The Housekeeper and the Professor - Yoko Ogawa Because The Housekeeper and the Professor was recommended by family, I expected to enjoy it. The premise (a young housekeeper with a 10 year old son shares the story of her time working for a brilliant math professor who has suffered a brain injury and only has 80 minutes of short term memory) sounded interesting. This really is a beautiful story. The narrative style was consistent in it's calm, even, peacefulness. Even moments of tension (a brief work suspension, dropping a cookie tin after finding the professor's dissertation/thesis) were excellently done - the peace never shattered. The author takes us close enough to the edge that we can clearly imagine what's beyond. The professor's memory was not over played to drive the story, which at all times felt genuine - as if it were being told by a modest, anything but average, single, working-class mom. An easy book to recommend.
The Life We Bury - Allen Eskens The Life We Bury is a fast paced, entertaining, holiday read – a good book to throw in your bag before heading off on spring break or summer vacation. I felt the first half was a bit busy tackling the protagonist's juggling his lush of a mother and autistic brother, life as a student, a coy and attractive neighbor, and the biography assignment that serves as the backdrop for the rest of the book. About half to two-thirds of the way through, the story settles into a more focused and fast paced murder-mystery. Nothing ground breaking here, but the story and characters are well-developed, engaging and delivered at a pace that will keep you from wanting to step away.
The Rocket Man (from The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury) After 2 of my 3 kids rejected the book I'd started reading them and a bit of animated negotiating we settled on Bradbury's short story The Rocket Man. It's about a space traveling husband and father, gone three months at a time and torn between home and space, his wife who wants him home, and his teenage boy who still has that young man's romanticized awe of who or what he believes his father to be. The story maintains a healthy tension and gives itself away early without giving itself up at all. Even having read this before and seeing the punch coming, I couldn't prevent the frog growing in my throat as the story wound where it inevitably had to go. I'd recommend the whole collection (The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury), but you owe yourself the few minutes The Rocket Man will take.
Brad Tate is an avid reader, runner, and financial industry risk consultant. He resides in the Village of Clemmons, NC with his wife and three children.