Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Mayor of Casterbridge

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

Michael Henchard is a poor workman dragging his family across country trying to find work. At a county fair they come across, Michael gets drunk and begins to brood on his family. He feels the responsibility and thinks his wife and baby will drag him down. So he sells them to a sailor who is also just passing through the area. The next day he wakes up and realizes what he has done. But they are no where to be found. He makes a vow to not drink for a period equal to how long he has already been alive.

So after years of hard work he has become a successful businessman and the mayor of Casterbridge. But after the sailor disappears at sea his wife, Susan comes to town with her daughter. Henchard now has on opportunity to make up for the sins of his past.

And there's a new man in town named Donald Farfrae. Farfrae's star is rising. But Henchard's nature won't let him take a backseat to anyone.

This was a wonderful book. It's about second chances and self-destruction. It's my favorite Hardy so far. Highly, highly recommended.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lisey's Story

Lisey's Story by Stephen King
2006 Bram Stoker Award

Two years ago, Lisey lost her husband after 25 years of marriage. Now it's time to clean out his studio. She has gotten on with her life but going through his papers is stirring up memories. Scott was a Pulitzer winning author and since his death vultures are swarming trying to get Lisey to release all of his notes and unpublished works. And one professor has aimed a madman at her.

But being a King novel, there is a secret world that Scott shared with Lisey. And in this world is where Lisey will find the means to fight the killer stalking her.

It had a slow start but after King had it set up it moved along rather quickly. I liked the book. But. It wasn't quite as scary as most of his books. And there wasn't much humor in it. I expect the smart ass conversational tone of his books. This one seemed a little more remote.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Death in the Family

A Death in the Family by James Agee
1958 Pulitzer

"A Death in the Family" explores the emotions of the people left behind immediately after an sudden, accidental death. Jay Follet has been called out in the middle of the night by his alcoholic brother, Ralph. Ralph tells Jay their father has had a heart attack and asks Jay to come as soon as he can. Jay immediately leaves Knoxville for his fathers farm. And as he had suspected, the heart attack had been exaggerated. So he heads for home. On the way he loses control of the steering, crashes the car and is killed.

His wife May is overwhelmed by grief. His small children don't completely understand. His brother feels guilty for calling him out. His in-laws are more detached, but still sorrowful.

Mary turns to religion. And some of the family feel Jay's presence. some cling to the hope his spirit is still with them.

This is a book with a characters and emotions everyone can relate to.