The Portrait follows the journey of Pierre-François Chaumont, a married Parisian attorney. As a boy, Pierre is influenced by his uncle to become a collector of objects. He begins with scented erasers, but quickly raises the level of sophistication and moves on to antiques. By the time the reader finds Pierre in present day, his collection is massive and a point of contention between him and his wife. It is his latest purchase, a portrait of a man, which really puts their marriage on shaky ground.
Shirley Jackson is one of my favorite authors, and I really enjoyed this biography about her life. Even if you are unfamiliar with Jackson, however, you can appreciate this well-researched biography that chronicles the social and political background that shaped the author's writing, as well as the mindset of America during her adult life in the 1930s through the 1960s. Each chapter describes two to four years of her life, from her birth in California in 1916, through her move to New York, until finally her death in Vermont at the age of 48.
In the current political climate, one might think the transition from comedy writer to politician would be rather seamless. In Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, Franken describes his struggles trying to get elected by the people of Minnesota in 2008, the balance he has been able to find when working with ideologically opposed members of congress, the work ethic that enabled him to more easily secure re-election in 2014, and the current political climate in Washington.
On Turpentine Lane is purely entertainment. I was hooked from the beginning when Faith decides to buy a cute little house with 1950's decor . . . sans her fiancé or any idea of who had lived there previously. Both are signs that something isn't right. We soon learn about Faith's fiancé, Stuart, and his decision to walk across the country to find himself.
The Reminders is a story about loss, friendship, and recovery. It’s told in the alternating perspectives of Gavin, a man in his late thirties whose partner has recently died; and Joan, a 10 year old girl whose parents are old college friends of Gavin's.
The Story of Film is loaded with movie clips from all over the world, beginning at the first moment pictures moved and ending in the early 2000s. Director Mark Cousins invites us to consider how each of the films he mentions contribute to the language of movie-making. He’s a deep thinker who speaks clearly – a rare combination.
Kate Morton is one of my favorite authors, and she does not disappoint with The Lake House. The story moves through several time periods beginning in the present when Detective Sadie Sparrow (who is on enforced leave from the department due to leaking a hunch to the media) goes to Cornwall to stay with her granddad. There she discovers the remains of a grand estate buried in the woods, and her curiosity is piqued.