Jane Austen Read A-Long: Pride and Prejudice

How is everyone doing so far? I should be completing Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice late this evening or tomorrow night.  My reading time has been limited this week by the start of school.  As the old prostitute said, it’s not the work, it’s the commute.  Mine was made worse when the district I work for decided to start school later. Something about improved learning for high … Continue reading Jane Austen Read A-Long: Pride and Prejudice

The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide

I realize my sample size is basically two, but what is it about Japanese writers and cats? If you’re a fan of Haruki Murakami, then you know his interest in cats. They are such a strong presence in his novel The Wind-up Bird that they cast something of a shadow on the rest of his writing.  Do all his books feature a cat? No? The Guest … Continue reading The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide

Disobedience by Naomi Alderman

I didn’t really like Naomi Alderman’s novel, Disobedience. I found it kind of annoying.  But it has stayed with me for some time, near the surface, too.  Maybe I don’t like it because it hits oddly close to home. The characters bothered me.  I believed in them; I just wanted to smack some sense into them. The books main character is an adult woman, travelling … Continue reading Disobedience by Naomi Alderman

The Ides of March by Valerio Massimo Manfredi

Have you ever known the ending from page one and still been unable to put the book down? Since Italian novelists Valerio Massimo Manfredi’s novel The Ides of March is about the last few days of Julius Ceasar’s life, we all know how the book is going to end, at least we all know how Julius Ceasar is going to end.  The challenge for the … Continue reading The Ides of March by Valerio Massimo Manfredi

Deep River by Shusako Endo

This books was one of the strangest reading experiences I’ve had in a while. The story concerns a group of Japanese tourists, visiting Buddhist holy sites on a tour of India.  It’s a bit like one of those 1970’s movies that featured a disparate cast of characters thrown together and then forced to confront each other through facing a common hardship. Their tour is not … Continue reading Deep River by Shusako Endo

The Art of Losing by Rebecca Connell

First of all, isn’t this a beautiful cover?    Last fall, when I saw a table full of Europa editions at Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore in Oakland, I thought how great it would be to collect books with beautiful covers.  I recognized a few of the Europa editions as books I’d read and enjoyed, and there were several others on the table that I hadn’t read … Continue reading The Art of Losing by Rebecca Connell

Looking for the Next School Wide Read

Finding a book suitable for grades six, seven and eight is not easy. The difference between a seventh grader and an eighth grader is dramatic, but the difference between a sixth and an eighth grader is stunning. This year we did our first school wide read, Chew on This by Charles Wilson and Eric Schlosser, based on Mr. Schlosser’s best-selling book Fast Food Nation.  Each subject area read several … Continue reading Looking for the Next School Wide Read

Animal Farm by George Orwell

I’m going to assume you have read this book. Probably in high school. Even if your English teacher was not the best teacher you ever had, you probably got most of what there is to get in Animal Farm.  It’s a straightforward book;  Mr. Orwell makes sure that everyone understands  his point.  While the communist revolution may have started well, may have even brought peace, … Continue reading Animal Farm by George Orwell

Sunday Ramble and Two Books I Didn’t Like. Sorry.

Visited the local Friends of the Library book sale yesterday, in the rain, where C.J. and I managed to spend much more than we intended.  He got several art books and a couple of books full of house plans while I nearly completed my Jane Austen collection. Can you name the book I still have to find. I’ve decided it’s a good time to re-read all … Continue reading Sunday Ramble and Two Books I Didn’t Like. Sorry.

Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

Sometimes it’s very hard to pin down why you love a book. Denis Johnson’s very short novella, I found it on a list of brilliant books you can read in a day, tells the story of an abbreviated life.  Robert Grainier is a day laborer in the American West circa 1910.  He never amounts to much.  There isn’t much to tell about his life.  He … Continue reading Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse

This is the most pornographic book I’ve read all year. My definition of pornography is probably different from yours.  Pornography offers its viewers a fantasy depiction of something they cannot have, usually a sexual fantasy.  At some point in life, one finds  that Playboy, or Blueboy, or whatever, has been largely replaced with Architectural Digest– pictures of beautiful people give way to pictures of beautiful … Continue reading A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse

High Dive by Jonathan Lee

This marks the end of my Tournament of Books 2017 reading. It’s been fun. Really. I read a good-sized handful of books from the short list, enjoyed most of them, admired a few, didn’t finish one. I’ve even come away with a few titles sure to make my personal short list of favorite reads for this year. But I’m moving on to other titles now. … Continue reading High Dive by Jonathan Lee