Saturday, December 15, 2012

Nick's Picks, the 100 Most Notable Books of 2012 - 72, 71...

#72:  Shake Off, by Mischa Hiller.  Mulholland Books.  $24.99.

If you read a thriller this year, make it Shake Off.  Mischa Hiller has been likened to Graham Greene - and while that is a lofty comparison, his writing has Greene's eye for detail and can be sophisticated and dispassionate - but right in the head of the main character, Michel Khoury.

He's an operative who covets one thing - peace in the Middle East.  When he's forced to run, the paranoia of spies colors every turn.  If you fondly remember Adam Hall's Quiller, you'll love Khoury.  If you don't - shame on you.  Go introduce yourself to Adam Hall, then read Hiller.

#71:  Brothers:  On His Brothers and Brothers in History, by George Howe Colt.  Scribner.  $30.

Do you have brothers?  I have brothers.  I'm the middle of three - and that should tell you everything you need to know.  George Howe Colt has three brothers - and like me, he is fascinated, repulsed and invigorated by them.

Brothers?  There's so much going on with brothers.  Rivalry, admiration, jealousy, devotion, hate and affection.  Mr. Colt examines these through the prism of his own bothers, while at the same time looking at famous brothers through history - from the Booths and the Thoreaus to the most famous brothers of all time, the Marx Brothers.

If you've wondered how a man's life can be altered - for better and worse - by the complex relationship he has with his brother(s), or if you're fascinated by how your own foibles ans strengths can be the result of the push and pull of close relationships, read Brothers.

Then take me out for a drink - the stories I could tell you...

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