Jimmy Corrigan The Smartest Kid on Earth by C. Ware

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

Trouble in Mind: Two YA Novels about Thinking Problems.

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

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

Sunday Salon: Why the Booker Short List Ruins my Reading and Other Bookish Items

I’m one of those people who get excited over the Man Booker Prize.  Almost every year, once the long list is announced, I head over the my local library to get as many of the nominated books as I can.  Typically, there are a few not yet available in America, and there are a couple my library doesn’t have yet. So I check out two … Continue reading Sunday Salon: Why the Booker Short List Ruins my Reading and Other Bookish Items

How to Teach The Old Man and the Sea to 7th Graders

I teach two sets of 7th grade English to GATE students this year, so when I found a partial class set of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea in the back of the book room, I thought why not give it a go.  See what happens.   What follows is my advice for anyone considering using The Old Man and the Sea with … Continue reading How to Teach The Old Man and the Sea to 7th Graders

My New Favorite Book: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

I confess–I thought this books was going to be about Lincoln in France or in a French hotel or neighborhood, maybe in New Orleans. So I wasn’t all that anxious to read it.  Plus, it’s historical fiction which I’m frankly a bit biased against. But it looked like a quick read and since I needed something I could finish before Monday when I planned on … Continue reading My New Favorite Book: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Jane Austen Read All A-long Book Two (Pride and Prejudice) and Man Booker Longlist Reading

I’m taking a break from my recent stint of Man-Booker Prize Long List books to read Jane Austen’s second published novel Pride and Prejudice for the Jane Austen Read All A-long. You can still sign up for the remaining five books here.  I will get to the famous openng sentence later today. I’ll be reading Pride and Prejudice on the ferry boat this week as I go back … Continue reading Jane Austen Read All A-long Book Two (Pride and Prejudice) and Man Booker Longlist Reading

Arrival by Ted Chiang

  There is some damn fine writing in Ted Chiang’s volume of short stories Arrival originally published as Stories of Your Life and Others. So much than the next time you hear someone say that fantasy and science fiction tend to be badly written, you should direct them to any of Ted Chiang’s stories. They may not be your cup of tea, but they are all very well … Continue reading Arrival by Ted Chiang

Lightless by C.A. Higgins

I was looking for space opera. If you don’t know what space opera is, it’s Star Wars. Lots of space ships.  Battles between them. A clear-cut hero. A clear-cut villain. Maybe some alien supporting characters. Maybe a little romance. Something fun. Lightless by C.A. Higgins partially delivers the goods as far as space opera goes.  There are space ships. There is some romance. There are battles. … Continue reading Lightless by C.A. Higgins

Selected Poems of Frank O’Hara; Beginning a New York Find

I found a copy of The Selected Poems of Frank O’Hara at Westider Books in New York last week which I bought on David Bowie’s recommendation. Not personal recommendation but one given in a list of essential reading that I found shortly after he died. I bought Frank O’Hara’s book even though I didn’t like the other book I read from Mr. Bowie’s list. I don’t read … Continue reading Selected Poems of Frank O’Hara; Beginning a New York Find

My New Favorite Book: Fat City by Leonard Gardner

Add Fat City by Leonard Gardner to the list of great anti-California novels. That’s a new sub-genre I’m creating.  The anti-California novel looks at the great California dream’s underbelly.  What happened to all those people who came to California and didn’t strike it rich, but stayed here anyway? Think Nathenial West’s The Day of the Locust, Charles Bukowski’s Ham and Rye, John Fante’s  Ask the Dust.  There’s a rich body of … Continue reading My New Favorite Book: Fat City by Leonard Gardner

My New Favorite Book: The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage

I have no idea how this book found its way into my house. I’m guessing that  I bought it by mistake, thinking it was The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow which I’ve had on my wish list for a while now. However I came to read it, I am very glad I did. It’s wonderful. The story concerns a small set of characters living on … Continue reading My New Favorite Book: The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage