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…

The Shipwrecked Man by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca

In 1527, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca served as treasurer on an ill-fated expedition to the Florida Peninsula.  Early on, the expedition was shipwrecked near what is now Tampa Bay.  Cabeza de Vaca tried to convince the expedition’s leadership that they should remain on the shore until rescue arrived, but the thirst for gold and…

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…

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….

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…