BookTrib’s Bites: Diverse Slices of Life in These Four Books


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Squeeze Plays“Squeeze Plays”
by Jeffrey Marshall       

A modern tableau about money and power set in New York and London. Two powerful men, a bank chief executive and a New York tabloid publisher, are at odds over a loan that would keep the publisher afloat. Enter a ruthless Russian oligarch with an offer of a financial life raft to the publisher -- a gambit uncovered by a dogged financial reporter who senses a big story.  

The book whisks us into the paneled boardrooms and lavish penthouses of the New York elite and shows us their lifestyle, their desires and their foibles. The author carefully details the reporter’s story, which ties the central characters together in what becomes a stunning front-page expose. Along the way, the reader sees not just financial skullduggery but sexual blackmail, strong and principled female characters and a brisk and often satirical take on the corrupting influences of wealth and power.

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Laughing My Way Through the Third Stage“Laughing My Way Through the Third Stage”
by Susan Goldfein  

The author is highly qualified to tarnish the golden years and she does so with the usual wit and wisdom we’ve come to expect. Following her first two award-winning books, “How Old Am I in Dog Years and How to Complain When There’s Nothing to Complain About,” this collection of hilarious essays comments on her personal, but highly relatable, journey through the decades.  

With wit and candor, Goldfein discusses her left rotator cuff that no longer rotated, her horror at losing inches instead of pounds and the indignity of bathing suit shopping. Susan has become the hilarious new voice for “women of a certain age,” and she reminds us of how refreshing it is to step back and have a good laugh at our own expense.

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The Offering“The Offering”
by Salah El Moncef  

A Tunisian diasporic poet explores the nature of loss as his life tragically falls apart in this critically acclaimed novel.  

After countless professional disappointments, Tariq Abbassi flees Tunisia with his wife for a new life in France, where he plans to flourish as an experimental poet. But soon he is struggling just to keep his family together. His uncompromising ambition and untethered anger, however, ultimately lead to an emotional rupture, and Tariq soon finds himself completely alone when his wife takes the children and leaves.  

This abandonment is only the first in a string of unspeakable tragedies that befall him. Reeling from his devastating loss while attempting to cope with a traumatic brain injury, Tariq finds his already tenuous grasp on reality slipping away.

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The Power of Being Seen“The Power of Being Seen”
by Roger Saillant  

A poignant memoir about a person who was a product of the foster care system in the 1950s, showing how adults’ inability to really see and hear others can alter a life. Author Roger Saillant describes his journey, constantly doubting himself and wondering: ‘Why doesn’t anybody want me? Did I do something wrong?’ He lives life on a farm where all that matters is whether work gets done  --  with no regard to the typical experiences of a growing child.  

Saillant describes feelings of abandonment and hopelessness, but the good values instilled by many caring adults make this a story of optimism, courage and inspiration. “Roger understands the impact kind people have had on him. Those who saw him and assured him he matters will live in him forever,” says reviewer Kathleen Alfiero.

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