Mar 2, 2011
A discussion of books that are touchstones for adolescents, but might not measure up for adults. A brief overview of some of the recent breed of tough female characters in books. And two books, in paperback, that we can't wait for you to read.
A recent article on Flavorwire, entitled "Books That Rocked Your World at 16 But Fall Flat Now," got me thinking. I fully admit that I read Catcher in the Rye too late and just didn't get it (On the Road too). The article makes suggestions for "adult" replacements for these books, but the author couldn't come up with one for Catcher in the Rye. Serendipitously, I had just seen a recommendation from Chris Bohjalian, for the book The Joyous Season by Patrick Dennis. He describes the main character as "a bit like Holden Caulfield, but with less angst and a much better sense of humor." Ann suggests Old School by Tobias Wolff as a worthy grown-up alternative to Catcher in the Rye.
A quick bit of Retreat business: we've had two cancellations. If you are interested in joining us but didn't get your registration in before our first deadline, please email us. First come, first served!
Wendy, from Utah, called our voice mail line to ask our thoughts on the new breed of heroines in fiction. She mentioned Katniss from The Hunger Games and Lisbeth Salander from the Stieg Larsson novels as perfect examples. Ann thinks back to reading Nancy Drew as a child, but, more recently, tells us about Ayla, the main character in Jean Auel's series which began with The Clan of the Cave Bear. The latest book in the series, called The Land of Painted Caves, comes out at the end of March. I rave about Flavia de Luce star of three books by Alan Bradley, the most recent of which is A Red Herring Without Mustard and is just out in hardcover. The Informationist by Taylor Stevens introduces us to Vanessa Michael Munroe, a character some are already calling a female Jack Reacher.
Ann's Irish heritage comes to the fore with her love of Ghosts and Lightning by Trevor Byrne, which is the story of Denny Cullen, a young man who returns home to Dublin for his mother's funeral, and finds more than a few drinks and drugs while he's there. I re-recommend Chris Bohjalian's wonderful Secrets of Eden for several reasons: it's recently out in paperback, he'll be at the BOTNS Weekend Retreat in April, and I re-"read" it by listening to the audio, which I also highly recommend!