As you well know, WHIRL stands for What Have I Read Lately, and I have to say, I have been on a roll! I won’t have time to do full reviews or even “Should Your Book Club Read…” reviews–sorry! But I can give you a “blink” of what I think.
So, What Have I Read Lately?
Someone by Alice McDermott. Sigh. So good. I’m resisting returning it to the library because I want to ignore all my other books and pick this back up and read it again. Savor it, more like it. Irish immigrants living in Brooklyn, female narrator remembering her life. Nothing of importance in her life–except to her, of course. Filled with the ordinariness of life. Just someone’s life. Five stars, if I gave stars.
Benediction by Kent Haruf. Another quiet book to savor, this time with characters on the Colorado plains. Spare prose, simple plot (or is it?)–another look at the ordinariness of everyday life–and how extraordinary it can be when summed up. A dying man whose family is taking care of him–his present, his past, and how they intertwine. Five stars, if I gave stars.
All Our Names by Dinaw Mengestu. I’ve been wanting to read something by this author from Ethiopia, the recipient of the MacArthur Genius Grant. This novel goes back and forth between Isaac in Uganda to Helen in the US Midwest. Isaac has fled war-torn Ethiopia and Uganda and landed in the Midwest with Helen as his social worker. Helen has never been beyond the end of her nose. A very readable novel but not earth shattering. Three and a half to four stars. If I gave stars, that is.
God’s Hotel by Victoria Sweet. Our Literary Masters selection for the month of April, this non-fiction account of the only alms hospital left in the United States–Laguna Honda in San Francisco–raises some serious questions. The author’s thesis is that we should incorporate much more slow medicine (closer to pre-modern medicine) into our health care system because we would save lives and money in the long run. Important issues here. Literary Masters members loved the book for the most part, although there was a small minority who found the author insufferable. Four stars. If…
Telex from Cuba by Rachel Kushner. Our Literary Masters selection for the month of March, this novel will take you back to the 50’s with the added bonus of a trip included–to Cuba! Here’s the story of the American ex-pats and Cuban revolutionaries mixing it up–right before Castro successfully takes over Cuba. The prose is as lush as the Cuban jungle and as intoxicating as the exc-pats’ nightly cocktails. We loved it! Four and a half stars.
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. Literary Masters read The Innocents by Francesca Segal for our February selection, which is a re-imagining of Wharton’s classic. For that review, click here. To read these two book together is a real treat, but if you don’t have the time, read this one! It is a sparkling gem of a novel! New York City in the late 1800’s–and the social climbing involved in surviving there. The more things change, the more they…
Well, what have YOU read lately?