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!” 

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.

 


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

Swedish author, Fredrik Backman, has written six thrilling stories of life in Sweden.  Most revolve around ice hockey.  The seventh is every bit as wonderful, tragic, filled with love, hate, and greed.  Us Against You continues the story of “warfare” between two rival towns over hockey supremacy.  I have loved every minute of these stories, and you will, too!


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

One of the most talented writers to come out of South America is Isabelle Allende.  She began her career with The House of Spirits, which gave her world-wide acclaim.  Since then, she has written twenty-four bestselling and critically acclaimed novels.  Her latest book is A Long Petal of the Sea.  She was born in Peru, raised in Chile, but she now lives in California.


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

I have read several books by Lily King—The English Teacher, The Pleasing Hour, and Euphoria.  All were resounding successes.  Naturally, I was immediately drawn to her latest book, Writers & Lovers: A Novel.  This story tells of a writer desperately trying to finish the manuscript of her first novel.  It began with Case Peabody shortly after the death of her mother.  Page after page reminded me of so many of the things I have dealt with recently.  The first line touched me deeply. 


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Chris Cleave has taken an exciting racing story as a recent setting.  The main characters are two young women in competition while training for the Olympics.  He was the author of an interesting story, Gold.  He currently resides in Kingston-upon-Thames, England.


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

I have always been fascinated by nature--especially animals.  When I came across Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson, I could not resist.  I had never heard of Williamson, but the intro had a vast selection of stories by him.  The New York Review Books also provided a brief biography.  “Henry Williamson was born in Brockley, London.  In January of 1914, he enlisted in the British Army, and by November he was fighting in the trenches on the Western front.  He worked his way up to Lieutenant by 1916, and he fell sick from a gas attack in 1917.  Later he wrote for a local paper.  He died in 1977. 


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

A large part of my graduate education revolved around the trinity of 19th century authors: George Eliot, the Brontë sisters, and Jane Austen.  Susan Carson edited 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen.  This remarkable book drives the reader into Austen’s entire world from all angles.  Every devotee of Austen should own a copy of this work.  I hope I can find a similar book for Eliot and the Brontës.


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Julia Alvarez is an amazing writer.  Julia has an impressive collection of literary rewards.  In 2013, President Obama awarded her the National Medal of Arts in recognition of her extraordinary storytelling. 

 


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