May fared much better for my library choices. Besides some great books review below, I saw some live theater: “Tootsie” on Broadway and my friend David Crabb’s new solo show he’s workshopping “Us & Them & Me & You”. Throw in the final season of “Game of Thrones” (I enjoyed it. Take that!), season two of “Fleabag” on Amazon (💖), “Dead to Me” on Netflix (so good!), and some excellent documentaries (“Knock Down the House”, “Three Identical Strangers” and “Perfect Bid”) and my head and heart are full. On to the books!
Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro – Read this in one sitting. True, it’s on the shorter side, so not *that* impressive of a feat, but it was fascinating enough that I flew through it. Shapiro was already a well-known author so when she discovered through a DNA test that the father she knew and loved was not, in fact, her biological father of course she had the makings of another book. As a writer, storyteller and producer, I can’t help but think she was secretly thinking, “Cha-ching!” Cynical, I know, but I’d put a hefty wager on it. Regardless, her entire foundation was shaken and the mystery to solve it would unveil more than just a name. It also brought up larger questions: What is identity? What matters most in nature vs. nurture? What ethical dilemmas do we face with regard to DNA, sperm donation, adoptions, etc.? So much to contemplate and I very much appreciated the author for making me take time to reflect and consider.
The Witch Elm: A Novel by Tana French – I’ve read a few of her books now. This newly published one wasn’t my favorite. It started out strong but … I don’t know… it didn’t captivate me. Overly long, not much action, soooooo much dialogue between unlikable characters. She departed from her usual Murder Squad characters and it just was a lot of work to get through this. I’d read her other books for sure. This one missed the mark for me.
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote – Stunning. I have watched several movie versions of the book and of Truman Capote’s life. Each time, it was a challenge to get through it emotionally intact. It’s very powerful and close to home in many ways. There’s enough time between me and the movies and my dad’s crimes to delve in again. I’m glad I did. If you aren’t familiar with the story, In Cold Blood is a “nonfiction novel” about the murder of the Clutter family in Kansas in the late 50s. There’s a letter from Perry’s sister Barbara written to Perry while he’s in prison but before his trial that I want to copy and paste and mail to my dad. I’m going to go to the library to borrow a print copy to do just that. Word for word for word she says all the things I’ve wanted to say to Dad. Brilliant and blunt.
The Little Shop of Found Things: A Novel by Paula Brackston – The library suggested this for fans of “Outlander”. I don’t watch that TV show but my mom loves it and I hear that it’s interesting. I peeked in on an episode Mom was watching and it was so cheesy and outlandish (sorry) but filled with historical tidbits that kept grabbing my attention. “Nah, I’ll watch a documentary instead, thanks.” Well, this book was great. I was my friend Sue’s ride to the hospital and stayed in the waiting room during her surgery and as she was waking up and flew through about 1/2 the book during that time. It’s so far afield from anything I read (Supernatural psychic stuff and time travel?! Get real!) but it contains two things I love: mystery and history. I enjoyed the heck out of it and will recommend it to my mom, sister-in-law and nieces and will definitely look into her other titles.