Editor’s note: The opinions of the smart, educated women in my Denver book club mean a lot and often determine what we choose to pile on our nightstands. So we asked them and other readers to share these mini-reviews with you. Do you have any to offer? Email email@example.com.
“The Comfort of Crows: A Year in the Courtyard”, by Margaret Renkl (Spiegel and Grau, 2023)
“The drama, worries and pain that are the warp of my life, tightly woven through the light, love and joy that are its woof, do not register at all on the blue jay. The earthworms that lie beneath the ground have not the slightest idea of the sorrows that grip my heart. In their rest I find rest. With a short essay for each week of the year, Margaret Renkl’s memoir explores changes in nature and in herself, with insight and grace. These devotions are often edifying, always wise. Each entry is introduced by a lovely illustration that complements the beautiful prose. This one belongs at your bedside. — 4 stars (out of 4); Neva Gronert, Parker
“Elon Musk”, by Walter Isaacson (Simon & Shuster, 2023)
Musk has been in the news so much that we think we’ve heard it all. Still, you can definitely learn something new from Isaacson’s in-depth study of this eccentric entrepreneur. You’ll need to be patient, though, because Isaacson’s approach here is simply to string together vignette after vignette, often jarringly, with no segue and also with little analysis. Did I say patience? It’s a long read at 688 pages in hardback format. But, in the end, you will be able to draw your own conclusions from all the evidence presented about this man and his modus operandi. – 2 1/2 stars (out of 4); Kathleen Lance, Denver
“All the Grownups Here,” by Emma Straub (Riverhead Books, 2020)
Beginnings are possible at any time in life, and all the characters in Emma Straub’s multigenerational novel begin with apprehension but courage while asking questions about the value of their lives and themselves. Astrid, aging, begins a romantic relationship with another woman, witnesses an accident which destroys an acquaintance. Her children and grandchildren demonstrate insight, courage and enthusiasm throughout their journey, despite setbacks and challenges. A vision of how we come to understand ourselves, life in general, and have the courage to take responsibility for who we are and become. 2 stars (out of 4); Bonnie McCune, Denver; bonniemccune.com
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