Monday, June 18, 2007

The Mistress's Daughter

The Mistress's Daughter by A. M. Homes is simply mesmerizing and expertly executed. Author Homes was adopted shortly after her birth. At the age of thirty-one, her biological mother contacted her, causing an avalanche of emotions and psychological turmoil. Homes explains, with brutal honesty, the impact of encounters with her birth mother and father, as well as what becomes her obsession to search for her true identity. This obsession reaches an intensity in the chapter titled "The Electronic Anthropologist," during which Homes extensively searches in archives and records offices for documents. The memoir concludes with a chapter titled "My Grandmother's Table." It is in the final pages where Homes reveals the understanding she has reached. Highly recommended!


This read, Coroner by Thomas T. Noguchi, was an unusual one for me. I found it on a list of autobiographies/biographies compiled by a librarian I work with. I was immediately intrigued and found the book fascinating.

Dr. Noguchi was the Chief Medical Examiner for the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. He was first employed by the office in 1960 and left in a storm of controversy in the early 1980s. During his tenure he worked on some of the most interesting and mysterious cases, including the deaths of Marilyn Monroe, Robert Kennedy, Natalie Wood, Sharon Tate, Janis Joplin, William Holden, and John Belushi, as well as the fiery demise of several members of the radical SLA group that kidnapped Patty Hearst. This book introduces readers to an extraordinary individual.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

This collection of stories by ZZ Packer, a graduate of the illustrious Iowa Writers' Workshop, is at times gritty, satirical, painful, entertaining, hopeful, and humorous. One memorable and unsettling story in this collection follows a troubled African American female student at Yale. In another story, a teenage girl runs away to track down her mother in the big city, but finds herself amongst prostitutes and a shady character named Dezi. This book is for readers who are not looking for light-hearted fiction.