Read these books

by kara on September 28, 2015

The Neapolitan Novels. Three of the  four novels have been published in English: My Brilliant FriendThe Story of a New Name, and, now, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay. Taken together, the novels span some 50 years, chronicling the life-long friendship between Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo.



















Girls’ secret.. by Mario Cattaneo

A girl’s Neapolitan childhood and adolescence, in the late nineteen-fifties. The neighborhood is a book unto its own, a lively, dirty, poverty-stricken ghetto in Naples, a  chaotic, impoverished world where adults grease the palms of the Camorra aka The Solara Brothers, and where irons and furniture and children fly out of windows during domestic disputes, and where even mild-mannered fathers  routinely beat their children and their wives. The city of Elena’s childhood is a poor, violent place, with the snatched richness that comes from deprivation (i.e. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn ); a holiday at the sea; novels from the library; the encouragement of a teacher; a best friend who is a demon of creativity and intellect; the unnerving and beautiful elements of human relationships; a wedding, the promise of getting your article published in a local journal, a conversation with a boy whose intellect is deeper and more liberal than your own. Ordinary-seeming occurrences take on a special  luminosity against a background of poverty, ignorance, violence, and parental threat, a world in which a character can be casually described as “struggling to speak in Italian” (because mostly people in this book are using Neapolitan vernacular).  I was entirely caught up in this story, as it evoked those familiar yet almost indescribable feelings about long friendships, adolescence, and home. You’re inextricably tied to a person, a place, but you hate how strong the connection is, how it drags you back in when you try to escape it; slowly it tears you apart.



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rip Jackie Collins

by kara on September 19, 2015











Ms. Collins in 1968.

CreditBob Dear/Associated Pres

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a book for our sad, sad, time

by kara on September 3, 2015


via mentalfloss


f you’re going to be buying $800 furniture for your feline, he’s going to have to start earning his keep. This book will show you how to make him the next big thing on the ‘net.


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Now Reading

by kara on August 24, 2015

The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante

Europa Editions, Paperback, 9781933372006, 188pp.

Publication Date: September 2005


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Bookstore Confidential

by kara on August 15, 2015

There was interesting situation in Twitter this afternoon. A  gentleman I follow, Marc Lamont Hill was at a Barnes and Noble in Center City Philadelphia when he witnessed this happening and live-tweeted it:


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The Road Scholar

by kara on August 15, 2015

It was a novel idea. Just cold dump your unwanted old books onto the highway, just toss ‘em right out your car window as you speed on by. Unless you get caught, then you get a humilating nickname like the “Literary Litterbug”. A Colorado state trooper witnessed 62 year old man, Glenn Pladsen, dumping thousands of books onto U.S. Highway 287. He pleaded guilty to charges of littering, and yep, he had the book thrown at him, and was sentenced to 30 hours of community service and ordered to pay a fee of $1,725.

Pladsen had acquired the books—most of them romance novels—from a used bookstore that had closed eight years prior. After trying to sell the books online, a failed attempt at giving them away ( I suspect the LL really didn’t try very hard. People looking in the ”free” section of Craigslist will come pick up damn near anything), and long work hours that made it difficult for Pladsen to donate them to a thrift store or take them to a landfill, Pladsen decided the best way to free himself of his literary burden was to send them out onto the highway.

Pladsen lives in Arvada, a town just outside of Denver. For several months before he was caught, locals were trying to figure out why so many books were being discarded. Some of the orphaned books were titled Rogue Angel SacrificeTaken by the Viking and Rocky and Bullwinkle: The Movie Official Joke Book. The  Literary Litterbug apparently threw thousands of books out on the highway over several months.

Let’s hope he turns over a new leaf. Hardy-Har-har.


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by kara on July 30, 2015

My current favorite author is The Mysterious Elana Ferrante


via London Review Bookshop, ‘Elena Ferrante’ is the pseudonymous author of several highly acclaimed Italian novels, most recently the Neapolitan Quartet, the fourth and final part of which will be published in English in September. Political, personal, discursive and compulsively readable, Ferrante’s books have become essential reading for those who wish to understand the life and world of late 20th-century Europe. Explore them here!

(they also have a cake shop, Alexina).

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RIP Ann Rule

by kara on July 27, 2015


I don’t care what you say, the woman wrote FORTY-THREE books. FORTY THREE.

October 22, 1930 – July 27, 2015

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by kara on July 21, 2015

E.L. Doctorow, 1931 – 2015


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The Big Cheat: Goodbye Columbus

by kara on July 20, 2015

The Big Cheat focuses on the movie versions books.

Goodbye Columbus , Philip Roth’s scathing satire of a nouveau riche Jewish family, was made into a 1969 American romantic comedy drama film starring Richard Benjamin and Ali MacGraw. Let’s explore the Neo Colonial splendor that is the Patimkin family house. Sets designed by Emanuel Gerard (1926 – 1973)

[click to continue…]

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