Musings From A Bookmammal

WWW Wednesday–10/22/14


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florence gordonI really don’t know why I’m not hearing more buzz about Florence Gordon by Brian Morton—it’s a new novel that seems to have slipped under the radar. It’s about 75-year-old Florence Gordon who lives in present-day NYC. She’s an author and a feminist icon, she’s brutally blunt with family, friends, and strangers alike, and she’s contemplating writing her memoirs. The book begins when her adult son,  his wife,  and his  college-age daughter return to New York after several years away—and Florence finds that as much as she wants to remain in solitude with her work, she becomes involved in the activities and issues that are surrounding her son and his family.

Florence was such a fascinating  character to me! During the first ten pages of the book she abruptly walks out of a surprise party thrown in her honor, informing her friends and family that she’d much rather be home working at her desk. How can you not want to know more about the kind of person who can pull that off? And what a talented author Brian Morton is to be able to completely capture the personality of his main character is such a few pages!

There are over 100 chapters in this book, and they range from less than one page to a dozen pages or more. At first I thought that this would be distracting and that the technique would interrupt the narrative, but I very quickly got into the rhythm of Morton’s writing. I was thoroughly invested in each of the main characters and in the day-to-day flow of their lives—and the way that Morton chose to end the book was not at all what I was expecting.

This isn’t a novel that resolves everything and answers all questions by the end—instead, I was left wondering what was going to happen next, and I still find myself thinking about the characters—I’m especially wondering what will happen to Florence’s grand-daughter and how her life may change . Perhaps there’s another novel there. . .

This was a great read for me and I’ll definitely be investigating Brian Morton’s backlisted titles!


UsI received an ARC of Us by David Nicholls which is due to be published on October 28. I enjoyed Nicholls’ previous novel, One Day, and was excited to begin this new book about Douglas, his wife, and their teen-aged son who go on a European vacation shortly after Douglas’ wife informs him that she no longer loves him. Douglas views this vacation as a final chance to convince his wife to stay in the marriage, as well as a chance to connect with his son before he leaves home for college. The book alternates between the present trip and the events that took place when Douglas first met his wife, as well as the early years of their marriage.

So far this novel is reminding me a bit of Emma Straub’s The Vacationers (which I loved)—a family in crisis who leave their home for a holiday to try to escape their troubles and repair their relationships. The main character of Douglas is also reminding me of a milder version of Don from The Rosie Project. I’m about 1/3 of the way through this novel and am looking forward to finding out what happens next!


As usual, I have absolutely no idea—but I know I’ll find something!

How about you? Have you read either of these? What are you reading this week? Please share!

Author: bookmammal

I love books, reading, writing, cooking, eating, reading while eating, and sharing thoughts about all of the above–plus a bit more! I usually post about topics relating to books and literacy during the week, and then participate in a variety of non-bookish memes on the weekend. Please feel free to join in! Some random things about me– –I have multiple bookshelves in every room of my home except the bathroom. They’re all filled to bursting. They help to make my house my home. –I have two cats who I love dearly, but who I definitely do NOT dress in human clothing. Ever. –I’ve never had a cavity. –I make a mean spaghetti sauce. –I’m a newcomer to yoga and I love it. –My day is not complete without a little chocolate.

21 thoughts on “WWW Wednesday–10/22/14

  1. Your thoughts on Florence Gordon mirror mine – why aren’t people talking about this book more?? I read it in just 24 hours (something I rarely do) and I think the shortish chapters had something to do with that. I’m about 3/4 through with Morton’s Starting Out in the Evening now. The writing is gorgeous, the characters are wonderful… not quite as good as FG, but I’m glad to be reading it.

  2. I don’t think I know these books but it sounds interesting. Happy reading. Here is my WWW

  3. You’ll definitely find something excellent to read next. Happy reading! 😀

  4. Florence Gordon sounds good though I think I’ve only seen it a few times. I think I’ll definitely have to pick up for a read. I’m not sure I’ve ever come across Brian Morton. Thanks for sharing! Between you and JoAnn over at Lakeside I’m really excited about reading this one!

  5. So good to hear you are enjoying Us which has shades of Don from the Rosie Project in it – here is my WWW for this week

  6. I liked One Day a lot too so I have high hopes for Us . I must say, the synopsis didn’t excite me as much as I was hoping though.

  7. I liked One Day, so will be interested in hearing about Us. And i love it when characters stick with you!! Here’s mine Happy Wednesday!!

  8. More books for my wishlist!

  9. I’ve been seeing Florence Gordon pop up on my recommends list, and have skipped over it. Not anymore, this sounds like one that I would really like!

  10. I am really looking forward to Us! I actually didn’t like The Vacationers as much as I expected to–I guess I thought it didn’t as far from the surface as I hoped. But I’m hoping Us will be a great read.

    I have heard about Florence Gordon, but hadn’t been feeling very compelled for some reason. Your review makes me feel more intrigued, though, so maybe I’ll add this to my list!

  11. I have been wanted to read Florence Gordon. After reading your review, I definitely want to read it.

    I love when the characters stay with you.

    THANKS for your great review.


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