Book Lovers

Where'd You Go, Bernadette?
Maria Semple

This novel is the story of Bernadette, one-time architect wunderkind, and, at the start of the novel, a stay-at-home-in-a-dilapidated-house mom of heart surgery survivor, Bee, and wife to Microsoft code man, Elgin. The book starts off in storm of letters, emails, and commentary (by Bee) that is helping Bee find her mom, who goes missing after a botched intervention attempt. Along the way, we get peaks within the art world, the genius culture of Microsoft, magnet schools, and, most of all, Seattle. The book is, by turns, funny, touching, and outrageous, and infused with some “So that’s how it works” ideas. The straightahead narration (most of it is by letter or email) makes this a fast read, though it also allows the reader into multiple characters’ heads and situations. Authored by one of the writers from the cult TV series, Arrested Development. Recommended.

Feb 14, 2013
Blessed Are Those Who Thirst
Anne Holt

It's hot in Oslo and even hotter in the police station.  Everyone is overloaded with cases when there are a string of "Saturday Night Massacres."  Only problem: there are no bodies to be found.  Hanne Wilhelmsen and Hakon Sand need to figure out the clues fast.  And to top it off, there's a rapist on the loose and one of the victims is ready to take her own vengenance.

Feb 12, 2013
Last Rituals
Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Thora is called by a wealthy German matriarch to investigate the death of her son.  She is assisted by the family representative, Matthew Reich, and soon find themselves investigating Icelandic witchcraft rituals.  First book in the series.

Feb 8, 2013
golden-lit, Italian village built into the Mediterranean coast
Beautiful Ruins
Jess Walter

The newest novel from Walter, whose previous book The Financial Lives of Poets, was a riot is a little more subdued, at times, but still a funny, even romantic look at the past and current life of how movies are made in Hollywood. It is not the story of one or even two characters but nearly ten, that Walters does a great job of keeping separate through alternating chapters and alternating settings (Rome, Hollywood, London, Idaho). Just when you think, "Oh no, not another new character", Walter offers up a spin you don't see coming and you're sucked right back in to the new thread. I ate this book up- and think you will, too.

Feb 2, 2013
Nim Chimpsky
Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would be Human
Elizabeth Hess

This is the story of Nim Chimpsky who was chosen for an experiment designed by Dr. Herbert S. Terrace to see how well a chimpanzee could aquire language (using American Sign Language) if he was raised in a human home. Hess follows Nim from home to home through the recollections of his caretakers as they learn that taking care of a growing chimpanzee was a lot more work than they thought it would be.  After the experiment is over, Nim gets sent to a "chimp farm" in Oklahoma, but when their funding dries up all of Nim's fans have to help him find a permanent home.  This interesting account really makes you think about the plight of animals used for experiments and how often their long-term well being is not considered.

Jan 24, 2013
My Soul to Take
Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Thora's client believes his new age hotel is haunted and wants to sue the previous owners.  When Thora arrives to investigate, the hotel's architect is found murdered.  Are there really ghosts or is there something much more sinister going on?

Jan 16, 2013
This Is How You Lose Her
Junot Diaz

This Is How You Lose Her is, you guessed it, a set of short stories about a dude, Yunior,  who lost his girl- and how he came to be the guy that would lose her, the one. It takes lots of girlfriends, as it turns out, some more important to him than others, some teaching more important lessons, and some older and more experienced in the ways love works, especially among Dominican-American men (as the main character also is). This book is an extension of author Junot Diaz’s first short story collection, Drown, which came out in 1997 and was lauded by critics, as this one was, too. Most of the stories are set in New Jersey and revolve just as much around Yunior’s relationship with his mom, brother, and, in a far-back memory story, his dad. The language is often hip and young, and the stories are quite readable, making good use of their mostly urban environments. This is more of a "guy read" as most of the stories are told from Yunior’s often frustrated perspective, but are well worth the ride.

Jan 3, 2013
Daniel H. Wilson

Imagine a world where medical conditions like epilepsy, or autism, or fetal alcohol syndrome could be cured by an implant in a human brain. What if that technology was used not only medically, but voluntarily to increase intelligence or make better soldiers? That is just what happens in Amped. As you can imagine, regular people, or “reggies” might become intimidated and afraid of the “amps,” which is just what happens in this action-packed science fiction book that calls to question what it means to be human.

Dec 14, 2012
Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn

On her fifth wedding anniversary, Amy Dunne disappears from the Missouri mansion she shares with her husband, Nick. From the outside looking in, Amy and Nick's marriage is perfect: Amy is clever and ambitious, while Nick could be considered for Husband-of-the-Year. But now that Amy is missing, who is responsible? Could Nick be guilty of murdering his perfect wife? Alternating between Nick and Amy's perspectives, Flynn reveals that what existed beneath the pretty exterior of the Dunne marriage was a toxic, unhealthy relationship, with both parties to blame.

Dec 13, 2012
You & Me
Padgett Powell

This short and strange offering from fiction experimentalist, Padget Powell, is quite simple in premise: two older guys sitting on a porch are conversing about life. That's it. But in the fashion of absurdist, postmodern fiction (and Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett), these guys are also a bit lost and don't know where they're going. The chapters are pretty short and contain nothing but dialogue between the two, but touch on some fairly heavy philosophical subjects (life/death/love) as well as some down-to-earth yet occassionally surreal subjects (what to do with people talking on cell phones in traffic). Sometimes they make up a word and go on a kind of riff; sometimes it's a phrase that sets them off in new dialogic directions. Worth a look if you like books without easy answers told in a playful, if sometimes mind-boggling fashion.

Dec 11, 2012

© 2023 William P. Faust Westland Public Library