Author Archive


Skios

Skios

Michael Frayn, the author of the hilarious play Noises Off, has created the ultimate beach novel that is just begging for Hugh Grant to option it and turn it into a non-singing, all-charming summer movie. Set in the days before the internet gave us all instant access to everyone’s personal data, including photos, floppy-haired, feckless […]

The Cutting Season

The Cutting Season

Add another thoughtful, compelling look at American slavery to 12 Years a Slave and the Ani DiFranco/Nottaway conversation and cancellation: Attica Locke’s perceptive mystery novel, The Cutting Season. Set in the present day, but haunted by the past, The Cutting Season features a conflicted modern black woman, Caren Gray, who has returned to Louisiana to […]

Flight Behavior

Flight Behavior

An extended metaphor saved by Kingsolver’s brilliant writing, Flight Behavior sets up the wayward migration of Monarch butterflies, drawn off-course by global warming, as an echo of the situation of Dellarobia Turnbow, an Appalachian farmer searching for something less confining than her existence as a mother and wife in a remote mountain hamlet. When Dellarobia […]

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

This is a tale by Mohsin Hamid, set in Lahore, Pakistan, in which a charming local named Changez tells a story of immigration, assimilation, disillusion, and emigration in the course of a single afternoon and evening. His “guest” at the table in the bustling market restaurant might be a CIA operative, but is most certainly […]

The Cuckoo’s Calling

The Cuckoo’s Calling

This extremely likable debut detective novel by JK Rowling (writing as Robert Galbraith) features an up-to-the-minute rant on celebrity, a standard-issue schlubby-but-brilliant detective-with-a-past with a twist, his winsome gal Friday, and a cast of well-drawn, semi-unsavory people as suspects/bad actors. The sympathetic characters get even better treatment, and everyone’s lives are satisfyingly messy, detailed, and […]

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

This novel is a linked set of stories about the life and children of Hattie, a black woman brought up in the South who moves to Philadelphia as a young girl, marries young and pregnant, and has 11 kids. The book starts in 1925 and ends in 1980, and is a vivid saga of damage, […]

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia

Written as a glossed self-help book, this hilarious and hard-hearted book by Moshin Hamid is both cynical and hopeful; it’s a love story and a cautionary tale, told by a master writer/observer. We follow the ascent of a smart, hard-working boy, who rises from his origins in a dusty village of an unnamed Asian country […]

Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon

Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon

A taut thriller set in Istanbul just after WWII, Istanbul Passage features a compelling compact narrative, an intriguing multinational and fully drawn cast of characters, and moody musings on morality and patriotism. The clipped dialogue, à la Robert MItchum, may be a deal breaker for some, but it’s worth sticking with as the action becomes […]

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

We tried to explain the appeal of satirist/essayist/absurdist David Sedaris to our Turkish guide as our family exploded with laughter while passing around his latest book, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls.  Every time one of us put the book down, having just finished a chapter that dealt with his observations on China, or his father […]

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Equal parts harrowing and hilarious, Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, concerns the disappearance of a semi-dysfunctional mother (aren’t we all?) as told through the eyes of her super-smart eighth grade daughter, Bee. Bernadette is as smart as her daughter, but considerably more acerbic and decidedly misanthropic. It turns out she has been on the […]

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Maude Woods - Opening October 22nd in Pasadena

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