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Reader's Forum at Newsletter Update

Posted to subscriber list on June 3, 2004.

Hello, readers!

Sixteen new reviews were posted to Click on the book covers to read the reviews; click on reviewers name to learn more about the reviewer.

Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Hari Kunzru’s new novel of love and lunacy, immigration and immunity, introduces a daydreaming Indian computer geek whose luxurious fantasies about life in America are shaken when he accepts a California job offer.

MARRYING MOZART by Stephanie Cowell
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Mannheim, 1777. The four Weber sisters, daughters of a musical family, share a crowded, artistic life in a ramshackle house. Their father scrapes by as a music copyist; their mother keeps a book of prospective suitors hidden in the kitchen. The sisters struggle with these marriage prospects as well as their musical futures-until one evening at their home, when 21-year- old Wolfgang Mozart walks into their lives.

Reviewed by Jenny Dressel

Michelle Banyon is a 40-something New Yorker, fit, cosmopolitan, happily married to a wealthy international lawyer. But her alter ego is her true means of support: in a dark wig and Easy Spirit shoes, she's Daisy Strait, an organization counselor to overstretched women nationwide. Then she meets Wilson Collins, and finds herself head-over-heels-in love; neglecting to mention that she is already married she goes ahead an becomes Mickey Collins.

THE WIFE OF REILLY by Jennifer Coburn
Reviewed by Kam Aures

At her college reunion, Prudence runs into her old boyfriend, and they hit it off well enough that she accepts his marriage proposal. Only problem is, she (also) neglects to mention that she has a husband. So back on the East coast she's busy devising a plan to make her husband happy -- with the help of a few friends, she's looking for the perfect wife for husband Matt Reilly.

DATING DEAD MEN by Harley Jane Kozak
Reviewed by Kam Aures

Wollie Shelley is finding out a few things that Prudence Reilly (in the previous book) already knows -- the best way to find a new mate is to let your friends pick him for you. While she's enrolled in a dating experiment and trying to run her small business, her schizophrenic brother calls from the state mental hospital telling her about a murder and asking for aluminum foil. That night Wollie drives to the hospital to deliver the aluminum foil and finds herself in an unexpected situation.

Reviewed by Sudheer Apte

Inspector Chen’s mentor in the Shanghai Police Bureau has assigned him to escort U.S. Marshal Catherine Rohn. Her mission is to bring Wen, the wife of a witness in an important criminal trial, to the United States. Inspector Rohn is already en route when Chen learns that Wen has unaccountably vanished from her village in Fujian. Or is this just what he is supposed to believe? A Chinese whodunit, written by a Chinese writer.

Reviewed by Mary Whipple

Lomba is a young journalist living under military rule in Lagos, Nigeria, the most dangerous city in the world. His mind is full of soul music and girls and the lyric novel he is writing. But his roommate is brutally attacked by soldiers; his first love is forced to marry a wealthy old man; and his neighbors on Poverty Street are planning a demonstration that is bound to incite riot and arrests. Lomba can no longer bury his head in the sand. Winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing 2001.

BROTHER AND SISTER by Joanna Trollope
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

We all need to know where we come from, where we belong. But for David and Natalie, this need to know is even more urgent, since they are adopted. Brought up by the same parents, but born to two different mothers, they have grown up as brother and sister, and share a fierce loyalty. But their decision, in their late thirties, to embark upon the journey to find their birth mothers is not straightforward matter.

Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

Professor Wilson Bledsoe is returning from a party when he stops to help out a broken-down pickup, and is murdered; found with a racial epithet carved on his chest, he is thought to be the victim of two loathsome white supremist. His brother, an FBI, comes in on the case, takes a look around and decides not to buy into the pat answer. Suddenly he finds himself implicated as the murderer..

THE ENEMY by Lee Child
Reviewed by Mary Whipple

In this prequel to the series, Jack Reacher is an elite military cop, one of the army's brightest stars. But in every cop's life there is a turning point, one messy, tangle case that can shatter a career. Turn a lawman into a renegade. And make him question words like honor, valor and duty. For Jack Reacher, this is that one case.

SHARPE'S ESCAPE : PORTUGAL 1810 by Bernard Cornwell
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

It is 1810, and in Napoleon's determination to conquer Portugal -- and push the British back to the sea -- he sends his largest army yet across the Spanish frontier. But between the Portuguese border and Napoleon's seemingly certain victory are two obstacles -- a wasted land, stripped of food by Wellington's orders, and Captain Richard Sharpe.

THE GOLDEN AGE by John C. Wright
Reviewed by Greg West

In the far future, humans have become as gods: immortal, almost omnipotent, able to create new suns and resculpt body and mind. A trusting son of this future, Phaethon of Radamanthus House, discovers the rulers of the solar system have erased entire centuries from his mind. When he attempts to regain his lost memories, the whole society of the Golden Oecumene opposes him. Like his mythical namesake, Phaethon has flown too high and been cast down. He has committed the one act forbidden in his utopian universe. Now he must find out what it is--and who he is. Impressive science fiction.

BEST FRIENDS by Thomas Berger
Reviewed by Kam Aures

Thirty-something Roy and Sam have been best friends since boyhood. Roy is good-looking, healthy, independent and well liked. Sam is married, a spendthrift, overweight, needy and near bankruptcy. Yet, they've been inseparable best friends. But in the twenty years since their friendship began, those fundamental differences have become more apparent and their relationship has grown strained. When Sam's health begins to falter, he draws Roy into his life again -- and into a chain of deceit, sex, delusion, death, and love such as only a best friend could. From the author of Little Big Man.

Reviewed by Sebastian Fernandez

By chance and not by choice, Ted Mundy used to be a spy. But that was in the Cold War days when a wall divided Berlin and the enemy was easy to recognize. Today, Mundy is a tour guide in southern Germany, dodging creditors, supporting a new family, and keeping an eye out for trouble while vigorously questioning the actions of the country he once bravely served. When trouble finds him it is in the shape of his old German student friend, radical, and one-time fellow spy, the crippled Sasha, seeker after absolutes, dreamer, and chaos addict. Sasha has yet again discovered the true, only answer to life -- this time in the form of a mysterious billionaire philanthropist named Dimitri.

PERFECT SAX by Jerrilyn Farmer
Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer

Hired to produce the Black & White Headliner's Ball, a trendy L.A. gala designed to raise funds for a prestigious music academy, party planner Madeline Bean and her friends, Holly and Wes, find their efforts undermined by the theft of a priceless saxophone, scandal, and murder.

by Hwee Hwee Tan
Reviewed by Wenkai Tay

Would you sell your soul for your dream job? That is the question that confronts Chiah Deng when she is asked to join the company Mammon Inc. With conflicting views from her Chinese parents and her mentor at Oxford, Chiah must weigh the offer against everything she holds dear.

My apologies to anyone who gets excited about reading this book and can't find a copy-- when I had asked Wenkai about Singaporean writers, he offered to review this book; as it is relatively new, I didn't realize that it would be so difficult to get a copy. But have faith; one thing I've learned doing all these years, books do come back into print -- meanwhile, if you are curious about this author, you can try her first novel Foreign Bodies, which is more readily available.


Hope everyone is having a great SHORT work week. It's great to know that it is FRIDAY already. I've often thought that a great thing to do for humanity would be to lobby for the four day work week. How nice would that be? Just think how many more books we could fit into our lives...

Happy Reading!

Judi Clark

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