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Thursday, September 29, 2016

#62 - Stoner - John Williams

Title:  Stoner
Author:   John Williams
Read by:  Robin Field
Genre: Literature
Category:  Fiction
Rating:  B+
Published:  1965
Dates:   9/12/16 – 9/29/16

William Stoner had meant to study agronomy in order to help his father with the family farm.  Instead, he fell in love with English literature and embraced the life of a scholar.  A shy, silent man Bill Stoner becomes a professor of English lit at the University of Missouri, marries a woman colder than an arctic blast and fathers a daughter who falls under the spell of her strict mother.  Stoner, himself, becomes infatuated with a fellow teacher who had earlier been his student.  Their affair ends under threat of scandal.  Like his forebears, Stoner withdraws further inside himself until the point of death.  As reviewer actor Tom Hanks says “… it’s one of the most fascinating things that you’ve ever come across.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

#61 - Light in August - William Faulkner

Title:  Light in August
Author:   William Faulkner
Reader: Mark Hammer
Genre:  Novel
Category:  Fiction
Rating:  B+
Published:  1932
Dates:  9/11/16– 9/27/16
Cds/Hrs:  16/18.25

I’d meant to listen to this in August, the month Tom Nissley had suggested it be read, but someone else had checked it out from the library.  Instead, September worked great for me.  I must say it was my favorite Faulkner novel so far, having read The Rievers and A Fable. 
Sandwiched between the story of “a guileless pregnant woman who walks from Alabama to Mississippi in search of the father of her unborn child” and the same woman with a three month old child on the same quest at the end of the book, we find Joe Christmas, “a tortured young man of mixed ancestry whose isolation escalates to homicidal rage.”  It is Joe Christmas’s story that frames the novel.  I like what the back cover says – “With its dramatic back-tracking into Joe’s troubled past, Light in August rushes the reader like flooding water to an unexpected and inspired conclusion.  As Joe fulfills his own destiny, he in turn plays out the doom of the South.” 
This story remains timeless and one that readers from the 21st century will be able to relate.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

#60 - Trixie Belden and the Mystery of the Blinking Eye - Kathryn Kenny

Title:  Trixie Belden and the Mystery of the Blinking Eye
Author:   Kathryn Kenny
Genre:  Children’s Mystery
Category:  Fiction
Rating:  B
Published:  originally 1963
Dates:  9/7/16 – 9/12/16
Pages:  212

We find all the Bob-Whites and their friends, Bob and Barbara Hubbell and Ned Schulz, from Iowa enjoying an August vacation in New York City.  Their chaperone – the inimitable Miss Trask.  At Kennedy International awaiting their friends’ arrival, Trixie helps a Mexican woman connect with a flight home to Mexico City.  In payment the mysterious woman gives Trixie a pretty straw purse, telling her to use it right away and fore-telling good fortune will come her way.   A while later Trixie buys a funny little statue at an antique store that she declares is so ugly it’s cute.  That same day, Trixie discovers a scribbled wad of paper in the purse the fortune-telling woman was given her.  They beg Miss Trask to translate what appears to be Spanish which she does with much grace and ease.  From there, an outline of the Blinking Eye mystery is revealed and the Bob White company of friends pursues it in a frenzy of sight-seeing and intrigue.