Ah the joy of the holiday season. Loud, volatile and exhausting. One can get too old for it – especially when they realize they were too old for it at about ten. Growing up in New England is worse than having creamed onions shoved down your throat. Or squash pie. Instead, I read. My, my, my – the many I read. All of which were fulfilling in ways a meal simply isn’t.
The first was a never heard of John Grisham “The Racketeer”. Blew me away! I hated to get to the end. Plot plotting, twists, turns and sheer genius – I did not figure out the direction of the story which made it even better. Read it!
I had plenty of titles from which to choose after the monthly book sale last week . “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” was next in line and my hilarious attempt at “getting it”. So I spoke out loud to the damn book and kept asking Neil deGrasse Tyson – “but what was there before all this?” I did know what the Large Hadron Collider and Cern meant and I knew the bosons were named for a Bengali. But I continued to ask “but what was there before?” No reply. I haven’t given up yet but I was never meant to be a astrophysicist. As my daughter pointed out “These are very special people”. And truly, what they know came with the package. They have always known. I love Neil Tyson and his writing and his approach to this dark territory (black hole dark). Check out Wiki and go see about honest genius. Go see about Neil.
Somewhere in there I slept. Seriously. But as the afternoon approached, so instead of tea, I dug out “A Place at the Table” about a torn Chassidic teen who has grown away from his distinguished dynastic rabbi-filled family. It lets the reader see how he struggled to figure out how to have both without having to choose either. Without tragedy or defiance In some cases, alas, choosing is what MUST happen. I always welcome books from this community because it enlightens me and makes me appreciate even more my Lubavitch friends and their open attitudes and divine humor. If this is your gleisel of tea- you will enjoy a well written and endearing novel; a place few of us see close up. The author, Joshua Halberstam, did grow up in this same atmosphere and his insights are excellent. (I very much liked the fact too, that he never specified which group he came from – discreet and very caring.) Take a short BMT ride to Boro Park. And don’t miss your stop. You will find your place at the table (and a bissel Yiddish couldn’t hurt either.)
My house is filled with books yet it always comes as a surprise to me how many I have read and how many I need to read. And it’s like picking a kitten from a litter. Or a puppy. So that’s how I got to Avery Duff’s “Beach Lawyer”. Yes – that is the name and it was pretty entertaining for a first novel and a very juicy, well written lawyer tale. Intricate plots told simply are a sign of something – and it takes more than a so-so writer to do it and when it happens – it is a delicious ride. And of course lawyers can write. Part of how they lawyer is their writing. This one was set near my part of town and I did notice a couple of location errors* toward the end. But…a wonderful hot day thriller.
Waiting for me are two books about diamonds – largely post alluvial stones from India and bag of new ones from today’s library run. Some are actually non-fiction!
A shortlist of authors that should be noted – Caro Fraser, Janet Gardam, new names from India and an entire array new, post holidays. Darkness is falling, it’s not as hot today and there are books to open. See you soon. Comments always welcome.
*This is what happens when you copy edit as you read.