Words on words: Two odd little books I kind of think I liked

The greatest thing about being curious is that you explore things many others would dismiss out of hand. That is also the worst thing about being curious.

That’s how I came across two recent books that were intriguing, touching and, I think, ultimately rewarding. I must confess, though, I’m not sure that I completely liked either of them.

Continue reading “Words on words: Two odd little books I kind of think I liked”


Two novellas leave me thinking, and that’s a good thing

As you may know from regular reading, I like short books.

I know, it’s dumb, but sometimes (like with the book I’m reading now, “A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar” by Suzanne Joinson) authors just don’t know when to call it a book. Life’s short, so I respect authors who can get in and out of a story without too much padding. It’s even better when they leave a reader with something to think about.

That’s the case with two short novels I read late last year that I still think about. They couldn’t be more different in theme or style, but both pack a punch.

Continue reading “Two novellas leave me thinking, and that’s a good thing”

Dive in, the story’s fine

So here’s how “Rolling in the Deep” by Mira Grant came to be on my reading list.

I was at the library, checking out the New Arrivals shelf and, as usual, I was paying special attention to all the skinny books. It’s how I discovered this book and this one and a few more I may or may not write about.

The title attracted me: Is this about Adele, whose hit song by the same name ran through my mind while reading the book (and writing this)? Is this a book of poetry/lyrics by her? It’s just the sort of money grab publishers do when someone popular has a new hit album out.

Continue reading “Dive in, the story’s fine”

He tried, God bless him

At the end of one hell of a night back in 1843, Ebenezer Scrooge, that hateful old pain in the ass, tells the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, “I will “honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

scroogeCharles Dickens, the creator of that iconic and much-loved character, tells us at the beginning of the second-to-last paragraph of “A Christmas Carol” that “Scrooge was better than his word.”

In the new book, “The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge,”  author Charlie Lovett picks up Scrooge’s story 20 years later. Continue reading “He tried, God bless him”

‘The Grownup:’ Of ghosts and hand jobs

Once again, I find myself at the library pawing through the “New Releases” section and picking up every thin book I see.

I’m in one of my I-gotta-read-more moods and the quickest way to get over it is to come home with a stack of library books and knock them off one by one.

grownupThat’s how I found “The Grownup,” the kind of book that gives new meaning to the adjective “slim.” I opened it up: 62 pages, that’s like two poops for me. Continue reading “‘The Grownup:’ Of ghosts and hand jobs”

Classics Challengers: Get to know W. Somerset Maugham

Too many things have been going on, which is why I haven’t posted since April 1 (yikes!). I hope I still have some of you with me.

This latest category was short stories, and though I chose it because I thought I could knock it out in an afternoon, it took much longer than I thought. Who would have thought that six short stories would have taken this long to read? Continue reading “Classics Challengers: Get to know W. Somerset Maugham”

Choosing to like “Happy”

Best known for her international hit plays “Art” and “God of Carnage,” Yasmina Reza is a writer who isn’t afraid of truths, no matter how uncomfortable.

happy are the happy“Art” examines the tenuous nature of male friendship and “Carnage” peels back the thin veneer of civility to reveal the preening, selfish, petty assholes we all would be if society didn’t demand something different. Both plays are very funny while making cogent, hard-to-swallow points.

Reza’s new novel, “Happy are the Happy” is an interesting work. (It always feels damning to call something “interesting” because it’s the kind of word my mom would use when trying to wrap her head around a movie or a book or a play I suggested. She’s too nice to say “I didn’t like it,” and too demure to say “WTF?” So “interesting” became code word for “What was I supposed to like about that?” and for “meh.”) Continue reading “Choosing to like “Happy””