Tuesday, April 23, 2019


A few comments on the recently published books I selected starting with Where the Crawdads Sing, continuing with Beneath a Scarlet Sky, and Becoming. These books are special. I look for books with unusual personal relationships, perhaps in foreign countries, and unique stories with surprising endings.  They may be fiction or non-fiction. Most of all, they are not predictable and are truly unforgettable. 

What you will rarely if ever see on my Blog are other genres that make up the majority of Bestsellers. 

The Tuscan Child, a novel by Rhys Bowen, was published in February 2018. In 1944, Hugo Langley, a British bomber pilot, is shot down over German-occupied Tuscany in the middle of the night. Parachuting down with a bullet leg wound, he lands in great pain, unable to walk. Sophia, a young girl from the nearby village, finds him and helps him to hide in a ruined monastery. She secretly makes repeated visits to bring him food, medicine, and bandages. During their many months of hardship Hugo and Sophia fall in love. Hugo manages to escape to England leaving Sophia pregnant. Thirty years later in England, Hugo dies of natural causes, survived by his daughter Joanna, a law student. She finds an old unopened letter addressed to Sophia returned as undeliverable. The letter’s contents prompt Joanna to undertake a quest to Tuscany hoping to find Sophia and her child. What she learns in Tuscany reveals much about her father and herself.

This story describes unusual personal relationships and personas of the characters that you will never forget.

Saturday, April 6, 2019


Of the many current books I read this year, two of the ten outstanding ones are memoirs. Memoirs relate those episodes that have had a profound effect on the author’s life, which he believes would make an interesting story. Memoirs are not the same as autobiographies. An autobiography is the author’s recording of his entire life.  Today’s memoir is indeed remarkable.  Becoming by Michele Obama is immensely popular and more than 10,000 reviews have been written. I’m sure some of you have already read it.

If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be “honest”.

Michele describes her girlhood and womanhood as an unwavering desire to excel.

When she was a child, she wanted a dog, a house with stairs with 2 floors, preferably for one family, and a 4-door station wagon. Little did she realize that these wishes would someday come to pass on a grand scale.

Michele grew up in the predominantly black South Side of Chicago in a family of modest means. Her only sib was Craig, two years older and with whom she has a life long friendship.  Her parents encouraged her. Even as a young child she was ambitious. When the neighborhood school deteriorated, her parents sent both children to private schools.

She excelled and was able to enter Princeton and eventually Harvard Law.

I found this book remarkable for a number of reasons the least of which is that Michele was the first African American to spend 8 years in the White House as First Lady.

Michele is extremely frank in describing her thoughts and experiences.
What I found particularly enlightening was the insight into how most blacks feel towards whites. The book also gives details about the political interactions and infighting, her marital relationship with Barack as well as her tenure as First Lady.

Regardless of your political preferences, I believe you will find this book a rewarding read.