Lookingglass Theater Production of "Mary Shelly's Frankenstein."

Earlier this summer Ed and I saw the Lookingglass Theater Production of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein.


We enjoyed it so much that we both read the book again. Surprisingly, it was interesting and not too archaic. Yes, Mary Shelly blabs on a bit about things we would consider inconsequential to the plot. But this book is 150 years old. If you pick up novels by Trollope, written 50 years later, they clip along. Ed and I gave each other permission to skim through the repetitious parts. Actually, because the play must be radically simplified, the sequencing of the book and the manner in which the story was told were more sensible than the play. Well done, Lookingglass Theater, and well done 18 year old Mary Shelly.

Read my review on PictureThisPost.com.

“Cape May” by Chip Cheek, Celadon Books, 2019

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The review, by trusted resource Sam Sacks in The Wall Street Journal, was magnetic.

“Suddenly the innocent couple, who still say their prayers before going to bed, are ushered into a world of idle wealth, dissipation and, inescapably, adultery.”

Set in the gin swilling 50’s, this is just what we need for a good summer read.

And a good, quick read it is. Cheek’s writing style is beguiling and undemonstrative. Yes, there are many sex scenes--titillating, but not lewd. Best of all, there is no moralizing, no redemptive ending. Cape May is Cheek’s debut novel. If he heeds the feedback, his future novels will also be concise and entertaining.

Recommended for readers who like to intersperse “serious” books with well-written entertainment.

"Our Man Down in Havana: The Story Behind Graham Greene’s Cold War Spy Novel" by Christopher Hull, Pegasus Books, 2019

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Graham Greene is one of the foremost prolific British writers of the 20th century. He did not come from money, but enjoyed the high life, and that drove him to write. Lucky for us.

Our Man Down in Havana details the actual story behind the writing of the novel. Twelve weeks after it was published in January 1959, the Cuban Revolution transformed a capitalist playground into a communist stronghold. And in 1962, when the Cuban missile crisis fixed the world on the island, those familiar with Greene’s novel and subsequent movie were amazed at the prescience of his vacuum cleaner like installations in the Cuban mountains.

What did Greene know that others did not? He spent a fair amount of time in old Cuba, hung out with prominent members of the Batista government and wealthy Cuban nationals. He also courted revolutionaries, sympathetic to their original motives. Did he work for the British Foreign Service as a spy? They did pay for many of his trips to Cuba and other world hot spots. While Hull’s carefully research inquiry forms conclusions, nothing is proven and validated due to the covenants of secrecy.

Recommended for lovers of Graham Greene, the history of the entanglement of the UK, the U.S. and Cuba during the 50s and the 60s, and the philology of Our Man in Havana.