Books for April, May, and June 2010!
GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
From wikipedia: A middle-aged journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, publishes the magazine Millennium in Stockholm. In the opening courtroom drama, Blomkvist loses a libel case brought by accused Swedish industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerstr?m, and this has serious repercussions for the future of Millennium. In disgrace, Blomkvist agrees to be hired by Henrik Vanger, the aged former CEO of the Vanger companies, owned by a wealthy but dysfunctional dynasty. The old man offers not only to help his financially strapped magazine, but also to give him information to prove that Wennerstr?m is corrupt. Officially, he is to spend a year writing the Vanger family history.
Blomkvist's real mission, however, is to solve a cold case?the disappearance, some forty years previously, of Vanger's niece Harriet when she was sixteen. Blomkvist encounters "the old Miss Marple closed-room scenario" with all the rich suspects marooned on the family estate on an island, "a village we grow familiar with, full of hostile locals peering out from behind their curtains".
A RELIABLE WIFE
From Powells Books Staff picks: http://www.powells.com/biblio/9781565125964
Come a day, you might get sick of hearing about A Reliable Wife ? so many people will have read it and raved to you about it. Here's some preventative medicine: read it first. Seduction, marriage, money, sex, drugs, murder... when Catherine Land arrives in Wisconsin on a snowy day in 1907, we know she's an imposter ? but does her husband-to-be? Robert Goolrick has written a novel that you'll want to devour in a single sitting. Simultaneously, you'll want to luxuriate in its drama as long as possible. Whatever you decide, there's too much pleasure in these pages to leave to your friends.
Rural Wisconsin, 1909. In the bitter cold, Ralph Truitt, a successful businessman, stands alone on a train platform waiting for the woman who answered his newspaper advertisement for "a reliable wife." But when Catherine Land steps off the train from Chicago, she's not the "simple, honest woman" that Ralph is expecting. She is both complex and devious, haunted by a terrible past and motivated by greed. Her plan is simple: she will win this man's devotion, and then, ever so slowly, she will poison him and leave Wisconsin a wealthy widow. What she has not counted on, though, is that Truitt ? a passionate man with his own dark secrets ?has plans of his own for his new wife. Isolated on a remote estate and imprisoned by relentless snow, the story of Ralph and Catherine unfolds in unimaginable ways. With echoes of Wuthering Heights and Rebecca, Robert Goolrick's intoxicating debut novel delivers a classic tale of suspenseful seduction, set in a world that seems to have gone temporarily off its axis.
A LESSON BEFORE DYING
***Lots of fun events for this book this Spring? see Chris?s suggestion description in the message board .
Oprah Book Club? Selection, September 1997: In a small Cajun community in 1940s Louisiana, a young black man is about to go to the electric chair for murder. A white shopkeeper had died during a robbery gone bad; though the young man on trial had not been armed and had not pulled the trigger, in that time and place, there could be no doubt of the verdict or the penalty.
"I was not there, yet I was there. No, I did not go to the trial, I did not hear the verdict, because I knew all the time what it would be..." So begins Grant Wiggins, the narrator of Ernest J. Gaines's powerful exploration of race, injustice, and resistance, A Lesson Before Dying. If young Jefferson, the accused, is confined by the law to an iron-barred cell, Grant Wiggins is no less a prisoner of social convention. University educated, Grant has returned to the tiny plantation town of his youth, where the only job available to him is teaching in the small plantation church school. More than 75 years after the close of the Civil War, antebellum attitudes still prevail: African Americans go to the kitchen door when visiting whites and the two races are rigidly separated by custom and by law. Grant, trapped in a career he doesn't enjoy, eaten up by resentment at his station in life, and angered by the injustice he sees all around him, dreams of taking his girlfriend Vivian and leaving Louisiana forever. But when Jefferson is convicted and sentenced to die, his grandmother, Miss Emma, begs Grant for one last favor: to teach her grandson to die like a man.
As Grant struggles to impart a sense of pride to Jefferson before he must face his death, he learns an important lesson as well: heroism is not always expressed through action--sometimes the simple act of resisting the inevitable is enough. Populated by strong, unforgettable characters, Ernest J. Gaines's A Lesson Before Dying offers a lesson for a lifetime.
SACRED COWS ? this is a mystery set in New Haven, CThttp://www.kareneolson.com/sacredCows.html
THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG
The enthralling international bestseller. We are in the center of Paris, in an elegant apartment building inhabited by bourgeois families. Ren?e, the concierge, is witness to the lavish but vacuous lives of her numerous employers. Outwardly she conforms to every stereotype of the concierge: fat, cantankerous, addicted to television. Yet, unbeknownst to her employers, Ren?e is a cultured autodidact who adores art, philosophy, music, and Japanese culture. With humor and intelligence she scrutinizes the lives of the buildings tenants, who for their part are barely aware of her existence. Then theres Paloma, a twelve-year-old genius. She is the daughter of a tedious parliamentarian, a talented and startlingly lucid child who has decided to end her life on the sixteenth of June, her thirteenth birthday. Until then she will continue behaving as everyone expects her to behave: a mediocre pre-teen high on adolescent subculture, a good but not an outstanding student, an obedient if obstinate daughter. Paloma and Ren?e hide both their true talents and their finest qualities from a world they suspect cannot or will not appreciate them. They discover their kindred souls when a wealthy Japanese man named Ozu arrives in the building. Only he is able to gain Palomas trust and to see through Ren?es timeworn disguise to the secret that haunts her. This is a moving, funny, triumphant novel that exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us.
THE INTERROGATIVE MOOD
Are you happy? Do we need galoshes? Are bluebirds perfect? Do you know the distinctions, empirical or theoretical, between moss and lichen? Is it clear to you why I am asking you all these questions? Should I go away? Leave you alone? Should I bother but myself with the interrogative mood?
The acclaimed writer Padgett Powell is fascinated by what it feels like to walk through everyday life, to hear the swing and snap of American talk, to be both electrified and overwhelmed by the mad cacophony?the "muchness"?of America. The Interrogative Mood is Powell's playful and profound response, a bebop solo of a book in which every sentence is a question.
Perhaps only Powell?a writer who was once touted as the best of his generation by Saul Bellow and "among the top five writers of fiction in the country" by Barry Hannah?could pull off such a remarkable stylistic feat. Is it a novel? Whatever it is, The Interrogative Mood is one of the most audacious literary high-wire acts since Nicholson Baker's The Mezzanine. Powell's unnamed narrator forces us to consider our core beliefs, our most cherished memories, our views on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In fiction as in life, there may be no easy answers?but The Interrogative Mood is an exuberant book that leaves the reader feeling a little more alive.
See also: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/25/books/review/Emmons-t.html