Likely Stories

Thursday 7:45am and 4:45pm. Saturday 8:35am. Sunday 9:35am

So many books, so little time!  Jim McKeown hosts this weekly review of fiction, poetry, non-fiction and biographies.  Jim is a lifelong voracious reader who learned to read by the “rule of 50.”  If he’s not engaged in the characters, the prose, or the plot by page 50, he puts in a book mark and returns it to the shelf.   Likely Stories  is a three and a half minute module that we think you’ll give “FIVE STARS!” 

If you're an avid reader, or have one you plan to buy a gift for, take a look at this list from Jim McKeown, host of our weekly book review, Likely Stories.  Happy reading!  And, happy holidays.

As we approach the holiday season and the end of 2020, I've found some interesting titles for readers who, like me, are still self-quarantined due to COVID19.  I know I have wracked up a mighty list for getting us through to next year.  Enjoy! 

Hi, I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

Graham Swift won the Booker Prize for his novel Last Orders, and I had hopes for another win, but not for this year!  His latest novel is Here We Are.  This story is set in 1959 Brighton-by-the-Sea.  According to the dust jacket, there are three main characters: Ronni is a brilliant young magician, Evie, his dazzling assistant, and Jack, who is a born entertainer.  The language is wonderfully comic, but it requires some patience. 


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

Diane Cook lives in Brooklyn, New York.  She has had a number of short stories to her credit.  Her second novel, The New Wilderness, is a gripping tale.  This story is about a group of people who were moved off of the “City” and forced into a large uninhabited area of wilderness.


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

As a child of the Olde sod, I am a fan of several Irish writers, including James Joyce, W. B. Yeats, and my latest obsession, Roddy Doyle.  Love is Doyle’s seventeenth novel.


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

Louise Elisabeth Glück was born April 22, 1943 in New York City.  She is a poet, essayist, and a professor.  She has numerous awards including a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature.  Her poetry inspired me during my MFA in poetry and short fiction.


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

Anne Bogle wrote an interesting set of insights into the life of an avid reader: I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life. 

 


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

I have a terrific book for all the voracious consumers of literature.  The dust jacket is an opening to a rabbit hole of wonder.  Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence, is her first book. This is one of those books you cannot stop reading and will always have a copy close by your side.


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

One of my best collections are those set in a bookstore.  I now have about 20, and these are all wonderful stories.  The latest edition to this list is The Girl Who Reads on the Metro by Christine Ferret-Fleury.  She is an author based in France, and this is her first book translated into English.  She is also being published around the world.

 


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

Richard Ford has twenty plus novels to his credit, and nearly all are excellent reads. However, some stories in Sorry for Your Trouble are tiny bit weak.  These are samples of my favorites.

 


Jane Austen is one of the most beloved writers of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  Her novels have been widely admired read, re-read, and read again.  Gill Hornby, in his book, Miss Austen, has taken up the threads of the works of Jane. 

 


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

James Wood is a respected journalist and author.  He is an English literary critic, essayist, and novelist. The Book Against God is his first Novel.  Thomas Bunting is a charming but exasperating writer working on his PhD, which he seems unable to complete.  He has spent seven years on his degree. 

 


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

It is not often I see a new novel, open to the first page, and then buy and begin reading.  But it has happened now.  Furthermore, Charlotte McConaghy’s first novel Migrations, is by an unknown writer.  As I began to read, I gathered the subject of the novel revolved around the effects of climate change, overfishing in the oceans, and attempts to find the last flock of Arctic terns.  I was immediately overcome with the beauty of her prose.  She—and several other characters--also migrate.

 


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

A couple of years ago, I read The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 and ¼ Years old.  I have recently retired, so I decided to explore the sequel, On the Bright Side: The New Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen.  It proved to be funny, with a measure of pathos.

The story begins on “Wednesday, December 31, 2014.  […] I shall do my best, but there is to be no whining if the diary I am starting tomorrow does not make it all the way through to the end of the year.  A one-in-five chance” (1).  Fortunately, he makes it.


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

In my distant past, I had an affair with archaeology.  I read of all the tombs and digs.  Recently, I came across The Golden Child by Penelope Fitzgerald.  According to the paperback cover, she is one of England’s most celebrated contemporary writers with scads of short novels.  She died in 2000.

The story begins when an ancient, gold-covered corpse of the African ruler of the Garamantia arrives at a London Museum. It “instantly becomes the sinister focus of a web of intrigue spun by all manner of museum personal” (Jacket).  Three characters are prominent: the archaeologist, a scruffy guard, and a junior office in the museum.  This is satire of the first order.


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

According to the dust jacket, Elliot Ackerman served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and is the recipient of the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for valor, and the Purple heart.  His essays and fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The new Republic, and Ecotone, among other publications.  He currently lives in Istanbul, where he writes on the Syrian Civil War.  He is a true hero.

 


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