Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Reading this book was a delight. It seems like most of the books I picked up lately fell short of expectations at best, or were so bad they angered up my blood at worst.

Then I opened The Dutch House, and suddenly the clouds parted and golden rays shone down on my Kindle. The reading slump was over!

This compelling novel tells the story of family and mistakes made, the bond between a brother and sister, and a past they can't shake. Overshadowing and influencing it all is the grand house of the title.

Danny is our narrator, the youngest son of the man who bought the Dutch House as a surprise for his wife. The domino effect starts there, setting in motion events that will impact all of their lives for decades.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Vinyl Nostalgia: Flashback to Steve Martin & Sgt. Pepper’s (but not the one you think)

Filmstrip of A Wild and Crazy Guy and Sgt. Pepper'sWhen I was a kid I'd tag along with my mom on shopping trips to the PX (that's Post Exchange to non-Army brats). I'd wander the aisles, usually without a cent in my pocket, aimlessly picking up and turning over merchandise in my broke-ass little hands.

On one trip, however, I actually had a few bucks to my name. I made a beeline to the record section.

I can't remember how old I was, but was probably still in elementary school, maybe early '80s. My personal record collection at the time amounted to kid stuff I hadn't bought myself. Prime example: the Star Trek comic book that came with a 45 rpm record dramatizing the story. Which I just realized was my first audiobook (I still have it).

Music transported me, felt mystical and special, even if just about everything I'd listened to so far was the music my much older siblings or ancient parents played (my dad's favorite singer was Slim Whitman, if that gives you any idea of the hell I endured).

Monday, August 5, 2019

Parker: Selected Stories by Dorothy Parker

Listening to this audiobook made me crave a gin rickey and a good cry while hiding behind the mammoth ostrich feathers of my best hat, slumped in a corner table of a grubby speakeasy. It's a mood.

David Sedaris called Parker: Selected Stories by Dorothy Parker (as read by legendary Broadway star Elaine Stritch) "one of the greatest audiobooks ever." In this June 2018 interview for Audible Range he also noted: "Elaine Stritch is the perfect person to read Dorothy Parker, and she understands those stories perfectly."

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Cool Stuff to Read and Watch

Hello again! Around here the temperature finally dropped (a smidge) and I've been enjoying reading, watching TV, and nosing around the web. Here are some cool things I've found that you may like, too:

Cool Links for Book Lovers

Song lyrics as book covers. Someone's only gone and designed vintage book covers inspired by and featuring his favorite song lyrics! It's creative, cool, and available to buy as prints.

Books page at The Guardian. In addition to book reviews, author interviews, and bookish news, they offer a roundup of selected readers' book comments and Bookstagram posts in their recurring "Tips, links and suggestions" feature. You can join in by tagging book-related Instagram posts with #GuardianBooks.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Streaming Picks for August 2019

It's that time again! New month, new shows and movies popping up on streaming and premium services. I'm making my list and checking it twice so I don't forget to watch anything from the 2.5 million different streaming options out there.

As always, I'm sharing my personal must-watch list as well as links to full listings of new offerings where available. Great viewing is coming up in August on HBO, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Showtime. And away we go!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Sometimes a talented gymnast will wobble a bit on the balance bar and you realize she won't go home with gold, but she's definitely going to medal. Until the dismount. Suddenly she loses balance, flails her arms in the air, throws a leg behind her and steps back. She doesn't fall, but she doesn't seal the deal on a winning performance, either.

Which is to stay, it's hard to stick the landing.

Force of Nature by Jane Harper isn't about gymnasts. It's a thriller set in Australia about an investigator who chases financial crimes and, because it's related to one of his cases, becomes peripherally involved in examining the case of a missing hiker.