Wednesday, February 8, 2017

"The Keeper of Lost Causes" by Jussi Adler-Olsen

"The Keeper of Lost Causes" is the first book in the Department Q series by Jussi Adler-Olsen.   In an interview, Adler-Olsen was asked the following:


A. I hate power abuse and injustice and in every one of my novels, I tell a version of power abuse and show ways in which you can break it. I am convinced that my readers do not just want to be entertained – of course, they also want that – but they also want to learn something and take something with them, which invites reflection. One reason why I chose to write criminal thrillers is that I thereby can touch upon every subject. Evil is a useful tool and when you describe the contrast between good and evil, you can send a message.


Is the author successful in doing this in "The Keeper of Lost Causes"?  Is there good and evil in many of the characters of the book, including the antagonist?




For more information about the author:


http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/148349/jussi-adler-olsen

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

"Labor Day" by Joyce Maynard

The novel is set at a time during which a number of transitions are taking place in the lives of the main characters. What transition if Henry going through? Adele? Frank? How is that feeling of transition echoed in the time period in which the story is framed (the end of summer and the beginning of the school year)?




For more information about the author, check out:
http://www.joycemaynard.com/Joyce_Maynard/ABOUT.html


For interviews with the author about Labor Day:
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-01-31/site/chi-labor-day-joyce-maynard-20140131_1_printers-row-journal-labor-day-good-love


http://www.joycemaynard.com/Joyce_Maynard/E__Kirkus_Review_on_Labor_Day.html

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

"The Good Girl" by Mary Kubica

After reading "The Good Girl", who do you feel was the true victim, or victims, and the true conspirator?  Have your opinions changed since beginning the novel, and if so, how?


For more information about the author, check out:

http://www.marykubica.com/

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

"Faith" by Jennifer Haigh

How do you define faith? What does faith mean to each of the characters, especially the siblings - Art, Sheila and Mike?  Is this a good title for the novel?




For further information about Jennifer Haigh, check out:


http://www.jennifer-haigh.com/

Thursday, September 22, 2016

"Being There" by Jerzy Kosinski

"Being There" by Jerzy Kosinski was written in 1970 - a time with more limited television access and no social media (as we have today).  Is this book still relevant to our times, especially with people -- and the media -- transferring their own interpretations and opinions on public figures and politicians?




For information about Jerzy Kosinski, check out:

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Jerzy_Kosinski

For interpretations of the book:

http://www.bukisa.com/articles/14824_understanding-society-through-the-novel-being-there

http://www.laurenwood.org/anyway/2005/03/jerzy-kosinskis-being-there/



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

"Absolute Power" by David Baldacci

What do you think was Luther's motivation? He could have sent the letter opener anonymously to a news agency, but he doesn't. Instead he is set on a personal vendetta. Why do you think this is so?



For further information about David Baldacci, check out: 
http://davidbaldacci.com/about-david/

Also on his website:

David on The Writing Process: Absolute Power
Each writing project presents its own distinct set of challenges.
With my first novel, ABSOLUTE POWER, I had a dilemma from the very first page. I decided that the first character the reader would meet would be a burglar, Luther Whitney (the Clint Eastwood character, for those of you who saw the movie but didn’t read the book.) For the novel to work, the reader had to like, or at least sympathize with, Whitney. The challenge to overcome was that Luther Whitney was a criminal. The opening scene showed Whitney, not a particularly sympathetic character, breaking into a home to steal valuables. Here’s how I went about overcoming that problem…
First, as superficial and callous as it sounds, Whitney stole only from the rich. Some would say, “They can afford to lose it; they have insurance.” If I relied completely on that justification, however, the story would still have failed.
Second, I made it clear that Whitney had never harmed anyone during his burglaries and never even carried a weapon. He relied on his skills and his wits. That made him more palatable.
Third, and perhaps most important, I positioned Whitney’s act of burglary next to an act of far greater criminality: a man beating and nearly killing a woman.
Last, I put Luther Whitney in a locked closet, with a one-way mirror, and forced him to watch this heinous crime. By doing so I also locked the reader in the closet with Whitney. Readers were looking over his shoulder and watching too. (There’s a bit of voyeur in everyone.) Whitney was repulsed by what he saw and wanted to help the woman, but he would have sacrificed his own freedom (and perhaps his life) by doing so. A tough decision for anyone. He ended up doing nothing and hated himself for it. And you, the reader, felt all of those same emotions and thereby bonded with Whitney. Readers came out of that room when he did, perhaps not loving Whitney, but certainly better understanding who and what he was – forgetting about Luther Whitney, the burglar, and focusing on Luther Whitney, the man. At that point, with my initial dilemma overcome, I could get on with the story.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

"And Then There Were None" by Agatha Christie


What are the motives behind the murders of all the guests? Each of the guests is guilty of a crime, but not one that could be prosecuted in a court of law. Does each receive his/her just deserts? In other words, has true justice been accomplished by the end of the novel? Is the murderer insane as all the guests claim? Or is he/she acting with clear-headed logic and rationality?




For further information about Agatha Christie and her extensive bibliography, check out:

http://www.agathachristie.com/

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"The Scent of Rain and Lightning" by Nancy Pickard

The Linders are portrayed as being the most influential family in the county. Even with the best intentions, good people can make terrible mistakes.  Do you think the Linders had good intentions or were they controlling with their familial power?


For more information about the author, check out: 

http://www.nancypickard.com/biography.html

For an interview with Nancy Pickard, go to: 

https://www.bookbrowse.com/author_interviews/full/index.cfm/author_number/1849/nancy-pickard

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes

How does Charlie change by the end of the novel? What does he come to learn about the gifts of superior intelligence? What trade-offs are involved as Charlie develops his genius... and, again, as he begins to revert to his previous state? How do the friendships and relationships he has change as well?




For more information about Daniel Keyes, check out:

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

"Sworn to Silence" by Linda Castillo

There is good *and* evil in all societies, including the Amish community.  Were you surprised that Kate and her family chose to keep the secret of Daniel Lapp rather than reporting the crime through the law.  Is the law different for the Amish community?




For further information about the author, check out: