Monday , December 22 2014
Home » Entertainment » Book Remarks

Book Remarks

We Are Not Ourselves

B15-CBN-12-12-14-14feature

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Matthew Thomas Simon & Schuster 2014. 620 pages Genre: Domestic Fiction Collier County Public Library: Yes “We are not ourselves when nature, being oppressed, commands the mind to suffer with the body.” - King Lear   Eileen Tumulty is 9 years old when we first meet her in 1950, failing miserably at the Irish dance classes her mother enrolled her in. Like most little girls, she idolizes her father and is bright enough to notice that all the men around them respect and defer to “Big Mike.” Both parents, Big Mike and Bridget, ... Read More »

Leaving Time

B6-CBN-11-28-14-12Feature

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Jodi Picoult 417 pages, Ballantine/Random House 2014. Genre: Mystery/Suspense Collier County Public Library: Yes Rating: 4.25/5.0   I have read two previous books by Jodi Picoult but never considered myself a fan. After reading “Leaving Time,” I am a Picoult fan. This a must-read for anyone who enjoys suspense stories with a clever twist. Much of the story is set in an elephant sanctuary near Boone, New Hampshire. The care, feeding, social life, emotionality and research of elephants figure very strongly in this novel. The older female protagonist, Alice Kingston, was studying elephants ... Read More »

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters In The End

B6-CBN-11-14-14-7Feature

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Atul Gawande Henry Holt (sold by MacMillan), 2014 300 pages. Genre: Medical Nonfiction “If end-of-life discussions were an experimental drug, the FDA would approve it.” — “Being Mortal.” The author is a general surgeon practicing in the Boston area, who has written previous books about medical practice (“Better,” “Complications,” “The Checklist Manifesto”). His name may be familiar to you. In “Being Mortal,” he is opening a conversation about how we deal with not just end-of-life issues but also debility and decline in our well-being. “‘Being Mortal’ is about the struggle to cope with the ... Read More »

The Children Act

A37-CBN-10-31-14-3feature

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Ian McEwan Nan A. Talese/Doubleday 2014 240 pages. Genre: Legal fiction In 1989, the United Kingdom’s parliament passed The Children Act to ensure that when families and legal guardians fail the young the legal authorities are mandated to step in and protect them. As the title indicates, this book is about that law and how its implementation affects the lives of those touched by it. When I started reading this book, I knew it involved a judge dealing with the case of a 17-year-old Jehovah’s Witness with end-stage leukemia who, along with his parents, ... Read More »

Then Came Life: Living With Courage, Spirit and Gratitude After Breast Cancer

B2-CBN-10-17-14-12FEATURE

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Geralyn Lucas, Gotham Books, October 2014, 210 pages. Genre: Memoir   “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” – Soren Kierkegaard   If the author’s name sounds familiar, it is because this is a sequel to her tremendously popular “Why I Wore Lipstick To My Mastectomy,” published 10 years ago. At the time of her mastectomy, she was 27 years old, enthusiastic, open and determined to enjoy every nanosecond of life. Now, 18 years later, she is in her mid-40s, graying, sagging, moving up in pants size, with a ... Read More »

All The Light We Cannot See

B4-CBN-10-3-14-3Feature

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Anthony Doerr Scribner 2014, 545 pages Genre: Historical Fiction   “A good book is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility, what human nature is and what happens in the world. It’s a creator of inwardness.” — Susan Sontag   I resisted reading “All The Light We Cannot See” when it was published in May, thinking the world did not really need another novel about the second World War. Well, I was wrong. It is quite a vocabulary challenge to find the adjectives to describe this marvelous book ... Read More »

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell: A Novel

B6-CBN-9-19-14-8feature

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Nadia Hashimi William Morrow, May 2014, 464 pages   “You know what they say about the human spirit? It is harder than a rock and more delicate than a flower petal.” - Khala Shaima, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell: A Novel. In her debut novel, Nadia Hashimi has gifted the world with a wonderfully written, mesmerizing look into a fascinating family drama set in Afghanistan. The main protagonists are Rahima, a young 21st century Afghani girl and her great-great-grandmother Shekiba who lived in the early 20th century. The story shifts between the ... Read More »

The Studio Kill

B5-CBN-9-5-14-16Feature

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Charles Fleming Asahina & Wallace, 2014, 262 pages Genre: Mystery (Novel Noir)   “One difference between film noir and more straightforward crime pictures is that noir is more open to human flaws and likes to embed them in twisty plot lines.” – Roger Ebert   Set in 1947 Los Angeles just after the murder of Bugsy Siegel, “The Studio Kill” tells the story of John McClellan, chief detective for Continental Studios. His responsibilities include looking after and cleaning up after the studio’s movie stars, both major and minor, as well as attending to ... Read More »

Traveling Left of Center

B7-CBN-8-8-14-5Feature

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com I was looking for a good love story to break up the string of thrillers I have been reading. Instead, I found “Traveling Left of Center.” As the title indicates, these 18 short stories have protagonists who are slightly off kilter psychologically. We all know they are “out there.” It is estimated that one in four Americans suffers from some form of mental illness. Nancy Christie has given them a voice. Though not as dreary as Edgar Allen Poe by any means, Christie’s protagonists are in various stages of psychic distress. The first story, named ... Read More »

The Target

b11-CBN-7-25-14FEATURE

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By David Baldacci. 432 pages. Grand Central Publishing/Hachette, April 2014. Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Political Thriller   “The reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” – Jojen Reed, Game of Thrones   This is great summertime read — light, refreshing and engaging. Slip into the world of clandestine assassination and a female North Korean operative whose martial arts skills make Jason Bourne look like a slow-motion grandpa. Yie Chung-Cha spent most of her youth in a concentration camp, Yodok, imprisoned there with her entire family. There, she learned ... Read More »

Supreme Justice

B13-CBN-7-11-14-4feature

BOOK REMARKS  Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Max Allan Collins Thomas & Mercer, 2014 336 pages “I always turn to the sports page first, which records people’s accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man’s failures.”Earl Warren, 14th Chief Justice, SCOTUS   Someone is assassinating the justices of the Supreme Court in this nifty little thriller set in the future, circa 2030. “Summertime and the readin’ is easy” to paraphrase that famous Gershwin tune. “Supreme Justice” was quite a delightful surprise. I was hooked by the end of the first chapter. Joe Reeder, CEO of ABC Security, is a former Secret Service ... Read More »

Summer House With Swimming Pool

B10-CBN-6-27-14-6feature

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Herman Koch Hogarth/Random House 2014 (USA) 387 pages   “Patients can’t tell the difference between time and attention.”Dr. Marc Schlosser He is back, folks, and he is even more dark and twisted than in “The Dinner.” Actually, those two couples appear positively lighthearted compared to Dr. Marc Schlosser, a general practitioner in the Netherlands whose patient base is composed of actors, writers, artists, celebrities from the creative sector. Dr. Schlosser also serves as the narrator of this story. The title comes from the fact that Marc’s most famous patient, actor Ralph Meier, has ... Read More »

Field of Prey

B13-CBN-6-13-14-16feature

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By John Sandford, G.P. Putnam 2014, 392 pages, Genre: Mystery “There’s nothing to match curling up with a good book when there’s a repair job to be done around the house.” – Joe Ryan   The 24th book in John Sandford’s Prey series proves the author is only getting better at his craft. I was engrossed in this story from page one. Although Field of Prey is a mystery, the reader knows from the beginning who the killers are. The mystery involves how the police track them down. The story opens with the kidnapping of ... Read More »

Shotgun Lovesongs

B7-CBN-5-30-14-6feature

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Nickolas Butler St. Martin’s, 2014, 307 pages “All things on earth point home in old October; sailors to sea, travelers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken.”– Thomas Wolfe   The small town of Little Wing, Wisconsin is the setting for this debut novel by 30-something Nickolas Butler who actually grew up in Eau Claire, WI. The story revolves around a group of five friends, now middle-aged, who grew up together in Little Wing; most of them ... Read More »

Chestnut Street

B10-CBN-5-16-14-18feature

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Maeve Binchy Knopf 2014, 368 pages Genre: Fiction/Short Story Collection Almost two years ago I wrote a Book Remarks about Maeve Binchy’s final novel, A Week In Winter, published shortly after her death in July 2012. All Maeve fans believed that was the end of the anticipation of new offerings from this wonderful storyteller. Rejoice! We were wrong. The woman who did not believe in an afterlife has endowed her readers with such. These stories were written by Maeve over three plus decades, beginning when she was a columnist for The Irish Times. Using ... Read More »

You Should Have Known

B4-CBN-5-2-14-10feature

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Jean Hanff Korelitz, 439 pages Grand Central Publishing  2014 Genre:  Domestic/Psychological Fiction “I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.” Ralph Waldo Emerson Grace Reinhart, an almost-40-year-old Manhattan couples therapist, has written a book on the brink of being published. Entitled You Should Have Known, it is based on her 15-year experience with couples in crisis. Her premise is that women negate their initial impressions and intuition about the men in their lives and tell themselves their judgment was wrong, “Now ... Read More »

Missing You

B21-CBN-4-18-14-13feature

BOOKREMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Harlan Coben Penguin Group 2014, 417 Pages Genre: Thriller/Mystery/Suspense “We know that everything in our lives is complex and gray. Yet we somehow expect our relationships to never be anything but simple and pure.” - Stacy in Missing You by Harlan Coben I became a Harlan Coben fan last year after reading Six Years which I was inspired to read after seeing that Hugh Jackman had been cast as the male lead for the movie version. Now, Mr. Coben is back with another superb, stay-in-your-seat-and-keep-turning-those-pages, good-heavens-what-will-happen-next whodunit. This time, the movie rights to Missing You ... Read More »

The Accident

B11-CBN-4-4-14-18feature

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Chris Pavone Crown Publishing, 2014 402 pages Genre: Thriller “Life is the art of being well deceived; and in order that the deception may succeed it must be habitual and uninterrupted.”         – William Hazlitt If you love thrillers, grab this book. Once you do, hang on, because it’s a heck of a ride. I have not yet read Mr. Pavone’s Expats, published in 2012, but I will be reading it in the near future. This man has clearly mastered the thriller genre. Where to start? Too many books lately have been weak in character but ... Read More »

A Circle of Wives

B16-CBN-3-21-14-8feature

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Alice LaPlante Atlantic Monthly Press, 2014 325 pages Genre: Psychological Thriller “Alas, the love of women! It is known to be a lovely and a fearful thing.” Don Juan, Lord Byron John Taylor, M.D., a prominent plastic surgeon, is found dead in a hotel room in his hometown of Palo Alto, California. Not only does he have a stellar professional reputation, the 62-year-old man is beloved by his community for his pro-bono work for children with facial deformities, by his wife of 35 years, Deborah, and their three adult children. First thought to be the ... Read More »

Cell

B13-CBN-3-7-14-5feature

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com Author: Robin Cook Publisher: G. P. Putnam, 2014 Length: 402 pages. Genre: Medical fiction Medicine for the soul” – Inscription over the doorway at the Library at Thebes. In his latest novel, Robin Cook takes on the issue of digitalized medical practice. The title refers to 21st century humanity’s ubiquitous accessory: the cellular phone. If you are interested in healthcare issues, this is worth your time. Cook takes the Affordable Healthcare Act, death panels, primary care physician shortages, reimbursement schedules, health insurance companies, electronic medical records, etc. Amalgamated Healthcare, insurance giant aiming to become a behemoth, ... Read More »