Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny

Like her novel Early Morning Riser, this book centers on a relationship between a man, his ex wife and his new wife (or girlfriend). This novel is told from the man’s perspective – Graham. In addition, each story has a vulnerable person. In Early Morning Riser, it is Duncan’s employee who is mentally challenged. In Standard Deviation, it is their son Matthew, who has Asperger’s syndrome. The title comes partially from an interview with a psychologist who tells Graham and Audra that some of Matthew’s social interactions are a standard deviation from normal.

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Leaving Cheyenne by Larry McMurtry

When Larry McMurtry died earlier this year I decided to re-read some of his earlier works. Leaving Cheyenne is his second novel and I was struck by two things: 1) I remembered very little about the story. I thought I knew the plot but as I read it it struck me that I only recalled about the first third from my first reading over 40 years ago. 2) This story is another telling of the classic Larry McMurtry theme of a strong-willed woman and a strong-willed man (think Augustus McCrae and Clara Allen in Lonesome Dove.)
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The Reformation by Peter Marshall

I read this book for two reasons. The secondary reason was because my Western Civilization (in the 1970’s we still focused primarily on Western history) professor at the College of Idaho – Franklin Specht – made the Reformation come alive. There I was, my first year in college, wet behind the years at 18, having no real idea of how history shaped our culture or why I should care. Thanks to Professor Specht, I learned about impacts of events like the Reformation and the French Revolution.

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