Saturday, July 25, 2009

What I've Been Reading

Blood's A Rover
James Ellroy

This book isn't out until September, but I can't wait to tell you about it. What a completely crazy story. I mean, I won't even attempt to lay out the plot, which spans the 60s and 70s. But, J. Edgar Hoover, Richard Nixon, The Dominican Republic, Voodoo, the Mob, and some stolen emeralds all play a part. And it's jammed with James Ellroy's snappy, melt-your-face, prose. A delight, and a thrill. Look for it in September.

This one's another that isn't out for a bit, but it was so good. Dan Chaon is one sensitive writer. He gets his character, and lays them out in the best understated flashes. The story is about several different people and their search for identities. some authentic, and many others that are only temporary. Chaon takes the whole menace of identity theft and the Internet, and builds a terrific, fast paced and elegant story with it. I absolutely loved it.

Rabbit Run
hn Updike

This is the book I'm reading now. I haven't finished it, but it's one of the best ever. Of course, everyone says this. I think it was near the top of the New York Times best books of the past fifty years. Updike can write! It's about this schmuck going through an early midlife crisis. I think he's 28 or something. Anyway he thinks he's great, and he abandons his wife, who's a wreck. He's off his nut. Great stuff!

Michael Con

Connelley writes seriously hard-boiled stuff. This one's a newsroom procedural, in Los Angeles. A reporter chases his final story before he gets laid-off, and stumbles onto a killer that the police don't have a clue about. This book interfered with my work. I took some long breaks, if you know what I mean. Like Await your Reply, this has to do with the Internet and identity theft, adding to the creepiness. Don't wait for the paperback, get it today.

The Devil's Company

David Liss writes these historical mystery thrillers that center around economics. I know how that sounds,but they're fantastic. Full of historical tidbits, and somehow he ties his stories into current events. Like, this one takes on globalization, and consumerism, but instead of the GAP or Target, it's the East India Trading Co. Over that compelling mix, Liss lays down a bang-up plot with a pugilist protagonist who's very charming and honorable, like that. Good stuff!

Looking After Pigeon
Maud M

I adore this novel about five-year-old Pigeon searching for someone to take care of her in her dysfunctional family. It'll break your heart, and also make you laugh, a lot. And if your family, like mine, wasn't ideal, you'll find this one incredibly validating. Pigeon's self-absorbed and dismissive mother is truly one of the greatest characters I've come across in a long time.

Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick's books are one of the great pleasures in life, if you're a little off your nut, like me. They are always wild and brilliant, and VALIS is the wildest and the brilliantest I've read. It's like a who done it, but the protagonist, who's named Horselover Fat, go figure, is on the trail of God, who might be alien technology, or a being from the future, or a Russian spy satellite. This book is theology, and unforgiving in its analysis. And the kicker is, it's autobiographical.


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