24 Following


Currently reading

Paddy's Lament, Ireland 1846-1847: Prelude to Hatred
Thomas Gallagher
Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One
Jenny K. Blake
When in French: Love in a Second Language
Lauren Collins
Beyond the Job Description: How Managers and Employees Can Navigate the True Demands of the Job
Jesse Sostrin
Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing
David Hubel, Margaret S. Livingstone
Achieving Your Potential As A Photographer: A Creative Companion and Workbook
Harold Davis
Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age
Sherry Turkle
Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Taking World-Class Photographs (Voices That Matter)
Roberto Valenzuela
Man's Search for Meaning
Viktor E. Frankl, Harold S. Kushner
Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection
Jacob Silverman


Dervishes: A Novel - Beth Helms I read this because I planned to see the author speak at Northeastern with Marilyn S (but didn't because I was sick) and because my interest in Turkey (friend Nesrin). I wasn't sure about the structure -- first person 12 year old Canada's chapters alternate with 3rd person narrative of her mother's interwoven story, Grace. Grace is a Canadian married to an American who is posted around the world on secret missions -- some kind of military intelligence post. Their latest post lands them in Ankara Turkey in 1975. Canada befriends the beautiful Catherine and her strange household with houseboy John and cold mother Simone. Canada's own mother doesn't pay much attention to Canada either (which is fine by Canada, already independent), and gets involved in her own intrigues with the other military wives, the local wives, and even the riding instructor Ahmet. Eventually, Catherine runs off with John, Grace is on a weekend tryst with Ahmet, Canada's father is off on an extended post and/or has left the family, the family maid is pregnant with a child that Grace arranges somewhat unwittingly to give away to a friend of hers who seems a bit unstable emotionally. Turns out that Firdis, the maid, is John the houseboy's mother.I can't say I followed everything that happened in this book -- a lot was hinted at and not spelled out. But I liked the atmosphere, which was somewhat languid, sometimes reflecting the boredom and lack of direction that Canada and Grace feel as they try to make their way in these foreign and restrictive circles. At the end, Grace snaps and lashes out at Simone with a tire iron (it's actually worked into the story so it's not as bizarre as it sounds), and Canada and Grace go away at the end, alone together, with her offstage father finally having left the family. It does capture moods, settings and nuances very well.