Gateway Gazette

From My Bookshelf Featuring Graeme Simsion and Alice Munro

By Lynn Willoughby

The Rosie Project ~ Graeme Simsion

What a gem this book is! It is narrated by an odd, charming, socially awkward genetics professor. He is full of ticks, twitches, obsessions and can count his friends on one hand – two.

He has a lifelong difficulty with social rituals, but he believes there is a statistical probability that somewhere out there is his ideal mate. So, he embarks on “The Wife Project”. His questionnaire asks each candidate if she is punctual, a smoker, is logical, drinks socially? A yes on anything in the questionnaire ends any potential relationship. His acceptance of one candidate and a date which follows is hilarious. She is a competitive dancer. Logically, Don gets a book and practices the steps in his office – with a skeleton. He learns the steps to the foxtrot, rumba, salsa, waltz etc getting ready for his date. What he leaves out is the music and the beat of the music – with disastrous results!

Don Tillman is on a “…sincere quest to logically discover what is ultimately illogical – love. Written in a superbly, pitch-perfect voice, I was cheering for Don on every page.” ~ Lisa Genova

Me too! Don is absolutely charming. Then, he meets Rosie. She is fiery, illogical, a smoker, a bar maid and arrives late at every meeting. Don comes to realize that love is not always what looks good on paper.

This book is the complete opposite of all the current novels about autism that are now so popular – “Love Anthony”, “House Rules”, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time “, “The Spark”, “Temple Grandin” and a host of others. I absolutely LOVED this little book and cannot wait to read the sequel – coming out on September 30.

  • The Rosie Effect

Dear Life ~ Alice Munro

This iconic Canadian writer won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013. Dubbed by the Swedish Academy as “…The master of the contemporary short story…”, Munro reigns atop a list of the most popular literature laureates on the Nobel website, ranking higher than past winners such as John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

This book of fourteen short stories has a grand variety of remarkable plots, abrupt reverses, deliberately sketchy back-stories and quirky personalities. As the Ottawa Citizen says “…she transforms the ordinary into gold,…ordinary life …becomes dear.”

I generally love a big meaty novel with lots of stories, but when I am ready for easier reads in the form of a short story, I am a fan of Munro.

Her stories often take a seemingly inconsequential detail and make us realize how it continues to torment the protagonist, to ripple out and affect others never even considered. “Violence, illness and reputations ruined by a single indiscretion …” are the stuff of Munro’s stories. Nuances in relationships can create an entire short story. Human flaws and unflinching truths make for wonderful tales in the hands of this master storyteller. Her narrative is spare and taught without a lot of those boring descriptions that go on and on and on.

“Dear Life” is a blessing on life, with “…all its disturbances, its dissatisfactions, its usual calamities…” ~ Star Phoenix
Enough said!

  • Too Much Happiness
  • Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage

…………..and many more

Who Knew?

The Nobel Prize amount for 2013 recipients is set in Swedish kroner. It amounts to 8.0 million per full Nobel Prize. One kroner equals 0.171 Canadian dollars.

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