Monday, July 25, 2011

What I’m Reading

Patron Saint of Liars—Ann Patchett
I think this was probably her first published novel, written when she was still in her 20’s. It’s set in the 60’s, near Owensboro, Kentucky, and is about the people who live and work in a home for pregnant women who will be giving their children up for adoption. Patchett shines in her ability to give life to her characters. Good read.

Cleopatra—Stacy Schiff
This was not an easy book to get into. The author is primarily a historian who takes pains to use sources as close to the original as possible, but there are no sources from Cleopatra's contemporaries so there is a lot of speculation and reference to the variety of sources. I received an overdue notice from the library when I was on page 121. Oh well.

The Thoughtful Dresser--Linda Grant
I read Grant's novel, The Clothes on Their Backs several weeks ago and while it was good, this one is much better. the subtitle of the book is The Art of Adornment, the Pleasures of Shopping, and Why Clothes Matter. Lest you think yourself exempt from the frivolity of fashion and shopping, her multitudes of examples leave very few women out of the equation. Recommend, for women of all ages.

We Had it So Good  Linda Grant
I'm on a Linda Grant kick, in fact, this was the book I heard about that got me started looking for her books. It's a multi-generational novel with good character development and very good writing. It spans the years from the mid 1950's to the present day. When I read the last page, my word for it was depressing. Enough of that, move on. If you want a good Linda Grant book, read The Thoughtful Dresser.

In the Sanctuary of Outcasts--Neil White
This was the book selected for incoming freshmen at Davidson College to read for orientation discussion groups. The author was convicted of bank fraud and sentenced to a minimum security federal prison in Carville, Louisiana. During the time he served, the prison grounds and buildings also housed the last isolated colony of those disfigured by leprosy. The mix of patients, guards, inmates, provides for great reading. It is fascinating, recommend.

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