I admit it. I picked this one because it was the shortest. I’ve a pile of books by my favorite reading chair–books from the Tournament of Books’ long list. They keep arriving at my local library with worrying frequency. So, to speed my way through the stack, I picked the shortest one… …My new favorite book, Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong. I wasn’t completely sold at first. … Continue reading Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s nice to have a fun read, with strong characters in an interesting location. A slow-burning plot that takes off in unexpected directions doesn’t hurt either. But I have nothing more to say about it. Nothing profound. I was entertained; I expect most readers intrigued by the premise will be, too. The narrator and main character Apollo is a long-time … Continue reading The Changeling by Victor Lavalle
Years ago, many, many years ago, I heard a bit from a Stan Freberg radio show about why radio was better than television. The bit featured a lot of impossible things, done through the magic of story telling and sound effects, that ended with something like a bunch of helicopters dropping a giant sponge on Lake Michigan sucking up all the water. The point being, … Continue reading Shadowbahn by Steve Erickson
A couple of weeks ago I renewed my subscription to Netflix, just in time to catch the new documentary about American author and essayists Joan Didion. It’s an excellent tribute, very entertaining. C.J., who normally only watches You Tube videos about old English houses, loved it. He was even inspired to try reading some of Ms. Didion’s essays. And I was inspired to pick up … Continue reading A Book of Common Prayer by Joan Didion
I may be the only person you know who has read all three of Danzy Senna’s novels. There’s a memoir and a collection of short stories that I’ve not read so I can’t call myself a super-fan, but I’m a fan-boy. I might even have to confess having something of a crush, an author-crush, on her. New People, like her previous two novels, deals with people … Continue reading New People by Danzy Senna
This is now my favorite volume of the many, many Akashic Noir series. It’s a high quality collection without a dud in the bunch. A few things struck me. Three that I’ll talk about here. First, I was surprised to find so little crime in Mississippi Noir, edited by Tom Franklin. Does an actual crime have to take place for a story to be considered … Continue reading Mississippi Noir is for Lovers
It’s good. I enjoyed it. It’d didn’t exactly knock my socks off, but I was entertained. A couple of points…. First, have you noticed, lately, the prevalence of the two plot structure I call What’s Happening/What Happened? In this structure there are two plots, one that is happening in the novel’s present and one that has already happened in the novel’s past. The two plot … Continue reading The Nix by Nathan Hill
My current passion for cool cover art led me to this book while browsing at Book Town Books in Grass Valley. The pulpy nature of the story is countered by the classy sophistication of the cover art. But what does the art here have to do with anything? The book is about a hardened criminal released from a post-apocalyptic prison so he can drive a … Continue reading Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny
How is it that I’ve gone this many decades without knowing this book existed. I was as big a fan of Kurt Vonnegut as any of the other nerds in my high school class. I even found copies of the existing Kilgore Trout novels an “author” any true Kurt Vonnegut fan will recognize. I thought I had read them all. Then one of the guests … Continue reading Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
If you think graphic novels are easy to read, Jimmy Corrigan by C. Ware will put you to the test. It will be worth it. I don’t know enough about graphic novels to say this with authority, but I think there’s a visual storytelling genius at work in Jimmy Corrigan. The way Mr. Ware uses the page impressed me from the get-go. Some pages are … Continue reading Jimmy Corrigan The Smartest Kid on Earth by C. Ware
My school librarian recommended both of these books to me. Acutally, she tested them out on me. They shound interesting, she said, why don’t you read them. They did sound interesting, so I read them both. Both are good books, well drawn characters that would appeal to middle school and younger high school students. Both have good stories with happy endings that are earned and … Continue reading Trouble in Mind: Two YA Novels about Thinking Problems.
The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor Lavalle is a good time. If I say that it’s just a good read, does that do it a disservice? Do you think I mean to say that it’s not really a great book with something to say? Is calling a book simply a good read marking it down a bit in your estimation? In mine? I don’t mean … Continue reading The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor Lavalle