My book reviews from 2018.

The Feral Detective by Jonathan Lethem :: Yes, he's one of my favorite authors, but I tore through this one. Female 1st person POV, done well, unusual. Themes of literally finding others & finding one's self, #MeToo echoes in the Rabbit/Bear societies, 2016 elections mentioned in passing when needed, many things standing in for other things, but seriously looking for personal connection. NYC to start, then way west, AZ, I think. Interesting, funny, crazy-good writing, often. More like this, please. Thanks to Ecco & Edelweiss for an advance copy for my Nook. ****

Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart :: Outstanding. One of the best books I have read in years. Shteyngart is coming into his own and it's awesome. Alternating chapters, husband & wife, interesting issues raised, 2016 election not avoided. Really enjoyed reading this book. Thank you. ****1/2  And don't forget his fun trailer with Ben Stiller.

Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce :: This debut novel is a cross between a blitzkrieg London story and a British cozy, complete with previous century manners and mannerisms. A bit of a historical novel, but with strong themes of women's friendship, changing work mores, journalism dreams, "Agony Aunt" letters during wartime. A light, often amusing tone & well-drawn characters make this a fast, entertaining read. Not really my style, but consistently very well done. Thanks to NetGalley & Scribner's for this advance Nook version. ***1/2

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan :: I'm a big Egan fan, reading "Look at Me" & "...Goon Squad" twice, which I never do. But "The Keep" was a no-go, and stories not engaging enough. So, spotty, for me. But with lots of credit on hand.

There is such a lot going on in "Manhattan Beach" that, for me, the book couldn't handle it all. And I think she focused on the diving woman aspect because that was the most interesting. I agree, it was. The absent dad, damaged sister, sea-faring secrets, sexy dangerous gangsters.... all just too much, didn't flow together & I skipped till I got to where I wanted to be. Still, though, what a terrific writer she is! Her women characters are always very compelling. Waiting for the next, haven't given up... ***

Sunburn by Laura Lippman :: Absolutely outstanding new novel by one of my favorite authors. She continues to grow and evolve, and create even more interesting novels about women in the modern world.

In this one, she tells the reader many, but by no means all of Polly's secrets, so that you are never quite sure of what is happening in the past (after killing her first husband & leaving her daughter) or in the present (after leaving her second husband & daughter). I thought I knew, but had it all wrong. Go, Laura! *****

The Temptation of Forgiveness by Donna Leon :: Always excellent, this may be the best of the bunch. ****

And Then We Danced: A Voyage into the Groove  by Henry Alford :: I've been reading Alford a long time, back to the Lampoon and SPY days. I think he used to be funnier, but we were all younger then.

I am quite familiar with studying dance in NYC and going to concerts and Twyla Tharp's 100s, so I could understand a lot of what's in this book. I will buy a copy for my dance friend, who will enjoy it.

I see that Alford is now going in for first person narratives to explicate a subject, an interesting approach, often used these days. I have mixed feelings about it.
What if the narrator gets on your nerves? And isn't funny or perceptive enough? Or gives TMI? Or whose self-deprecating persona becomes irritating and drains the joy from both our experiences?  If it were up to me, I would have edited him down a bit.

Great to see a MOR book about dance, though -- hope it gets more people into class & into the audience. Thanks to Simon & Schuster & Edelweiss for a Nook ARC. *** 1/2

Title: The Waters of Eternal Youth, Author: Donna Leon The Waters of Eternal Youth by Donna Leon ::  Excellent, engaging. ****

Down the River unto the Sea by Walter Mosley :: Outstanding Walter Mosley novel of NYC police corruption, redemption, re-evaluation, and restitution. You cannot go wrong reading Mosley; make this a movie. Thanks to Mulholland & NetGalley for an advance copy for my Nook.*****

The Rub of Time: Bellow, Nabokov, Hitchens, Travolta, Trump: Essays and Reportage, 1994-2017 :: He can chill you with his awesome language skills. Perhaps non-fiction gaining the upper hand? So happy I'm a Martin Amis fan. Thanks to Knopf & Edelweiss for an advance copy for my Nook.*****

Conversations with Friends: A Novel by Sally Rooney  :: Good writing, interesting mix of characters and inter-relationships. But, me, your Impatient Reader, it took too long to get where it was going, so I skipped & skimmed to the end. Love the cover. Hope she does more. Thanks to Hogarth & Edelweiss for an advance copy for my Nook. **