STARTED Jan. 2020

I can recommend this book unreservedly; an instant classic.  Just look at that subtitle:  "How Career, Parenting, Technology, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion and What To Do About It."  !!!  Zahl aptly diagnoses our culture's tendency to give ultimate value to almost every activity in our lives, hoping it grants us "enoughness" ... while in fact all this does is stress us out by elevating the merely "good" to the "vital."  We have not rejected religion in 20th-century America; we've merely replaced it with a set of much crueler masters.

DARK LIGHT, Randy Wayne White
FINISHED Jan. 2020

White is one of my go-to authors, esp. when I'm at the beach!  This year, I took Dark Light along to Sanibel, where most of RWW's books take place (there's also a great restaurant there, named for his protagonist, Doc Ford!).  This novel is atmospheric and thoughtful; not quite as exciting as some of his others, but a compelling ghost story with the usual rambling plot.  I love these uneven storylines b/c they feel real rather than pre-designed.  (My fave White, btw, is the much earlier Ten Thousand Islands.) 

LESS Andrew Sean Greer


Oh, I can't even express how much I loved this book.  SO funny, and so beautifully written.  Hapless protagonist Arthur Less embarks on a round-the-world tour of courses and speaking dates in order to escape from the fact that he's turning 50 and his former lover is getting married.  As Greer creates a winsome travelogue and a truly lovable loser character, he also manages to pretty much turn eveything on its head at the end -- you REALLY won't see it coming.  My thanks to Alissa at Otto's for recommending this one.


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