Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Monica Lewycka

The loony protagonist of this novel is an eighty-four year old, recently widowed man who falls for bosomy thirty-six year old Valentina. She is looking for wealth and a way to maintain her visa before it expires. His daughters Vera and Nadezhda, who have had their differences, are reunited by their concern for their father's future. The author was born to Ukrainain parents in a refugee camp in Germany. This novel is a funny and touching look at family relationships.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Worthy by Will Clarke

Talk about a crazy look at the college frat world, The Worthy, by Will Clarke is narrated by the ghost of a frat boy who died in a hell-week hazing practice gone wrong. His spirit now haunts the library in the frat house donated in his memory by his father and uncle, both frat alums. I read about Will Clarke's irreverent work, but it was the trailer for the book that I found on the Amazon website that sent me to the library for this end of the summer fun read.
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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Halfway House by Katharine Noel

This is one of those books I picked up at the bookstore based on cover appeal and blurbs on the back of the book. I thought it might be a book that high school students might like, and I wasn't wrong. The main character of his novel is Angie Voorster, a high school all-star swimmer, who seems to have everything going for her at the beginning of the book. But when she dives to the bottom of the pool during a swim meet and stays there, it is a signal of deep (no pun intended) disturbances within her psyche. This is a study of mental illness and its devastating effects on family members.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Rope Walk by Carrie Brown

This may be the great discovery of the summer. The Rope Walk is a coming-of-age story reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, and almost as good. Carrie Brown evokes the spirit of endless summer days in the Vermont village where 10 year old Alice lives with her college professor father and five older brothers. But her tenth summer is special because of two new faces in town - Theo, a biracial New York City kid visiting his grandparents for the summer and an eccentric neighbor woman's artistic brother who is dying of AIDS. Brown's language is beautiful, but her story is riveting. I recommend this novel with high praise.