Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

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

The Changeling by Victor Lavalle

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

Shadowbahn by Steve Erickson

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

New People by Danzy Senna

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

Mississippi Noir is for Lovers

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

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.

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

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

Warlock by Oakley Hall

Oakley Hall populates his novel Warlock with an entire town full of characters, the way Charles Dickens does, or more apropos the way Pete Dexter did in his western Deadwood.  While there is a central plot with its handful of major characters, Mr. Hall takes the time to bring each minor player to life, enough to fill his small Arizona town of Warlock with a … Continue reading Warlock by Oakley Hall

Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

Sometimes it’s very hard to pin down why you love a book. Denis Johnson’s very short novella, I found it on a list of brilliant books you can read in a day, tells the story of an abbreviated life.  Robert Grainier is a day laborer in the American West circa 1910.  He never amounts to much.  There isn’t much to tell about his life.  He … Continue reading Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

Black Wave by Michelle Tea

When I was in college, I was friends with a group of women who shared a flat on Divisidero Street in San Francisco, decades before it became a trendy neighborhood.  In the 1980’s, four college students living on four or five hundred dollars a month  each could come up with enough money to rent a flat.  As longs as no one spends all the rent … Continue reading Black Wave by Michelle Tea