Sunday, June 26, 2022


Dear Great Book Guru, We just came back from a great Juneteenth celebration at the Children’s Library. Families enjoyed stories, music, a craft, and a parade on a beautiful afternoon. Now I have the rest of this holiday weekend to get into a good book. A novel set in the present and not too long, please. Juneteenth Celebrant

Dear Juneteenth Celebrant, I just finished Tom Perrotta’s latest novel, TRACY FLICK CAN’T WIN, and I loved it! Tracy is a forty-one year-old assistant principal in a suburban high school and she is vying to take over for the retiring principal, Jack Weed. In alternating chapters, we hear from ten characters - all of whom are part of this school saga. Kyle Dorfman is a wealthy former tech developer and now school board president with ambitious to make his mark by creating a Hall of Fame for the high school. He is intent on having Vito Falcone – a retired football player and recovering alcoholic – as the first honoree. Principal Weed has been having an affair with the school secretary Front Desk Doris who he nominates as the other Hall of Famer. Doris gives her version of the relationship, quite different from Weed’s.  Students Lily Chu and Nate Cleary tell their stories of teenage angst while we learn the back story of Tracy and her derailed ambitions going back to her teenage years. Questions of power, politics, and memory are addressed with a dramatic conclusion. Highly recommended!


Sunday, June 5, 2022

 Dear Great Book Guru,  I just got back from the Village-wide Garage Sale-always a favorite event of mine! The Sea Cliff Civic Association does such a great job and I found some wonderful books including a huge number of Grisham novels.  Do you have a favorite I should begin with? Fan of Village Garage Sale

Dear Fan of the Village Garage Sale, I recently reviewed SOOLEY which was not in the Grisham legal thriller tradition, but this week I read THE GUARDIANS, definitely a return to the courtroom and a spectacular return, indeed! Set in a small town in Florida, the story is told in the first person by Cullen Post, an Episcopalian priest and lawyer who left his law practice years before, after defending a criminal in a horrific case. Drawn back to the law, he works for the Guardians, a small group of people dedicated to freeing the wrongfully imprisoned.  They have succeeded in eight cases and Post has now taken on their next innocent - Quincey Miller. Miller has been imprisoned for twenty-two years for the murder of a young lawyer who had represented him badly in a divorce suit. All these years, Miller has maintained his innocence and there seems to be much evidence of political interference and judicial malfeasance. Post works hard to gather witnesses - all of whom have much to fear. Throughout we sense the passion Post feels and the injustices faced by many in our prisons. This is a thought-provoking book and highly recommended.