Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Dear Great Book Guru, My book group has been gathering  for over twenty-five years and is now meeting virtually. We are all distracted and a bit uneasy about our first cyber meet-up.  Do you have a good book we could begin with?  Cyber Newbie

Dear Cyber Newbie, I have the perfect book for your group: Anne Tyler’s REDHEAD BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD.   This is the bittersweet story of Micah Mortimer - a forty-two year-old man who lives alone - a self-employed tech expert, a superintendent of his small apartment building in Baltimore - a creature of habit as people would say.  We follow him through his days and nights as he consistently misreads people and situations (and, in fact, some inanimate objects!).  Of course, it is hard not to see ourselves in his bewildered customers as they struggle to explain to him their computer travails.  When his well-ordered albeit colorless life is upended by a series of encounters with an errant college student, an aggrieved woman friend, and an old college lover, we wonder if he will be able to see how his life could be much, much happier.  What we have in Micah is a good man who finds comfort in the distractions of ritual and routine…. until he doesn’t.  As in all Tyler’s twenty or so novels, the characters are funny, touching, and sometimes uncomfortably familiar.  Highly recommended!