Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Tournament of Books 2020

Morning News Tournament of Books
Rooster Award for best fiction
15th edition
sponsored by Field Notes and Powell's
details | daily

Each weekday in March, starting March 6, 2019, two of the books below will be read and considered by one of our judges (also listed below). One book from the “match” will be chosen to advance, with the judge required to explain in detail how he or she came to their decision. Then the judge’s decision is evaluated first by our official commentators, then by you, the Rooster fan, wherein you politely and respectfully describe how your heart was broken and your mind inflamed by such erroneous arrogance. And the next day we do it all over again.

That time of year again...

YAY! the shortlist for this annual tournament has been announced.

I read a few last year and the rest are in my tbr pile. The next couple months will be devoted to reading from this list before the competition begins.


WINNER: Normal People by Sally Rooney



All This Could Be Yours
by Jami Attenberg
Goodreads | my rating: 5

Fleishman Is in Trouble
by Taffy Akner
Goodreads | my rating: 5

Girl, Woman, Other
by Bernardine Evaristo
-Literary, Feminism, Short Stories
Goodreads | my review: tba

Lost Children Archive
by Valeria Luiselli
Goodreads | my review | my rating: 5

Mary Toft; or, the Rabbit Queen
by Dexter Palmer
Goodreads | my review | my rating: 5

Normal People
by Sally Rooney
-Literary, Ireland
Goodreads | my rating: 5

Nothing to See Here
by Kevin Wilson
-Magical Realism
Goodreads | my review | my rating: 5

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
by Ocean Vuong
-Literary, Poetry, LGBTQ, Asian American, Vietnam
Goodreads | my review | my rating: 5

Optic Nerve
by MarĂ­a Gainza
-Short stories, Art
Goodreads | my review: tba

by Caleb Crain
Goodreads | my review: tba

Suneeta Peres da Costa
-Historical, Africa, Portugal, India, Australia
Goodreads | my rating: 4

The Testaments
by Margaret Atwood
-Dystopia, Feminism
Goodreads | my review: tba

Trust Exercise
by Susan Choi
-Literary, Coming of Age
Goodreads | my review | my rating: 5

The Water Dancer
by Ta-Nehisi Coates
-Historical, Magical Realism, African American
Goodreads | my review: tba

Your House Will Pay
by Steph Cha
-Mystery, Historical
Goodreads | my review: tba


Golden State
by Ben H. Winters
-SciFi, Mystery
Goodreads | my rating: 5

by Elvia Wilk
-SciFi, Dystopia
Goodreads | my rating: DNF

We Cast a Shadow
by Maurice Carlos Ruffin
Goodreads | my rating: 5

Friday, January 24, 2020

Conviction by Mina Denise

by Mina Denise

Published: 2019
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Hardback: 376
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
Just tell the truth.

The day Anna McDonald's quiet, respectable life explodes starts off like all the days before: packing up the kids for school, making breakfast, listening to yet another true crime podcast. Then her husband comes downstairs with an announcement, and Anna is suddenly, shockingly alone.

Reeling and desperate for distraction, Anna returns to the podcast. Other people's problems are much better than one's own--a sunken yacht, a murdered family, a hint of international conspiracy, but this case actually is Anna's problem. She knows one of the victims from an earlier life, a life she's taken great pains to leave behind, and she is convinced that she knows what really happened.

Then an unexpected visitor arrives on her front stoop; a meddling neighbor intervenes; and life as Anna knows it is well and truly over. The devils of her past are awakened--and in hot pursuit. Convinced she has no other options, she goes on the run, and in pursuit of the truth, with a washed-up musician at her side and the podcast as her guide.

My two-bits:

In for a wild ride with this one. Loved the true crime podcast element folded into this storyline.


* part of Reese's Book Club 2019 (here)

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Reese's Book Club 2020

Reese's Book Club



Such A Fun Age
by Kiley Reid
-Contemporary | Goodreads | my rating: 5


The Scent Keeper
by Erica Bauermeister
-Women's Fiction | Goodreads | my rating: 5


The Jetsetters
by Amanda Eyre Ward
-Women's Fiction, Travel | Goodreads | my rating: tba


by Glennon Doyle
-Memoir, Self-help | Goodreads | my rating: 5


The Henna Artist
by Alka Joshi
-Historical, India | Goodreads | my rating: 5


I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
-Memoir, Race | Goodreads | my rating: tba

The Guest List by Lucy Foley
-Mystery, Thriller | Goodreads | my rating: 5


Everything Inside
by Edwidge Danticat
Short Stories | Goodreads


The Last Story of Mina Lee
by Nancy Jooyun Kim
Contemporary, Mystery, Korean | Goodreads





* header image source: reese

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Talking to Strangers:
What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know
by Malcolm Gladwell

Published: 2019
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Psychology
Hardback: 388
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
In July 2015, a young African American woman named Sandra Bland drove from her hometown of Chicago to a little town an hour west of Houston, Texas.

Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Outliers, offers a powerful examination of our interactions with strangers -- and why they often go wrong.

How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to each other that isn't true?

While tackling these questions, Malcolm Gladwell was not solely writing a book for the page. He was also producing for the ear. In the audiobook version of Talking to Strangers, you'll hear the voices of people he interviewed--scientists, criminologists, military psychologists. Court transcripts are brought to life with re-enactments. You actually hear the contentious arrest of Sandra Bland by the side of the road in Texas. As Gladwell revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, and the suicide of Sylvia Plath, you hear directly from many of the players in these real-life tragedies. There's even a theme song - Janelle Monae's "Hell You Talmbout."

Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don't know. And because we don't know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world.

My two-bits:

Like his other books, I love Malcolm's insight and analysis into the topics he chooses. This book includes hot current topics to illustrate his points which are pretty spot on.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Foreign Intrigue Book Club 2020

Foreign Intrigue Book Club
face-to-face (details)
Books, Inc. Laurel Village

Do you like to travel? Experience a country through the eyes of a local? Try the food of another country?



The Blood Strand
(Faroes #1)
by Chris Ould
Mystery, Faroe Islands, Denmark | Goodreads | my rating: 4


Evil Things
(Hella Mauzer #1)
by Katja Ivar
Mystery, Historical, Helsinki, Finland | Goodreads | my rating: 4

MARCH pick:

Department of Sensitive Crimes
by Alexander McCall Smith
Mystery, Humor, Sweden | Goodreads | my rating: 5

APRIL pick:

Kolymsky Heights
by Lionel Davidson
Mystery, Russian, Siberia | Goodreads | my rating: 4

MAY pick:

Athenian Blues
by Pol Koutsakis
Mystery, Greece | Goodreads | my rating: tba

JUNE pick:

Weeping Waters
by Karin Brynard
Mystery, South Africa | Goodreads | my rating: 5

JULY pick:

Don’t Send Flowers
by Martin Solares
Mystery, Crime, Mexico | Goodreads | my rating: 5

AUGUST pick:

Death Comes In Through The Kitchen
by Teresa Dovalpage
Mystery, Food, Havana | Goodreads | my rating: tba


The Levanter
by Eric Ambler
Mystery, Espionage, Syria | Goodreads | my rating: tba


Beside the Syrian Sea
by James Wolff
Mystery, Thriller, Syria | Goodreads | my rating: tba



Thursday, January 2, 2020

First Book Of The Year 2020 and Rabbit Rabbit

Ringing in the new month and new year with...

Rabbits for Food
by Binnie Kirshenbaum
-Contemporary, Humor, Mental Illness | Goodreads

It’s New Year’s Eve, the holiday of forced gaiety, mandatory fun, and paper hats. While dining out with her husband and their friends, Kirshenbaum's protagonist—an acerbic, mordantly witty, and clinically depressed writer—fully unravels. Her breakdown lands her in the psych ward of a prestigious New York hospital where she refuses all modes of recommended treatment. Instead, she passes the time chronicling the lives of her fellow “lunatics” and writing a novel about how she got to this place. Her story is a hilarious and harrowing deep dive into the disordered mind of a woman who sees the world all too clearly.

Propelled by stand-up comic timing and rife with pinpoint insights, her examination of what it means to be unloved, and loved; to succeed, and fail; to be, at once, both impervious and raw ultimately reveals how art can lead us out of—or into—the depths of disconsolate loneliness and piercing grief. Rabbits for Food, Kirshenbaum’s first novel in a decade, is a bravura literary performance.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Clink 2020

*! clink !*


N E W Y E A R !!!


* image source: vintage new year's card (here)
Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu