Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Recommendations for November

The Alcoholic by Jonathan Ames
Ames is the author of my favorite TV show—Bored to Death, so I wanted to read one of his books. This is a graphic novel depicting the drunken life of the fictional Jonathan A. He is a confused young man, wanting love, dealing with tragedy, looking for reasons to hope. He tells his story without apology. The graphics worked well with the writing. It was a worthwhile and memorable read.
Website for Jonathan Ames.

The Hilliker Curse by James Ellroy
I’ve read Ellroy’s fiction and find it boring. I’ve also read his memoir My Dark Places and absolutely loved it. Ellroy does not shy away from telling you the awful truths about himself. He comes off as a right wing, religious, sex crazed, crazy man. Yet it spite of that his writing style is out of this world! It is fast and exciting; it draws you in and won’t let you go. His are the best memoirs I’ve ever read so why is his fiction so dry? Ellroy is a very interesting man, like him and his fiction, or not.
Website for James Ellroy.

New Tricks by David Rosenfelt
This is my first Rosenfelt book. It was a cute, light-hearted doggy mystery. I prefer my mysteries a little more serious and a little tougher but this was okay as doggy mysteries go.
Website for David Rosenfelt.

Hold Me Tight & Tango Me Home by Maria Finn
When Maria Finn learns that her husband is having an affair she throws him out and finds herself left with heartache and doubts. She happens upon a group of tango dancers and decides that learning a new dance is just what she needs to help her reconnect with people socially. This chance event leads her to a new intellectual pursuit, a new confidence and a new source of joy in her life. This memoir was well-written, entertaining and enthusiastically portrayed the joys of tango.
Website for Maria Finn.

Nemesis by Philip Roth
During the 1940’s a neighborhood in Newark, NJ is hit particularly hard by the polio epidemic. Bucky Cantor, the playground director, finds himself in the center of the tragedy. This is a very interesting look at the effect of assuming responsibility for others in the face of overpowering odds. Roth is a thoughtful writer who forces you to look at the hard questions and decide for yourself if you agree with his characters actions.

London Boulevard by Ken Bruen
Mitchell is released from a three year stint in prison. He gets a job as handyman to an aging movie star who lives in a crumbling mansion with her butler. His old friends get him involved in many a shady deal and the butler conveniently helps him get out of these messes. Little does he realize the trap he has gotten into. This is Ken Bruen's version of Sunset Boulevard the great 1950 film but with a twist.
Website for Ken Bruen.

Good Morning, Midnight by Reginald Hill
Dalziel and Pascoe are a couple of my favorite British policemen. They have such different personalities and different styles of policing. Here they're head-to-head on a case that Dalziel insists was a suicide but Pascoe can only see the oddities in this "supposed" suicide. Colorful characters abound and lots of humor--especially when Dalziel rants about the "funny buggers" (MI-5).