Lost HorizonJames Hilton

Published in 1933, Lost Horizon, came at the twilight of the great, grand, adventure books, like  its predecessors, including Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Lost World by Conan Doyle. The tale is an enjoyable fantasy of normal, everyday folks ending up …

Graeme Simsion

rosieThis sweet, funny story follows professor of genetics Don Tillman as he tries to find the perfect wife. It soon becomes clear that Don has Asperger’s Syndrome. That is, it is clear to everyone but Don. Deciding a large questionnaire is needed to weed out unacceptable applicants, Don …

jesus cowMichael Perry

On Christmas Eve itself bachelor Harley Jackson stepped into his barn and behold there illuminated in straw a smallish newborn bull calf upon whose flank was born the very image of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

‘Well,” said Harley, “that’s trouble.”

And thus begins The Bard o’ …

The MandiblesLionel Shriver

Shriver’s oh-so-plausible dystopian novel follows four generations of the Mandible family. From the incredibly wealthy great-grandfather to his granddaughter and great grandson ( barely scraping by), the family fortunes run the gamut of the economic ladder. But all are soon falling, and fast.

What makes this novel both …

Nightside SeriesSimon R. Green

Green’s Nightside series is the perfect read for Neil Gaiman and Jim Butcher fans waiting for their next fix.  The first title, Something from the Nightside, does tend to feel heavily derivative of of Gaiman’s Neverwhere and Butcher’s Dresden Files in places.  However, there are definitely …

The Last King of ScotlandGiles Foden

I was sad to discover that The Last King Of Scotland is a piece of fiction. Read it anyway. The plot is so unbelievable as to be highly believable. Picking up speed as the madness of dictator Idi Amin spins out, young Dr. Nicholas Garrigan is drawn into …

Then We Came to the EndJoshua Ferris

Anyone who has worked in an office will feel a strong sense of understanding, if not deja vu, when reading Then We Came to the End. Written in a chatty, meandering stream-of-consciousness style the narrator shares stories of coworkers and their jobs as they are downsized one …

DThe Gum Thiefouglas Coupland

The Gum Thief lives up to Coupland’s usual excellent standard. While the formula may be quite familiar – outcast/losers from different backgrounds band together – Coupland once again manages to make the sad and mundane beautiful. Set in a Staples store, Coupland tells the story of the …

PontoonGarrison Keiller

Told in his gentle, rolling monologue, Pontoon is all one can hope for in a Lake Woebegon story. Looney characters gently drift through, some angst on a small-scale Lutheran level, gentle teasing of Californians and many familiar names and faces. Interestingly, I think this is the first Keiller …

JpodDouglas Coupland  and Lincoln Child

Coupland and Child are two of my favorite authors but I was rather disappointed by both of their newest books. Jpod seems slightly stale, though the base story is pretty interesting. For some inexplicable reason, Coupland felt the need to inject himself as a character …

High FidelityNick Hornby

You know what is really funny? Dogs, with socks on running. You know what else is funny? I actually read this book years ago and had no memory of it until I got about 7/8 of they way through. Then I realized “Oh, this is that book about …

Anybody Out There?Marian Keyes

The latest installment in the Walsh family soap-opera is a doozy. Anna, the youngest Walsh girl (the spacy-new age one) gets her act together with the help of her brother-in-law Garv and moves to New York to work in marketing. The story picks up with Anna back in …

a-long-way-downNick Hornby

A Long Way Down reminds me of Douglas Coupland’s writing, the story is wry, funny and depressingly accurate. The plot follows four mismatched people who meet on a rooftop, New Years, to commit suicide. The middle-aged mother with a son in a vegetative state, the former morning -show …