Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Saturday, December 26, 2015
Thursday, December 24, 2015
Why has this story never been made into a movie?
Another of the vintage John LeCarre novels, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy". The best of his I've read so far. Deeply layered plot and elegant word smithing. Subtle. George Smiley may be my favorite character in fiction.
"Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen takes you to a magic place: a curmudgeonly old gent in his nursing home recalls his youth. After an early traumatic tragedy, he runs away and joins the circus in the 1920's and meets the love of his life. the literary enchantment reminded me of the totally engaging and original plot in "the Beautiful Ruins" that I read earlier.
"Who is Conrad Hurst?" by Kevin Wignall was a lean, mean little thriller about a soldier of fortune suffering post traumatic stress disorder after two shocking events. With no emotional ballast, he simply takes jobs as a stone cold killer-hit man in modern Europe until cascading events bring him back to his senses.
"Embers" by a mid-20th Century Hungarian writer Sandor Marai is a story of betrayal. Of course, I was reading a translation; I found it "flattened", somehow. It was readable, by I'm not sure I would recommend the book. I'm old; this story was too old for me.
"And Justice There is None" by Deborah Crombie. The book cover says the author is writing in P.D. James territory; if "London" is what is meant, that is true. The mystery written, Elizabeth George-style, by an American lady from Texas writing a London centered police procedural. For me it was "what to read on the train till I find something else"; a bit light and gimmicky after one is reminded of P. D. James.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Monday, December 7, 2015
I found this photo, taken about 1923 or so. The little girl is my Mother and the older girl is David's Mother. David was born a few years later.
Monday, November 30, 2015
Sunday, November 22, 2015
During a visit to extended family in Kentucky this fall, there was a large family re-union picnic; everyone from my cousin almost 90 and some even older, to a weeks'-old infant. The annual re-union continues to draw family members from the local area and far away. You should have seen the wonderful country food everyone brought! Such wonderful people.
Of course, there were photos: the attractive young couple shown here are the ancestors of most of the people who attended; perhaps before their marriage, since every other photo of them as they aged were posed together. Evocative, they are; photos' probably made around 1880?
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Burke creates readable, moody and atmospheric detective thrillers; in the 'Robicheaux' series, the setting is the deepest US South in Louisiana, which he calls 'an open-air mental institution'. The hero, Dave, is an older police detective, working for the New Iberia Police; he's honest to a fault, though flawed by post-traumatic stress left over from Vietnam and a hard life fighting evil bad guys, along with his PI friend, Clete Purcel (who is lucky he's not in jail, with his free-lance methods). Robicheaux is also a recovering alcoholic who attends AA meetings and has a lot to say about the condition. The characters are richly imagined, with names and descriptions that are entertaining all by themselves: drug dealer Monarch Little looks harmless as a cartoon character but can be a stone killer, or Bellerophon Lujan, thug. A plentiful array of "suspects" for the reader to 'vet'. I mostly figured out "whodunit" but enjoyed the colorful and flavorful read.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
At least 3 times, over a span of several decades,I have tried to read, enjoy and complete a novel by Edna Ferber.
She was one of the most wildly popular writers of quality mass-market fiction in the middle decades of the 20th Century. Recently, I tried again with her first major hit novel, "So Big", published in 1924. I could not make the story, the writing, the characters, pass my 30-page rule. It made me think a little of books read in the past year: "A Reliable Wife" and "Devil in the White City", with the references to Chicago in the late 1800's, but without the depth and maturity.
Sunday, November 1, 2015
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Saturday, October 17, 2015
And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander
Thrush Green by Miss Read. Interesting little book, actually.
Friday, October 9, 2015
Friday, October 2, 2015
Thursday, September 24, 2015
Saturday, September 19, 2015
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Saturday, September 12, 2015
Madison Wisconsin Mifflin Street Co-op long lost Guerilla Cookies! (one of the few things I miss about the '70's)
These were from the batch that was my first attempt. I found the recipe and tried it. Best to reduce the oven temperature to around 325-F and watch the cooking progress.
These cookies were similar to an energy bar, but sweetened softly with honey, molasses and barley malt syrup. It a chore to assemble the ingredients, but if you want a taste of the 1970's, this is it.
The next time I made the cookies, they turned out "prettier".
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Having mentioned that, I will never even look into another Jeffrey Archer novel after I choked my way through "Kane & Abel". But maybe it only seemed outdated, since it came out more than 30 years ago and wasn't very well written or edited.
Probably I'm the wrong demographic for Laura Griffin's "Unspeakable-A Tracers Novel". Routine, not very thrilling crime novel. With a twist of "chick-lit".
Least offensive was "Omerta" by Mario Puzo; normally I enjoy his novels.