January 2021–Part Three

Thank you for joining me here!   I hope you enjoy this series and I’d love to hear from you about what you are reading these days.

Book #1:

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (Length: 372 pages).   This novel is SO good! It’s my favorite kind of set-up, where there are seemingly disparate characters (in different time periods and locations) who all come together in the end, to a satisfying conclusion. The character development, the plot and the various settings are all so good here. The settings vary from Italy during and post WWII, modern-day Hollywood, 1990s grunge and they all somehow work together. This is admittedly not every reader’s cup of tea, but if you’re willing to go along with the journey, and enjoy some truly stellar writing along the way, this escapist novel may be for you!

Book #2:

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber by Julian Rubinstein (Length: 322 pages).  This is a non-fiction book that truly reads as fiction, both because of the writing style (like a novel) as well as how strange the subject matter is here. This is a true account of a prolific bank robber (and part-time hockey goalie) in Hungary, in the 1990s, who captures his (newly-adopted) country’s imagination. The writing is excellent, and overall, this is a very fast, enjoyable read (although I found it dragged a bit in the middle). The subject matter is both funny and sad, and I loved learning about a country amidst the fall of communism, especially through the lens of a very compassionate author. I really loved this book, and would absolutely recommend it.

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