From the monthly archives:

June 2013

Summer 2013 Reading List

by Marinka on June 29, 2013

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. So please click on them and buy a car or a space shuttle.

I have big plans to read this summer. Big Plans! To Read! This Summer!

I have a Kindle, and it’s linked to my credit card, so all I have to do is basically press a button and voila!

And even though there are still some unread books on my Kindle from the 2013 Reading List, I feel that they should rest a while longer so that I can indulge in some summer reading.

So here is my list! Please let me know what’s on yours in the comments. Or via telepathy.

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani.

From Amazon: It is 1930, the midst of the Great Depression. After her mysterious role in a family tragedy, passionate, strong-willed Thea Atwell, age fifteen, has been cast out of her Florida home, exiled to an equestrienne boarding school for Southern debutantes. High in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty, and girls’ friendships, the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a far remove from the free-roaming, dreamlike childhood Thea shared with her twin brother on their family’s citrus farm—a world now partially shattered. As Thea grapples with her responsibility for the events of the past year that led her here, she finds herself enmeshed in a new order, one that will change her sense of what is possible for herself, her family, her country.

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

From Amazon: From an early age, Kate and her identical twin sister, Violet, knew that they were unlike everyone else. Kate and Vi were born with peculiar “senses”—innate psychic abilities concerning future events and other people’s secrets. Though Vi embraced her visions, Kate did her best to hide them.

Now, years later, their different paths have led them both back to their hometown of St. Louis. Vi has pursued an eccentric career as a psychic medium, while Kate, a devoted wife and mother, has settled down in the suburbs to raise her two young children. But when a minor earthquake hits in the middle of the night, the normal life Kate has always wished for begins to shift. After Vi goes on television to share a premonition that another, more devastating earthquake will soon hit the St. Louis area, Kate is mortified. Equally troubling, however, is her fear that Vi may be right. As the date of the predicted earthquake quickly approaches, Kate is forced to reconcile her fraught relationship with her sister and to face truths about herself she’s long tried to deny.

The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan

From Amazon: From the New York Times best-selling author of Commencement and Maine comes a gorgeous, sprawling novel about marriage—about those who marry in a white heat of passion, those who marry for partnership and comfort, and those who live together, love each other, and have absolutely no intention of ruining it all with a wedding.

Evelyn has been married to her husband for forty years—forty years since he slipped off her first wedding ring and put his own in its place. Delphine has seen both sides of love—the ecstatic, glorious highs of seduction, and the bitter, spiteful fury that descends when it’s over. James, a paramedic who works the night shift, knows his wife’s family thinks she could have done better; while Kate, partnered with Dan for a decade, has seen every kind of wedding—beach weddings, backyard weddings, castle weddings—and has vowed never, ever, to have one of her own.

As these lives and marriages unfold in surprising ways, we meet Frances Gerety, a young advertising copywriter in 1947. Frances is working on the De Beers campaign and she needs a signature line, so, one night before bed, she scribbles a phrase on a scrap of paper: “A Diamond Is Forever.” And that line changes everything.

A rich, layered, exhilarating novel spanning nearly a hundred years, The Engagements captures four wholly unique marriages, while tracing the story of diamonds in America, and the way—for better or for worse—these glittering stones have come to symbolize our deepest hopes for everlasting love.

Tampa by Alissa Nutting

From Amazon: In Alissa Nutting’s novel Tampa, Celeste Price, a smoldering 26-year-old middle-school teacher in Florida, unrepentantly recounts her elaborate and sociopathically determined seduction of a 14-year-old student.

Celeste has chosen and lured the charmingly modest Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his eighth-grade teacher, and, most importantly, willing to accept Celeste’s terms for a secret relationship—car rides after dark, rendezvous at Jack’s house while his single father works the late shift, and body-slamming erotic encounters in Celeste’s empty classroom. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress of pure motivation. She deceives everyone, is close to no one, and cares little for anything but her pleasure.

Tampa is a sexually explicit, virtuosically satirical, American Psycho–esque rendering of a monstrously misplaced but undeterrable desire. Laced with black humor and crackling sexualized prose, Alissa Nutting’s Tampa is a grand, seriocomic examination of the want behind student / teacher affairs and a scorching literary debut.

Stoner by John Williams

From Amazon: William Stoner is born at the end of the nineteenth century into a dirt-poor Missouri farming family. Sent to the state university to study agronomy, he instead falls in love with English literature and embraces a scholar’s life, so different from the hardscrabble existence he has known. And yet as the years pass, Stoner encounters a succession of disappointments: marriage into a “proper” family estranges him from his parents; his career is stymied; his wife and daughter turn coldly away from him; a transforming experience of new love ends under threat of scandal. Driven ever deeper within himself, Stoner rediscovers the stoic silence of his forebears and confronts an essential solitude.

John Williams’s luminous and deeply moving novel is a work of quiet perfection. William Stoner emerges from it not only as an archetypal American, but as an unlikely existential hero, standing, like a figure in a painting by Edward Hopper, in stark relief against an unforgiving world.

Disclaimer: This makes me want to fall into a deep coma but a friend recommended it, so I’m going to give it a try. It’s entirely possible that friendship probation 2.0 is in her future.

The Vault by Ruth Rendell.

I can never resist a Ruth Rendell mystery.



by Marinka on June 28, 2013

The other day I had a brilliant idea and because I am a generous person, I decided to share it with a friend immediately.

“Have you ever noticed that there’s Christian erotica but not Jewish erotica?” I asked.

“What’s Christian erotica?” she asked.

“Well, I’m not entirely sure, but I think it’s erotica where people are having married sex and every once in a while Praise the Lord for their bounty or something like that.”

“Oh,” she said. She didn’t look like was on her way to download any for her Kindle in the immediate future, but you never know.

“So anyway, I’m thinking in testing the market with Jewish erotica. I started working on it this afternoon.”


“Do you want to hear it?”


“Ready? Ok, In the heat of passion, I tossed a bagel at him and to my surprise it landed on his erect member of the tribe and started to spin, the sesame seeds clinging tightly to the gluten hypnotizing me. I wanted him more than I’ve ever wanted another man with a bagel adhesion-“

“Can you stop reading that, please.”



“But it’s good, right?”

“No. No, not right. Wrong. It’s not good. Don’t write Jewish erotica.”

“Why? I think I can really make a goyim of it!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, but you need to stop. The Jews been through enough.”

And this is how creativity dies. It gets murdered by “friends”.

I didn’t even get to the part about the matzoh balls.


They Must Be Giants

June 24, 2013

I forgot to tell you that my son and Mama are in California this week. I’m sorry, I thought you knew. It’s not my fault that the Blogging by Telepathy app hasn’t been perfected yet. Stop looking at me like that. Mama took my daughter to San Francisco when she was 12, and my son […]

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June 20, 2013

My son’s birthday is on June 21st, just a few days after school lets out on the East Coast so for years, I planned his birthday party for the last day of school. This was extra stupid of me because in addition to hosting the party, I had to corral the kids with their “WE’RE […]

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Scenic Route

June 14, 2013

I was taking a shower earlier this week when I had a sudden and very painful pain in my calf. It hurt so much that it actually made me gasp, and I immediately thought “it’s a blood clot! This is it!” but instead of having my whole life flash before my eyes and feeling regret […]

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Literary Genius

June 10, 2013

The other day I had a heart to heart with my husband. Which I don’t recommend doing with the heartless. “Hey,” I started. “Isn’t it weird that that even though I’m a literary genius, I don’t yet have an agent or a book deal?” “I didn’t realize you were a literary genius,” he said. Oh, […]

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June 7, 2013

I haven’t been blogging much lately because I’ve been having a nervous breakdown. Remember how my kid lost his beloved baseball glove? And then later how through divine intervention, or someone finding it, he was reunited with it? Well, a few weeks ago he told me that he lost it again. “How could you lose […]

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June 2, 2013

Last week there was some outrage because of a JC Penney billboard that apparently made it look like they were selling a tea kettle that was like Hitler’s long lost twin. This is one of those things that you are either outraged about or are not. Personally I couldn’t get too excited because I was […]

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