The Splendid Things We Planned

If you have an interest in memoirs about addicts, alcoholics, the mentally ill, or anyone who is just generally self-destructive, this book has it all!  In Splendid Things, author Blake Bailey, known for his biographies of John Cheever and Richard Yates, tells the story of his own family.  While Bailey is truly open and honest in his depiction of both his own chaotic life and that of his parents; his father Burck, a lawyer from Oklahoma and his narcissistic, German born mother Marlies,  the memoir primarily focuses around his brother Scott, an undiagnosed, mentally ill addict and alcoholic.
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Loitering

I’m not going to pretend to be an aficionado of essays, but I know a well-curated collection when I see one, fiction or otherwise. This new essay collection by short story writer and essayist Charles D’Ambrosio is dark, disarming, occasionally funny and honestly not what I expected from a collection of essays.
Karen Continue reading

When It Happens to You

Don’t judge this book by its author, Molly Ringwald, an actress who reached stardom in the 80’s. You will find it is a terrifically captivating book in and of itself. And any skepticism concerning Ringwald as a writer will quickly vanish. Writing the novella as intermingling short stories really added to the genius of the work.
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The Sisters Brothers

The best thing about book clubs is they introduce you to books you would never pick up yourself.  Such is the case with The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt.  This novel is a literary western, set against the backdrop of the California Gold Rush of the 1850’s.  It follows the story of Eli and Charlie Sisters who are on a mission to kill a man.
Maggie Continue reading

Better Off Friends

What is the determining factor for two people to become friends or become more than friends? This young adult book explores that question in a high school setting. Levi and Macallan first meet when they start the seventh grade. Levi is the new kid in school who is just trying to fit in. Macallan has just lost her mother and needs someone to listen to her hurting heart.
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That Part Was True

As Eve Petworth deals with the loss of her mother, she finds solace in cooking and reading. When she writes to Jack Cooper, a famous American writer, she is surprised to receive a direct response. As they write to each other, they share recipes and slowly reveal hardships in their lives.
Beth
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