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Reader's Forum at MostlyFictionMostlyFiction.com Newsletter Update

Posted to subscriber list on JAN 27, 2004

Hello, MostlyFiction.com readers!

I must say that I am glad towday is here. I have been anxiously awaiting all week to cast my vote in the first primary in the nation -- not because it is the first primary -- but so that I'd know for sure who I was voting for. If any of your news stations have been showing footage from NH this week, let me say that it is true, we are state of independents and those of us who vote, take it very seriously. We believe it is our right to remain "undecided" right up until the moment we step in the booth (so stop polling us, eh!). Interesting to note, that even though the media calls us "independents," we are technically "undecided" on the NH register.

In the end, I stuck to my original convictions and even though it appeals to me to have a "Clark" in the White House, I went with the man who has spoken out against the current administration's war from the start and who has expressed the very ideals that Carl and I both hold near and dear. He made sense in March when we first put a bumper sticker on our car, and despite the media's attempt to make him look like a bad guy (still don't get why "the scream" was so bad), I voted for Howard Dean tonight and feel quite good about it. I don't care if you vote for my man (though feel free) but I do think when it is your turn and if you can vote in the primary, you should. Voting is a wonderful privilege and every vote does count -- we learned that in 2000.

O. K. back to the reason I'm writing this newsletter! On Sunday evening, 10 new reviews were posted at MostlyFiction.com.

Let me remind you that all new reviews are being formatted using the new template, so when you go from one review on the site to another, you are going to see a mix of the new format with the old.

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THE YELLOW RAIN by Julio LLamazares
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Ainielle is a village high in the Spanish Pyrenees. Its houses are mostly deserted ruins and have been for years. Ainielle's last surviving inhabitant, an old man at death's door, lingers on, and as the "yellow rain" of leaves flutters around him and the first snows of the year fall, he recalls the life he lived and the ghosts--once his friends and neighbors--who have taken possession of his solitude. Hailed on its first publication and continuously reprinted in Spain since 1979, The Yellow Rain is a haunting ode to the power of memory, an elegy for a landscape and a way of life. First time translated to English. Mary sayst that this is stunning, though probably not for everyone, due to the poignant subject matter.  She would have considered teaching this book if she were still teaching--it raises so many issues and does so so beautifully! 

__________
SHIPWRECK by Louis Begley
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

A mesmerizing novel of deception and betrayal from the acclaimed author of About Schmidt. John North, a prize-winning American writer, is suddenly beset by dark suspicions about the real value of his work. Over endless hours and bottles of whiskey consumed in a mysterious café called L'Entre Deux Mondes, he recounts, in counterpoint to his doubts, the one story he has never told before, perhaps the only important one he will ever tell. North's chosen interlocutor-who could be his doppelgänger-is transfixed by the revelations and becomes the narrator of North's tale.

__________
THE PLEASURE OF MY COMPANY by Steve Martin
Reviewed by Poornima Apte

This one will delight any Steve Martin fan -- it is filled with his trademark humor, tenderness, and out and out hilarious wordplay. Our narrator is Daniel Pecan Cambridge who resides in his Santa Monica apartment, living much of his life as a bystander: He watches from his window as the world goes by, and his only relationships seem to be with people who barely know he exists. He passes the time idly filling out contest applications, counting ceiling tiles, and estimating the wattage of light bulbs. Through Daniel's growing attachment to two people, he finally gains the courage to begin to engage the world outside. A surprisingly well written novel.

__________
HEAT SHOCK by Robert Greer
Reviewed by Chuck Barksdale

Set in the Colorado High Plains, this medical thriller features an unlikely team -- a Dr. Carmen Nguyen, an emergency room doctor and Walker Rios a patient recovering from a fall. They join together to help 69-year-old Luke Redstone who is being treated for a rare form of leukemia, and is worried about his prized game birds being stolen. Dr. Jack Kimbrough, Ph.D in physics believe the DNA changes in Redstone's birds were brought on by a exposure to the same uranium this is now killing Redstone -- and he will do anything to prove his theory.

__________
THE BROMELIAD TRIOLOGY by Terry Pratchett
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

We noticed it too. Our reviewer Cindy Lynn can not pass up reading a new Terry Pratchett novel (or even a reprint) when it lands her way. The intended audience for this one is "young adults," which we don't quite get. Pratchett has a knack for bringing out the young in us -- so what's the distinction? This one is a collection of three books about the adventures of the four-inch high nomes who have been living in the human-sized world for generations and soon discover their true nature and their origin with the help of a black square called the Thing. Part satire, part parable, and part adventure story par excellence.

__________
THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN by Mitch Albom
Reviewed by Hagen Baye

Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him as he tries to save a little girl from a falling ride. He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination. It's a place where your life is explained to you by five people, some of whom you knew, others who may have been strangers. A contemporary American fable.


__________
THE LADY, THE CHEF, AND THE COURTESAN by Marisol
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

Weaving together the story of a modern woman with that of her grandmother's time-honored traditions, this is a compelling novel that reveals what it truly means to be a woman. Admit it, you really do want to know the secrets.

_________
THE BIG BOUNCE by Elmore Leonard
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

This book was originally released in 1969, Elmore's first non-western novel -- and look at its staying power! This is the same novel that the new movie is adapted from. If you haven't entered the world of Elmore Leonard, then you are missing out on some of the most enjoyable writing. Leonard is a master at the double crossing schemes, which The Big Bounce is another humorous romp.

__________
THE BONESETTER'S DAUGHTER by Amy Tan
Reviewed by Wenkai Tay

This is Amy Tan's fourth novel and Wenkai tells us exactly how he finds it. Though I debated about posting his review (always feel bad about the less than positive ones), he clearly states what so many others have said about this novel, especially those that have read and enjoyed her previous ones. I think the value in reading Wenkai's review is that he reminds us of two Amy Tan's novels that shouldn't be overlooked.

__________
SUNSET TERRACE by Rebecca Donner
Reviewed by Kam Aures

MacAdam & Cage Publishing Company has staked out a territory in the business by publishing new promising and talented writers. We've read a lot of their books in the past year and and while they are not all ones we recommend (you won't find a review of The Time Traveler's Wife on this site), we are more often than not pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing and originality of the stories. Once again, with Rebecca Donner's new novel, we find yet another writer we want to keep our eye on.

__________

So here's a trivia question: Which two authors in the above list are members of the Rock Bottom Remainders?

No raffles yet. But am feeling more and more back in control, so we'll see. But first I have to get back to writing reviews and not keep letting everyone else have all the fun!

Judi Clark
MostlyFiction.com

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