Five good reads

Editor’s note: This recurring Arts feature -- new this week -- offers short lists of book suggestions compiled by different local readers. To submit your own list of five titles, email the Arts desk at


This week’s list of suggested titles was compiled by Juneau Empire reporter Kenneth Rosen.

• “The Sense of An Ending” by Julian Barnes

Recipient of the 2011 Booker Prize, “The Sense of An Ending” is Barnes’ 14th work of fiction and one pointedly aimed at grappling with the social anxiety one faces from adolescence — “This was another of our fears: that Life wouldn’t turn out to be like Literature” — through to late adulthood — “And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to challenge our account, to remind us that our life is not our life, merely the story we have told about our life. Told to others, but — mainly — to ourselves.”

Other reads by Barnes: “Flaubert’s Parrot.”

(Available at Hearthside: $14.95 paperback)

• “Still Life with Woodpecker” by Tom Robbins

What begins as a love affair with his new typewriter, Robbins weaves a hysterical tale of whimsy about the life and times of Leah Cherie, a liberal princess trapped — figuratively — inside a pack of Camel cigarettes.

Other reads by Robbins: “Jitterbug Perfume.”

(Available at Hearthside: $15 paperback)

• “Gone, Baby, Gone” by Dennis Lehane

Adopted for the screen in 2007, Lehane’s novel is a boilerplate detective novel that takes place in gritty Boston where two private detectives, a couple, search for a child gone missing. A light read on a dense subject.

(Available for order at Hearthside: $14.99 paperback or $9.99 pocket)

• “Lunar Park” by Bret Easton Ellis

Part memoir, part fiction, “Lunar Park” is Ellis’ account of his spin into insanity born from his seemingly instant fame following the publishing of “American Psycho.” Written with lashings of his signature egotism, Ellis’ fall into an agonizing mindset is rife with insanity and endless remorse.

(Available for order at Hearthside: $13.95 paperback)

• “The Heart of the Matter” by Graham Greene

To bookend this list with yet another moral crisis by yet another British writer, “The Heart of the Matter” chronicles the life-changing events of Major Henry Scobie drawn from Greene’s own travels in West Africa. Greene: “It was like having a box of chocolates shut in the bedroom drawer. Until the box was empty it occupied the mind too much.”

(Available for order at Hearthside: $16 paperback)


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