I managed to read 4 books, all award winners. And from authors I have never read before. Selections from Egan, Nunez, Jacobson, and Alharthi.
Before we get to the books, here is a photo of the birthday girl, my beautiful daughter Caroline.
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction - 2011
NBCCA - 2010
A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Signed First Edition
Don't let the 3 stars fool you, Egan is a great writer. This novel however, just didn't do it for me. It starts out promising when we first meet Sasha, one of the two main protagonists. She is a kleptomaniac, a New Yorker, and a former employee of the other main character, Bernie Salazar. Bernie is an aging punk-rocker and successful record producer. Believable characters, interesting quips, but way too circuitous and tortuous with no real reason for this format, in my opinion. But as I said, Egan is a great writer and I look forward to reading her other work.
National Book Award - 2018
The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
Signed First Edition
I have always liked dogs, however no one would ever truly label me as a dog lover. After reading this poignant affecting novel right after losing our dog Charlie of 11 years, my affection for our canine brethren has certainly grown. This story is not just about a dog. It is a story about human friendship and love. A woman suddenly loses her longtime friend, mentor, and possible love. From this loss, she inherits his Great Dane. A giant of a dog she must somehow keep inside her small NYC apartment. She grows to love this dog as he alleviates some of her grief. This is a powerful novel...a must read!
Man Booker Prize - 2010
The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
Signed First Printing
Perhaps I was Jewish in my previous life, because I do love Jewish authors, Jewish tales, and Jewish humor. Within this novel we meet and spend lots of time with 3 men, 2 Jewish, and 1 want-to-be. It is an exploration of what it means to be Jewish. Libor Sevcik is an elderly retired professor. His two students: Sam Finkler a well known philosopher, and Julian Treslove a former BBC radio announcer and non-Jew. After spending a mournful evening together remembering Sevcik's and Finkler's wives, Treslove embarks on his journey home while it is nearing midnight. This is when he is unexpectedly attacked, an anti-Semitic attack Treslove believes. Although Treslove is not Jewish, nor does he or his friends believe he looks Jewish. This begins a great internal and external journey where Treslove explores his Jewishness. Quirky characters. Hilariously funny at times. And very touching. A great solid novel!
Man Booker International Prize - 2019
Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi
Signed First UK Edition
More historical fiction than literary fiction, this is a novel of Oman. A country in the Middle East most people - including myself - do not know much about. Centered around 3 sisters and how they embrace life and marriage and love. We learn a lot about Oman, how it evolves from a slave-owning society to a promising yet complex nation seeking it's own voice and identity. Alharthi is a spectacular writer. Poetic and beautiful at times. However, most of the time, I hate to say, I was a little bored.
What are you currently reading?
Anything you recommend?
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