Sunday Salon: The Smoke Gets in Your Eyes Edition

It’s been a very strange week. I woke Monday morning to the news that highway 37, my usual route to work, was completely closed due to a fire. That was the first I’d heard of it. My reclusive neighbor, who rarely leaves his house, soon showed up at the front door to make sure I…

The Zero by Jess Walter

Jess Walter’s novel The Zero takes place in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks in 2001.  The hero is a policeman assigned to the disaster site in the months following the building’s destruction.  When the novel opens, he has the job of taking V.I.P.’s on private tours of Ground Zero or The Zero.  Soon, he…

Jane Austen Read All A-long: Mansfield Park

This is a “two-gasp” Jane Austen novel. While reading it, I gasped twice. Jane Austen has this way of suddenly throwing her reader for a loop with just a tiny slip of narrative so affecting it makes this reader gasp out loud. She is a master of plotting. My gasping came during the novel’s first…

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…