Monday, January 9, 2012

NevermoreBook Club: Fiction from Baxter, Banks, LaPlante & Cornwell

Our director Jud Barry came across Charles Baxter’s Gryphon:  New and Selected Stories on the new books shelf and quickly became fascinated.  He isn’t exactly certain what to call the stories but proposed “Midwest Weird." Baxter likes to take very ordinary and realistic situations and give them a twist.  While short stories aren’t to everyone’s taste, our readers have found Baxter’s stories to be intriguing and very readable. Gryphon was selected by the NY Times as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2011.
Also on that list was The Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks, a novel that has been awaited eagerly by the Nevermore members who enjoyed The Sweet Hereafter and Cloudsplitter.  In this novel, a character called only "the Kid" is living under a bridge in an unnamed city in Florida.  At age 22, he’s a registered sex offender, which means the places where he can live are very limited.  The Professor is a sociologist who wants to use the Kid as a guinea pig for some of his theories – or so he says.  Banks is known for his complex, well-written, thought-provoking novels, and this one is no exception. 
Turn of Mind by Lydia LaPlante is described as a literary thriller. The story is a narrated in the first person by Jennifer White, a gifted surgeon forced to retire because of increasing dementia. At the moment, she’s under suspicion of murdering a woman who was once her best friend: they’re hoping she will confess.  The problem is that Jennifer doesn’t know whether or not she is guilty.  This novel has been called compelling, haunting, mesmerizing and heartbreaking.
One Nevermore member was re-reading Hornet’s Nest by Patricia Cornwell for the wonderful descriptions of Charlotte, NC.  Cornwell worked as a reporter for the Charlotte Observer, so she knew the town well.  The plot has a crime beat reporter covering a string of murders of out of town businessmen. The novel is being filmed for a TNT movie to air sometime this year, but Wilmington is going to stand in for Charlotte.

The Nevermore Book Club meets every Tuesday at 11:00 AM.    Coffee is provided by the library, while the Blackbird Bakery provides the delectable doughnuts!  Everyone is invited to drop by and join in by sharing the titles of books worth reading-- or not worth reading, as the case may be.

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