Mrs Fletcher by Tom Perrotta

Without bringing up the whole Lionel Shriver debate again (and Bill has the best summary of that), I fear Tom Perrotta was writing about stuff that he probably should have left alone in his latest novel, Mrs Fletcher.

In brief, it’s the story of Eve Fletcher, divorced, mother to Brendan and director of a seniors centre. Note that Brendan is a sexist, homophobic jock, who has no intention of changing his party-hard ways as he begins college. Continue reading

My Best Books for 2016

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A ‘classic’ was defined by Italian author Italo Calvino as “…a book that’s never finished saying what it has to say.”

Now, I’m not claiming that the books I truly loved this year are ‘classics’, however, I’m borrowing Calvino’s definition to guide my list of top picks for 2016. This year, I’m paying less attention to five-star ratings and more attention to the books that are still speaking to me. Continue reading

Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer

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There’s a lot going on in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am – an earthquake followed by a war in the Middle East; the death of a family patriarch; an unwanted bar mitzvah; a crumbling marriage. But through all this ‘busyness’, you quickly understand that Here I Am is Foer’s ode to family and his Jewish faith.

“Parents don’t have the luxury of being reasonable, not any more than a religious person does. What can make religious people and parents so utterly insufferable is also what makes religion and parenthood so utterly beautiful: the all-or-nothing wager. The faith.”

Continue reading

Lionel Shriver at the Melbourne Writers Festival

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I’m almost reluctant to write about Lionel Shriver’s closing address on Sunday night at the Melbourne Writers Festival. Reluctant because her speech was dense with insight, sound-bites, and stuff to make you really think hard, and I’d hate to misquote or misrepresent her in any way.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to hear Shriver speak, do next time she visits your neck of the woods. She is, without question, one of the most compelling and powerful authors – no, people – that I’ve ever heard speak. Continue reading

I want…

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This week’s TTT topic is ‘Ten Books You’d Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed You A Fully Loaded Gift Card’ but really, ten is stupid when what I actually *need* is at least a hundred.

How about we make this the first week of Top One Hundred Tuesday? Continue reading