“Imperfect Birds”

June 28, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Posted in Fiction | 2 Comments

This is possibly Anne Lamott’s best book yet.  Imperfect Birds follows the characters introduced in Rosie and Crooked Little Heart.

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Rosie is finishing high school, emphasis on high.  Elizabeth must face the quandary of trying to teach her child not to make mistakes she’s made herself.  Anne Lamott does a superb job at telling the story from multiple perspectives, capturing the family dynamic of tempestuous teen + bewildered mom + stepdad.

“The Lonely Polygamist”

June 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Posted in Fiction | 9 Comments

It looks like polygamy has popped up in a big way on the cultural radar in the last few years.  The Lonely Polygamist is a fictional account of what life is like for a man with four wives and 28 kids.  Brady Udall dedicates the book to his siblings, and from the length of the list it appears he knows from big families.

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I really loved this book.  It was cracking me up within the first few pages.  Udall does a great job making the 33-member family real while focusing on a handful of important characters.  Thank goodness he didn’t give all the kids their own chapters!  The Lonely Polygamist was touching and funny, and I didn’t want it to be over.

“Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand”

June 18, 2010 at 9:31 am | Posted in Fiction | 4 Comments

Loved it!  Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is a charming love story that revolves around a really ugly topic.  It’s such a pleasure to read that it could get away with being a lesser book, but I think it will survive as a modern classic.  This is one that you can give to your mom and assign to your book group.

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We must distinguish Helen Simonson’s great new work from Marc Fitten’s Valeria’s Last Stand.  These books, so different in setting and tone, oddly have a great deal in common besides the title.

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“Shadow Tag”

June 4, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Posted in Fiction | 6 Comments

I found this to be Louise Erdrich’s most powerful work of her career so far.  Let me tell you how much I liked it.  In my bag at the same time was an ARC I’ve been anticipating for about six months.  Once I’d read the first page of Shadow Tag, I kept reading until it was done and never looked back.

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It’s dark, okay – I have a marked tendency to prefer dark books.  The story is just incredibly seductive and compelling.  It would make a terrific book club pick.  The ending was particularly impressive, something I didn’t see coming at all.

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