Cleaning Nabokov’s House by Leslie Daniels read by Bernadette Dunne

“John has left me his town. Although now that his town didn’t have the children in it..”

The demented but funny* ex-wife of a husband who should have come with instructions on how to load the dishwasher invites our sympathy because:

1. the ex-person has custody of the children
2. she is vaguely overweight
3. her mother doesn’t recognize her voice on the phone [“Your father could talk to anybody, to Osama Bin Laden” as though there was another Bin Laden who was a better conversationalist.]
4. she opens a cat-house for middle-aged women with nothing to do but paint their bathrooms and get pedicures

She finds an old delapidated lodge just outside of the dull little University town of Onkwedo, hires the men’s crew team as research assistants for a science experiment on female sexual response, and launches her career as a Madame while she finishes a novel by Nabokov on the side.

She interviews with a potential sex-worker:

Sydney Walker carefully arranged a tiny ipod system with speakers …on the mantle above the fireplace. He turned on a Los Lonely Boys song, Heaven, and began to strip. It was the most interesting thing I’d watched since they put a mirror up for the birth of [my daughter].

She looks for a new place to live:

It looked as if a young architect, fresh from Onkwedo’s own Wainwright University, had fallen in love with Frank Lloyd Wright, bought himself a pile of wood, borrowed a hammer and set to work. Like the Second Little Pig had been schooled at the Bauhaus.

She goes to New York City to meet with a lawyer:

I wondered if his real name was Max or whether the company had merely insisted on something mono-syllabic.

She goes out on a date:

I used to be a catch. Dated three or four at a time. I burned out. And when they show up with those big pocketbooks I know I am in trouble… They bring their own sex toys. Is that progress? I feel like the Hoover guy….

The Winter of Frankie Machine by Don Winslow

Frank has the waves, which is why he doesn’t need much of anything else. Nevertheless he has an ex-wife, a girlfriend, 4 jobs and a routine, about which he is frankly religious.

He has the “Gentleman’s Hour” which is when other guys who don’t need to be at work at 9 or 10 AM ride the waves, lovingly, respectfully, uncompetitively.

Frankie thinks that priests should know what Italian husbands have always known: Italian wives will always find a way to punish you, and its usually in the wallet. You piss her off, and she’ll still do a job in the bedroom, but then she’ll go out and buy a new dinette set.