Showing posts from February, 2010

New Biography Available on Singer Nina Simone.

In the Washington Post this weekend, Louis Bayard reviews The Tumultuous Reign of Nina Simone by Nadine Cohodas.  Simone, the High Priestess of Soul, was an influential singer and songwriter know particularly for her work in jazz.  She was also active in the 1960s civil rights movement.

Break out those Nina Simone recordings from your collection and check out the book!

Also check out Tom Russell's CD, Blood and Candle Smoke, which has among its many good tunes a number titled "Nina Simone."

Autor Peter Carey Interviewed in the Guardian.

Peter Carey is the author of numerous books including Oscar and Lucinda, True History of the Kelly Gang,Theft and Parrot and Olivier in America, which is being released this April.  Check out this amusing Q and A between Carey and The Guardian. ("Guardian: What is the most important lesson life has taught you?  Carey: That life is an appalling teacher."  (That quotation from the interview reminds me of a recent cartoon in The New Yorker in which a young woman is shown consulting a Gypsy fortune teller.  The Gypsy looks into her crystal ball and says, 'I see you making the same mistake.  Not just one time, but over and over again.'))

"The Black Cat" - A New Book from Martha Grimes.

Good news / bad news for fans of the Martha Grimes series featuring Inspector Richard Jury:  There is a new book out, The Black Cat.  However, at least one reviewer, Publishers Weekly, calls the book a "subpar effort from one of mystery's major stars [that] will appeal mainly to fans of the talking animal subgenre."  Talking animals?  This doesn't bode well.

Books in Brief: Lee Child, Kent Meyers, Steve Toltz and More.

Here is a quick summary of a few books that I've read over the past few weeks.  Along side these very short reviews I'm using a 0- to 5-star system for rating each book: 0 stars being the worst rating and 5 stars is the best.  

1.  Twisted Tree by Kent Meyers.  4 Stars.

Good book.  Organized like Elizabeth Stout's Olive Kitteridge, in that each chapter is like a short story, with all the chapters connected by the same community of people and one key individual.  In OliveKitteridge, that unifying character was Olive. In Twisted Tree, that character is Hayley Jo Zimmerman.  In the disturbing opening chapter, Hayley is stalked and abducted by a serial killer.  While reading this chapter I thought, 'is this book for me?'  The answer was yes.  Twisted Tree is an interesting, unsettling book about the mix of folks in rural South Dakota community and their losses, fears and heartbreaks.      

2.  A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz.  4 Stars.

I enjoyed this unique an…

Hola Amigos!

Still on a bit of a short break from blogging.  Should be back at it soon.  Currently, I am reading Twisted River by Kent Meyers.  It´s very good.

Hasta pronto!

Valentine's Day: Books for Children

Make Valentine's Day special for a child with a book:  Elizabeth Kennedy at assembled a list of children's Valentine's Day books.  Check it out here

Cool Animal Stuff: A Sea Otter, Swimming on his Back, Eating a Clam. Pretty Nice.

Via Serious Eats.

WP Reviews "Shadow Tag" by Louise Erdrich.

Writing for the Washington Post, reviewer Ron Charles calls Shadow Tag "a tense little masterpiece."  Check out his full review here.

Palin PAC Purchases Prints of Her Published Pablum.

ABC News reports that in 2009, Sarah Palin's political action committee spent $63,000 to buy from her publisher thousands of copies of her book, Going Rogue, and mail copies of the memoir to her donors.  An additional $20,000 was paid to her publisher "for what appears to have been the cost of sending her personal photographer and another aide along on her book tour,"according to ABC.  The PAC also spent $8,000 on bookmarks . . .bookmarks!

What vanity; what foolishness.  Palin is not a serious person and should never be handed any responsibility for guiding this nation.

New Fiction from Peter Straub - A Dark Matter - is Set in Madison, Wisconsin.

A new book from horror fiction author Peter Straub is being released February 9.  Dark Matter, according to its Amazon description, has at least some of its plot set in Madison, Wisconsin.  Apparently, action in this new work begins in 1960s Madison when a campus guru conducts an occult ceremony and one of the participating teenagers ends up dead.

Straub was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  In 1965 he received a degree in English (with honors) from the University of Wisconsin - Madison.  He has an interesting web site; check it out here.  In the site's bio section it states that, while at the UW, Straub lived across the street from blues rocker Steve Miller.  How cool is that!