Sometimes a good book is all about balance. It should be accessible, yet challenging. Funny, yet insightful. Makes you laugh, makes you cry. Filled with everyman characters with everyday foibles who can rise to heroic levels when needed, counterbalanced by a smattering of colorful oddballs.
This summer, I found such a gem. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter is that rare book that covers all my bases. It opens in a tiny coastal Italian village circa 1962, where young Pasquale Tursi is building a tennis court to elevate his rundown hotel to resort level. The rustic inn gets few visitors, so Pasquale is shocked when a beautiful American actress arrives. Lovely Dee Moray has been sent to this remote location to cope with an undisclosed serious illness. She’s weak, she’s frail, she is perhaps dying. Pasquale is instantly smitten by her beauty and her plight.
Thus begins an extraordinary tale that takes us from that long-ago Italy to modern-day Hollywood, a story that juggles not only an unforgettable collection of characters, but also juxtaposes past and present lives, dreams both filled and unfulfilled, and the promise of futures both possible and perhaps impossible. Walter’s prose sings, and his imagination soars in this unique and memorable novel.
Some people like to travel by train because it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of an airplane.
I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”
“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” —Everyone following you on Instagram
A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.
Comedian Greg Davies
Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.
Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.
My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me everything you know.”
“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” —Alcohol
@yoyoha (Josh Hara)
My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.
Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?
A: A mechanic.