Tuesday, December 29, 2009


It has been quite some time since I have posted and I apologize. Life and work simply caught up with me. However, I am back.

Some books you simply must read in 2010:

Tomorrow by Philip Wylie (University of Nebraska Press): Wylie is considered one of the kings of science fiction and this book supports that. A story of a typical American Midwestern city during Christmas, the plot takes on a nightmarish one when Condition Red is sounded and hysteria rears its ugly head. A metaphor for the American obsession with technology and fear of terrorism, this book is a must read.

The Lie by Petra Hammesfahr (Bitter Lemon Press): Hammesfahr is considered the German Patricia Highsmith; her work is suspense at its best. Two women with remarkable physical similarities switch lives for what is supposed to be one weekend...their scheme soon turns into a deceitful game that neither can walk away from alive.

The Semantics of Murder by Aifric Campbell (Serpent's Tail): Based upon the true story of the 1971 murder of UCLA Professor Robert Montague, Campbell creates a remarkable read of literary fiction with a frightening theme.

Thursday Night Widows by Claudia Pinero (Bitter Lemon Press): A prize winner and soon to be film, this Argentinian novel uses three murders as the basis to tell a story about living beyond your means, living to impress and life without concern for others.

The Passport by Herta Muller: Muller, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2009, tells an incredible story of Germans caught in Romania during the dictatorship of Ceausescu. This is the book that every human being must read this year.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Summer Must Reads

Summer Must Reads:

Check out some of the great books that you simply must read this summer!

Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz takes you inside the world of college admissions.

Follow Me by Joanna Scott tells the incredible and intriguing story of Sally Werner and her offspring.

Mating Rituals of the North American WASP by Lauren Lipton is a hysterical look at love between the mismatched.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Fifty is Not a Four Letter Word

It's nice to see that publishers actually acknowledge that some of us are over 40 and still read chick lit. Linda Kelsey has written the ultimate chick book for the over 45 crowd and has done so with the sardonic British twist. Hope Lyndhurst-Steele has everything - a great job, a loving family - that is until it all falls apart. She loses her job, her son is running after the local MILF and her husband can't seem to stand her. Determined to change her state, Hope runs away alone to Paris and begins to see herself in a new light.

Kelsey develops some truly great characters in this book; they are relateable and interesting. Not a typical chick lit book, this novel really delves into the female mid life crisis and shows how a real woman can come out on the other side.

Busy Woman Seeks Wife

Alex Hill is a successful London based executive who doesn't have time for anything; her life is a whirlwind of meetings and events. Everything changes when her formerly famous mother injures herself and must move in with Alex. After placing an ad in a local paper looking for a "wife" to take care of mom and the household, a ebullient and capable young woman appears. But is everything as it seems? The answer, in this humorous book by Annie Sanders, is no. Soon Alex realizes that someone else is behind the scenes and he is definitely not the typical "wife."

Sanders, author (Sanders is actually a writing team) of Goodbye, Jimmy Choo, delivers a funny and heartwarming book about the modern day woman and her needs, desires and dreams.
A very different type of book for well-known author Jane Hamilton, Laura Rider's Masterpiece is the story of a husband and wife who are at a crossroads both in their marriage and in their lives. Charlie and Laura Rider run a beautiful nursery and successful landscaping business together. While their business venture is blooming, their love life is not; they sleep in seperate beds and do not have any feelings of sexual intimacy. When a famed radio talk show host moves into town, Laura pushes Charlie into an email relationship as a means to end - Laura believes that the exchange will provide perfect fodder for the great romance novel she intends to write. However, it soon becomes clear that Charlie has fallen hard for our host and that Laura's novel will have a different ending.

Hamilton, best known for her The Book of Ruth, is making a strong statement about the nature of email, the anonymity of the Internet and the concept of what makes a writer.
Everyone in the world, it seems, is either prettier or thinner (or both) than Beauty Marie Zavala. And the only thing "B" resents more than her name is the way others judge her for the extra 40 pounds she can't lose. At least she has her career. Or did, until she overhears her boss criticizing her weight and devising a scheme to keep her from being promoted. Enter B's new tax accountant, a modern-day matchmaker determined to boost B's flagging self-esteem by introducing her to rich, successful men who will accept her for who she is. As B's confidence blossoms, so do her fantasies of revenge. But will B find true happiness or true disaster when she unwittingly falls for the one guy she shouldn't? (Description courtesy of Grand Central Publishing).

Ferraras' debut novel has a great moral at its core - we need to accept ourselves as we are. B is a young woman who has allowed her weight to become the focus of her life; although she is outwardly okay with her size, she allows others to shatter her self-worth. Her boss won't promote her due to her weight, she can't find love because of her weight, she is second fiddle to her best friend because of her weight. Once a Russian "madam" comes into the picture, B suddenly realizes that she is worth something , that she is a woman who can be loved and find love.

As I read the book, I was intrigued by the fact that the author was male. Was he writing from a male Latino perspective or from a purely metrosexual perspective (i.e. a male with a female side)? This is a book with a fantastical plot but an important statement.

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