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

HHhH by Laurent Binet

Is it insulting to turn a real person into a character in a book? The nature of historical fiction and the inherent trustworthiness of it is foregrounded in HHhH by Laurent Binet.  Mr. Binet wants to tell the story of two men, Jan Kubiš and Jozef Gabčík,  who carried out an assassination attempt on the life of Reinhard Heydrich, second in command of the Nazi SS … Continue reading HHhH by Laurent Binet

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

The Ides of March by Valerio Massimo Manfredi

Have you ever known the ending from page one and still been unable to put the book down? Since Italian novelists Valerio Massimo Manfredi’s novel The Ides of March is about the last few days of Julius Ceasar’s life, we all know how the book is going to end, at least we all know how Julius Ceasar is going to end.  The challenge for the … Continue reading The Ides of March by Valerio Massimo Manfredi

Unnameable Books, Brooklyn, New York

I’ve failed. Should have seen it coming really. For this long stay in New York City–20 days cat-sitting in Brooklyn–I vowed to buy only one book per bookstore visit.  And to visit no more than one bookstore a day.  The buy one book was to be a requirement which, while it might force me to buy books, would have resulted in fewer books purchased overall … Continue reading Unnameable Books, Brooklyn, New York

The Art of Losing by Rebecca Connell

First of all, isn’t this a beautiful cover?    Last fall, when I saw a table full of Europa editions at Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore in Oakland, I thought how great it would be to collect books with beautiful covers.  I recognized a few of the Europa editions as books I’d read and enjoyed, and there were several others on the table that I hadn’t read … Continue reading The Art of Losing by Rebecca Connell

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

Bunny Lake is Missing by Evelyn Piper

You go to pick your three-year-old daughter up from her first day of pre-school.  You wait with all of the other mothers, none of whom you know since you are new in town and on your own, as they watch their children come down the stairway.  You wait.  And wait.  But your daughter does not appear. You look for her, for her teacher, but you … Continue reading Bunny Lake is Missing by Evelyn Piper

Acts of Passion by Georges Simenon

From the very first page, we know who the killer is; we know that he’ll be captured, found guilty and sentenced to prison; but we don’t know who his victim is. Georges Simenon’s novel Acts of Passion takes the form of a long letter, written by a killer to the judge who sentenced him.  The killer wants to explain why he did what he did; … Continue reading Acts of Passion by Georges Simenon

My New Favorite Book: Eve Out of Her Ruins by Ananda Devi

This book is perfect for your reading challenge.  Back in the day, when book blogs were still young, there were all sorts of reading challenges going around that this book would have been perfect for. Translated from the French by Jeffrey Zuckerman, Eve Out of Her Ruins is set in the author’s home of Mauritius, an island nation east of Madagascar. Perfect for your Read Around the … Continue reading My New Favorite Book: Eve Out of Her Ruins by Ananda Devi

My New Favorite Book: The Midnight Choir by Gene Kerrigan

I did not expect The Midnight Choir to end up being my new favorite book.  It’s a very well written crime novel.  Entertaining. Strong characters.  Interesting plot. Borderline pager turner. But it wasn’t until towards the end when everything came together in a single shocking revelation that both linked and undermined all of the books multiple plot lines that The Midnight Choir became my new favorite book. … Continue reading My New Favorite Book: The Midnight Choir by Gene Kerrigan

High Dive by Jonathan Lee

This marks the end of my Tournament of Books 2017 reading. It’s been fun. Really. I read a good-sized handful of books from the short list, enjoyed most of them, admired a few, didn’t finish one. I’ve even come away with a few titles sure to make my personal short list of favorite reads for this year. But I’m moving on to other titles now. … Continue reading High Dive by Jonathan Lee