Vividly written, Everybody Dreams, by Michael Stratton, is filled with compelling prose and deep, complex characters who speak to the most human frailties in us all. This breakout novel leaves no stone unturned when it comes to delivering drama and a thought provoking message. Purchase your copy right now from Amazon.com!

Book Reviews March 2010

This winter bore some excruciatingly frozen days, with a positive result of a binge of reading a batch of good books. Here are mini-reviews of some of these I’ve been reading:

LIT: A MEMOIR, Mary Karr
Best book I’ve read so far in the young 2010. The author of The Liar’s Club and Cherry continues to amaze. I’m recommending this book to client’s of mine who are interested in addiction and recovery. Provocative and jagged in sections, but ultimately a soothing balm that relays possible pathways in negotiating the 12 steps. I found this book to be beautifully written and exquisitely moving.

In A Perfect World, Laura Kasischke
Another apocalyptic landscape, perhaps a feminized version of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Laura has such mastery in portraying the internal landscape of her characters and a poet’s eye for the natural world. When it all goes wrong you can’t help but be captured by this book. This one kept me up at night.

My Germany, Lev Raphael
Lev’s best book (not that I’ve read them all, but he agrees). The son of holocaust survivors, the author tells the story of his parents with bruising detail. In the second part he tells about his own becoming, his rapprochement with his Jewish heritage, and his coming out. Finally, Raphael details his book tours in Germany (hence the title) to discover his own relationship with the places and people of Germany.

Lush Life, Richard Price
If you are a fan of The Wire you shouldn’t miss this book. Price wrote some episodes of the HBO series as well as several other crime novels. This one is set in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and the neighborhood becomes a character as vivid as any person in this story. The clash of overlapping cultures between kids in the project, gentrified hopefuls who all have screenplays but work in bars, Chinese, Jews and cops. Overriding themes of family and dreams and dreams that are crushed. A brilliant and entertaining ride.

Black Cross, Greg Iles
This is the first book I’ve read by Iles and I’ll be back for more. I’ve been telling friends that it’s a kind of a cross between Schindler’s List and Guns of Navarone. It’s a quick read for a thick book. A page turner. Taut.

Weather Bird: Jazz at the Dawn of Its Second Century, Gary Giddins
This tome collects many of the articles written by Giddins in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Giddins served as one of the primary ‘talking heads’ for Ken Burns special on jazz. His writing is superb, his topics (if you are a jazz fan or an aesthete) are compelling. Why isn’t jazz dead? he asks at the end of this opus. The preceding 600+ pages give us more than a hint of an answer.

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