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The Center of Things

3.19 of 5 stars 3.19  ·  rating details  ·  118 ratings  ·  17 reviews
�A JOLLY READ�McPhee�s characters are wonderfully weird. . . . Romance mingles with mind-swelling musings on superclusters and string theory. . . . The end equation is an elegant inquiry into the randomness of love and the glory of fate.�
�Entertainment Weekly

As a reporter for New York�s last evening tabloid, Marie Brown writes about the bizarre and the scandalo
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by Ballantine Books (first published 2001)
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(showing 1-30 of 212)
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A wonderfully quirky book. Its main character works for a NYC tabloid & gets her big break when she convinces the publisher to allow her to write an obituary for her favorite movie star from the 40s & 50s, who is near death. This main story line, along with the light tone of the writing, make it appear on the surface as lightweight chick lit. But it's much more clever than that, with lots more going on. She uncovers a mystery in her subject's life that she struggles to solve & unders ...more
Nov 08, 2007 Phaedra rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Again for November, a quick read, and one I doubt I'll remember next year. It's actually two stories in one, sharing in common only the main character, Marie. As a tabloid journalist, she sets out to cover the story of her movie-star idol, Nora Mars, uncovering truly complicated relationships and tabloid-worthy dirt. Loosely paralleling this is the relationship Marie forms with the oddball pseudo-intellectual Marco at the library where they discuss theories of quantum physics.

Really, I found the
The emotional plot is fine, I enjoyed it. But what stands out about this book is how quantum physics and its philosophy is incorporated into the story. The main character presents a load of information on quantum physics to a budding friend in plain English. Somehow it worked beautifully, and was part of the story rather than being an interruption from it. I learned so much about science while feeling like I was reading a light fun piece.
It has been a few years since I read this, but I remember loving it. In fact, I may re-read it. A cutesie quip would run something like "Bridget Jones meets Richard Feynman." I guess I'll leave it at that because 1) I hope someone will find that idea intriguing and 2) I'm exhausted and have no more energy left for a more serious analysis.
love this book with its combination of science and pop/tabloid culture: heady scientific concepts, a tabloid journalist who berates herself for being early by calculating how much time she's wasted that way, a dying movie star, and a juicy secret just waiting to come out. love it!
May 04, 2007 Leslie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: scientists
I liked this book because it has a character interested in quantum mechanics, and an odd-ball romance. The writing plods along a bit, but it is definitely worth reading. Start with No Ordinary Matter by this author first. Her writing is very endearing and everyday.
Jun 09, 2009 Abby rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to Abby by: library book sale
I gave this 100 pages and had to stop. It was trying waaaay too hard to be hip cute and witty. I was just annoyed at the format and didn't even care enough to finish which is rare for me. Dissapointing.
Good read - you have to focus a little but it's thought provoking and insightful and it gives you hope. I love all the quotes that Nora Mars "says." Its empowering, revealing, and contemplative.
Apr 05, 2010 michelle added it
Shelves: 2010
quantum physics + a tabloid reporter + the NYPL + a dead movie star + for some reason a whole half chapter that talks about giraffes = this was really fun.
Kiley Pontrelli
The storyline was ok - tried really hard to understand the quantum mechanics ...
Instead ended up skipping many pages.
Disappointed ...
ehh .... I kept hoping it would get better ... but I think b/c I'm not much into science .. a lot of the material was dull
Feb 03, 2013 Meg added it
"Clever, interwoven tale of science and love. Science parts a bit heavy, love part a bit melodramatic."
Aug 02, 2011 Barb added it
scanned a lot of pages in this book, just to finish...not a keeper in my minds eye....
So far, eh. I'm about a third of the way through and waiting for plot to really kick in.
For some reason I read all the McPhee siblings' books, and they are okay enough.
Lots of physics in this one, and the love story is quirky and compelling.
Ok, wouldn't recommend it. The science got a bit heavy handed.
Julie Ehlers
Julie Ehlers marked it as to-read
Nov 18, 2014
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Rebecca Timberlake marked it as to-read
Oct 22, 2014
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Jenny McPhee is the author of the novels A Man of No Moon, No Ordinary Matter, and The Center of Things. She is the coauthor with her sisters Martha and Laura of Girls: Ordinary Girls and Their Extraordinary Pursuits. Her translations include Paolo Maurensig's Canone Inverso, and Crossing the Threshold of Hope by Pope John Paul II.
Her short stories and articles have appeared in Bookforum; Brookly
More about Jenny McPhee...
No Ordinary Matter A Man of No Moon: A Novel Girls: Ordinary Girls and Their Extraordinary Pursuits Doodgewone dingen No Ordinary Matter: A Novel

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