Wednesday, August 25, 2010
... there will be a quiz next Tuesday.
Some recent releases:
Let's Take the Long Way Home, by Gail Caldwell (Random House, Aug. 10)
A memoir of friendship and grief, shared by two women. "Finding Caroline was like placing an ad for an imaginary friend," Caldwell writes, "then having her show up at your door funnier and better than you had conceived."
You Lost Me There, by Rosecrans Baldwin (Riverhead, Aug. 12)
In this debut novel, a famous Alzheimer's researcher faces up to his own memory loss. When his wife dies, he discovers the note cards she left behind about their marriage. And the way she remembered it isn't quite the way the obtuse Dr. Aaron remembers it.
Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? by Thomas Geoghegan (The New Press, Aug. 10)
Germans get five weeks' paid vacation a year; the German government will pay parents two-thirds of their salaries to stay home for 14 months with newborns. Yeah, yeah, they pay taxes out the wazoo. But they also get free education and free nursing home care. Do movers and shakers in the United States really care about the middle class? And just because we won WW2, does that mean we have nothing to learn from the Germans? Geoghegan's subtitle suggests his line of advice: "How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life."
Framing Innocence, by Lynn Powell (The New Press, Aug. 31)
Subtitled "A Mother's Photographs, a Prosecutor's Zeal, and Small Town's Response," Powell's book examines an Ohio case in which a mother, for the "crime" of taking photos of her 8-year-daughter in the bathtub, was hounded by Christian anti-porn zealots and threatened with loss of custody and long prison sentence.
... and of course, the big publishing event of the week:
Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Aug. 31)
A lefty-environmentalist married couple in Minnesota argues with right-wingers and then undergoes a psychological/political/sexual breakdown. She was a jock; he was a lawyer; once, they both had integrity. They used to fight for causes; now they've grown apart and gotten all situational about their ethics. Franzen's last novel, The Corrections, came out nine years ago. He's still tracking down unlikable but understandable members of our listless middle class.