Monday, July 5, 2010

What Our Staff is Reading This Week

The Wisdom of the Last Farmer
by David Mas Masumoto

After his father's stroke, the author is left struggling to make up for his absence on the family farm. An exploration of the fragility of mortality and man's connection to the natural world, Matsumoto's writing is poetic. Each chapter reads like a highly descriptive personal essay. Combined, the stories of life on the farm are a successful vehicle for examining life in general.

Reviewed by: Christine

The Surrendered
by Chang Rae Lee

This harrowing novel follows the lives of both Korean and American survivors of the Korean War. June and Hector are reunited despite their secret of history of violence and lost love. Lee slowly reveals their parallel tales building the novel's tension and showing us a world permanently marked by wars and atrocity.

Reviewed by: Arsen


The Privileges
by Jonathan Dee

The Morey family has it all—looks, charms, wits and money, lots of it. What they lack is scruples, ethics and some basic humanity. Dee tells the story from all four of the family members' perspectives. The Morey's pathological inability to think about their past and the corrupting influence of money leads to family even less savory than their eel namesake.

Reviewed by: Arsen

All Other Nights
by Dara Horn

Civil War intrigue, Jewish history and beautiful spies are the foundation for Horn's enthralling novel. Jacob Rappaport, a 19-year old private, is dispatched to New Orleans to kill his plotting uncle on Passover. That's the easiest of his assignments. Marriage to a Virginia spy is the most difficult but delectable mission. Rappaport's cunning and morals are sorely tested in this novel.

Reviewed by: Arsen


Making Toast: A Family Story
by Roger Rosenblatt

When his daughter Amy passes away unexpectedly, writer Roger Rosenblatt and his wife are recruited to help raise their grandchildren. Like Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, Rosenblatt's book explores the country of those "left behind" by addressing how even the mundane things are altered. To quote Richard Ford, "These are brilliant lessons, fiercely learned."

Reviewed by: Scott

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