30 April 2010

More from htmlcomics.com: Harvey Pekar

Another great treasure unearthed at htmlcomics.com is Harvey Pekar's American Splendor. I wouldn't have known about the comic series, Harvey, or his appearances on the old David Letterman show on NBC except for having seen the movie, American Splendor.

You have been advised.

29 April 2010

Books: recent, on the way and thought of.

The Red Tree, by Caitlin R. Kiernan is at the library waiting for me to pick it up.

I just received Fatal System Error, by Joseph Menn, and read the first few pages last night.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman is on the way from Better World Books.com. I learned about the book and the bookseller on Twitter today. Neil Gaiman is @neilhimself.

M & I recently finished reading Union Atlantic, by Adam Haslett, a newer novel that deals with modern finance and life in the USA. I highly recommend it.

I'm currently reading Bones, by Jonathan Kellerman, and listening to Bridge of Sighs, by Richard Russo, as I drive back and forth.

And so, a backlog is developing. Rather than order another book and put it on the pile, let me note that Scott Turow has released a new novel called Innocent. I eagerly await this particular feast, as I've never failed to enjoy one of Turow's books.

25 April 2010

Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? by Raymond Carver

This is a collection of short stories. I picked it up today and started reading it, and realized I'd read it before. Not to worry. Carver is worth reading many times over. The first story is "Fat." It takes place in a restaurant, a waitress serves a very fat man who eats a great deal. The second story is "Neighbors," in which a couple cares for their neighbors' apartment and cat while they are away. In both of these stories there are strange, seemingly unrelated changes that take place in the protagonists as they handle these mundane events. There are twenty more, and I look forward to every one.

My Earthquake Phase

I listened to an audio book recording of 1906 by James Dalessandro about two months ago. Not the best novel I've ever encountered, but it delivered a dose of painless history, about which I can't complain. Since such a book necessarily contains some embellishments and actual fiction it made me curious about the facts of the actual event, the San Francisco earthquake and fire in April 1906.

This led me to another audio book, A Crack in the Edge of the World, by Simon Winchester. This is a serious exploration of the modern science of geology, plate tectonics, and how this all relates to the 1906 earthquake. I thought the book was terrific, and very informative, but this reviewer doesn't agree, and says it's inaccurate and poorly done.

Bryan Burroughs of the New York Times Book Review didn't like it, either. He says it's "...the kind of book where an author spreads the paint around - that is, goes wandering down endless back alleys in hopes of finding something interesting..."

Maybe that's what I wanted. After all, both of these were audio books that I listened to while driving back and forth to work. They relieved the boredom of being confined in an automobile, stuck in the flow (or lack of flow) of traffic, without compromising my attention to driving.

Ah, well.

23 April 2010

Recent reads

Union Atlantic, by Adam Haslett
Tin Roof Blowdown, by James Lee Burke
Hella Nation, by Evan Wright
That Old Cape Magic, by Richard Russo
Bridge of Sighs, by Richard Russo
Home Poetry Repair Manual, by Ted Kooser
Valentines, by Ted Kooser
Essential Pleasures, anthology ed. Robert Pinsky
Delights and Shadows, by Ted Kooser