Book Group: The Revisionists

The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen (New York: Mulholland Books, 2011. 448 pp) Born in Rhode Island, Thomas Mullen graduated from Oberlin College. His first novel, The Last Town on Earth received the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for excellence in historical fiction, Best Debut Novel of 2006 by USA Today, and the Chicago Tribune best book of the year. Mullen currently resides in Atlanta with his wife and two sons. The Plot In The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen, Zed is an agent from the future. He is sent back in time to Washington D.C. to make sure the world’s problems continue in order that the future he lives in is preserved. It is his goal to make sure that every catastrophe… Read More →

Book Review: The Queen’s Lover

The Queen’s Lover: A Novel by Francine Du Plessix Gray (New York: Penguin Press, 2012. 259 pp). Francine du Plessix Gray (b. 1930) is a Pulitzer-prize-nominated writer and literary critic. She is most known for her works, Them: A Memoir of Parents, and At Home with the Marquis De Sade: A Life. For the former, she received the National Book Critics Circle Award. High Society Problems When I was in high school, we, as a class, were forced to read the dreaded Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I didn’t connect with the book at all, and didn’t care to. I never liked the novel because it was both dry and boring in my opinion. I didn’t care enough of… Read More →

Book Review: The Yard

The Yard: A Novel by Alex Grecian (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2012. 421 pp) Alex Grecian is the author of the long-running and critically acclaimed graphic novel series Proof. The Yard is his first novel. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from G.P. Putnam’s Sons. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” Victorian Murders “Nobody noticed when Inspector Christian Little of Scotland Yard disappeared, and nobody was looking for him when he was found” (1). The year is 1889, and a… Read More →

Book Review: The Lacuna

The Lacuna: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver (New York: Harper Collins, 2009. 507pp) Barbara Kingsolver (b. 1955) is an American novelist and essayist. Her best known works are The Poisonwood Bible, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. All of her published books have been on The New York Times bestseller list, and she has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner award. Expectations Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible has often been described as a book club classic. Ten years later, Barbara Kingsolver has released The Lacuna. As a piece of historical fiction, I expected something behemoth, something filled with wonder, something akin to the masterpiece that is The Poisonwood Bible. The Lacuna came close, but it… Read More →

Book Review: Watergate

Watergate: A Novel by Thomas Mallon (New York: Pantheon Books, 2012. 448 pp) Thomas Mallon is an American author whose notable works include Henry and Clara, Bandbox, and Fellow Travelers. A specialist in non-fiction, Mallon focuses his studies on plagiarism, diaries, and the Kennedy assassination. A contributor to The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Times Book Review, Mallon earned his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Harvard University. He has received the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Rockefeller Fellowship, and the National Book Critics award for reviewing. Currently, Mallon directs the Creative Writing program at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Passive Voice  A writing technique I learned much too late in my academic life, I… Read More →

Book Review: Honolulu

Honolulu by Alan Brennert (New York, St. Martin’s Press, 2009. 360 pp) Born in New Jersey and raised in Southern California, Alan Brennert received a Bachelor’s degree in English from California State University at Long Beach. In addition to novels, Brennert writes short stories, screenplays, teleplays, and musicals. For his work on L.A. Law, he was awarded an Emmy in 1991. During his career, Brennert has also won a People’s Choice Award and a Nebula Award. I love Hawai’i Hawai’i is one of my favorite places. I visited several times during my childhood, and even spent my honeymoon on the secluded tropical paradise of Kauai. Last year, I read and briefly reviewed Moloka’i by Alan Brennert, and absolutely loved it…. Read More →

Book Review: The Blasphemer

The Blasphemer: A Novel by Nigel Farndale (New York: Crown Publishers, 2010. 384 pp) Best known for his interviews in the Sunday Telegraph, Nigel Farndale is a British author and journalist. Farndale went to Barnard Castle School before receiving a master’s degree in philosophy from Durham University. On top of his work for the Sunday Telegraph, Farndale contributes articles to theSunday Times, Country Life, and Spectator. Of his five published books, Haw-Haw: The Tragedy of William and Margaret Joyce was shortlisted for both the 2005 Whitbread Prize and James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Additionally, The Blasphemer was shortlisted for the 2010 Costa Novel Award. Farndale lives between Hampshire and Sussex with his wife and three sons. The Lifeboat The lifeboat… Read More →

Book Review: Easter Island

Easter Island: A Novel by Jennifer Vanderbes (New York: The Dial Press, 2003. 320 pp) Jennifer Vanderbes graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in English Literature and received her M.F.A in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She has obtained both the Guggenheim and Cullman Fellowship and has taught at both the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Columbia University. Easter Island, her first novel, obtained the honor of “best book of 2003” by the Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor. Her most recent novel, Strangers at the Feast was published in August 2010. The Locals Call It Rapa Nui A solitary land mass with its closest neighbor over 1,200 miles away, Easter Island is famously known for its moai… Read More →

Book Review: Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen (Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2006. 350 pp) A Canadian-born dual citizen, Sara Gruen lives in North Carolina with her husband and three children. With a background in technical writing, Gruen is a devoted animal lover who has written numerous books dedicated to the relationship between animals and humans. While Water for Elephants tops the best-seller list, Gruen’s books also include Riding Lessons, Flying Changes, and The Ape House. Step Right Up Water for Elephants follows the life of Jacob Jankowski, an almost Ivy League educated veterinarian working in the Depression era circus industry. Although Jacob intended to follow in his father’s footsteps as a small-town veterinarian, an unfortunate accident left him orphaned… Read More →

Book Review: The Last Town on Earth

The Last Town on Earth: A Novel by Thomas Mullen (New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2006. 432 pp) Born in Rhode Island, Thomas Mullen graduated from Oberlin College. His first novel, The Last Town on Earth received the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for excellence in historical fiction, Best Debut Novel of 2006 by USA Today, and the Chicago Tribune best book of the year. Mullen currently resides in Atlanta with his wife and two sons. Having thoroughly enjoyed The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers, I decided to take a stab at Mullen’s debut novel, The Last Town on Earth. Set in the dense forests of the Pacific Northwest, a small town named Commonwealth quarantines itself in an attempt… Read More →