Reading Matters

Kennedys, 2015 misses, a meth-infested love story

Ted Hughes
Ted Hughes

Look. I don’t enjoy beating you over the head about a book (OK, sometimes I do enjoy it). But please read “Rosemary: The Kennedy’s Hidden Daughter,” by Kate Clifford Larson. My copy is now making the rounds among my friends. They all agree. It’s a fascinating eye-opener about how attitudes have improved toward mental illness. And, of course, we’re talking Kennedys. Not a dull moment.

Two books I missed in 2015: John Irving’s “The Avenue of Mysteries,” about the making of a storyteller named Juan Diego. This is the 73-year-old’s 14th novel. The other miss is “Ted Hughes: The Unauthorized Life,” by John Bate. Hughes’s widow is vigorously attacking the book for its “inaccuracies.” So of course it’s a must-read for anyone fascinated by Ted or his first wife, the poet Sylvia Plath.

Here’s one due in February that’s so good that I read a few paragraphs aloud to my podiatrist as he removed a toenail. Honest. It’s “Sweetgirl,” by Travis Mulhauser of Durham. Though meth and drugs infest almost every page, this debut novel is chillingly lyrical and filled with a love so raw and fierce it takes your breath. A thumb’s up blurb from our own Ron Rash.

By the way, speaking of reading during the daytime. Two Charlotte folks – Trisha Schwabacher and Dr. Bill Porter – tell me they feel guilty when they’re not reading.