Saturday, October 07, 2017

Taking a Week Off: Behave Yourselves.

                                                             Wish me luck.I will need it.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Friday's Forgotten Books, October 6, 2017

Todd will have the links next week. Thanks, Todd.

from the archives of Randy Johnson.

I’ve posted about Pono Hawkins before HERE.He’s tilting at Wind mills again, literally. This time on the other side of the world. Maine. He’s there to help an old comrade who’s in jail for murder.
Buddy Franklin is his name and Pono doesn’t even like him. He once testified at a trial where Pono was accused of shooting an Afghani girl. He did, but the fifteen year old had been set on fire by her husband for daring to lay eyes on another man, an honor killing. Dying anyway and begging for someone to kill her, he’d ended her pain. The Bush government made him a scapegoat and Pono got twenty years, a sentence vindicated a few months later. Franklin had also married the woman Pono loved.
Why help him then?
A thing called honor. Franklin was Special Forces like Pono and the testimony was by rules of law. One didn’t desert a comrade in trouble. Oh, forgot to mention, Franklin had saved his life in a firefight as well.
The Wind Mafia was at it again in Maine. Pono had managed to beat them in Hawaii and they were now making billions, off the public dollar, building useless wind turbine towers, blotting the landscape, killing wildlife, ruining property values, and getting obscenely rich, along with the politicians, judges, and cops they paid off.
Pono was only there for a few days before the harassment started, shots were fired at him, and the cops were trying to pin murders, arson, and destruction of property on him.
A wonderfully written novel that wouldn’t let me stop until I finished it. Read the whole thing in less than a day.

Sergio Angelini, THE MANNY DEWITT TRILOGY, Peter Rabe
Yvette Banek, Classic Book Covers such as A SHOW OF HANDS, Erle Stanley Gardner
Les Blatt, Two by George Bellairs
Elgin Bleecker, ROUND TRIP, W.R. Burnett
Brian Busby, "Advice from Stephen Leacock
Scott Cupp, RIVER OF TEETH, Sarah Galley 
Martin Edwards, THE BORNLESS KEEPER, P.B. Yuill
Curt Evans, Roger Scarlett reissues 
Richard Horton, MIDDLE MARCH, George Elliott and AMAZING STORIES review
Margot Kinberg, CROCODILE ON THE SANDBANK, Elizabeth Peters
Rob Kitchin, WHISKEY IN SMALL GLASSES, Denzil Meyrich 
B.V. Lawson, ONE NIGHT'S MYSTERY, May Agnes Fleming 
Evan Lewis, THE LONG RIFLE, Stewart Edward White
Brian Lindenmuth, THE TWILIGHTERS, Noel Loomis
Todd Mason, MAGAZINE OF HORROR and GAMMA, 1963
Matt Paust, A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES, John Kennedy Toole
James Reasoner, THE HELL-BORN CLAN, Phil Richards
Gerard Saylor, SHOEDOG, George Pelecanos
TracyK, THE EMPEROR'S SNUFF BOX, John Dickson Carr
Prashant Trikannad, SNIFF, THE DETECTIVE, Richard Scarry
Westlake Review, NOBODY RUNS FOREVER, Part 2

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

First Wednesdays Book Review Club: MORNINGSTAR, Ann Hood

                                                 For more reviews, go to Barrie Summy's blog, right here. 

MORNINGSTAR, GROWING UP WITH BOOKS is a favorite type of book for me. In it, novelist Ann Hood relates the details of her formative years through the books she chose to read at various ages. I am not going to tell you the books she chose because you will enjoy seeing what she read yourself  from her first books onward. We learn a lot about her middle-class family and the town of Warwick, RI. where she watched the decline of the town through her formative years. Mills and factories closed, better stores moved out of town or disappeared. A familiar story by now.

All of the books she talks about (and it's not all that many) were books that meant something to me too. And the thing that I liked best about it was her choices were original, realistic, different. Not the sort of books found on BY THE BOOK in the TIMES each week. But instead what a girl might stumble on herself when her family were not readers. This was also the case with me. No one ever guided my reading so I read inappropriate books often. No one told me to read books like FROM THE TERRACE or BABBITT or THE DEVIL IN BUCKS COUNTY or THE IDIOT, but I did.

This is a short book and Hood confines her discussion to about a dozen books, all which resonated with the times she lived in, her age at the time, and the country itself. . I would have like a list at the back of other books she read but did not include here. Especially childhood favorites.

I enjoyed this short book, almost more memoir than literary discussion but that is just fine. 

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Tuesday Night Music

Two Movies I Have Seen This Week: BATTLE OF THE SEXES and BRAD'S STATUS

Neither of these films was a complete bust, but both of them were disappointments in a way. BATTLE OF THE SEXES was a Hollywood biopic and thus, despite very fine performances from Emma Stone and Steve Carrell, made the film duller than it had to be. The female tennis players, struggling to achieve equality in pay and respect with the men were presented as a mass of quasi-cheerleaders. Very few were even named. And how many Sarah Silverman performances must we endure before it is clear she always plays the same part. Both King and Riggs were poignant figures: he having become a clown to support his gambling addiction, and she for discovering her sexuality at the same time she was battling for women's rights. But neither is given the attention it deserves. Instead we spend too much time on meaningless scenes.The characters that evoke the most sympathy are their spouses. B-
BRAD'S STATUS presents a father who has no idea his son is a great student and has a good crack at a Harvard education despite having devoted his life to non-profits. You expect him to be a better man than he is. Are we supposed to feel sorry that his friends have greater success? Are we supposed to dislike him? But how can we when his son, a great kid, feels so sorry for him. Ben Stiller just never seems to play anyone but himself. His conversation with an older friend of his son's, a musician, is painful. "How can you be fifty and not know the world doesn't revolve around you?" she asks. Exactly. And yet you feel the movie feels sorry for him too. Again the character evoking the most sympathy is his wife. C+