The Jesus Cow (Book Review)

The Jesus Cow By Michael Perry Fiction Harper Perennial $14.95 Trade Paper ISBN -13:  9780062289988 I’m embarrassed to say I almost gave up on this book early.  At the beginning, it resembled Carl Hiaasen’s fiction, and I burned out on Carl Hiaasen novels a few years ago because they were getting repetitive. Please don’t get the wrong impression.  Carl Hiaasen has a lot to offer, in both his fiction and nonfiction writing.  Personally, I just reached my limit. Michael Perry’s recent novel, The Jesus Cow, is an original.  The author explores different levels of Christian spirituality, and how they reflect on … Continue reading The Jesus Cow (Book Review)

Allegory At Its Best

Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore By Dave Hill Memoir/Essays/Humor Blue Rider Press (Penguin) ISBN-13: 9780399166754 288 Pages $27.00 When — not if — you read Dave Hill’s new collection of essays, Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, be ready to get into your own head as well as Dave’s. I hope that doesn’t sound ominous.  The book is loaded with wild humor that allegedly prompted Dick Cavett’s neighbors to tell him to stop laughing so loudly. I interpreted Dick Cavett’s author blurb as a cautionary tale, and limited my reading to hours when the neighbors were awake.  Still, the man next … Continue reading Allegory At Its Best

Book Review: Cleaning Up New York

Cleaning Up New York By Bob Rosenthal $12.95 Paperback Published By The Little Bookroom 73 Pages ISBN-13:  9781936941131 Forty years ago, a small publisher called Angel Hair Press printed 750 copies of a memoir titled Cleaning Up New York.  Personally, I heard nothing about it at the time, but now the book is being reissued by The Little Bookroom and it’s referred to as “The 70s Cult Classic.” Cleaning Up New York is Bob Rosenthal’s account of working as a professional housecleaner, partly for the modest income, and partly for the dope he kept finding in strangers’ homes.  The author also got to … Continue reading Book Review: Cleaning Up New York

A Critic’s Work Is Reviewed

I haven’t yet gotten my grubby little hands on a copy of Better Living Through Criticism by A.O. Scott, but it’s on the To Be Read List.  If I stay healthy and live another ten years, I’ll get around to it in 2026. Actually, it may be smart to move this book to the top of the list. Nathan Heller’s review in the March 7, 2016 New Yorker suggests it’s worth special attention. A. O. Scott is a longtime film critic with The New York Times.  His reviews tend to be based on careful thinking and observation, which place him above the mediocre … Continue reading A Critic’s Work Is Reviewed

Book Review: Half Empty by David Rakoff

  Half Empty by Rakoff, David Anchor Books Paperback (an imprint of Doubleday, which published the original hardcover edition), 224 Pages Copyright 2010 ISBN-13:  978-0767929059 $14.95 Wisdom and a talent for humor should always be appreciated.  Half Empty, the last collection of essays published during David’s Rakoff’s lifetime, is a beautiful example of life experience, calm perspective and comic relief. The ten essays in this book cover separate topics, but all address one type of absurdity or another (Note:  There are different definitions of the word “Absurd,” and the author was aware of this.  Humor is not always emphasized because not … Continue reading Book Review: Half Empty by David Rakoff

Book Review: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed By Jon Ronson Nonfiction Penguin Hardcover Copyright 2015 $27.95 ISBN-13:  978-1-59448-713-2 It’s amazing how the current GOP Presidential Primary candidates don’t seem to notice when they’re publicly shamed.  Some people have an easy way to avert that trauma.  If they don’t feel shame in the first place, they’re all set.  They might accuse the media of unfair harassment, but they won’t feel like dirt themselves.  Most of us look at the GIFs of sad clown performances by Donald Trump, et al, and feel grateful we aren’t the types to get into jams like that. Or … Continue reading Book Review: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

Book Review: Talk Talk by T. C. Boyle

Talk Talk By T. C. Boyle Penguin Paperback Copyright 2006 ISBN-13:  9780143112150 $15.00 If you’re interested in fine fiction about the distance between people and aren’t tempted to reread Silas Marner, I recommend the 2006 novel Talk Talk by T. C. Boyle. “Identity Theft” is one of the topics listed in the cataloguing information for this book.  While identity theft is a central theme, the story is more than a suspense novel.  On different levels, T. C. Boyle encourages readers to consider the ways we relate to others and view ourselves. This is the first book by Mr. Boyle I’ve read.  He … Continue reading Book Review: Talk Talk by T. C. Boyle

Privacy (Nonfiction) by Garret Keizer

Privacy by Garret Keizer Nonfiction Published by Picador in 2012 — Original Paperback $15.00   The topic of privacy has prompted some emotional debates concerning politics, law, national security, health, philosophy and basic decency.  I never thought I’d see it addressed so well in 154 pages.   Garret Keizer has a sophisticated grasp of the ways personal matters are shared, and how fear, curiosity, cultural differences and other factors influence boundaries.  Although he cites Supreme Court decisions, the author is careful not to turn his book into a political or legal statement.  He encourages the reader to think of privacy as … Continue reading Privacy (Nonfiction) by Garret Keizer