Posted in Book Reviews

What I’ve Been Reading: Breck’s Quandary by Mark Mitten

Breck’s Quandary is another novel by a fellow author from the Milford House imprint of Sunbury Press. His name is Mark Mitten and he has written three novels including: Sipping Whiskey in a Shallow Grave, Hard to Quit, and Breck’s Quandary. All are available at the Sunbury Press online store and Amazon. Mitten specializes in western-style stories written in the vein of Cormac McCarthy. Breck’s Quandary introduces the reader to Sheriff Breckenridge “Breck” Dyer, the main lawman in a remote Colorado ski town named Quandary. Breck is aided by only one other deputy, a manifestation of an underfunded department. His…

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What I’ve Been Reading: On the Run by Scott Stevens

On the Run is an action/suspense thriller from the Milford House imprint of Sunbury Press – the publisher of my novel. Scott Stevens is a talented author and former sportswriter that Sunbury added to their stable in early 2019. This novel is one of three books he has written, the other two being Twister Town and On Ice. On the Run is available through Sunbury and Amazon. The other two are available on Amazon, although they will be re-released by Sunbury in the future. On the Run is an interesting take on the suspense genre. It takes the motif –made…

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What I’ve Been Reading: The Accountant’s Apprentice by Dennis Clausen

The Accountant’s Apprentice begins as a fairly straightforward plot with a priest, Justin Moore, in existential crisis after witnessing a murder that he thinks he could have prevented if he’d had a little more courage. The result of this distress is that he leaves his parish to take a break from the priesthood –and possibly abandon it altogether. He moves to a San Diego apartment, living a very basic and solitary lifestyle. Right around the time Moore moves into his new apartment, a neighbor is murdered and the police don’t seem to have solid leads as to who committed the…

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What I’ve Been Reading: All the Aliens in the Neighborhood by Donald Dewey

All the Aliens in the Neighborhood is a collection of short stories from formidable author Donald Dewey. This grouping of stories reminded me a bit of Joyce’s Dubliners, only these are set in Brooklyn instead of the Irish capital. Donald Dewey is an experienced author with the writing chops to handle heavy topics with patience and levelheadedness.  I thought The Opals Man impressively displays how a mentally ill person’s behavior can start out as simply a little strange and eventually transition into completely irrational activity as they justify it and let it become their “normal”. The main character, Malek, develops…

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Posted in Book Reviews Literature

What I’ve Been Reading: John Barleycorn by Jack London

John Barleycorn is not only atypical of Jack London’s work, it’s different than most books about drinking or drug abuse. Assumed by most to be an autobiography, John Barleycorn also functions as an in-depth reflection on the lifestyle of a heavy drinker. London got drunk as early as five and seven years old, and that is where his drinking story begins.  London tells of his exploits throughout his teenage years and early adult life, including being an oyster pirate, deep-sea sealer, miner, student, and writer. London packed an incredible amount of action into a short life, and John Barleycorn tells…

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Posted in Book Reviews Celebrities Music

What I’ve Been Reading: Beastie Boys Book by Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz

My only real complaint about this book is that it’s incredibly unwieldy. You’re risking serious bodily harm if you read it while lying down. If you drift off into a nap for even a second, it’s unlikely your arms will support this behemoth. But if you know the Beastie Boys, or read this book to learn more about them, they have never been in the business of practicality. Their music-making process is largely based on thumbing their nose at organization and convention. They obviously approached this project with the same attitude. And, of course, they produced a book with their…

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What I’ve Been Reading: Capital Murder by Chris Papst

Papst documents an interesting and troubling time in Harrisburg. As a central PA native, it’s obvious the city is still struggling from the effects of the either severe mismanagement or arrogant corruption. I’d say it’s somewhere in between those two after reading, although a case can be made for both. I was fairly young and unaware of these political shenanigans when they were happening. I also lived just far enough away to be pretty insulated from it in my daily life. I only knew that I could see a decline in much about the city nearly every time I visited…

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Posted in Book Reviews Celebrities

What I’ve Been Reading: Palo Alto by James Franco

I’ve been lazy about posting reviews of the books I’ve been reading, so I need to catch up a little bit. This post and a few in the future will be about books I read in 2018.  Hopefully I’ll catch up to what I’m currently reading sometime this spring. Thanks for reading! Palo Alto Review Palo Alto is a collection of short stories by James Franco. Although not necessarily related to each other, they’re unified in that they all portray the lives of adolescents in Palo Alto. One can assume that the stories are at least partially based on Franco’s…

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Posted in Book Reviews Celebrities

What I’ve Been Reading (and Watching): Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

I wanted to read Call Me by Your Name after I watched the movie (directed by Luca Guadagnino) . I was especially interested to check it out after the movie won Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars (screenplay written by James Ivory). The movie was a truly excellent adaptation of the source text. Overall, I enjoyed the movie more than the book, although I did like both versions. As with nearly any comparison of a book and movie adaptation, each has its merits. The following might have some spoilers, or at least information that might make your first viewing/reading less enjoyable….

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Posted in Book Reviews Literature

What I’ve Been Reading: South and West by Joan Didion

I am always impressed by writers who have the ability to record intricate details of their experiences while traveling. I don’t feel like I can write well when I’m on a vacation or some excursion far away. I’m always either doing my best to soak up the experience or resting from the exhaustion of doing just that.  I suspect that there are two major reasons that I have not developed the skill to thoroughly document any travel experiences: I’m probably more crunched for time versus writers who are on some kind of writing assignment or simply take longer trips than…

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