Monthly Archives: July 2012

For fans of The Chaperone…try MSMT’s Sunset Boulevard!

For fans of The Chaperone, by Laura Moriarty, Maine State Music Theater is currently performing a really fantastic  Sunset Boulevard.  I saw it Sunday afternoon, and immediately thought of this book.  Sunset Boulevard makes a perfect companion show!  I love a book that has a companion movie (not necessarily the movie of -just one from the same era or topic) and was delighted by this musical.  I hope you will be too!

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State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Just finished State of Wonder by Ann Patchett for my book group.  Its been on my to read list since its publication, and has been consistently popular on the Hold Shelf at the library. The story is of a scientist who works for a pharmeceutical company and travels to the Amazon to locate a past mentor who is working on a fertility drug, and her research partner who is presumed dead.   No book that takes place in the Amazon is without some adventure, and this reminds me a little of the Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, and Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson (junior fiction).  It took me awhile to get into the story–I was enjoying it but not “hooked” until the last third of the book.  Then I couldn’t put it down.  This will make a good book discussion:  the ehtics of the fertility drug, the relationships amongst the scientists, the morality of the choices they each make…it is an adventure story worth reading.

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 The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

Here’s a delicious summer read…The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty.  I’m a fan of novels that fill in the story of real people—books like The Paris Wife, The Women, Loving Frank,  Jackie by Josie—so The Chaperone  is an obvious choice for me.  The story revolves around Cora, a 36 year old married woman who chaperones a young Louise Brooks, just a few years before she will become a silent film star,  for a summer in NYC.   I expected to learn more about Louise Brooks, but the book is The Chaperone, and that is who it is about.  I also expected that summer to be the whole story, but the book covers Cora’s whole life.  The summer of 1922 is just one of Cora’s defining moments.   It’s a story of secrets, of what to confide, and how the fear of people discovering those secrets determines Cora’s choices.  One of my favorite lines sums up the story.  “Under her hands, under the layers of Raymond’s fine suit and shirtwaist, were the same freckled shoulders she had seen that awful day she thought her life was over—and when she was sure this decent, beloved man was her enemy.  She was grateful life could be long.” 

Definately worth reading!

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July 14, 2012 · 1:55 pm

Next on my list…

Here is what is on my next to read list:

A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarity

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

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July 3, 2012 · 10:02 pm

Summer Reads! The Innocents, Wife 22, The Beginner’s Goodbye

Summer Reads:

School is out, so when I am not at the library, I am often at the beach with my kids, riding waves and reading books.  I started my summer reading on a marriage theme.  All three books are about coming to terms:  with getting married, with being married, and with losing your spouse.  They are good reads, but not for what happens with the plot.  Really, these are character driven novels, and while one can see what choices are coming, one cannot always see what each will ultimately choose.  All are love stories.

Here is what I have been reading:

 

The Innocents by Francesca Segal takes place in a Jewish suburb of London.   Adam is engaged to Rachel and works for her father’s financial firm.  Rachel is the only girl he’s loved, she reflects everything he wants, and after 13 years of dating, they are finally to marry.  They seem to have everything in their favor.  Enter Rachel’s cousin, the wild and enticing Ellie, reputed to have starred in an “art house film”.   I love first novels, and this one grew on me.  It is worth the read.

 

Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon.  Here is the premise:  a woman who is not unhappily married answers an anonymous online survey about marriage in the 21st century. She alternates between narrating the ups and downs of her family life and answering the survey questions, which leads to emails with her assigned researcher… The story itself isn’t new, but the quirk is the survey.  You read the answers, and can flip to the end of the book for the questions.  It is a clever way to see how wife 22 fell in love with her husband in the first place.  There is a nice twist at the end-maybe a little predictable-but what this reader hoped.  Worth the read.

 

The Beginner’s Goodbye by Anne Tyler is the story of Aaron, a middle aged man who just lost his wife in a freak accident (a tree falls on their home and kills his wife.)  As the house is being repaired and Aaron is trying to get on with his life, his wife begins to appear to him.    I resisted reading this when it came out, thinking Yeah! A new Anne Tyler, and then oh, this will be more sad than I want for pleasure reading.  I decided to give it a try.  The good news is, it really isn’t sad.  There are some poignant comments here and there that sum up Aaron’s marriage and grief at losing his wife, but I think you have to expect that.  This novel will stay with you.

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