Monday, July 21, 2014

Dear Great Book Guru,  I had a great meal the other night at Still Partners-Chef John Doran prepared a delicious array of fish, chicken, and pasta dishes that we all enjoyed.  At a nearby table,  I heard someone mention a popular summer novel she had enjoyed. It was about a family and their friends renting a home together and the problems that arose.  Any thoughts? Enjoying the Summer

Dear Enjoying the Summer,  I agree- we  are really lucky in Sea Cliff with our great dining choices and I do especially love listening in on literary conversations.  My guess is your fellow diner was referring to the very popular New York Times bestseller THE VACATIONERS  by Emma Straub. Set in Majorca (seems like a popular spot this summer), the novel is told from the  viewpoints of its seven characters: Franny, matriarch and food critic; Jim, her husband who has been forced out of his job because of brief romance with the daughter of one of his bosses; Bobby, their 28 year-old son and his much older personal trainer girlfriend Carmen; Sylvia,their 18 year-old daughter who is looking ahead to college and her reinvention; and, finally, Charles and Lawrence, friends of Franny’s.  All these characters arrive at the vacation home with secrets and sorrows. Living in close proximity doesn’t make any of these go away and before the two weeks of vacation has ended, the reader is left wondering why anyone would want to leave home.  A quick, breezy read!

Some of my readers might be interested in another book I read this week: A GREAT AND HOLY WAR  by Philip Jenkins.  The author show how religion and spiritualism fueled the First World War and created our modern day world with its never-ending clashes of Christians, Jews, and Muslims.   Armageddon, Our Lady of Fatima, and the Armenian genocide are just a few of the topics this fascinating book discusses. From Africa to North America, Jenkins shows his readers how religion determined the outcome of World War I. Highly recommended!

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