by Maeve Binchy ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 1, 1996
A collection of Christmas-centered feel-good tales about love and family snarls in the season of comfort and joy. All are rendered in Binchy's popular unglossed style (The Glass Lake, 1995, etc.), and set in England, Ireland, and Australia. Some of the 15 tales have to do with unwise, innocent women carrying torches for the married lovers who take them for granted. Most eventually find the strength to douse the torch they've been carrying and let their own light shine—one is helped along by the plight of a loveless teenager and a sad gambler who's lost all. There are also abrasive relationships with children. In ``The First Step of Christmas,'' a resentful, neglected stepdaughter is lured home by a simple holiday tradition. Two single men with wayward adult children find mutual support and insight in ``A Typical Irish Christmas,'' and two singles in their 50s fly to Australia to meet their children's spouses for the first time—and discover each other along the way. Included as well are amusing tales about ditsy-to-just-plain-awful grannies. In ``A Season of Fuss,'' adult children foolishly try to curb their mother's towering nervous flights of preparation for the holidays. In ``The Best Inn in Town,'' two crazy grandmothers—one with ``a lip that curled all on its own,'' the other possessing ``a tinkling laugh that would freeze the blood''—are about to be dumped in a local inn. But the grandchildren, used to ``the natural order of things'' at Christmastime, have a better idea. There are marital reconciliations, too, and, in the sourly amusing title story, a long-suffering housewife, a good old reliable preparer and supplier of Christmas jollity, plans a surprise for her dense family that will resonate far beyond Christmas. In all, an appropriate gift for the casual reader—a bit of sentimentality and a touch of romance, along with humor and hopeful turns to treat those with cases of the holiday blues. (Literary Guild featured alternate selection)
Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1996
Page Count: 224
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1996
Share your opinion of this book
by Hanya Yanagihara ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2015
The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2015
National Book Award Finalist
Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.
Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.
Pub Date: March 10, 2015
Page Count: 720
Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015
Share your opinion of this book
More About This Book
by Harper Lee ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 11, 1960
A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.
Pub Date: July 11, 1960
Page Count: 323
Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960
Share your opinion of this book
Hey there, book lover.
We’re glad you found a book that interests you!