The Good House
The seductive rationalizing alcoholic combined with the no-nonsense sensibility of a born and bred New Englander is the voice of the narrator in Ann Leary's newest novel, The Good House.
At some point, you will find yourself wanting to have a glass of wine with Hildy Good, a descendant of the famed Salem witches. However, you will also find yourself wondering if just a touch more is too much. The story is about a few characters in a small Massachusetts oceanside town and the interactions between the new folks who yearn for the charms outside the big city and those who grew up there.
Leary has a good handle on her subject matter, which covers everything from horseback riding to real estate and lobster fisherman. Hildy is the main character, but the relationship between her and the young, wealthy Rebecca is what drives the plot. The book has a few twists and surprises that make more than just an enjoyable read. There is a bit of mystery and suspense as events are referred to in the past, but for you they have not happened yet.
Where'd You Go Bernadette
The Gilly Salt Sisters
For food, wine and travel lovers, Travels With Alice is the perfect book complement. A hilarious writer, Trillin provides an account of family’s misadventures and personal consternation with foreigners that will inspire even the most snobbish travelers to let down their guard and share a story of their own. The forerunner of A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle, Travels with Alice is a combination P.J. O’Rourke and Dave Barry. “So far, no scholar of Franco-American relations has attempted to refute the theory I once offered that some of the problems American visitors have with the French can be traced to the Hollywood movies of Maurice Chevalier. According to the theory, meeting a surly bureaucrat or a rude taxi driver is bound to be particularly disappointing if you’ve arrived with the expectation that every Frenchman you encounter will be a charming, debonair old gent who at any moment might start singing, ‘Sank Evan for leetle gerls.’”
Discussion for this book could easily get side-tracked into everyone’s own mishaps while traveling. We suggest a good bottle of wine, some cheese and a world map be readily accessible when discussing this book. If that’s not enough, perhaps you could search out a game of baby foot or a good Taureaux Piscine showing.
Calvin Trillin is a writer, humorist and poet to The New York Times and The New Yorker, and The Nation. In 2012 he was awarded Thurber Prize for American Humor. His most recent novel Dogfight, The 2012 Campaign in Verse is written, as you might expect, in rhyme.
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle