October 19, 2012 · 12:20 pm
Charlotte Street: A Novel by Danny Wallace (William Morrow, $14.99, 416 pages)
A heartwarming everyday tale of boy stalks girl.
If you’ve enjoyed reading Nick Hornby (About a Boy, High Fidelity) and David Nicholls (One Day), you’re likely to very much enjoy this soon-t0-be-released debut novel by Danny Wallace. Like Hornby and Nicholls, Wallace uses a fun, positive, life affirming voice even as he writes of a world in which everything’s going to hell in a tattered hand basket.
Jason Priestly – no, not the 90210 actor – is a former schoolteacher who is now a London restaurant critic and sometime music reviewer. He writes for London Now, a daily rag that’s handed out free to subway riders. Jason has almost hit the wall after being unceremoniously dumped by his long-time girlfriend Sarah, and after sleeping with his boss Zoe. Just when he thinks there’s no reason to go on, he spots The Girl… She’s a vision in a blue dress and coat outfit struggling to load her shopping bags into a taxi. Jason rushes to help her, receives a great smile for his efforts, and then realizes – as the cab zooms off – that she’s left something of hers behind. Ah, so Jason has the justification he needs to spend his time searching all over greater London for her.
Jason has a lot to deal with as he begins his great adventure. His male friends and his roommate are childish (still stuck on playing outdated video games); Sarah, now engaged and pregnant, keeps returning to him like a bad toenail; and Abbey has suddenly appeared – a young attractive university student who wants to hang around Jason, and who is seemingly willing to help him find The Girl who will be more perfect for him than she is.
Jason, like some, if not many readers, is an Everyman who is constantly looking to the future to bring him happiness as he looks past what he already possesses. Will he find what he truly needs at the end of this romp? You’ll need to take a journey down Charlotte Street to find out.
A review copy was provided by the publisher. Charlotte Street will be released on October 23, 2012, and will be available as a Nook Book and Kindle Edition e-book. “Looks to be (this year’s) One Day… a delight.” http://www.net-a-porter.com/ .
“It will have you laughing out loud and melt your heart, all at once.” Cosmopolitan (U.K.)
Note: Not feeling great? I’m not a doctor – although I did stay once at a Holiday Inn Express – but I can offer you this prescription: Read this book and you’ll feel better!
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October 4, 2010 · 5:21 pm
As you may notice in visiting this site, we do not rank or score books with letter grades or numbers or stars – either white or gold ones. We simply recommend books, of whatever genre, or do not recommend them. The most precious resource we have in life is time, and so we attempt to make a determination here as to whether a particular book is worth your time.
If you don’t see a recommendation at the end of the review, the book in question is not recommended. When we do recommend a book it will fall into one of three categories, as follows.
Recommended – This is a book, fiction or non-fiction, which may contain up to four or five writing flaws which were not corrected in the editing process. However, it is clear on the whole (and by a margin that clearly exceeds 51%) that this is a book that will justify the time you devote to it.
Well Recommended – A book in this category may contain two or three flaws or editing omissions, but it’s exemplary and likely to rank in the top quartile (top 25%) of books on the market.
Highly Recommended – Books like these are likely in the top 10% of those released in the current and prior calendar year. They may contain one or two errors but are nevertheless close to perfection in both content and presentation.
Some books will fall into the Recommended or Well Recommended category because they are well written, but Highly Recommended books tend to require a junction of great writing with a great theme and near-flawless execution. Finally, we are considering adding a new category, Essential. Essential books are novels or non-fiction books released in prior years that should be a part of any well-rounded reader’s experience. Two examples that immediately come to mind are In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and Independence Day by Richard Ford. The latter was the winner of both The Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. (“It is difficult to imagine a better American novel appearing this year.” Publishers Weekly, 1995)
Independence Day was reviewed on this site on October 30, 2009 (“American Tune”).
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Tagged as 1980's, 1995, American Tune, best authors, best books, best writing, book flaws, book genres, book ratings, book reviews, books, editing, essential books, Everyman, exemplary writing, fiction, Frank Bascombe, great themes, In Cold Blood, Independence Day, Joseph Arellano, Joseph's Reviews, Kindle Edition, literature, non-fiction, not recommended, novels, Our Book Ratings System, Paul Simon, PEN/Faulkner Award, plausibility, proper character development, rating categories, recommended books, Richard Ford, sorting process, subjective, The Lay of the Land, The Pulitzer Prize, The Sportswriter, Truman Capote