Enough Already: The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu by Tom Lin

Classification can be a challenge. The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu is clearly a western. The hero travels from Utah through Nevada to California in the 1860’s riding a horse. So, clearly a western. He’s doing this to get revenge on the five men who separated him from his wife. So, revenge fantasy plot. Think The Revenant. But throw in a healthy dose of magical … Continue reading Enough Already: The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu by Tom Lin

I’m Back?

I’m not sure what this is going to turn out to be–regular thing or an occasional blog? Book blog? Art blog? Online journal? Something to pass the time in retirement? Maybe it will just be this one entry and $18 spent on a domain name I thought would be clever and an activity to justify sitting around in local coffee shops. In any case, here … Continue reading I’m Back?

Census by Jesse Ball

This book was not what I expected. Even though I had no expectations at all when I started it.  I had no idea what it was going to be about.  I read it because it’s part of The Summer Reading Challenge at The Morning News.  I didn’t even read the inside flap; just started reading. In his introduction Mr. Ball writes about his brother who … Continue reading Census by Jesse Ball

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

You probably already know all you want to know about Tayari Jones’s novel An American Marriage. It’s an Oprah pick with starred reviews in major publications.  It’s even part of this summer’s reading list at The Morning News which is why I read it. You rarely go wrong with The Morning News’s Tournament of Books, so I decided to give their Summer Reading Challenge a go. … Continue reading An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

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

A Book of Common Prayer by Joan Didion

A couple of weeks ago I renewed my subscription to Netflix, just in time to catch the new documentary about American author and essayists Joan Didion.  It’s an excellent tribute, very entertaining.  C.J., who normally only watches You Tube videos about old English houses, loved it. He was even inspired to try reading some of Ms. Didion’s essays. And I was inspired to pick up … Continue reading A Book of Common Prayer by Joan Didion

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

The Nix by Nathan Hill

It’s good. I enjoyed it. It’d didn’t exactly knock my socks off, but I was entertained. A couple of points…. First, have you noticed, lately, the prevalence of the two plot structure I call What’s Happening/What Happened? In this structure there are two plots, one that is happening in the novel’s present and one that has already happened in the novel’s past.  The two plot … Continue reading The Nix by Nathan Hill