Sunday, June 29, 2008

How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Sasa Stanisic

This sad tale about a young Bosnian refugee named Aleksandar Krsmanovic taught me a lot about the ethnic wars in 1992.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Film Club by David Gilmore

David Gilmore's Website

The Film Club is David Gilmore's memoir about his unorthodox plan for sustaining a relationship with his sixteen year old son. Jesse Gilmore was flunking out of school, when his father gave him permission to withdraw given Jesse would watch and discuss three films each week with his dad. Gilmore was, at the time, an out-of-work film critic and writer. Their shared time is revealed in snippets of conversation about film, life and love. I would recommend this book, and its excellent syllabus of film titles, to any parent struggling with an intelligent teenager.

Friday, June 20, 2008

River of Heaven by Lee Martin

I discovered Ohio author Lee Martin a few years back when I read his haunting novel The Bright Forever. His new novel, River of Heaven is an equally mysterious investigation into the chilling events buried in the memories of Sammy Bradey, an elderly gay may whose secrets are disclosed.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich

I have been an Erdrich fan for a long time, and her new novel did not disappoint. Loosely based on the history of a North Dakota farm family slaughter, this novel is both mystery and family saga. Central to the story is Eveline Harp, the daughter of an Indian mother and a white school teacher. Every event in her present day life is set against the fantastic stories told by her grandfather, Mooshum Milk, who was involved in the 1911 crime.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread by Don Robertson

Back in my teens, Don Robertson was a writer for The Cleveland Plain Dealer. His novel, Praise the Human Season, one I have re-read several times, remains one of my favorite books to this day. So when I saw an end cap display of The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread in the local Borders a few weeks before school let out, I had to buy a new paperback copy of my other Robertson favorite to take to class and hold up in front of my students. It seems Stephen King was equally impressed by Robertson's fiction in his early years, and is behind the push to reissue this old Cleveland classic about the adventures of nine year old Morris Bird III in 1944.