Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle

Last summer I joined Camp TOB 2022, my first time with the Tournament of Books summer reading game. I’ve enjoyed reading along and voting in the Tournament of Books for the last couple of years, and I’ve even found a few “new favorite books” as a result. So, I thought I’d give the summer reading game a go. I did find a “new favorite book,” … Continue reading Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle

The Road to Los Angeles by John Fante

The narrator in John Fante’s The Road to Los Angeles kept reminding me of Ignatius J. Riley in John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces. But without the heart. Both characters are really incapable of functioning in the world. Both live at the bottom of society, relying on the good graces of their mother for support. Both are convinced of their own genius and not … Continue reading The Road to Los Angeles by John Fante

The Expendable Man by Dorothy Hughes

The greatest American crime novelist you’ve never heard of is Dorothy Hughes. Unless, of course, you’ve already heard of her. Ms. Hughes wrote some 14 crime novels in the 1950’s and 60’s, then retired from the scene to become a leading critic of the genre. She’s something of a writer’s writer, long admired by those working in crime fiction but not widely known. You may … Continue reading The Expendable Man by Dorothy Hughes

Nazis in the Metro by Didier Daeninckx, translated from the French by Anna Moschovakis

On May 8, 1945, the day Nazi Germany surrendered, the French government began a massacre of Muslim nationalists in Algeria that ended with the deaths of 15,000 to 20,000 civilians. There were soldiers who fought for France in Germany who returned to Algeria only to find the families dead, and their homes destroyed. Not something I expected to learn in a gritty, noir detective novel … Continue reading Nazis in the Metro by Didier Daeninckx, translated from the French by Anna Moschovakis

The Madman of Bergerac by Georges Simenon for Novellas in November 2022

At 144 pages The Madman of Bergerac just fits the 150-page definition of a novella over at the Novellas in November reading challenge. It was first published in 1932 which makes it old and therefore a classic which is the challenge category for this week. It’s also a fun read for fans of Inspector Maigret. I’m not sure I’d send it along to anyone else. … Continue reading The Madman of Bergerac by Georges Simenon for Novellas in November 2022

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

I come to this book by way of the recent television series. Both are very good. The television series, while based on a true crime, is largely fiction. The producers created entire characters and storylines to flesh out the historical plotline into multiple episodes. The book fleshes out its true crime story with a fascinating history of Mormonism focused on the religions violent past and … Continue reading Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

Michelle McNamara didn’t live to complete her excellent account of hunting the Golden State Killer, whom she didn’t live to see arrested. So, what to make of this book? Incomplete at the time of the author’s death. About an unsolved crime. Let’s start with did I like it? Yes, I did. I liked the portions the author completed before her death the most, possibly only … Continue reading I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

Murder and Glass in Medieval Venice. “The Eye Stone” by Roberto Tiraboschi, Translated by Katherine Gregor

First an admission. This book opens with the life of a 12th century cleric who spends his days copying the books in the monastery’s library reading them in his spare time. This is something of an escapist fantasy for me. That’s my confession. I’m betting that I’m not alone. It’s not something I would want to do for life, but for a long weekend… Sounds … Continue reading Murder and Glass in Medieval Venice. “The Eye Stone” by Roberto Tiraboschi, Translated by Katherine Gregor

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?

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