Earthquakes. Mexico. Check. Superstorms. Puerto Rico. Caribe. Florida. Check. World War 3. Iran. North Korea. Check. According to a Christian numerologist, this coming Saturday, September 23 the world will end. Biblical signs sure are lined up. Exoplanets newly discovered may go rogue. Nostradamus nothwithstanding. Won’t plan on going to book club next week.
Game of Thrones returns. After reviewing the last two episodes of gory wars, exploding bodies, and dogs’ ravenous dinner of Ramsay, Season 7 began. It couldn’t get grosser, could it? Oh yes. How does a library become a cesspool. Literally. There are tomes and turds galore. And.
Speaking of bad reads. Leaving Lucy Pear, Solomon’s “mother load” touted by WaPo, is a dud.
From sweet to serious, here’s what’s on the ‘to read’ Summer Book Treks list:
The Heirs, Susan Rieger
Leaving Lucy Pear, Anna Solomon
Serious Sweet, A.L. Kennedy
The Long Drop, Denise Mina
The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry
The Sellout, Paul Beatty
Swimming Lessons, Claire Fuller
TV: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is back. Tituss Burgess dominates. Maybe too much this season. House of Cards. Needs two views. After second watch, some of the plot and character deficits are filled in better. But. Still. Uneven writing this year. Frank & Claire remain compelling. Speaking of Kevin Spacey. Fun host of the otherwise lackluster Tony’s.
Book Treks. 2011 – 2017.
This summer try The Honeymoon about George Eliot, The Last Painting of Sara De Vos, The Woman on the Stairs, A Gentleman in Moscow, Swans of Fifth Avenue, Paley’s & Capote.
The Night Ocean, by Paul La Farge. I’m not sure. It kept me rapt. Author clearly had lots of things to work through. Personally. Maybe. Literarily many unfinished stories found their way into this dense work. Sprawling disjointed tales of several complex people in different times and places. Spaces. Told from a woman’s point of view, Marina the shrink, working out her own issues. The author gave her an authentic voice. It begins as her husband Charlie disappears into Agawam Lake in the Berkshires. H.S. Lovecraftian fandom less clear. More context necessary for those not acquainted with this cult of science-fiction-horror genre. Nonetheless. Worth the meandering page-turning journey. Lots to think about. La Farge’s New Yorker view.
Speaking of mind-bending. Twin Peaks so far is a self-indulgent David Lynchian acid trip with no redeeming plot value. Vomitaceous. Literally.
Our NYC Book Group’s latest pick. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles. Count Rostov wears a gentlemanly attitude despite his confined 30-year sojourn at the Metropole Hotel in Moscow from 1930’s to 1950’s. Under house arrest after the Revolution, this aristocrat relishes the finer things found in his new surroundings from literature to furniture to food. It’s a beautiful story of love and loyalty that takes place within the walls of this old-world hotel yet spreads its view into the history and streets of Russia throughout the decades from the Revolution to the Khrushchev years. Guests of the hotel bring worldly culture in from the cold. And the funny narrator welcomes us into the fray. A great read.
The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, by Dominic Smith. A beautifully written history which brings the reader into the art guilds of the Netherlands in the 1600’s. New York’s gritty Brooklyn, isolated rich on the Upper East Side in the later 1950’s. Australia in 2000. The stories are built in layers as is the painting depicted. Sara De Vos’ last oeuvre brings a poignantly perfect masterpiece of an ending to all of the disparate lives affected by her work. Prose is gorgeous. Characters provocative and real. Learned a lot about oil on canvas. One of the best reads this year.