Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Nevermore: March, Kings and Queens, Guess Who, Our Souls at Night, Illustrated Man, Becoming

Reported by Jeanne

Nevermore opened with a very brief review of March by Gwendolyn Brooks.  The book explores the Civil War experiences of Mr. March, the patriarch of the March family from Little Women, based in part on Bronson Alcott’s diaries just as Louisa May used her own family in her novel.  The book was very well written and interesting; the problem was that when the reviewer was several chapters into the book she realized she had already read it.  It was recommended.

The PBS documentary “Prince Charles at 70” inspired another member to pick up Kings & Queens of Great Britain to explore the lives all of all 60-plus rulers of England and Great Britain.  She was thoroughly enjoying it, but said she knew it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

A newcomer to Nevermore had just started reading Guess Who: A Novel by Chris McGeorge.  Morgan Sheppard, star of a reality TV show called “Resident Detective,” wakes up in a hotel room, handcuffed to a bed.  With him are five strangers and a corpse.  Morgan is told that he has three hours to solve the murder mystery or a bomb will go off.  The reader described it as a sort of classic locked room mystery, and that the book was off to a promising start.

Sometimes Nevermore readers have an innovative approach to their books.  Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf is the story of two lonely older people who develop a close and tender relationship.  Widow Addie approaches her neighbor, Louis, and suggests they spend their nights together—not for sex, but for companionship in the dark. Their comfortable and comforting time together is challenged when Addie’s grandson is sent for a visit. Our reader loved it up until the end, which she found unsatisfactory so “I just closed my eyes and wrote a new ending that made me happy.”

The Illustrated Man  by Ray Bradbury is a collection of science fiction stories, many of which originally appeared as standalone stories.  Bradbury created a side-show character whose body is covered in tattoos, each of which comes to life and tells a story.  Several of the tales are quite well known and have been filmed—“The Veldt” and “The Long Rain,” for example—but our reader was unimpressed.  She gave up after a story or two.

Becoming by Michelle Obama is still making the rounds in the club.  The current reader said she hadn’t yet reached the White House years, but was finding much to admire in the way that Mrs. Obama was deeply involved in her daughters’ lives while also juggling a demanding career and a husband with political aspirations. 

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