Zadie Smith’s back in my good books

Do male authors explore the complicated relationships between childhood friends to the extent women do? I found myself wondering that as I read Swing Time by Zadie Smith about two girls growing up in the council estates of suburban London. Another author, Elena Ferrante managed to fill four voluminous novels about two close friends growing up in Naples, Italy, post World War II. I devoured all four of Ferrante's books, one after the other. Female relationships are endlessly fascinating. After hearing a delightful interview with the British writer Zadie Smith…

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Warlight was worth the wait

It's an enigma wrapped in a mystery—or is it the other way around? However you look at Michael Ondaatje's latest book Warlight it's a compelling story about a puzzling set of relationships. The story is set in London right after the Second World War. When 14-year-old Nathaniel and his 16-year-old sister Rachel are informed by their parents that work will be taking them far away to Singapore, they are stunned to learn they will be left behind in the care of a vague family friend they call "The Mole". Feeling…

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Eileen is a very strange young woman

When I wasn't able to immediately download Ottessa Moshfegh's My Year of Rest and Relaxation from the library, I opted to read her earlier acclaimed novel "Eileen" (short-listed for the Man Booker Prize) to read in the meantime. It's a very strange story about a damaged young woman named Eileen Dunlop. At the age of 24 she still lives with her widowed father, an emotionally abusive alcoholic who constantly belittles her while depending on her for his daily gin runs. Her father is a retired cop in their small town…

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Sharing the joy of reading

I'm a voracious reader but not a fan of book clubs; I prefer to only read what I truly enjoy and not analyze the bejeezus out of it. Reminds me too much of all those painful high school English classes with Mr. Crowther asking "what did the author mean?". Good grief! Who but the author really knows what he or she meant. I'm just in it for the fun of reading. I have an extensive spreadsheet summarizing books I want to read—recommendations picked up from friends, The New York Times…

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Take David Sedaris to the beach or cottage this weekend

The only problem with reading a book by David Sedaris is—it ends. I love his humour and whenever I start one of his books, I try to take my time, savouring each word, each sentence, each paragraph in an attempt to make the deliciousness last as long as possible. But inevitably I can't put it down and before I know it, I've reached—The End. I try to deconstruct what makes his writing so brilliant while appearing so simple. He's sweet but slightly raunchy, honest and endearingly self-deprecating. His latest book,…

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