November Books

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, and to piss off her twin sister she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two semi-normal American girls never met their English aunt; but they jump at the chance to leave Chicago. Elspeth's flat borders Highgate Cemetery – but spooky stuff is happening in the apartment not in the cemetery. The girls get to know Elspeth's former lover who lives in the building, works at the cemetery and is still very much in love with the deceased. Who returns the favor…are you creeped out yet? Niffenegger wrote The Time Traveler’s Wife, so I was dumbfounded when Her Fearful Symmetry was rinky-dink.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
Robert Langdon, that shrewd Harvard symbologist is back. He’s ask to deliver a lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building, but within minutes of his arrival things begin to get crazy. A strange object encoded with five symbols is discovered in the building. How can something this big get past security? Not difficult, just ask the couple who crashed Obama’s State Dinner. Anyway, Langdon recognizes the ancient symbols and when Peter Solomon -- a prominent Mason -- is kidnapped, Langdon plummets into the world of Masonic secrets and hidden history. I’m not a Dan Brown junky but he’s always readable and his stories are good. This is no exception. ♥♥

Spooner by Pete Dexter
This is the story of the lifelong tie between two men. Spooner, who has a troubled life, and Calmer, a once a brilliant navel officer, and Spooner’s step-dad.
The first few chapters were stock full – too full – of spunk and bite, but Dexter calms down by Part Two, and next 400 pages are pure genius.♥♥♥

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
Something like 20 years before The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society made news with telling a story through correspondence, 84, Charing Cross Road nailed the genre. It begins with a letter inquiring about second-hand books, written by Helene Hanff who’s living in New York City and desperate for books. Hanff’s lithe and witty letters are responded to by the proper Englishman, Frank Doel – an employee at the book shop located at 84, Charing Cross Road in London. A 20-year friendship is born and after Doel’s death, the letters were published. Ahh, I love a true story! ♥♥♥

A Partisan’s Daughter by Louis De Bernieres
De Bernières who wrote Corelli's Mandolin, wrote this quirky love story of Roza, a beautiful and mysterious born-again prostitute and Chris, a salesman by day and husband of “the Great White Loaf” by night. During the long dreary London winter, Roza tells her snappy life story to Chris, who eagerly listens and hopes for more. No, it’s not a Corelli’s Mandolin, but it’s not bad either. The word ‘sparse’ comes to mind, and I love the idea that Roza’s crazy stories are the glue that bind the two.

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