

cover of My Autobiography of Carson McCullers
On Sale 2/4/2020

This is the first time I’ve encountered Jenn Shapland‘s writing and I can certainly see why she has been granted numerous prestigious residencies and won several significant awards. She does write beautifully.

Shapland’s first book, My Autobiography of Carson McCullers, however, is probably not the best showcase of her talent. In most cases, I enjoy books that cross genre lines, but this mashup of queer history, literary criticism, and memoir is just not smooth.


The Red Lotus by Chris Bohjalian

Thursday, October 24th, 2019

A Review

The Red Lotus book cover
(Publication Date March 2020)

Chris Bohjalian has delivered another page-turner. If you’re a fan, you know better than to expect a formula in his plots, but he is consistent about his strong suit: characters.

In The Red Lotus, he artfully pulls us into the psyche of Alexis, the main character; the PI she hires to help her; Alexis’s overbearing mother, and even her veterinarian best friend.

The glimpses of raw human reality of their lives make it easy to — impossible not to — identify with these people. We have shared experiences, so we understand them. We know why Alexis is driven to solve the riddle of why her boyfriend lied to about their trip to Vietnam and how he ended up dead. We understand why the PI goes against his friend’s recommendation and takes up Alexis’s cause.