Monday, August 24, 2015

Black Money, by Ross MacDonald

Title: Black Money
Author: Ross MacDonald
Borrowed from DC Public Library (audiobook)
Started: 8/19/2015
Finished: 8/19/2015

Day two of my marathon drive, this time from Omaha to Jackson hole, Wy. Less than 48 hours from DC to Jackson -- I don't recommend it.

This Lew Archer book helped to kill the time as my dog and I high tailed it across the country. Really enjoyed this book, as I have many Lew Archer books in the past.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Black-Eyed Blonde, by Benjamin Black

Title: The Black-Eyed Blonde
Author: Benjamin Black
Started: 8/18/2025
Finished: 8/19/2015

Made a marathon drive from DC to Omaha and needed audiobooks to help keep me awake. This was one of them and I loved it. Another recommendation from old WSJ best of the year book lists. A great Marlow from a non-Chandler author.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler

  • Title:  The Big Sleep
  • Author:  Raymond Chandler
  • Borrowed from DC Public (AudioBook)
  • Started: 8/16/2015
  • Finished: 8/17/2015
This was at least the third time I'd read this one, and I'm really not sure why.  I like it, but it is ins't my favorite.  Still I do like this book and there is something about the twist ending that always gets me, when the little sister tries to empty her revolver into Marlowe not knowing he has replaced her bullets with blanks.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Jesus' Son, by Denis Johnson

Title: Jesus' Son
Author: Denis Johnson
Borrowed from DC Public (audiobook)
Started: 8/14/2015
Finish: 8/15/2015

My Denis Johnson love, adoration, and infatuation continues with his collection of related stories, Jesus' Son. I have to quickly say a word about the reader -- Will Patton -- who has been the reader for all of these Johnson books I've consume. Patton just has a gift for this, and his reading really compliments Johnson's wonderful works.

Another outstanding book by Johnson.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James

  • Title:  The Turn of the Screw
  • Author:  Henry James
  • Borrowed from DC Public (AudioBook)
  • Started: 8/11/2015
  • Finished: 8/14/2015
I have of course read this book before, either High School or Jr. High.  I recall enjoying it immensely, but also remembered it as a straight-up ghost story.  I must either have a terrible memory, or have had terrible teachers in my public school education.

This reading, where I am in my 40s, opens up an entirely different view.  Maybe several different views.  I find as I read ghost stories where there is the possibility of no supernatural happenings, that that ends up being the interpretation I'm drawn to (think "The Exorcist," and the recent book I read "The Voices").  And so it is with The Turn of the Screw.

In this reading I was struck immediately by the sensation that the Governess was off, and that her visions and forebodings were all in her head.  And the extreme sexual undertones to the book (to my modern ears, anyway)  puts me squarely in the "no ghosts" camp.

Loved this book.  Has me thinking about re-reading "The Haunting of Hill House," one of my all time favorites.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Thief, by Fuminori Nakamura

  • Title:  The Thief
  • Author:  Fuminori Nakamura
  • Borrowed from DC Public (AudioBook)
  • Started: 8/9/2015
  • Finished:  8/11/2015
A few weeks back I was scouring the past several years of best books of the years (best of 2010, best of 2011, etc.) trying to get some ideas for books I might enjoy.  The Thief was one of those books.

WSJ did not let down, I really enjoyed this book.  And the "did he live/did he die" ending, far from being frustrating, left me happy that I could enjoy the possibility of a reformed life with the young boy he had grown fond of.

A very enjoyable, very short, read.

The Savage Detectives, by Roberto Bolano

  • Title:  The Savage Detectives
  • Author:  Roberto Bolano
  • Borrowed from DC Public Library (Kindle Book)
  • Started:  Circa May 2015
  • Finished:  Circa August 2015
I'm going to start with the good -- what an amazing title for a book, right?  Ok, I'm joking.  I did not hate this book, and I can see my college self LOVING this book.  I might have been quoting from this one instead of Tropic of Cancer...

But now that it is almost 20 years since college, this kind of book just doesn't grab me the way it used to.  I would pick up the book and read it for a while, then grow bored and not pick it up again for a couple of weeks.  

Maybe I need to join a book club where discussions over a  book like this might make it more interesting.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, by Philip K Dick

I haven't read too much of Dick.  Definitely read "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" and liked it, and maybe a couple of others.  This book ("Flow My Tears...") was not a book I enjoyed very much.  I suffered through it.  Seemed like a potentially interesting short story, but it was a slog to get through this as a novel-length work.  Way too dated.

Fiskadoro, by Denis Johnson

  • Title:  Fiskadoro
  • Author:  Denis Johnson
  • Purchased (used) on
  • Started: 8/1/2015
  • Finished: 8/8/2015

Another Denis Johnson book, the author whose work I only recently discovered and subsequently devoured.  This one sounded like it would be my favorite (post-apocalyptic, takes place in the Florida Keys) but I had a tough time getting through it.  I still enjoyed it more than many other books I've read recently, just not as much as the other Johnson books.