A Retired Professor

New Reads in 2017

I belong to two different book clubs and this New Year my reading has been limited to the books chosen by those two groups.

The first book I read was The Nix by Nathan Hill.  This seems to be a book you either love or hate.  I have spoken to no one who is in the middle.  I took it on my Caribbean cruise and several passengers asked me what I thought of it.  Well, I’m in the group who would probably not read it again and really had to plow through it!  I found it hard to relate to the gaming sections of the book but that would appeal to a younger reader.  I found all of the information about the 1968 riots in Chicago upsetting and I had very little memory of them because I was busy finishing college and attended a very conservative campus!  With that said, the author is a master of mixing current day events and those of years ago to tell the story of Samuel and his mother and the events that shaped them.  The line that sticks with me is “That which you love the most will hurt you the most” or something like that.  The author does bring the events to conclusion and in a most interesting way but I do think he could have done it in fewer pages.

I recently finished The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce.  Queenie is living in a hospice facility run by nuns.  Her neighbors in the facility are a bunch of interesting characters and they are all waiting for Queenie’s friend from her youth to walk across England to visit her.  The expectation of that visit keeps Queenie alive as she waits for his arrival and causes her to reflect on her life.  I must admit I really didn’t understand the letter writing thread in the book until the end!  Honestly, it was so obvious and the author had sprinkled the story with so many hints but I missed it.  Actually I’m glad I did because that added to the wonderful realization at the end of the book.  Nice light reading.  Touching story.  Loved this book.

Have you read either one?  Curious to know what you thought about The Nix.  Include a comment below.

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