Monday, May 2, 2016

THE ART FORGER, by B. A. Shapiro

The Art Forger - paperback - by B.A. Shapiro

Author's website  overview of the book

Rogue's Gallery, in The New York Times

In LITLOVERS  Reviews and discussion questions.

POPMATTERSEvery Character in 'The Art Forger' Faces a Moral or Ethical Dilemma

An interview with B.A. Shapiro in Penn Live

In Bookpage:  Unsolved Heist Inspires and Artful Thriller.


Monday, April 4, 2016

THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, by Daniel James Brown

Author question and answer, by the publisher Penguin Random House

Review in The Guardian

Book Trailer in

In LITLOVERS - review and discussion questions

In The Seattle Times - Interview with the author

In The Seattle Times - Riding the Wave (how the book became a best seller)

In The New York Times - The Boat To Lift All Tides


Image result for children act

In the Washington Post, Book World

In the New York Times Sunday Book Review

In the author's web page Vintage Podcast

In LitLovers - discussion questions

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

BOUND TO PLEASE - Books for 2016

May 31, 2016
The Art Forger, by B.A. Shapiro, 2013, 384pp.
Almost twenty-five years after the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum—still the largest unsolved art theft in history—one of the stolen Degas paintings is delivered to the Boston studio of a young artist. Claire Roth has entered into a Faustian bargain with a powerful gallery owner by agreeing to forge the Degas in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But as she begins her work, she starts to suspect that this long-missing masterpiece—the very one that had been hanging at the Gardner for one hundred years—may itself be a forgery. 

June 28, 2016
The Optimist's Daughter, by Eudora Welty, 1972, 192pp.
Pulitzer Prize-winning short novel. This partially autobiographical story explores the subtle bonds between parent and child and the complexities of love and grief. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature

July 26, 2016
The World Without You, by Joshua Henkins, 2013, 336pp
It's July 4, 2005, and the Frankel family is descending upon their beloved summer home in the Berkshires. They have gathered to memorialize Leo, the youngest of the four siblings and an intrepid journalist killed on that day in 2004, while on assignment in Iraq. Leo’s parents are adrift in a grief that’s tearing apart their forty-year marriage, his sisters are struggling with their own difficulties, and his widow has arrived from California bearing a secret.

August 30, 2016
When the World Was Young: A Novel, Elizabeth Gaffney, 2014, 320pp. 
Irresistible novel captures postwar Brooklyn through Wally’s eyes, opening on V-J day, as she grows up with the rest of America. Reeling from her own unexpected wartime tragedy and navigating an increasingly fraught landscape, Wally is forced to confront painful truths about the world—its sorrows, its prejudices, its conflicts, its limitations. But Wally also finds hope and strength in the unlikeliest places.

September 27, 2016
The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride, 2013, 480pp.
Winner of the 2013 National Book Award for FictionAbolitionist John Brown calls her “Little Onion,” but her real name is Henry. A slave in Kansas mistaken for a girl due to the sackcloth smock he was wearing when Brown shot his master, the light-skinned, curly-haired 12-year-old ends up living as a young woman, most often encamped with Brown’s renegade band of freedom warriors as they traverse the country, raising arms and ammunition for their battle against slavery.

October 25, 2016
Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, by Doris Kearns Goodwin, 1991, 448pp.
Goodwin's classic life of Lyndon Johnson, who presided over the Great Society, the Vietnam War, and other defining moments the tumultuous 1960s, is a monument in political biography. From the moment the author, then a young woman from Harvard, first encountered President Johnson at a White House dance in the spring of 1967, she became fascinated by the man. She soon became his personal confidante, and in the years before his death he revealed himself to her as he did to no other.

November 29, 2016
Death Comes to Pemberley, by P. D. James, 2013, 304pp.
In their six years of marriage, Elizabeth and Darcy have forged a peaceful, happy life for their family at Pemberley, Darcy's impressive estate. Her father is a regular visitor; her sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live nearby; the marriage prospects for Darcy's sister Georgiana, are favorable. And preparations for their annual autumn ball are proceeding apace. But on the eve of the ball, chaos descends. Plunged into frightening mystery and a lurid murder trial, the lives of Pemberley's owners and servants alike may never be the same.

December 27, 2016Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes, 2013, 369 pp.They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose. Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther Tafield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe, Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

January 26, 2016
The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins, 2015, 336pp 
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

February 23, 2016
The Inheritance of Loss, by Kiran Desai, 2006, 384pp.
In a crumbling, isolated house at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga in the Himalayas lives an embittered judge who wants only to retire in peace, when his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, arrives on his doorstep. The judge’s cook watches over her distractedly, for his thoughts are often on his son, Biju, who is hopscotching from one gritty New York restaurant to another. Kiran Desai’s brilliant novel, published to huge acclaim, is a story of joy and despair. Her characters face numerous choices that majestically illuminate the consequences of colonialism as it collides with the modern world.

March 29, 2016
The Children Act, by Ian McEwan, 2014 
Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge who presides over cases in the family division. She is renowned for her fierce intelligence, exactitude, and sensitivity. But her professional success belies private sorrow and domestic strife. There is the lingering regret of her childlessness, and now her marriage of thirty years is in crisis. At the same time, she is called on to try an urgent case: Adam, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, is refusing for religious reasons the medical treatment that could save his life…

April 26, 2016
Boys in the Boat, Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, by Daniel James Brown, 2004, 416pp.

Out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.


In the New York Times:  Wounded by the West

In The Guardian

Kiran Desai

Also in The Guardian Book Club

NPR Kiran Desai and....

Academia:  Solid Knowledge and Contradicions


When things lost are things familiar: Impressions on the Inheritance of Loss, in Gathering Books. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

PORTRAIT IN SEPIA by Isabel Allende

Reading Group Guides

The Guardian - Colouring the Family Album

Literature Wikia 




Complex, intriguing, ambitious, and uneven sequel to Oprah selection Daughter of Fortune (1999), continuing the story of Eliza Sommers, as told by her granddaughter, Aurora del Valle.
Aurora fondly remembers her gentle grandmother and Chinese grandfather, Tao Chi’en, and doesn’t understand why she was adopted at the tender age of five by her formidable Chilean grandmother Paulina, who ruled the del Valle family and fortune from an opulent Nob Hill mansion during San Francisco’s Gilded Age. Aurora never knew her real father, Matias del Valle, a bisexual roué and opium addict who seduced and deflowered young Lynn, an artist’s model, then abandoned her when he learned she was pregnant. Matias’s cousin Severo, passionately in love with the naïve and beautiful girl, interceded and married her. Grief-stricken when she died giving birth to Aurora, Severo provided handsomely for the little girl despite his aunt’s desire to forget about it all. Mind you, scandal has besmirched the del Valle name before; Paulina’s public revenge on philandering husband Feliciano was the talk of the robber-baron elite. No matter. Her greatest pleasures now are amassing money and devouring pastries. Bejeweled and bedecked in fussy Victorian finery, becoming ever more corpulent but no less vain, the grotesque old lady fascinates her spoiled granddaughter. They return to Chile, where Aurora is raised amid a host of relatives both wise and eccentric, although she learns little about the world beyond the conservative confines of Chilean society. Married off as fast as possible to the good-for-nothing scion of a distinguished South American family, Aurora takes up the then-new art of photography and copes with her husband’s eventual betrayal and Paulina’s slow death from cancer. Yes, she grows up at last—but she’s nowhere near as interesting as her redoubtable grandmother.
Though her narrative spans nearly 50 years of Chilean and American history, it’s Allende’s remarkable flair for character that makes it all come alive.
Review Posted Online: 
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2001