August 28, 2003
Fluke Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings by Christopher Moore

Fluke Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings by Christopher Moore: another wonderful book by the author of Island of the Sequined Love Nun and Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story.

In Christopher Moore’s newest book, Nate Quinn, a marine behavioral biologist is consumed with the question of why whales sing. Until the day, that is, that while out observing the whales he sees one with “Bite Me” written on its tail.

So begins Nate quest to find out exactly what the hell is going on. During this adventure, we meet characters that only Moore could bring to life this well - Clay, Nate’s partner in Maui Whale; Amy, the luscious, brilliant research assistant that Nate has a thing for; Kona, the dreadlock-wearing, pot smoking white boy from New Jersey who speaks Rastafarian; Elizabeth (AKA The Old Broad) who supports the researchers. There are also the assorted people - like Nate’s ex-wife and other biologists - that lets you know that you are definitely reading a Christopher Moore novel.

I always love reading one of Moore’s books. No where else can you find a sentence like “Quinn felt like he’d just smacked a bag of kittens against a truck bumper” or learn a phrase like “action nerd.” A hell of a funny book with a really interesting premise that’s well worth reading.

August 25, 2003
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III

House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III: one of Oprah’s Book Club picks (though I didn’t know if when at the time) and one of the most captivating books I’ve read all year.

The story centers around two main characters - Colonel Massoud Amir Behrani and Kathy Nicolo. Kathy is a former cocaine addict trying to recover from her husband leaving her eight months earlier. Due to a bureaucratic error, Kathy’s house, left to her by her father, is seized and put up for auction. Behrani, who fled Iran four years earlier and is having a tough time finding a good job, takes the last of his family’s money and purchases the house for a very low price. This is when the real trouble begins.

Kathy, naturally, wants her house back. Behrani sees this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to get his family’s fortunes back on track and refuses to sale without at least tripling his money. Meanwhile, Kathy has become involved with a married police officer, Les Burdon, complicating both her life and his.

Immediately, this book grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go. I felt sympathy for both sides in this struggle and couldn’t imagine any way that this would work out well for anyone. I wanted everyone to get what they wanted, though that obviously couldn’t be. I worried about all involved- epsecially Mrs. Behrani and Kathy - and feared what would happen to these wonderfully vivid characters.

Not giving anything away, I totally felt that the book had an inevitable conclusion once it began moving. I was completely drawn in and recommended this book heartily.