I'm pleased to present three books, specially requested by members of the Association, as well as one book newly published by a very popular author, whom many of you have read this last year.
A special request is Blue Nights by Joan Didion:
Reviewers call it “a work of stunning frankness about losing a daughter”. Richly textured with bits of her own childhood and married life with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and daughter, Quintana Roo, this new book by Joan Didion examines her thoughts, fears, and doubts regarding having children, illness, and growing old. Blue Nights opens on July 26, 2010, as Didion thinks back to Quintana’s wedding in New York seven years before. Today would be her wedding anniversary. This fact triggers vivid snapshots of Quintana’s childhood — in Malibu, in Brentwood, at school in Holmby Hills. Reflecting on her daughter but also on her role as a parent, Didion asks the candid questions any parent might about how she feels she failed either because cues were not taken or perhaps displaced. ‘How could I have missed what was clearly there to be seen?’ Finally, perhaps we all remain unknown to each other.
One of the most read authors in our library is Imogen Robertson. Many of you have read her Crowther & Westerman 18th century historical crime series set in Sussex, but this one is a romantic drama set at the fin de siècle in Paris. No murder, but lots of art and suspense.
Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson
What is it about? Maud Heighton came to Lafond's famous Academy to paint, and to flee the constraints of her small English town. It took all her courage to escape, but Paris eats money. While her fellow students enjoy the dazzling joys of the Belle Époque, Maud slips into poverty. Quietly starving, and dreading another cold Paris winter, Maud takes a job as companion to young, beautiful Sylvie Morel. But Sylvie has a secret: an addiction to opium. As Maud is drawn into the Morels' world of elegant luxury, their secrets become hers. Before the New Year arrives, a greater deception will plunge her into the darkness that waits beneath this glittering city of light.
Another special request I was able to get for you is The River Swimmer by Jim Harrison:
This book contains two novellas, so for those of you who feel like reading something shorter in English it might be just the thing!
In "The Land of Unlikeness," Clive--a failed artist, divorced and grappling with the vagaries of his declining years--reluctantly returns to his family's Michigan farmhouse to visit his aging mother. The return to familiar territory triggers a jolt of renewal--of ardor for his high school sweetheart, of his relationship with his estranged daughter, and of his own lost love of painting.
In "The River Swimmer," Harrison ventures into the magical as an Upper Peninsula farm boy is irresistibly drawn to swimming as an escape, and sees otherworldly creatures in the water. Faced with the injustice and pressure of coming of age, he takes to the river and follows its siren song all the way across Lake Michigan.
And the last, but not least, request I was able to fulfill is Living Poor: An American's Encounter with Equador by Moritz Thomsen.
Moritz Thomsen (1915–1991) was an American farmer, writer, and Peace Corps volunteer who worked in the small Ecuadorian town of Rio Verde. These are his memoirs of his years in Equador. I had never heard of Thomsen before I received this request, but as I researched, I was surprised to discover that he is a highly praised author and often referenced. I leafed through the book and found it hard to put down. His style is very moving, very funny, and very sad.
I hope that you will also find something un-put-downable in our Library next time you visit the Association!
Stay busy and happy.