Sunday, March 21, 2021

Dear Great Book Guru,  My mind is overwhelmed by my existence in the cyberworld of Twitter, Instagram, Face Book, Zoom, webinars, breakout rooms, etc.  It goes on and on… Sometimes I wonder which world is more real and where do I feel more at home: to be or not to be - internet or not? Any books of this on this topic?  In Search of Place

Dear In Search of Place, I just finished a new novel that faces this very issue: FAKE ACCOUNTS by Lauren Oyler.  Our narrator throughout is an unnamed young woman who in the opening pages has just scrolled through her boyfriend’s iPhone in search of - as she says - “a good story” only to discover he is an anonymous internet conspiracy theorist.  She is somewhat relieved and exhilarated to find this other side of him because she admits up until now she had found him rather boring. She soon finds herself enmeshed in a whole world of online fabrications and false existences.  She throws herself into this world, navigating dating apps, expat meetups, wait rooms, chat rooms - all the while creating and recreating her online self. Traveling between New York, D.C., and Berlin, she entertains and terrifies us with her cyber hijinks. Definitely a fascinating look into a world we are all about to experience…if we haven’t already!


Monday, March 15, 2021


Dear Great Book Guru, I have been reading lots of the novels you have suggested and have enjoyed them. Now I think I would like to read some non-fiction.  With St Patrick’s Day coming up, I am particularly interested in something with an Irish slant.  In Search of the Green

Dear In Search of the Green, I just read a fascinating story of a woman who figured prominently in modern Irish history, but is known by very few:  THE WOMAN WHO STOLE VERMEER by Anthony Amore.  Rose Dugdale was born into incredible wealth - daughter of a fabulously rich London magnate and an aristocratic mother whose family had been involved in the British slave trade.  Educated at exclusive finishing schools, Rose made her debut before Queen Elizabeth in 1958 with 1400 other young women only four of whom went on to college. Graduating from Oxford University with a doctorate in economics, she quickly became involved in political protests around the world, eventually turning her focus on Northern Ireland. In a burst of madcap moves, she led a terrorist helicopter attack on a British police station, and shortly after broke into her family home stealing silverware and jewelry to finance her political activities.  But it was her heist of nineteen Old Masters worth millions of dollars that brought her the most notoriety. One of these paintings was “Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid,” by Vermeer, among the world’s most revered and beloved artists. Despite imprisonment, she continued to fight for Irish freedom with a dedication that is both disturbing and inspiring. An amazing story and highly recommended!


Monday, March 1, 2021

 Dear Great Book Guru, I just watched NOMADLAND this weekend and really enjoyed it.  I’m sure it will win all sorts of awards for its storyline and acting.  Do you have a book that deals with a similar theme - a woman facing life’s hardships here in America and showing great courage?  In Search of a Hero

Dear In Search of a Hero, I too loved the movie NOMADLAND and this weekend I read a book that reminded me very much of its heroine: ZORRIE  by Laird Hunt. When Zorrie’s parents die of diphtheria within weeks of one another, she goes to live with a bitter, unloving aunt. The young Zorrie is an enthusiastic student and hard worker but she is forced to leave school when she is fifteen.  With the aunt’s death, Zorrie is once again orphaned and leaves her beloved home in Indiana. In Chicago, she finds dear friends with whom she will remain close throughout her life. She also finds employment in a factory manufacturing radium faced clocks. Zorrie and her friends become known as the “ghost girls” because they glow from radium-induced radioactivity. Health problems will plague these young women for the rest of their lives. Working incredibly hard, she faces cruel obstacles all along the way.  Zorrie’s life story underscores the plight of so many in this land of great wealth and beauty.  Highly recommended!