Category Archives: Marion’s Favorite Books

Marion’s favorite books that he has reviewed.

Book Review 100: The Lay of the Land by Richard Ford

It’s my 100th Book Review.  I must admit I did not think I would have posted as many book reviews over the past 6 years.  It has been a pleasure and learning experience with writing and posting 100 reviews.  I want to thank all the readers that have reached out through social media and the blog about the reviews.  Thank you!

Frank Bascombe is now in mid-50s and reached the “permanent period” in his life as we begin The Lay of the Land. While recovering from prostrate cancer, he faces a crisis where his second wife, Sally, has left him to reconnect with her ex-husband who abandoned her many years earlier. Frank has invited his adult children, Clarissa and Paul to come to his beachside New Jersey home for Thanksgiving.  Meanwhile, Ann, his ex-wife, is attempting to reconnect with him and moved back into their former home in Haddam where they lived together for many years. All of this activity is going in Frank’s life and he is trying to make sense of it all while lamenting and ridiculing that George W. Bush will become president over Al Gore at the turn of the millennium.

The Lay of the Land is third book and last full-length novel in the Frank Bascombe series.  (Ford has written Let Me Be Frank With You, a novella collection after this one.)  For me, it felt like I had come to an ending of the Frank Bascombe’s storyline that started in The Sportswriter while he was in his 30’s and onto Independence Day while he was in his 40’s and into this novel with the middle-aged lifestyle embedded in him.  Going over a generation in a man’s life which could be described as upper middle-class, white male angst has been quite eye opening and a total pleasure to read.

Reading will give you surprises from time-to-time and Richard Ford has given me that with these Frank Bascombe books. Ford’s narrative of the real estate industry in New Jersey felt real, his character’s descriptions and analysis of the people that come into Frank’s world captivated me, and Bascombe’s self-destructive tendencies regarding love and fatherhood were revealing and heartbreaking simultaneously.

The Lay of the Land is an excellent novel and a provocative look into the American dream that should be alongside John Updike’s Rabbit Angstrom Books as chronicles for modern suburban fiction.  Highly recommended and The Lay of the Land will be one of the my favorite reads of 2017.

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Book Review 97: Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay

Ned Marriner, the fifteen-year old protagonist in Guy Gavriel Kay’s tenth novel, Ysabel  uncovers a startling discovery in an Aix-en-Provence cathedral.  He is in the Southern France city with his father, a famed photographer who is shooting photos around the city for a new book.  Upon his discovery, Ned gets drawn into an intertwining of… Continue Reading

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Book Review 95: The Successful Author Mindset by Joanna Penn

Digital Publishing has spawned the rise of the indie author movement over the past several years.  As a result, there is a lot of books these days about how to become a successful indie author and how to make a living with your writing. However, there are only a few of those books dealing with… Continue Reading

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Book Review 94: Deep Work by Cal Newport

“Great creative minds think like artists but work like accountants.” (David Brooks) “When you work, work hard. When you’re done, be done.” Those two quotes from Deep Work by Cal Newport summarizes my feelings toward this excellent book. Newport introduces deep work as to counteract the distracted world we live with in the social media… Continue Reading

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Book Review 92: Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler

There has not been a novel that caused such discomfort, challenge my assumptions, or made me defensive while reading like Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler. It is the sequel to Parable of the Sower and continues Lauren Olamina’s quest to create a new religion, Earthseed, in a believable and frightening post-apocalyptic America reminiscent… Continue Reading

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Book Review 91: Masterminds by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Masterminds is the eighth and final book of the Anniversary Day Saga in the Retrieval Artist Series by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. All the threads of the previous seven books in the saga finally comes together as we find out who is the mastermind behind the Anniversary Day Bombings on the Moon’s colony of Armstrong. You… Continue Reading

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Book Review 90: Starbase Human by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Can an old and dilapidated starbase be the key to solving the Moon’s Anniversary Day Bombings and it’s survival? Starbase Human, the seventh book in the Anniversary Day Saga of the Retrieval Artist Series, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch attempted to answer that question. Long ago, this starbase became a clone-testing ground intent on destroying humanity… Continue Reading

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MY BOOKS

 
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