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Nerdy Special List October 2015

October 6, 2015 – 9:30 pm | One Comment
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Books & writing »

Book Review: FATES AND FURIES by Lauren Groff

October 4, 2015 – 9:51 pm | 2 Comments

fates and furiesWhile reading Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies, I wasn’t sure I liked the protagonists, Lotto and his wife, Mathilde, but I could not stop reading. About halfway through, I realized it was like being hypnotized, when you’re compelled to do something without being entirely in control of your actions.

The story opens with Lotto—short for Lancelot—and Mathilde on a beach, giddily making love after they eloped. They’re 22, beautiful, new Vassar grads, and the world is as infinite as the ocean before them.

Having enjoyed success and adoration in college as an actor, Lotto attempts to make it as a thespian in the real world. Mathilde gets a job in an art gallery and supports him while he pursues his dream. The first part of the book, called “Fates,” traverses 20+ years of their marriage from his point of view. The latter half, titled “Furies,” is her version. There’s a Greek chorus throughout adding commentary, though not often enough to be disruptive.

In school, Mathilde is a skilled writer known for her “rococo sentences.” Many of Groff’s sentences can be similarly labeled. Witness the following:

He would have liked to go deeper into her, to seat himself on the seat of her lacrimal bone and ride there, tiny homunculus like a rodeo cowboy, understand what it was she thought.

But Groff’s writing can also be powerfully succinct:

[S]he’d been so lonely that she let a leech live on her inner thigh for a week.

Lotto is a self-centered, infantile man with an incessant need to be loved—or at least positively reviewed—by everyone, but he also has a generous heart and a belief in the good of people. Mathilde…well, you’ll have to read the book to see. Though I found Lotto and Mathilde and their friends to be pretentious and callous at times, Groff created a world I was inexorably pulled into, like a mariner caught in a siren’s song.

Amazon | IndieBound


Shock vs. Sensitivity

August 26, 2015 – 9:30 pm | 7 Comments

Like most people, I was shocked by the on-air shooting of WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward. As I tried to learn more about what happened after first seeing only a tweet about the …

Book Review: WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER by Carla Norton

August 16, 2015 – 9:43 pm | One Comment
what doesnt kill her

It’s been seven years since Reeve LeClaire, the heroine in Carla Norton’s What Doesn’t Kill Her, was rescued after being held prisoner as a teen by Daryl Wayne Flint, who’s serving time at a psychiatric …

Nerdy Special List August 2015

August 7, 2015 – 1:52 am | 7 Comments
gratitude diaries

I’m traveling right now but the Nerdy Special List must go on. I’m excited every month when the recommendations start coming in from my illustrious contributors, but I think this month the list is especially spectacular. Hope you’ll …

Book Review: HOSTILE TAKEOVER by Shane Kuhn

July 19, 2015 – 5:49 pm | 6 Comments
hostile takeover

Shane Kuhn shot onto the crime fiction scene last year with The Intern’s Handbook (movie rights were snapped up), and now his assassin John Lago is back in Hostile Takeover with more explosive action.
At the …

Nerdy Special List July 2015

July 2, 2015 – 12:08 am | 10 Comments

We have a long weekend ahead! Hope you have fun plans for the Fourth of July, if you celebrate it. After a rough week, I hope to commence Operation Couch Potato.
This month, I’m very excited …

Movie Review: INSIDE OUT

June 21, 2015 – 5:45 pm | 4 Comments
Disney•Pixar's "Inside Out" takes us to the most extraordinary location yet - inside the mind of Riley. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Anger (voiced by Lewis Black), Disgust (voiced by Mindy Kaling), Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Fear (voiced by Bill Hader) and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. Directed by Pete Docter and produced by Jonas Rivera, "Inside Out" is in theaters June 19, 2015.

I’m going to start this review by saying if you haven’t seen Inside Out and have any reservations about seeing it, thinking it’s only for kids or girls or whatever, just throw those doubts out …

Book Review: DISCLAIMER by Renée Knight

June 18, 2015 – 6:14 pm | 4 Comments

Imagine reading a thriller and suddenly realizing the much-hated main character is you. And the disclaimer about resemblances to real people being coincidental has been crossed out. This is the premise of first-time novelist Renée …

Guest Book Review: PARADISE SKY by Joe R. Lansdale

June 14, 2015 – 9:35 pm | One Comment

When a copy of this novel first appeared on my doorstep, Mr. PCN, being a big Joe R. Lansdale fan, immediately snatched it up and claimed it for himself. After he tore through it in about two blinks, …

Nerdy Special List June 2015

June 4, 2015 – 7:59 pm | 4 Comments
little paris bookshop

Summer starts in June, so I’m looking forward to more time for pleasure reading. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m self-employed and make myself work every day.
But for those who do get to take summer vacations, here are …

May 2015 Pop Culture Consumption

June 3, 2015 – 9:08 pm | 5 Comments

While I didn’t review everything I read and watched last month, I consumed a lot of pop culture. Much of it was unexceptional, but there were a couple of gems. I’ll write more about some of these in …

Book Review: LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE by Jessica Knoll

May 26, 2015 – 9:09 pm | 4 Comments
luckiest girl alive

Jessica Knoll, a former Cosmopolitan magazine editor, debuts in book publishing with Luckiest Girl Alive, a novel that adroitly handles timely news topics.
Ani FaNelli is an editor at a women’s magazine in New York City, and engaged …

Big Bear Adventure

May 25, 2015 – 6:11 pm | 7 Comments

Since we had a long weekend, Mr. PCN and I decided to run away from civilization and the noisy neighbors with their chainsaws and leaf blowers and constantly barking dogs.
We rented a cabin in the mountains near Big …