The Book of Joe; Jonathan Tropper

A novelist returns to his mid west home after his father suffers a serious stroke.  He hasn’t been home for over a decade during which he published a best seller based on many people in his town.  A sad but funny story. The second Tripper novel that I have read and enjoyed.

PJH Rating: ****

How You Lose Her; Junot Diaz

A set of interrelated short stories by the wonderful Junot Diaz basically about how stupid men are and how they lose the women they love.  The main character in most of the stories is Yunior… who’ve you got to love.   Probably not everybody’s cup of tea, lots of Spanish that I have no idea what they’re talking about, ramblings on, but I really liked it and I think Diaz is a wonderful writer.

PJH Rating: ****1/2

Natchez Burning; Greg Iles

Unsolved racial murders from the 1960s are brought back under investigation after the elderly players are dying, or murdered in today’s still racially charged Natchez, Mississippi. Lots of characters and interesting history, but christ almighty there is no need for 900 pages. Hire an editor already. I did finish it though as the last couple of hundred pages (!) picked up a bit. I was very surprised at the glowing reviews I looked at after I read it as I thought it was mostly a bloated bore.

PJH Rating: ***

Raven Stole the Moon; Garth Stein

A Seattle woman, unhappy with her marriage and depressed from the death of her child two years  prior, takes off on a whim to Alaska to visit where her Mother grew up.  She meets someone there, deals with her past demons and becomes involved with the local folklore of the indigenous to look for closure for the death of her son.  Not nearly as good as Stein’s previous novel, actually this was an old novel recently republished, but an interesting story nonetheless.

PJH Rating: ***1/2

40 Days of Dating

Two 20 something New York City designers document their 40 day experiment of dating each other.  While I ended up disliking both participants immensely, and wondering if really was all true, it is an interesting read and I loved the design and blog format.  Great on an ipad. The future of publishing? I doubt it, but pretty cool nonetheless and definitely  worth checking out.

PJH rating: ***1/2