What’s That Book? In the Night of Time by Antonio Muňoz Molina

In memory of my brother Rick who passed away on August 9, I’d like to share this review he wrote for my blog, originally published in 2016.

Title: In the Night of Time

Author: Antonio Muňoz Molina

Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What’s it about? The outset of the Spanish Civil War, as seen through the eyes and experiences of a married, middle-aged architect with 2 children, and his affair with a younger American woman. By the end of the story, Spain is mired in senseless violence and the main character has escaped to New York alone, with his estranged wife and children remaining somewhere in Spain, the affair ended and the future uncertain.

How did you hear about it? Several “best of” book lists. The book has received many favorable reviews.

Closing comments: Rich with detailed descriptions, the book is highly effective in conveying through small incidents, minor characters and specific observations a depressing impression of the Republic, the Nationalists, their respective supporters and an entire people and nation sinking into an abyss, while at the same time telling an ambiguous story of a man expanding his personal experience while betraying his wife and children. The book is beautifully translated from Spanish by Edith Grossman.

Contributor: Rick

Have you read something you’d like to share?  Consider being a contributor!  Contact bvitelli2009@gmail.com for more information.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Short story review from The Best American Short Stories 2006: “The Casual Car Pool” by Katherine Bell

Welcome to an occasional feature on Book Club Mom. Short reviews of short fiction. This selection comes from the 2006 edition of The Best American Short Stories, edited by Ann Patchett.

“The Casual Car Pool”

Katherine Bell

Rating: 4 out of 5.

When a parachute jumper snags his chute on the ropes of the Bay Bridge that leads to San Francisco, readers get a look inside the lives of three strangers in a car pool. The driver, Ian, has picked up his passengers in Oakland and they are stalled just near the end of the Yerba Buena tunnel. A woman named Hannah sits in the front seat and Julia, fifteen, sits in the back. In the beginning, they follow ridesharing’s unspoken rules. No conversation except maybe the traffic and weather.

Ian, Hannah and Julia may not say much, but their actions and their thoughts tell their back stories. Ian is married, but just that morning backed out of their driveway and thought, “If I wanted to, I could leave today and never go back.” Hannah holds in her lap a thick manilla envelope with sperm donor candidates. Annoyed that morning at her lover, Kate, she grabbed it before showing it to her. Julia has skipped school and is headed to meet a Mormon runaway named Isaac, where they will panhandle for money that she will hand over to him at the end of the day.

Meanwhile the jumper hangs and realized that “somehow, by jumping, he had stopped the morning.”

I’ve always liked how short stories reveal just a segment of people’s lives. Here, I like the details the author decided to include. By including only a few details, Bell shows how her characters act in that moment and with only a hint of what will happen after the story ends. Bell’s story touches on relationships and parenthood, privilege and need and the impact strangers can have on your thoughts.

About the Author (taken from the back of this 2006 edition and from Ploughshares):

“Katherine Bell grew up in Cardiff, Wales, and New Jersey. “The Casual Car Pool” was her second story published in Ploughshares. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she currently works as online managing editor at Cook’s Illustrated, teaches writing at Harvard Extension School and Lesley University, and blogs for the Huffington Post. She is also working on her first novel and a book about quilting.

I highly recommend these collections of Best American Short Stories. I’ve never been disappointed by the stories I’ve read.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Friday Fiction – A Man and His Phone

Welcome to A Man and His Phone – a series of relationship mishaps!

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Chris smiled when he saw the text message. Thank goodness for technology! The thought surprised him. Hours earlier, he had been on his couch, completely content to watch the Sixers, drink his beer and ignore the phone across the room. And now, after a comedy show of meet-ups, first with the very interesting, yet-to-be-introduced Adrienne, and then with both Jane and Adrienne in his apartment stairwell, he’s found himself at a dance club, faking a call and pretend-talking, just to get his long-term girlfriend off his lap.

He looked over at Adrienne. The deafening music and heavy beat left no chance for conversation, but it didn’t matter. What a happy set of circumstances, he realized, all without much of his own doing. Back at his apartment building, after the fluster of hearing Jane and Adrienne trip over an outrageous explanation of why they were in his building, he found himself happily agreeing to go to Karma. Jane had been giddy over his willingness to go. A little too giddy, Chris thought, but whatever.

The beat shook the room and Chris took in the mob on the dance floor. What a bunch of crazies, he thought, grateful that he had so far escaped that pulsing hell.

Chris thought back and realized it had been genius of Adrienne to suggest they exchange contact info before they’d headed to Karma in two cars. “Jane will be driving,” Adrienne explained. You can text me if we get separated. Chris had dumbly agreed. It didn’t make complete sense since Jane obviously had his number and he’d also be busy driving. It was true he had never been to Karma, but he had a GPS like everyone else in the world. But it’s also a no brainer when an interesting woman suggests trading contact info. He hadn’t asked Adrienne for the rescue text, but she knew he needed it.

He was pretty sure he loved Jane, but when she jumped on his lap, there had been no time to think. He simply didn’t want her on his lap, on a ridiculously high stool, out in public. It broke all his PDA rules. If he’d paid attention since the stairwell, he would have noticed Jane’s ramped-up assertiveness, but Chris after all, was just Chris, a guy who wanted to watch a game on TV, but was instead out for a night of dancing.

Another look over at Adrienne and it occurred to Chris that she was seriously dressed for dancing and, like a race horse at the gate, was champing at the bit. She stood, moving to the beat, a little exaggerated, he thought. And for goodness sake, wasn’t she nursing a sore ankle from her fall in the stairwell? A panic set in. It wasn’t just that Chris didn’t like dancing. He knew he was no good at it. Since the incident at his high school homecoming dance, he’d simply refused to get out there with any woman.

Adrienne drained her drink. “Come on, Chris. Let’s get out there!” Before he could answer, she grabbed his hand and pulled. “Hop off that high chair of yours, it’s time to get some exercise.”

With Chris in tow, Adrienne continued to pull until they reached the edge of the dance floor. To Chris, it was the equivalent of the seconds before a cliff dive, something he’d only done once. But the memory of that sensation stayed with him whenever he faced an uncomfortable social situation. She gave him no time to think and soon they were surrounded by a sweaty mash of bodies.

Chris started to move. Thank goodness he’d been loosened up a bit by his last Yuengling. And what better inspiration than seeing Adrienne, clearly a pro, making it look so easy. First one move, then another, he took some chances, and let the beat sink into his body. Before long, Chris was Patrick Swayze, John Travolta and Kevin Bacon wrapped up in a twenty-something millennial on a dance floor in suburban New Jersey.

And that’s when it also occurred to Chris that the reason he was out there on the Karma dance floor was because he wanted to be, and it didn’t matter if he knew how to dance or was good at it, because no one could actually see him. That is, until the others on the floor noticed him, gave him the room that any dance sensation would need and stopped to watch the magic.

Chris pulled Adrienne close and looked out at the crowd taking them in. At the center stood Jane, wearing three shades of anger.

Thank you for reading.

Click here to catch up previous episodes of A Man and His Phone.

Copyright © 2019 by Book Club Mom

All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Friday Fiction – “A Man and His Phone” – Part 3

“A Man and His Phone” – Part 3

Welcome to Friday Fiction! If you stopped in the last two Fridays, you may have read Parts 1 and 2 of “A Man and His Phone.” If not, here’s a rundown of what’s happening:

Jane is in a twenty-something predicament. She has a sometimes boyfriend who likes his own space. But Jane wants more. Chris is in no hurry to change his life. He’s planted on his couch, drinking some beers and watching ESPN. Maybe he’ll go out, maybe he won’t. But he has no interest in making plans with Jane tonight. After a tense call with her, Chris has powered off his phone. Meanwhile, Jane is determined to make something happen. His phone may be off, but that’s not going to stop her.

Now you’re set – I hope you enjoy!

Image: Wikimedia Commons

“Let’s do a drive-by,” she said. “I’ll pick you up in a half hour and we can drive over there and see if his car is still in the parking lot.”

Adrienne was usually game for this kind of thing, but tonight she had plans to go out dancing with the girls from the apartment across the hall. Now Jane was on the phone and obsessing over this Chris guy. Maybe Adrienne could get her to go out with them and forget about Chris.

“Jane, you know I like to spy as much as you do, but I’m going dancing at Karma tonight with Felicia and her roommate. You should come with us instead.”

Jane was in no mood for dancing. She was furious with Chris and wanted to make sure he was still in his apartment. Let him sit there and drink beer all night, but he’d better not go out. If he did, she was going to find out. What she’d do then, who knew? She would figure that out if she had to.

“Look, we can drive over there first and then maybe I’ll go to Karma with you. Or, I can take you there to meet your friends.”

Adrienne stalled. She had met someone last night at the dance club and wanted to get back there tonight to see if he’d show up. She was pretty sure he would, based on the dancing they’d done the night before.

“Jane, doesn’t Chris live practically in Philly? That’s an hour from here! Just come with us and forget about him.”

“No, I can’t. I need to know if he’s still in his apartment.”

“What good is that going to do? And how are you going to find that out? Doesn’t he live in a high-rise?”

“Well yes, but I know where he parks his car. We can drive to his apartment building, see if his car is there. If it is, maybe someone can buzz us in to get up to his floor. If I hear music and see a light under the door, then I’ll know for sure if he’s home.”

“Jane, that’s madness. Even I can see how stupid your plan is. What if his car isn’t there? What are you going to do then? And what if he went out and someone else drove? And even if he is there, what are you going to do? He could be getting ready to go out. You have no control over this.”

“Adrienne, he blew me off last week and said he was tired. But you saw him at Zadar’s. He certainly didn’t look tired there. And tonight he didn’t want to make plans. I need to know what’s happening. I’ll feel better if I know he’s just stewing in his apartment, alone. Please come with me. I promise I’ll make it up to you. It’s only seven right now. We have plenty of time to get down there and back before you go out.”

Just barely, thought Adrienne. She didn’t want anyone else moving in on this guy she’d met. But she had her share of obsessions, so she couldn’t really judge. Still, this sounded like a terrible idea and she was itching to find that guy. Things had gotten pretty intense with him…

“Okay, Jane. It’s a horrible idea, but okay. Come over now, we’ll drive to Pennsauken, see if Chris is there. And Jane, wear something hot, okay? Don’t show up at my door in jeans and sneakers because I’m dragging you Karma after this.”

Thank you for reading – come back next week for Part 4!

Click here to catch up with all the episodes of A Man and His Phone.

Copyright © 2018 by Book Club Mom

All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Friday Fiction – “A Man and His Phone” – Part 2

“A Man and His Phone”
Part 2

Image: Wikimedia Commons

His phone vibrated and this time he heard the sound. But Chris was so comfortable on his couch. The highlights from last night’s Sixers game were just coming on… (Read all of Part 1 here.)

Chris thought about answering. He knew it would be Jane. She sure was persistent. He should have just powered off his phone, but it was too late for that now. He liked Jane…a lot, but he was nowhere near ready for more. It was true that they had something. They grinned at each other nonstop when they were together, but once or twice a month of that was enough for him. Anything more would require a label, and work. Just thinking about it made his muscles tighten. He didn’t want to be a boyfriend and he most certainly did not want to discuss it with Jane tonight. Their meeting at Zadar’s had been a bad coincidence.

How many more times would she call if he didn’t answer now?

Chris got up with a groan and picked up his phone. Jane’s number displayed on the screen. He swiped to answer. “Yo”

“Hey, Chris, it’s me.”

“Hey. What’s up?”

“Not much. What are you up to?”

“Just relaxing, thinking about dinner.”

“Oh?” Was that an invitation? Jane wondered.

“Yeah, I can’t decide whether to get pizza or a hoagie.”

“Hmmmm. Tough decision.” She was trying to act casual, but her stomach was knotting. She hated that she was so uncomfortable talking to him now. If they only spent more time together, they would be more natural during these ordinary moments. She was more than willing. More was what she wanted. She took a breath.

“Hey, do you want to get together tonight? I could help you decide on the pizza or hoagie.” She knew this was lame, but it was all she had.

Pause. Chris was stuck. He didn’t know why he felt stuck. He didn’t know why he didn’t want to make plans. He just didn’t. When he felt trapped, even in the smallest things, he could not do anything except try to escape. He reasoned that if he truly felt a certain way, he shouldn’t fake being any different. It didn’t matter that Jane was a great person.

Chris tried to think of something clever to remove the tension between them because his charm usually worked with her. But tonight he had nothing. “Well, my internal pizza/hoagie debate might take a while. I don’t know if tonight’s a good night.”

Jane should have taken this as a definite “no,” but still she pursued. She could feel a sticky sweat under her arms. She had to see him, had to make sure that things were right between them.

“How about if I bring you a pizza? Then you won’t have to worry about deciding.”

Chris thought he had gotten away. When they were both in good moods, their conversations together were playful, but tonight there was only fake lightness. This moment was a bad sign. Jane should have seen that.

She saw her mistake, but could not help herself. She had noticed a change in him at Zadar’s and she was anxious when he hadn’t called. She had to call and now she couldn’t help but push the point.

“Well, Darling, I think I’m just going to hang around here for dinner tonight. And I might go into Philly later.”

The ‘Darling’ part did not charm Jane this time. She snapped.

“Okay, Chris, but I need to know. Were you ever planning on calling me?”

“I don’t know. I might have…”

“Might have? Doesn’t that say something about us?” Jane took a second to think about what else she would say. She hadn’t planned on talking about this, but now she felt she had no choice.

“Chris, I wanted to see you tonight and you clearly have no interest. So please tell me what’s going on with you. I thought things were going well between us, but when I saw you at Zadar’s, you wanted to get away from me fast.”

Now Chris was beginning to sweat. And to think he had just been living the life, drinking beer and watching ESPN, the night wide open, just as he wanted. Now he was being summoned for the relationship talk. The rehashing of events. The analysis of feelings. He was in a corner and there was only one way out. Straight through, no matter the casualties.

“Jane, I can’t change who I am. Why can’t you understand that when I feel like getting together with you, I do? And we have a great time when we’re together. Don’t we?” The words sounded stale. They were, in fact. He’d used them before.

“That’s a little too casual for me, Chris. I need more than that. We’ve been together all this time and still you dole out your attention to me in small bits. If you don’t want more than that, then we have a problem.”

“Jane, all I want to do is get off the phone. I don’t want to talk about anything. I only want to sit on the couch and have a few beers. Then, like I told you, I will probably get some dinner maybe I’ll go into the city. But maybe I won’t. I don’t want to be pressured into seeing you or anyone for that matter. I’m always going to be this way. I will never change and you shouldn’t want to change me. I like spending time with you. You know that, but not now.”

Jane should have known it wouldn’t go well. She’d called him up, tried to force plans on him, and then picked a fight with him. She had made her point. It was out there now. She’d lost.

“Okay, Chris. Fine. I’ll see you. Bye.”

Chris ended the call, powered off his cell phone and threw it on the kitchen table with too much force for an expensive piece of technology. He watched it fly across the surface and hoped it would fall off the end. It slid and spun and instead, slammed against the biography he was going to read next, The Secret Life of Houdini.

Jane stood in her own apartment, furious at herself. She gripped her iPhone. She would keep it close, with the sound turned on. Chris could call her back. She wanted to be ready.

“What am I doing? I’m a fool,” she thought. But then she had an idea…

Click here to catch up with all the episodes of A Man and His Phone.

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2018 by Book Club Mom

All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Friday Fiction – “A Man and His Phone” Part 1

“A Man and His Phone”
Part 1

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Chris sat in his apartment reading. It was Saturday. Music was on. Playing loudly. He was reading a book about the Civil War. He liked to listen to loud music when he read. It was the perfect atmosphere for him and always had been. It did not distract him. It allowed him to escape into a different world. He was relaxed. It was getting to be time for dinner, but he was in no hurry, would figure that out later.

His cell phone was on the kitchen table. During the day, he would occasionally check for missed calls. He didn’t like running to a ringing phone so the sound was always off. He’d set it to vibrate. But he rarely paid attention to it and he almost never made calls. Now it vibrated as he sat across the room, at a safe distance. This time he just didn’t hear it. He continued to read and listen to music.

Jane had been trying to call him. She didn’t have a good reason, but she wanted to talk to him. She wanted to feel reassured that everything was good between them. She had not seen him or talked to him since the night at Club Zadar’s. They’d had plans that night but he’d blown her off, saying he was tired and then there he was, out with friends, flirting with women at the bar. She had given him a few days and still had not heard from him. When Jane felt uneasy, she jumped from one thing to the next. She could not focus until that one thing was settled.

Jane wanted to be settled, as in married with a couple kids. She envied that life. But she was so far from having any kind of life besides a working one. She could not imagine how she could get there. At twenty-five, with nothing going on, she was beginning to realize that she had a long way to go.

She checked her phone. Nothing, no call, no text. What was she thinking? Chris never texted. She knew he hated being tied to a device, but she could always hope. And he occasionally surprised her by doing something out of character. He had emailed her now and again and she loved reading them. She clung to that idea. Maybe Chris had sent her one. Nothing. Late Saturday afternoon, almost night. She had no plans. She thought about calling friends, decided against it. She decided to wait. “Maybe Chris is busy right now, but he’s getting ready to call me as soon as he’s finished whatever it is he’s doing,” Jane thought. She knew how ridiculous that sounded, even in her head. She didn’t care. She continued with this exercise. “It’s 5:30. He’s probably waiting until 6:00 to call me. I’ll wait until then. If he’s sent me an email, I’ll call him. Maybe he’ll call me while I’m checking my email. Then I won’t have to call him. If he hasn’t sent me an email, I’ll decide at 6:00 whether I’ll call him or not.”

Chris was oblivious to this. He had no idea that Jane even thought this way. He would probably be horrified to know it. He was sitting in his apartment, reading his book, listening to music. He was thinking about nothing else except the words he was reading. He was not thinking about what he would do after he finished reading. He didn’t even know how long he would be reading. When he finished, would probably think about dinner. Maybe after that, he would think about what he might do that night.

When Chris did stop reading, he got up and turned off the music. He looked at the clock. 6:17. Then he grabbed a beer out of the refrigerator and headed back to the living room. Seeing his cell on the table, though, he stopped and picked it up. He pressed the home button and saw that he had two missed calls. Jane.

Jane. “She’s probably already made plans by now,” he thought. “If she calls again, I’ll see if she wants to do something.” He put the cell back on the table, then sat on his couch and took a drink from his beer. He would have been more comfortable had he not checked his phone and seen that Jane had called. He had not planned on calling her, but maybe he would have. Now he would not. He finished his beer and got up for another one. When he sat down this time, he turned on the television. Flipping through the stations, he settled on ESPN.

His phone vibrated and this time he heard the sound. But Chris was so comfortable on his couch. The highlights from last night’s Sixers game were just coming on…

Click here to read all the episodes of A Man and His Phone.

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2018 by Book Club Mom

All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Friday Fiction – Random chapter from an unfinished book – Jeff and Allie part two

Friday Fiction

Hello all!  Written long ago and gathering dust, here’s another random chapter from an unfinished book…


Part one began like this:

“I’ll be right there, hang on a minute!” Jeff’s head pounded.  He was thinking about what lay ahead of him.  A long drive, a hard discussion and a longer drive back.  He was shocked to find himself in this position because he had always been so careful about staying detached.  Now he was in it.

Click here to read the rest..

…and here comes part two:

Silently, Allie moved through the living room back to the kitchen.  She took comfort in small tasks and began to empty the dishwasher.  First the spoons, then the knives, then the forks.  Out of the basket and into the drawer.  How many hours before he’d be back?  How many hours to fill?  Next came the dishes, first the small ones, then the dinner plates.  Bottom rack finished, she started on the top rack.  Then, clearing the table, rinsing the dirty dishes, she placed them in the empty dishwasher.  While she worked, no answers came to her, only the sounds of a kitchen being put into order.  That was a small comfort.

If she had seen herself, she would have noticed that her face was tight, that she was chewing on the inside of her lip.  She would have seen that her hair had come loose.  If she looked closer, she would have noticed the bitten fingernails, a new habit of hers.

Wiping the table and the counters, she was making progress, controlling what she could.  She thought about the rest of her day.

The phone rang and she turned, watched it, turned again and walked away.  “Let someone think I’m busy,” she thought.  She went upstairs and forced herself through the morning rituals, shower, clothes, hair, make-up.

“Well, you look great!”  That was what her friends said to her once, after a break-up years ago.  It was funny to her and they all had laughed.   She looked at herself in the mirror.  Well, not great, but not falling apart.  No one would stare.

She used to have her girlfriends to lean on.  They would call each other and decipher their relationships.  “If he hasn’t called by Wednesday, you’d better make your own plans.”  They had a whole set of rules to apply when they were younger, acting older.  They were easy rules, and they made the process fun.  Ten years later, none of those rules applied.

Allied turned away from the bathroom mirror, turned off the light and went downstairs.  She checked her phone – no message.  She sat down on the couch.  Alone and silent.  She thought about Jeff and where he was going.  She hadn’t asked him, but she knew he was going to her.

The phone rang again and this time she jumped.  She felt a pounding in her chest and stared.  Her stomach churned.  She wondered if the same person was calling again.  “Don’t answer it,” she told herself.  After the fourth ring, the machine picked up.  This time, Allie walked over to the phone and watched.  After a moment, she checked for a message.  No message.

Jeff and Allie had been together for three years.  Not married, but living together.  They were in the stage of being an established young couple, working on their future together.  They had talked about getting married, but they were not engaged.  Jeff loved Allie and was happy.  Allie, too, loved Jeff and like many young women, was looking into the future and planning out their life together.  She didn’t share this part with Jeff because, at thirty, she already knew not to push.  She knew that much, but little else.  She knew not to put pressure on him, but she didn’t understand that he might never want to marry her.

Jeff was not having an affair, but he was close.  He had met Linnea three months ago and they became fast friends.  He let that happen because their friendship was so fun and easy.  At the time, Allie was busy with school and he simply filled his time away from her by seeing Linnea.  At first he didn’t even think about it.  He wasn’t doing anything wrong.  His conscience was clear.  Linnea didn’t seem like a threat.

When children find new playmates, they don’t think about their old friends.  They’re just happy to have another friend.  They are too young to understand anything more and are oblivious to another playmate’s jealousy.  Jeff was young in his thinking.  He didn’t hide his new friendship and early on he introduced Allie to Linnea.  And Jeff, too, was oblivious to Allie’s reaction.

Linnea was a nice person, but she was not naïve.  She was aggressive and confident in everything she did.  She had seen Jeff at a park and approached him, spoken to him.  She liked that he was sitting there reading a book.  Allie’s name didn’t come up the day he met Linnea.  All they were talking about was books.  They didn’t like the same books, but they had fun talking.  Linnea was good at conversation and Jeff was taken in by how effortless they were together.  It was one of those instant connections that his sister Jocelyn knew well.  Jeff might have noticed Linnea’s face and her eyes, but he was busy enjoying their conversation.

Jeff was the kind of person who observed a lot and kept his thoughts to himself.  He didn’t share his thoughts easily and Allie was used to this detachment.  To her friends, she called him “a man of few words.”  They had shared plenty of moments of closeness and honesty and that was enough for Allie to hold onto.

But meeting Linnea threw Jeff off balance and caused him to withdraw even more when he was with Allie.  And it caused a logjam of feelings he could not clear.  Allie noticed and worried to herself what it might mean.

The phone rang again.  This time she answered…

Thank you for reading.

What’s That Book? The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach


: The Art of Fielding

Author:  Chad Harbach

Genre: Fiction

Rating:  ***

What’s it about?  Westish College star shortstop Henry Skrimshander thought he was headed for Major League Baseball, but now his throw is off.  He must do something, but what?  As the season unfolds, Henry grapples with self-doubt and several other characters, including the university president, struggle with their own challenges.  Each character hopes that their beliefs in love, family and relationships are strong enough to carry them through.  A dramatic conclusion awaits at the season’s end.

How did you hear about it?  I was interested in the idea of an athlete facing a slump because it’s a common topic in college and professional sports commentary.

Closing comment:  I was disappointed with the book because I thought it was going to be about overcoming adversity, one of my favorite themes, but it is more about unlikely relationships and situations and unrealistic characters.

Contributor:  Ginette

Have you read something good?  Want to talk about it?
Consider being a contributor to What’s That Book.

Email Book Club Mom at bvitelli2009@gmail.com for information.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!



The Vacationers by Emma Straub

The Vacationers
The Vacationers
Emma Straub


This entertaining book is a light beach read about the dysfunctional Post family, on a trip from Manhattan to Mallorca, Spain for some forced family vacation fun, a two-week trip to a beautiful island home on top of a mountain.

Franny and Jim Post are in crisis, despite thirty-five years of marriage.  Their daughter, Sylvia is off to college in the fall.  She has a few crucial things to check off her list before the summer is out and her handsome Spanish tutor may be able to help her with that.  Joining the group from Miami are Sylvia’s brother, 28-year-old Bobby and his older-woman girlfriend, Carmen.  Bobby and Carmen have their own problems and they may not be able to keep them under wraps in Mallorca.  Rounding out the group is Franny’s long-time friend Charles and his new husband Lawrence.  Lawrence already feels like an outsider.  Can he tolerate the intense friendship between Charles and Franny?

Everyone has issues, there is plenty of tension and the Wi-Fi in the house stinks.  Franny, despite being furious with Jim, tries to keep it together by organizing day trips and cooking elaborate meals.

As the days wear on, some relationships improve, but others worsen and one or two implode.  On a trip to the beach, it looks as if the vacation will end in disaster.  Can anything be salvaged?

I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining story.  It is perfect for the summer and I was in just the right mood to read something fun.  While the characters are simply drawn and the plot is predictable, Straub adds her own style to the dialogue and her characters’ points of view.  I was surprised to see it got very mixed reviews on Amazon, but I’m sticking with my four bookmarks!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Who’s That Indie Author? Sherry Mayes

Who's That Indie Author pic

Sherry Mayes

Author name: Sherry Mayes

Genre: Young Adult

Book: Stop the World

Stop the WorldSet in the dusty desert town of Cedarville, North California, beauty queen, Jody Angel Taylor believes her life is all mapped out: glamorous, clever and popular, and due to marry her handsome boyfriend, she has it all. Until one night she has a devastating car crash, ending up paralyzed – and her perfect world collapses. Committing media suicide and publicly blamed for her own accident, everything around her falls apart. She becomes a lonely recluse, feeling she’s lost everything including her legs – her boyfriend to her best friend, her father to an affair, her mother to depression – but above all she fears losing her mind. What she doesn’t know is that someone across the globe is about to throw her a lifeline. Can she find the courage to take it?

Bio: I’ve worked as a journalist for nearly twenty years and have also written two self-help books published twelve years ago. Stop the World is my first work of fiction.

Favorite thing about being a writer: Creating new worlds and becoming every character.

Biggest challenge as an indie author: Finding support to get your novel ‘seen’.

Favorite book: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Contact Information:  Facebook:  Sherry Mayes Author; Goodreads:  Sherry Mayes  Amazon: amazon.co.uk

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