by David Nasaw
narrated by Malcolm Hillgartner
Penguin Audio, 2012
source: review copy from publisher
This is the best biography I've read in a long time and a nonfiction favorite of 2013. Joseph P. Kennedy was an exceptional man whose life intersected most major events of the 20th century. He was an outspoken (often to a fault), independent thinker who possessed extraordinary business and leadership skills, along with a strong sense of family, religion, and public service. Learning about Joe's life provides a foundation for understanding the entire Kennedy family.
The Patriarch is a truly outstanding audio production. In addition to Kennedy's own Bostonian accent, Malcolm Hillgartner's wide variety of voices, including FDR, Churchill, and others brings this book to life. I loved every moment.
by Julia Strachey
Persephone Classics, 2009
originally published 1932
source: personal copy
Motivation: Classics Club Spin
I knew before beginning that this book was best approached as a series of vignettes and that made all the difference in my reading experience. The action takes place over the course of a single day - Dolly's wedding day. Friends and relatives gather at her home, head off to church, and eventually return after the ceremony. Emotions always run high on a wedding day and in this darkly funny tale, much seems exaggerated. There is nothing especially memorable about this novella, but it was pleasant way to spend a few hours nonetheless. The beautiful Classics Edition cover added to my enjoyment, too. I have yet to be disappointed by a Persephone title.
Tell the Wolves I'm Home
by Carol Rifka Brunt
Random House, 2012
source: borrowed from the library
Told from the perspective of a 15 year old girl, this stunning novel takes us back to that scary time in the 1980's when AIDS deaths were sky-rocketing and our understanding of the disease was in its infancy. June's beloved uncle dies early in the book, and as the family copes with his death, she forges a relationship with his partner - a man whose existence she knew nothing about during her uncle's lifetime. Brunt nails the voice of a teenage girl, but I wouldn't necessarily call this a YA novel. Book clubs will find plenty to discuss with this title. It's hard to believe this is a debut novel, I can't wait to see what Brunt writes next.