Talking about Books and etc.

Recently the Matchmakers group got together and started sharing what we’ve been reading and watching, as we are prone to do. I couldn’t wait to tell everyone that The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins has that same gripping quality that Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl does, but I liked it even better. Raidene talked about Smith Henderson’s  Fourth of July Creek with an appreciation for its darkness and its shocking ending–not what she’d usually pick up, but that’s just what talking about books does for us, it helps us make discoveries outside of our usual choices. Amia recommended Elizabeth Wein’s Rose Under Fire, the story of a female pilot during World War II and the sequel to the award winning and perennially popular, Code Name Verity. She’s also enjoying March by Geraldine Brooks, the story about the journey home, post Civil War, of the patriarch of the family immortalized in Louisa Mae Alcott’s Little Women.

West of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan fictionalizes the later years of F. Scott Fitzgerald when he returns to writing for Hollywood with pals like Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley. O’Nan is a beautiful writer whom I’ve posted about before, here. We were on a historical bent and Amy kept it going by mentioning The Zhivago Affiair: The Kremlin, the CIA and the Battle over a Forbidden Book. The book referred to in the title is Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago which was banned  in the USSR when it was published. Another suggestion for nonfiction readers is The Poet and the Vampyre: The Curse of Byron and the Birth of Literature’s Greatest Monster, which is filled with infidelity and intrigue and a monster or two.

And now for something completely different, a little chick lit and romance fiction. Check out the Divorce Diet as an appetizer and for the entree, read With Every Letter, the romantic story of anonymous love letters that lead to real, in person love against the backdrop of World War II.

For a final book recommendation, Dana recommended The Outlander series by Donna Gabaldon.  This is an uncategorizable series. Do we call it historical fiction? Science fiction? Fantasy? Romance? Erotica? Whatever it is, it’s good. (The TV show is good, too, but it’s not out on DVD yet.)?

Our Director, Nancy sent us an audio review of Susan Kaysen’s Cambridge.  She wrote, “Listening to this book on tape one is struck by the beautiful writing and the many details of a life of privilege, intellectual curiosity and art appreciation lived in the 1950s, both in America and abroad. The child protagonist is semi-autobiographically portrayed by the author of Girl, Interrupted so it is not full of sweetness and light but it is a funny book. Whether in Cambridge, Massachusetts or Cambridge England insights into the realities of childhood when one wishes most for freedom may sound a chord in all readers.”

As for viewing suggestions, our film librarian recommended the miniseries, The Honorable Woman starring Maggie Gyllenhaal as a woman who runs a charitable organization amid conflict in the Middle East. Another series, Orphan Black has been enthusiastically recommended by more than a few colleagues.  The series begins with our character witnessing the suicide of her doppelganger. Lastly, if you haven’t seen it yet, or even if you have, make a visit to The Grand Budapest Hotel. To see more of what we’ve been recommending, see our lists on our Pinterest page here.


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