Category Archives: Reading America

Glamour, Fantasy and Heartbreak: ‘Blonde’ by Joyce Carol Oates

I must confess, it was the stunning cover of the 4th Estates paperback that made me read Joyce Carol Oates’ brilliant fictional biography of Marilyn Monroe. Of course, when a book’s subject is one of the most famously photogenic women … Continue reading

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Another kind of Western: ‘True Grit’ by Charles Portis

My edition of ‘True Grit’ has a picture of a smoking gun on the cover, but no images of any of the action or characters, certainly no kind of introduction to the narrator who would so charm me for the … Continue reading

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‘Nothing makes any waking sense’: ‘V’ by Thomas Pynchon

Oh dear, it was over a year ago that I actually read ‘V’ by Thomas Pynchon.  Needless to say, my new year’s resolution has nothing to do with prospective reading challenges and is far more concerned with catching up with … Continue reading

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Oh, the misery and isolation … ‘Couples’ by John Updike

John Updike is one of those Great American Novelists who have always left me cold. I was turned off by his modern classic ‘Rabbit Run’ and was delighted when, after reading it, I learned that Updike is now considered a … Continue reading

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A Classic Western: ‘Lonesome Dove’ by Larry McMurtry

I never would have called myself a fan of Westerns.  As a bookish woman who loves living in London, I felt that even the premise of epic escapism would not be enough to make me want to spend imaginary time … Continue reading

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Beyond ‘Brokeback Mountain’: ‘Close Range: Wyoming Stories’ by Annie Proulx

I have been meaning to read ‘Close Range’ for years.  I even managed to kid myself that I’d read most of it, when I found a stand-alone edition of ‘Brokeback Mountain’, the last novella in the collection, at my local … Continue reading

Posted in Annie Proulx, Reading America, Short story collections | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

One of the Best Books You’ve Never Read: ‘The Authentic Death of Hendry Jones’ by Charles Neider

Last year Apollo books published 8 novels in their provocatively titled list ‘The Best Books You’ve Never Read.’  I felt utterly shamed by the collected novels; they were right, I’d read none of them.  The gauntlet had been thrown down, and … Continue reading

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Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson (2004)

I loved ‘Lila’, but more than anything, it left me with the urge to re-read the book that first introduced me to Robinson’s unique and powerful narrative voice.  I’ve now read all three books in this series (‘Gilead’, ‘Home’ and … Continue reading

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Lila, by Marilynne Robinson (2014)

In order to get in before the short-list is announced on Tuesday, I’d like to proclaim that I have review ready for one entry on the Man Booker long list! There really is no one like Marilynne Robinson.  I’ll admit, I don’t read … Continue reading

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How to buy a drink in Prohibition America: ‘Babbitt’ by Sinclair Lewis (1922)

Reading ‘Miss Lonelyhearts’ really got me thinking about prohibition in novels.  It’s funny, because it’s one of those historical events that I have trouble believing ever happened so I keep missing it in fiction, unless banged over the head with … Continue reading

Posted in Nobel Prize for Literature, Reading America, Sinclair Lewis | Tagged | 9 Comments