Summer Reading Recap

Stress relieved by reading mostly light non-literary beach books in a serene waterfront setting. So fortunate to be able to escape.

Best to least:

The Glass Hotel,  St. John Mandel
Notes On a Silencing,  Crawford
This Tender Land,  Kent Krueger
Redhead by the Side of the Road,  Tyler
The Guest List,  Foley
The Turn of the Key,  Ware 
The Less Dead,   
Mina
28 Summers, 
Hildebrand
The Summer House,  Patterson & du Bois
The Summer House,  McKinnon
The Big Summer,  Weiner
Death on the Beach,  Johannsen
All Adults Here,  Straub
You Are Not Alone,  Hendricks & Pekkanen
Home Before Dark,  Sager
Mexican Gothic,  Moreno-García

Reviews on Book-Treks

The Summer Houses

Full circle. Just finished James Patterson & Brendan DuBois’ version. The Summer House here is an historic landmark in Georgia and scene of a mass murder. Shoot-em-up machismo. Cops. Military. CIA. FBI. You name it. They’re all there for a few days of page-turning. Unlike The Summer House by Hannah McKinnon, which is the setting for a generational vacation beach home in Weekapaug, Rhode Island.

So. Yeah.    7 books in.    2 more to go.

It’s A Comin’

At least that’s what they’re sayin’.  Tropical storm Fay. Doesn’t sound very furious. Recalls a children’s classic Robert McCloskey’s Time of Wonder. The storm’s a comin’. She’s gonna blow. We’ll see.

Three books in. The Summer House by Hannah McKinnon. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel. Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler.

Lots of grilled steak. And. Of course. Little necks & North Fork Sauvignon Blanc.

Love in the Time of Corona

Rodrigo Márquez is the son of Gabriel García Márquez, Colombian author of One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera.

Rodrigo writes a letter to his late father in today’s NYTimes. He wonders what Gabriel would think about the current coronavirus given his plots around an insomnia pandemic and cholera. Perhaps that luck and fate determine whether one suffers and dies alone or surrounded by love.

Ironically, Rodrigo’s film Four Good Days about addiction was screened at Sundance this past January where it is said the coronavirus may have had the earliest detected spread in the U.S.

A New York Restaurant Story

Gabrielle Hamilton owns an acclaimed East Village restaurant called Prune. It’s a small 15-table closely seated cozy boîte. As Hamilton herself recognized, it was becoming an anachronism in the new dining scene of brands rather than personalities, even before the coronavirus crisis.

Her NYTimes piece about the struggle to figure out what to do in this strange new environment is a poignant, poetic homage to the heart & soul of her 20-year James Beard– winning labor of love. It is a metaphor for so much now that it elicits a tear. One of the best reads of the year.

She began her torturous dilemma during the first warnings of an emerging pandemic “after 10 days of being waterboarded by the news”. What to do? An absurdiste lament, “That we are still a thread in the fabric that might unravel if you yanked us from the weave”.

The best quote is about how the industry has changed over the years, “The Brunch. The Brunch. The purebred lap dogs now passed off as service animals to calm anxieties that might arise from eating eggs Benedict on a Sunday afternoon”.

– Hamilton’s memoir Blood, Bones & Butter one of my faves. She is also featured in my old Northampton anthology Table’s Edge.

Carol’s Carrel

mAd Ben’s friend lives nearby and is a voracious reader. We trade book ideas. So. Yesterday I decided to inventory what’s currently on my shelves to lend her a few. It took much of the day. Which was great.

Click here if you want to see what’s on the UWS Stacks. Yes. That’s right. I alphabetized them by author.

Also recalled NYC and past Book Clubs and what we read. A perfect day. Any ideas for the next 28? +

Book-Treks . com

Reading to the Rescue

Although NYC Book Club was postponed this week, still intend to read the pick Dear Edwardby Ann Napolitano.

But. That’s after I finish Mantel’s last Thomas Cromwell in her trilogy, which could take quite a while. On page 200, 500+ to go. So far it is rich, dense and captivating. Thanks, Hilary!

A lighter and shorter diversion is Bret Stephens’ portrait of his avant-garde artist grandmother in today’s NYTimes. Whatta woman! Mexico with Trotsky & Rivera just for starters.

Conjured recent novel by Isabel Allende, A Long Petal of the Sea. Her familial perspective of the Spanish Civil War and later migration to Chile. Political and historical context made it a worthwhile read.

Coron Avoidance

To avoid panic-demic:

Watching The Players Championship and putting a hex on DeChambeau.  (Update: Or not. Cancelled the whole tournament at 10pm.) Reading Hilary Mantel’s new novel The Mirror & The Light, the last of her Thomas Cromwell trilogy. (They can’t cancel a book. Can they?) Always Soaps. (Update 3/13: Or not. Trump to speak during General Hospital.)

Staying away from Cable News & social media at all costs. Not opening alarmist alert e-mails from family and friends. Starting a rumor that all dogs need to be quarantined.

On the bright side. Trump looks to be trashing his chances for re-election with every speech. Yet. Pelosi is scary as well. Decrepit inept people running the Country. Now Joe. Really?

Untoward Torture

What did we do to deserve this? The American people did nothing wrong. Why are we being subjected to this extended torture? Days upon days of blathering bluster. Repetitive regurgitations of mindless muddle. The Senate Impeachment Trial.

House Managers. For 3 days. After a marathon yesterday. After hearing them for days in the House. Cannot abide Schiff or Nadler for another minute. As poor Lizzie, Bernie & Amy are stuck there kept from the campaign trail. Lucky Joe. Luckier Trump. And Mike!

Thanks to Book Club for a much needed diversion. Purple Hibiscus good or bad will be a godsend.