FINALLY! JULY 2016

I finally found two books that I thoroughly enjoyed. A friend recommended the first, A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman, a Swedish blogger turned author.

Ove is a curmudgeon - he has strong principles, strict routines and a really short fuse...Behind the cranky exterior is a story and a sadness...and a character you won't forget. Perfect writing and extraordinary characters...


VINEGAR GIRL by Anne Tyler is my other recommdation. It's a screwball comedy of manners ...a contemporary retelling of the Taming of the Shrew.  It has all the requisite Tyler trademarks including flawed characters, and fabulous prose. ( See a letter from Anne Tyler in an earlier post)

MY FAVES. (JULY 2016)

I love both these authors...and as much as I admire author Annie Proulx, do I really want to read about the destruction of forests? The Shipping News was one of my favorites...not sure if I'm attempting this new one.

Delia Ephron is a bestselling American author, screenwriter, and playwright. In Siracusa she takes a skeptical look at the institution of marriage. What could be bad about that?! It's on my TBR list.


 
Siracusa cover








SUSPENSE
Vacationing in a sun-drenched Sicilian village may sound idyllic, but in the hands of screenwriter and novelist Ephron, this trip is anything but. Two wealthy American couples, with a 10-year-old daughter in tow, have secrets to unearth and scores to settle during their stay in Siracusa.
 Ephron expertly builds the layers of suspense as conflict and deception push these fractured families toward a painful epiphany.



Barkskins cover
 









LITERARY FICTION
The first novel in more than a decade from the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author of The Shipping News is a cause for celebration among literary fiction fans. This epic novel (Proulx’s longest by far) holds rich rewards for the reader as it traces the destruction of the world's forests, from late 17th-century Canada to 19th-century New Zealand and beyond. 
Proulx's talents shine brightest in her vividly real and tragically flawed characters, who cling to the misguided belief that the bounty of the forest will endure forever.


NEW FOR JULY

Below are some notable books releasing the week of July 5th....
Hope everyone is having a great holiday weekend.


Suggestions from www.bookreporter.com

BOBBY KENNEDY: The Making of a Liberal Icon by Larry Tye (Biography)
Robert F. Kennedy is remembered as the last progressive knight of a bygone era of American politics. But his liberal pantheon was actually the final stage of a journey that had its beginnings in the conservative 1950s, as Larry Tye illustrates in his portrait of Kennedy.

BUSH by Jean Edward Smith (Biography)
George W. Bush almost singlehandedly decided to invade Iraq, taking personal control of foreign policy, as Jean Edward Smith demonstrates in this comprehensive evaluation of the Bush presidency that will surely surprise many readers.

JONATHAN UNLEASHED by Meg Rosoff (Humor/Romance)
Could a border collie and a cocker spaniel hold the key to life? That’s the question Jonathan Trefoil poses to himself when his brother asks him to look after his dogs, and his confusing, chaotic life and world view begin to shift.

JULIAN FELLOWES’S BELGRAVIA by Julian Fellowes (Historical Fiction)
Set in the 1840s but opening at the Duchess of Richmond’s now-legendary ball on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, JULIAN FELLOWES’S BELGRAVIA is the story of a secret --- and how one family’s life will change forever.

VINEGAR GIRL (JUNE 2016)

My favorite author has a new book...She said she was 'done with writing' but then came VINEGAR GIRL, a look at The taming of the Shrew, her unique take on this classic....And she dropped me a note too.... (See below)

Vinegar Girl

Dear Joyce,

I have to say that I've always been appalled by The Taming of the Shrew.

For one thing, it's laughably misogynistic. But beyond that, it's illogical. A man and woman meet and instantly start quarreling—in the woman's case, so fiercely that you wonder if she has some sort of serious mental problem. But the man, for his own utilitarian reasons, proposes marriage. And she says yes! (What?) Then he arrives late to the wedding, in rags, and insults everyone present. But she goes ahead with the ceremony anyhow, after which he takes her home, where he treats her miserably. As a result (again: what?), she becomes meek and loving, and the final scene shows them at a banquet where her sister scolds her for acting like a doormat, and her answer is that women should be happy to defer to their husbands.

Apparently, even the Elizabethans found this a bit much to take.

Not to mention me.

But you know how it is when someone tells you a story that doesn't add up. She'll say all her friends have turned against her, or her boyfriend has been acting strange, and you'll think, "Hmm. Maybe there's another side to this."

That's what Vinegar Girl is—my attempt to figure out the other side. I hope and trust that it makes more sense than The Taming of the Shrew.

After all, it could hardly make less sense.

Sincerely, 
Anne Tyler

***

On Sale June 21st 

NOT FOR BEACH READING

Beach reads or not, these books are on my TBR LIST...I hope to get to them eventually as Sunday Times reviews were glowing..if you can believe that....So take a chance...both authors are moderately famous...Leave a comment...

BEFORE THE FALL by Noah Hawley (Thriller)
Audiobook available, read by Robert Petkoff
On a foggy summer night, 11 people --- 10 privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter --- depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs --- the painter --- and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family. With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members, the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.


MODERN LOVERS by Emma Straub (Fiction)
Audiobook available, read by Jen Tullock
Friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth, Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch to their own offspring. Now nearing 50, they all live within shouting distance in the same neighborhood deep in gentrified Brooklyn. The summer that their children reach maturity (and start sleeping together), the fabric of the adult lives suddenly begins to unravel, and the secrets and revelations that are finally let loose can never be reclaimed. Reviewed by Maya Gittelman.


Bookreporter.com


SUMMER 2016

 I think you'll notice I'm not posting as much...lots of summer distractions!! Reading is still a big part of my life so I'll be blogging, just not as frequently. Be sure to check out Joyce's Choices/Book Blog on Facebook for additional book news and bookish info....

However, I just heard from a blog reader and want to share her recent review on Goodreads...(so much for not posting as much....)

 
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A novel of shattering poignancy, this story of a family's attempts to heal itself would be unimaginably sad, were it not for the fact that Michael—he who would be saved—has the very best lines. In four or five set pieces, each a tour de force, author Adam Haslett gives Michael the pen, and what follows are wickedly brilliant reports from the front: family interventions; convolutions on white privilege; a personal history of psychotropics; a supposedly disastrous ocean crossing; and a truly horrific historical one. And, from Margaret, the mother, the wife, a simply gorgeous last line.

PAPERBACK UPDATES (MAY 2016)


I always read on my Kindle or IPad ....I haven't picked up a "real" book in years. Summer is coming and I like to have a few current paperbacks available for friends who may visit for a weekend. They can take them home after the weekend if they're midstream....a good way to eliminate a longer stay!!

Bookreporter.com is my "go to" site for what's new in paperback. Check out the new releases.
 

May's New in Paperback Roundups

May's roundup of New in Paperback fiction titles includes Harper Lee's second novel, GO SET A WATCHMAN, which is set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD; CIRCLING THE SUN by Paula McLain, which brings to life Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, who as Isak Dinesen wrote the classic memoir OUT OF AFRICA; and DID YOU EVER HAVE A FAMILY, a magnificently powerful story from Bill Clegg about a circle of people who find solace in the least likely of places as they cope with a horrific tragedy.

Among this month’s nonfiction offerings are A LUCKY LIFE INTERRUPTED, Tom Brokaw's informative and deeply human memoir of a year of dramatic change --- a year spent battling cancer and reflecting on a long, happy and lucky life; THE WRIGHT BROTHERS by David McCullough, the dramatic story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly; and Bernard Cornwell's first work of nonfiction, WATERLOO, the definitive, illustrated history of one of the greatest battles ever fought --- a riveting chronicle published to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s last stand.

MAY BE GOOD


Big fiction releases this May...Richard Russo's follow-up to his 1993 novel, Nobody's Fool and a new novel by popular author Laura Lippmann top the lists.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. Gift a book..They never go out of style!

 


Wilde Lake








Wilde Lake
Laura Lippmann
There's something amiss in the planned community of Wilde Lake, Maryland, where Luisa (Lu) Brant has taken over the state's attorney position long held by her widowed father.
With echoes of To Kill a Mockingbird, Lu is drawn back to a 1980 case in which an African-American student was accused of raping a white girl at a high school graduation party. Lippman spins the threads of this multigenerational story in an uncanny way. Highly recommended.
(Review by Bookpage.com)



Everybody's Fool

Richard Russo

When Doug Raymer, chief of police of the forlornly depressed town of North Bath, N.Y., falls into an open grave during a funeral service, it is only the first of many farcical and grisly incidents in Russo's shaggy dog story of revenge and redemption. Among the comical set pieces that propel the narrative are a poisonous snakebite, a falling brick wall, and a stigmatalike hand injury. North Bath, as readers of Nobody's Fool will remember, is the home of Sully Sullivan, the hero of the previous book and also a character here.

 Self-conscious, self-deprecating, and convinced he's everybody's fool, Raymer is obsessed with finding the man his late wife was about to run off with when she fell down the stairs and died. He's convinced that the garage door opener he found in her car will lead him to her lover's home. 

Meanwhile, he pursues an old feud with Sully; engages in repartee with his clever assistant and her twin brother; and tries to arrest a sociopath whose preferred means of communication are his fists. The remaining circle of ne'er-do-wells, ex-cons, daily drunks, deadbeats, and thieves behave badly enough to keep readers chuckling. The give-and-take of rude but funny dialogue is Russo's trademark, as is his empathy for down-and-outer.

Read the review in The May 7th Sunday New York Times.

DON'T DISTURB THE NEST (APRIL 2016)

Everyone one is raving about The Nest, a debut novel by Cynthia D'aprix Sweeney. It's Amazon's pick for Best of the Month and also tops the New York Times bestseller list.. Go figure! I abandoned it about half way through, so I gave it a decent shot. 

In my opinion, don't waste your time! It's so predictable and cliche with poorly drawn characters, over-writing that was cringe worthy and a complete lack of flow. 

My advice is leave The Nest!

GLORY OVER EVERYTHING (APRIL 2016)


I loved The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom and her new release focuses on the same  family as they fight for a meaningful and free life. Critics are calling Glory Over Everything an unforgettable historical drama filled with shocking secrets and compelling characters. This is a stand-alone novel and is hopefully as good as the first...

UPDATE: 
I just completed this book and found it very disappointing...almost on the level of a soap opera. The story line is weak and transparent...no where near as good as The Kitchen House. Even the familiar characters lost their impact.....Don't bother.....


Glory Over Everything

Jamie Pyke, the son of a plantation owner and a slave, leaves everything he knows behind after he kills his father. When he arrives in Philadelphia, he begins passing as white and starts to build a new free life for himself. He becomes a wealthy silversmith and falls passionately for a married woman named Caroline. But the fragile peace he’s found doesn’t last. Caroline becomes pregnant, and Jamie fears that the truth of his heritage will come out and ruin them both. Then his servant is captured and sold into slavery. Once again, Jamie decides to risk everything he has. He travels south to rescue his servant Pan, and hopes he can make things right with Caroline when he returns. This is a stand-alone novel, but fans of Kathleen Grissom’s The Kitchen House will especially appreciate the chance to read about beloved characters like Jamie again.



And from Goodreads a personal note from the author....

Dear Joyce,

I’ve completed my second novel, Glory Over Everything and I simply can’t wait for you to read it and to hear what you think!

It’s 1830 and Jamie, Belle’s son from The Kitchen House, has assumed the identity of a wealthy Philadelphia aristocrat, passing as white. Compelled by a promise he made to the man who saved his life when he was a runaway slave, Jamie is led back to Virginia, down to North Carolina and into the treacherous Underground Railroad.

What made the publication of The Kitchen House so special for me were the personal conversations I had with so many of you. You shared so openly with me how the characters touched you. So now, I present to you Jamie and his extended family in Glory Over Everything. I hope you’ll love them as much as I do.

With deepest gratitude, 
Kathleen

COMMENTS

I love to receive comments from blog readers. Recently I received emails from two interesting women who are enthusiastic and intrepid readers. Their opinions are definitely worth noting.


Hi Joyce,
Glad to get your blog again. I have to recommend the French author Michel Houellebecq's Submission. It is the rage in France. It deals with timely issues of ethnic differences, racism, feminism, immigrants, Muslim threat and is both satirical and comic.  The crux of the book is the loss of meaning and values  in society. I suggest it!
Evelyn K.



Joyce,
      Over the winter I read Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series. The second third and fourth books were outstanding - the first “My Brilliant Friend”  was not as good  -  unlike the others, it rambled.
At the moment I'm 200 pages into Garth Hallberg’s  800+ page, “City of Fire” and am absolutely loving it. Of course it will take forever to read it.

       You may be interested to know that the towns of the lower Cape are having a community read with multiple discussions of Atul Gawande’s  book “Being Mortal”  It is a “must” read, especially for our generation.
             Am looking forward to some recommendations from your blog to add to my list of future reads.
Nancy B.

MILLER'S VALLEY (APRIL 2016)

Anna Quindlen is a prize winning author and I can't wait to read her latest book titled Miller's Valley.
She recently posted this note on Goodreads.com, a site for avid readers. If you're not a member, join now...

Anna Quindlen's birthday is the same day as my mother's...maybe that's why I feel a kinship with her writings...



MillersValley
Dear Reader,
Sometimes readers ask me what happened afterwards: after the last chapter, the last sentence. What happened to Robert after  Black and Blue was over? I always say the same thing: I leave when you do. What I know about these people is in these pages.
I left Miller’s Valley some months ago, when I read it through one last time, got to the last sentence, “I still need to breathe,” and stopped. I hate to reread my own work—all I can see are the motes, not the light—but I find a last sentence very satisfying, particularly since I always know it when it’s arrived. Bang, like the sound of a door slamming shut.
The great thing about pub day is that I get to return to Miller’s Valley, to reprise its themes, its settings, and its fantastic characters, whom I really miss. And I get to hear what readers see in it all. Sometimes I think I learn as much from hearing people discuss my work as I do by creating it. A book is a conversation: until pub date I’ve only heard one side, and it’s always interesting to finally hear the other.
I can’t wait to hear what you all think of Miller’s Valley.

BOOKREPORTER.COM (April 2016)

I follow many sites dedicated to book lovers. One of my favorites is Bookreporter.com which provides a detailed commentary about current books and authors. The weekly newsletter is always full of the latest buzz along with lighthearted book banter and a peek into the editor's world.

If you're looking for a place to scope out new books, (other than Joyce's Choices!!) Bookreporter.com provides author interviews, excerpts from new releases, detailed reviews, and a variety of on trend bookish information.

Bookreporter recently spotlighted two of my favorite authors paired with an unknown author whose debut novel, The Nest is getting high praise.


AT THE EDGE OF THE ORCHARD by Tracy Chevalier (Historical Fiction)
Audiobook available, narrated by Mark Bramhall, Hillary Huber, Kirby Heyborne and Cassandra Morris

1838: James and Sadie Goodenough have settled where their wagon got stuckre --- in the muddy, stagnant swamps of northwest Ohio. They and their five children work relentlessly to tame their patch of land, buying saplings from a local tree man known as John Appleseed so they can cultivate the 50 apple trees required to stake their claim on the property. But the orchard they plant sows the seeds of a long battle. James loves the apples, reminders of an easier life back in Connecticut, while Sadie prefers the applejack they make, an alcoholic refuge from brutal frontier life. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.






FOOL ME ONCE by Harlan Coben (Thriller)
Audiobook available, narrated by January LaVoy


Former special ops pilot Maya, home from the war, sees an unthinkable image captured by her nanny cam while she is at work: her two-year-old daughter playing with Maya’s husband, Joe --- who had been brutally murdered two weeks earlier. The provocative question at the heart of the mystery: Can you believe everything you see with your own eyes, even when you desperately want to? To find the answer, Maya must finally come to terms with deep secrets and deceit in her own past before she can face the unbelievable truth about her husband --- and herself. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.





THE NEST by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney (Fiction)
Audiobook available, narrated by Mia Barron


The Plumb family is spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of tensions finally reach a breaking point as Melody, Beatrice and Jack Plumb gather to confront their older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got in a car accident that has endangered the Plumbs' joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Now, the siblings must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives. Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol.


CHECK OUT Http://www.bookreporter.com

BLOCKBUSTERS...MAYBE ( APRIL 2016)

Two releases by popular authors are debuting soon. I've been a fan of Curtis Sittenfeld since her first novel Prep, an achingly funny coming of age story published in 2005.

Don DeLillo is best known for novels which focus on American life in the late 20th and 21st century.  The recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes, his 17th novel, Zero K is predicted to be a blockbuster.



Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Random House


 

Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible is a playful, wickedly smart retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Set in the 21st century, the modern Bennet family grew up in a sprawling Tudor home in Cincinnati but now lives in New York City, while Mr. Bingley is a doctor and recent reality TV star and Mr. Darcy is a neurosurgeon. Austen herself would surely approve.



ZERO K by Don DeLillo

 

Joyce Ravid

 

Set in a future where humans can control death, Don DeLillo’s new novel Zero K centers around a scientific compound that preserves bodies indefinitely until technological and medical advances can heal and revive them. With humor and wisdom, DeLillo reflects on our relationship with death (and life), and our choices to preserve or leave behind those we love.


Thankyou Buzzfeedbooks.com




NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART (March 2016)

I recently commented on the novel A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. (Scroll down to Quick Picks).I feel compelled to share more details. It is probably the most deeply moving book I have read in ages...yes, ages!

It's an epic study of four men, a study of friendship, so consuming and gripping that the 700 pages are going way too fast. No, it's not for everyone...not for the faint of heart or the unadventurous reader. This is a harrowing story, complex and exsquisitely written. It's a book like no other..

This devastating, unconventional novel is a must read...if you can withstand it.

MARCH MADNESS

An historical novel by accomplished author Tracy Chevalier is part of this month's new releases. Reviews have been excellent. Spotlighted below are other releases, all recipients of glowing reviews.
 
I'm halfway through A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara..only 400 pages to go..and what a read!!! Exhausting, hypnotic, and heartwrenching.....but in a good way!



AT THE EDGE OF THE ORCHARD by Tracy Chevalier (Historical Fiction)

In the muddy, stagnant swamps of northwest Ohio, James and Sadie Goodenough and their five children work relentlessly to tame their patch of land so they can cultivate the 50 apple trees required to stake their claim on the property. But the orchard they plant sows the seeds of a long battle.



All Things Cease to Appear








All Things Cease to Appear
By Elizabeth Brundage

This riveting literary thriller opens on a snowy night in small-town Chosen, New York, when art history professor George Clare finds his wife murdered at home. Or does he? A local police officer is convinced that Clare committed the crime, but a lengthy investigation that turns up many unseemly details fails to solve the case. Brundage masterfully switches between characters and viewpoints as she traces the threads of the story to its chilling denouement. 



Under the Influence 
 by Joyce Maynard
 (Fiction)

I always like Joyce Maynard’s writing and find her books to be compelling --- and memorable --- reads. In UNDER THE INFLUENCE, Helen’s life has unraveled due to her excessive drinking. Her marriage has fallen apart, and she has lost custody of her seven-year-old son, Ollie. Her career as a photographer is on the skids like the rest of her life. Then she meets Ava and Swift Havilland, who are wealthy and connected philanthropists, and becomes swept up in their “fabulous” world. They embrace Helen and Ollie, who quickly become like extended family.

Also new to Helen’s world is Elliott, a serious man who is an accountant and gives balance --- not excitement --- to Helen’s life. He’s solid and dependable, something that has been alien to her for a long time. But the Havillands dismiss him as neither fabulous nor exciting enough.

The story comes to a crescendo when Ollie witnesses an accident, and the ramifications of it unravel the world that has been carefully built around Helen. 

Thanks Bookreporter.com and Buzzfeed.com

QUICK PICKS (MARCH 2016)

I didn't want to read A LITTLE LIFE by Hanya Yanagihara, a brutal heart wrenching, prize winning novel...800 pages was too much to undertake...but I am loving every complicated character and every lovingly rendered detail. Don't miss this epic story!

And now on a lighter note, below find three picks for March, books that stood out in the reviews and are definetly ones to watch... 


The Two-Family House

by Lynda Cohen Loigman (Goodreads Author)


One stormy night in 1947, two sisters-in-law give birth just minutes apart. Helen longs for a daughter, and Rose hopes for a son. In this absorbing novel they make a quick decision that will change the course of their lives.





Incite (Endgame: The Zero Line Chronicles, #1)


This fourth prequel novella begins a new digital original series in the Endgame world and follows an underground group determined to put a stop to Endgame—and save the world—at any cost. 



Hot Milk


A richly mythic, colour-saturated tale of mothers and daughters from the Man Booker-shortlisted author of Swimming Home....which I loved.


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