Joanne’s Mystery Picks

burningmanBryant & May and the Burning Man by Christopher Fowler

There’s no doubt in my mind that Christopher Fowler is a brilliant wordsmith!  His latest chronicle of the Peculiar Crimes Unit is proof of this. A more clever, witty, smart and “edge of your seat suspenseful” tome I haven’t read in a very long time.

It’s chaos in London, leading up to Guy Fawke’s night. Demonstrators are up-in-arms over the scandal involving a wealthy financier who’s been accused of insider trading. When a homeless man is found dead, burned  after a Molotov cocktail was thrown onto the steps where he was sleeping, the Unit are called in to investigate whether this was an accident or pre-meditated murder. And what’s up with Bryant? He seems more distracted than ever. Meanwhile his many odd contacts (comparable to  Sherlock Holmes’ “Baker Street Irregulars”), help to flesh out the strange tangents that he goes off on.

Filled with history, metaphor, and those odd bits of trivia that Fowler so cleverly adds, “The Burning Man” is most definitely his best to date.

Weekend Picks

Happy New Year everyone, we’re back with the best of ’15 and looking forward to another great year of film. Enjoy this four part series!

Seymour: an introduction

Meet Seymour Bernstein: a virtuoso pianist, veteran New Yorker, and true original who gave up a successful concert career to teach music. In this wonderfully warm, witty, and intimate tribute from his friend, Ethan Hawke, Seymour shares unforgettable stories from his remarkable life and eye-opening words of wisdom, as well as insightful reflections on art, creativity, and the search for fulfillment.

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The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Like most teenage girls, Minnie Goetze is longing for love, acceptance and a sense of purpose in the world. Minnie begins a complex love affair with her mother’s boyfriend, ‘the handsomest man in the world,’ Monroe Rutherford. What follows is a sharp, funny and provocative account of one girl’s sexual and artistic awakening, without judgment.

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Seniors Book Club January Selection

Us by David NichollsThe Seniors Book Club will meet on Wednesday, January 13 at 2 pm in Forsyth Hall to discuss the novel Us by British author David Nicholls.

About the book:

David Nicholls brings the wit and intelligence that graced his international bestseller One Day to a compellingly human, deftly humorous new novel about what holds marriages and families together—and what happens when everything threatens to fall apart.

Douglas Petersen may be mild mannered, but behind his reserve lies a sense of humour that, against all odds, seduces beautiful Connie into a second date . . . and eventually into marriage. Now, almost three decades after their relationship first blossomed in London, they live more or less happily in the suburbs with their moody seventeen-year-old son, Albie. Then Connie tells Douglas she thinks she wants a divorce.

The timing couldn’t be worse. Hoping to encourage her son’s artistic interests, Connie has planned a month-long tour of European capitals, a chance to experience the world’s greatest works of art as a family, and she can’t bring herself to cancel. And maybe going ahead with the original plan is for the best anyway? Douglas is privately convinced that this landmark trip will rekindle the romance in the marriage, and may even help him to bond with Albie.

Narrated from Douglas’s endearingly honest, slyly witty, and at times achingly optimistic point of view, Us is the story of a man trying to rescue his relationship with the woman he loves and learning how to get closer to a son who’s always felt like a stranger. Us is a moving meditation on the demands of marriage and parenthood as well as the intricate relationship between the heart and the head. In David Nicholls’s gifted hands, Douglas’s odyssey brings Europe—from the streets of Amsterdam to the famed museums of Paris, from the cafes of Venice to the beaches of Barcelona—to vivid life just as he experiences a powerful awakening of his own. Will this summer be his last as a husband, or the moment when he turns his marriage, and maybe even his whole life, around?

David Nicholls’ website

Author biography

A Huffington Post interview

A Guardian interview

Youtube interviews

A New York Times review

A Washington Post review

Discussion questions

David Nicholls on daily reading