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Recent reads

As a reminder, I only review books I’ve loved. Night Watch by Jayne Anne Phillips  As a young poet in New York, during college, I came upon Black Tickets, Phillip’s first work. It’s fragments. I read it repeatedly, so often it fell apart. I’ve followed her career since then and picked up this one after

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Reading, watching, traveling

I typically wait to post when I’ve read three books to recommend. I’ve read four in the past month and can recommend two. Aside from that, I’ve been enjoying gorgeous weather with walks in beautiful Lincoln Park, watching TV series, and traveling. Here goes: James, by Percival Everett This is a retelling of Mark Twain’s

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Reading and Spain

As this is typically a book blog, I’ll start this post with a shout out for the doorstopper I brought with me to Spain. At 774 pages, Elsa Morante’s Lies and Sorcery is a dual — and dueling — family saga set in Sicily in the early 20th century. At its simplest, this is the

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Recent reads

Apologies for neglecting this site and you, my dear readers. I’ve been traveling in Spain — will write about that next — and returned home with a massive head cold. First time I’ve been sick since before Covid-19.  I want to share with you my most recent reads, which again are books by or about

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Books by or about women

It’s still February, the month of women’s heart health. Take care! Loved and Missed, by Susie Boyt  The aching bond of motherhood is the subject of this beautifully told novel. Ruth is a schoolteacher of teenage girls and mother of drug-addict Eleanor, who has just given birth to Lily. At the baby’s christening — a

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Israel and Palestine: reading and watching

The war in Gaza is top of mind, which led me to books and a television series set in Palestine and in Israel. You may remember that in mid October, after the Hamas attack on Israel, the Frankfurt Book Fair canceled a celebratory award for Palestinian author Adania Shibli, for her novella Minor Detail, a finalist

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Books, art, ballet, movies, tv in 2023

I made a bullet list but it seemed dull. We need to talk about why we loved a book, a film, a ballet this year. Here’s my favorites.  First, Joffrey Ballet’s Frankenstein was like no other ballet I’ve ever seen. Literally, electric. Also, frightening. Mary Shelley’s story is changed and tightened, though the themes of

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Reading: A balm in Gilead

My mind is a jumble: more than one war, migration, building and preservation, what to make for dinner… Reading is a balm. The Postcard, by Anne Berest This autobiographical novel is the story of a family in France undone by the Holocaust.  Our narrator Anne receives a postcard oddly inscribed with four names: Ephraïm, Emma,

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Women in power, powerful women

I admit to putting down Lauren Groff’s Matrix months ago; I liked the writing but didn’t cotton to the 12th century story of an ungainly French girl sent from the royal court of Eleanor to prop up a failing nunnery in England. It seemed dreary. Later, my friend Deborah mentioned the book as a study

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Books: Reading at Lac Pythonga

I ran out of books earlier this summer at our lake house and vowed to bring enough for my latest two-week visit. Other folks go to Lac Pythonga to fish, hunt, hike, sail. I go there to unplug, read, swim, sun, spa and hike. Mostly, I read. I brought four books; I’ll tell you about the

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A book in hand

I gave up on e-books years ago. I hated the clicking noise to “turn” the page; I couldn’t “see” how far I’d gone; I forgot the title of the book I was reading. Sure, it makes sense for traveling, but not for me. I’d rather weight my bag with a book, or three. There’s another

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Two books and a movie

As you know, I love a train wreck. I’m sucked into a story, enjoying its setting and characters and then — wham! — it’s buckle up time. We’re going for a ride that probably won’t end well.  That’s what happened, leisurely, when I began Emma Cline’s The Guest, the story of 22-year-old Alex, who works

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Books and films by and about women

The best movies about women — Tar and Women Talking — didn’t get much love at the box office, or at last week’s Academy Awards.  So, let’s spread the word about new fiction I’ve loved that’s by and about women.  Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus is laugh-out-loud funny. That’s not to say it’s not

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Latest reads (and serial tv)

Apologies for neglecting this site.  I’m always reading, and I’ve watched some wonderful serial television. Let’s start with books.  Have I mentioned that I love a train wreck? Case in point, the life of superstar television wanderer Anthony Bourdain, who killed himself — over a girl — in 2018. Newly published is the biography of

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Summer reads

At our summer place in Quebec, I can read for hours without interruption. Recently there, I inhaled A Laodicean by Thomas Hardy, an author I read repeatedly. This one is not like his others because its heroine is not undone by men (i.e., Tess of the d’Urbervilles.) Paula Power, the only daughter of a railroad magnate,

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Reading: A New Year

I stopped posting book reviews sometime last year. Not sure why. I’ve been reading the whole time, as always. Maybe no read made me want to sit down and write about it.  I’ve got one now. I’m suffering “book grief” over “The Copenhagen Trilogy,” by Tove Ditlevsen, a Danish writer (1917 – 1976) celebrated during

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Recent reads, Oscar movies

I’ve been reading, reading, reading. So many wonderful books. Here’s a few I enjoyed recently. When I Lived in Modern Times, by Linda Grant Palestine before it was Israel? Yes, please. It’s 1946 and London native Evelyn Sert, 20, is newly orphaned. Her late mother’s beau gives her money to emigrate. “Did he really see

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Lockdown reading, year 2

I’ve had a hard time reading and writing lately. Not sure why. Lockdown going into a second year? Probably. I’m bored with myself because there’s not enough going on. No dinner parties, no restaurant lunches, no movie dates. No travel. I’m grateful for my husband’s presence, especially in the late afternoon and evening. We watch

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2020 reading, watching

It’s the end of 2020! Goodbye, good riddance.  Two — no, three — nice things happened before lockdown in March. First, I turned 60 in January and had a fun dance party with friends and family. That would be the last carefree time of the year. At the end of January, we got a puppy.

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Book grief, pandemic reading

Book grief is my term for a read that gripped me and won’t let go. Once finished, its rich characters linger in my mind. Think Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life, Dorie Smith’s I Capture the Castle, I. B. Singer’s Enemies, A Love Story.  Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain gave me book grief. It’s the story of

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