Brooklyn is a tough place to grow up in the early part of the 20th century. It’s made of immigrant families struggling to get by. Young Francie Nolan, half German and half Irish, adores her handsome father, the sometime singing waiter, and her more hard-minded mother who scrubs floors and does much to give her kids a better life. But, uneducated as her parents are, they have few choices and huge problems that a bright girl like Francie can certainly see.
Young in years but not so much in worldly cares, Rose Meadows is set adrift when her wayward father abandons her permanently and her handsome, caretaking distant cousin takes up with the local Bolshevik crowd. But, in Cynthia Ozick’s historical novel Heir to the Glimmering World, Rose doesn’t give up. She takes matters into her own hands and answers an advertisement for a research assistant in a town miles away.
First, a confession: Thomas Pynchon fans are worse than Jane Austen fans, always proselytizing in the hope of capturing new readers. I hoped the recent success of a film version of Pynchon’s Inherent Vice would bring requests for his work. They did not materialize, which is a shame, as the book is more accessible than some of his other works to the general reader and deserves a broader readership.
His reputation for weirdness, paranoia, and postmodern tricks scares some people: too much work in the reading. All because of one novel.
There are all kinds of angels. There are the sort that make grand pronouncements from God—bright, shining beings that are meant to be obeyed. They usually say their piece, and then they’re gone, leaving humans to make the best they can of the situation. That wasn’t the kind of angel that followed Henry Bright home from the Great War. No. This was the kind of angel who hung around and made suggestions, pretty much constantly.
Why would someone who seems to have the perfect family risk everything by having an affair? In Courtney Maum’s debut novel I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, Richard Haddon, a 34-year-old British artist, living in Paris with his French wife Anne and their daughter, has just had his first successful solo art show. Many would think he has the perfect life.
Have a favorite eatery in Fredericksburg? The library has paired book recommendations with local eateries for your dining and reading pleasure. Headed to Eileen’s Bakery and Cafe? Take along a copy of Chocolat, by Joanne Harris. Enjoy a break at Capital Ale House, and read The Bartender’s Tale, by Ivan Doig. Meeting the significant other at Bistro Bethem? If he’s late, whip out your copy of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated to while away the time.
Set in small fishing village in Haiti, Claire of the Sea Light weaves its net of interlocked stories from loss, love, and hope.
Like most small towns, Ville Rose has wealthy people who believe themselves to be important and others who just scrape by, barely making a living. Nozias the fisherman loves his little daughter Claire Limyè Lanmè – Claire of the Sea Light. But they are so very poor and his job is so dangerous that he worries what will happen to her if one day he does not return.
Nuclear reactors have ruptured in the Midwest, spreading radiation sickness and crippling civilization as we know it. Roving marauders now plague the land. Your mission is to survive and travel to a safe stronghold in what used to be Kansas. Welcome to Trace Italian, a game invented by Sean Phillips.
Wolf in White Van is a haunting portrayal of how we carry the scars of adolescence with us for the rest of our lives, be they emotional or physical. Ever since the accident involving his father's rifle, Sean's facial disfigurement has pushed him into isolation. Seeing him shocks people, and he knows this.
High and low culture collide in The McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes. The literary journal has collected its humor pieces, featuring all sorts of short essays, lists, and ephemera related to classic literature.