Monday, March 18, 2019

MONKEY JUSTICE OUT TODAY (I think)

 Haven't seen a copy myself. Perhaps it is all an illusion.



Things That Are Making Me Happy






SHRILL and PEN15 on HULU. THE OTHER TWO on COMEDY CENTRAL. Really enjoyed third season of CRASHING and sorry HBO cancelled it. Stopped watching BILLIONS. Just couldn't take the characters. Best line was when Richard Thomas told the lead that the only pleasure he would ever get from money was in giving it away. I agree with that. Same with Ray Donavan. They moved the show to NY but the characters are still going down the same path. Did they think tall buildings would make it better?

Watching a lot of TV as we are pretty housebound. Although I am lucky to have friends rescue me. A couple of meals out with them. Went to a book talk. Do miss movies but there have been few good ones of late.

Like the Podcast HIT PARADE. 

Megan is coming out in two weeks for two days. Yay!

Reading Peter Robinson's CARELESS LOVE. Real trouble in concentrating, sleeping, living. I never realized how much I depended on getting out. I am not a homebody.

So what are you up to?

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Hit Parade





Music lovers. This is a terrific podcast (out of Slate) that looks at one song at a time and the culture and the time that made them hits. Chris Molanphy is so knowledgeable. Radio might have failed us but podcasts rock.

https://youtu.be/zXt56MB-3vc

Friday, March 15, 2019

FFB- SLEEP WHILE I SING, L.R. Wright

Books I read in 1987

L.R. Wright wrote perhaps seven books about a duo detecting team in Canada. After the publication of The Suspect (1985), her first mystery novel and winner of the 1986 Edgar Award for Best Novel, she concentrated almost exclusively on the genre after several earlier literary novels.

Anyhow in SLEEP, a body of a woman is found in the forest just off a road in British Columbia. Her throat has been slashed, her ID unknown, no discernible motive. 

An RCMP sergeant, Karl Alberg, is assigned to the case (and solves it eventually along with the village librarian). A Hollywood actor, an old flame, a grouchy old farmer, his lonely talkative wife, and an artist figure in the mix. Well-constructed and plotted plus engaging.Her style is spare and elegant. 
But probably read THE SUSPECT first.This one is very good but more conventional.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

WHAT IT MIGHT FEEL LIKE TO HOPE





Dorene O'Brien was a member of a writing group I belonged to a decade ago.  Dorene, hands down, was the best and most thorough critic. She taught creative writing at a college and had honed her skills over the years. Whereas the rest of us might write two paragraphs of criticism, Dorene would write two pages. It was as if she digested it and spit it back decidedly improved.

Her writing was also exceptional. And none of us were surprised when Wayne State University offered to publish a collection of her stories. (VOICES OF THE LOST AND FOUND). We were also not surprised when she stacked up various awards like Lego blocks.

Her second collection of stories debuted last week. Dorene writes about-- to quote a line from her book "women with tar-stained teeth and men carted from the automotive plant." This is an unusual cast of characters among literary writers. Most choose to spend their time with the upper middle-class or with academic types. Her writing is elegant, precise, original. I would compare her to Bonnie Jo Campbell and Mary Gaitskill, Her stories are pitch dark although they are not crime stories.

The title story is my favorite. It is a pas de deux between a mortician and a fiction writer who specializes in novels where dying characters are miraculously spared death. However, the writer is  blocked due to the ill health of his beloved wife. He can no longer spare his characters death when he is unable to save his wife.

The mortician is both attracted to and disturbed by his writing. If death is the inevitable outcome of life, the writer should acknowledge it. So this is the dilemma Ms. O'Brien sets up and deals with handily.

Also enjoyable is a story about a writer who dreams of attracting Tom Hanks with a perfect script about zombies, or the story of a man who finds his ex is now writing romance novels, or the woman in a tearoom with tarot cards who susses out Detroit's fate. There is not a dull story in the bunch.

Most admired  in each of these stories is the quality of the writing. She is incapable of writing a boring sentence. Every character is fully developed, familiar, and yet unique.

If I was reviewing this book and the writer was unknown to me, I would probably praise it more. But because I have been reading Dorene's stories for a decade or more, I have come to expect just what this book gives us-exquisite writing.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Happy Birthday, Mom

Who apparently had secrets she took to her grave. Never mind, I love you despite your secret life.













Monday, March 11, 2019

Monday Feeling







Really got a kick out of the Netflix series DATING AROUND. Any one of the episodes offers some salient detail that would make a good story. The gay couples are much more forthright about sex. Quite a difference.
Reading my friend, Dorene O'Brien's, collection of stories. She may not deal with outright crime but every story is as pitch dark as anything in noir. (WHAT IT MIGHT FEEL LIKE TO  HOPE).
Broke down and got SHOWTIME so we could watch BILLIONS and RAY DONAVAN. Also BRITBOX but not sure I will keep it. Have seen so much of their library.
Love telling Alexa to play whatever and have it usually be in the amazon library.
What about you?