Friday, January 22, 2021

Revisiting Sharky's Machine

Sharky's MachineEver harbor fond memories of a film you saw as a kid, then watch it again as an adult? Do that at your own peril, pal. Turns out you really can’t go home again, so to speak, but you might have fun trying.

Awhile back my husband and I sat down to watch Sharky’s Machine, a 1981 gritty crime thriller starring and directed by Burt Reynolds. We both originally watched it when we were too young to fully get it, possibly on HBO or cable. We couldn’t recall the where of it, only that we remembered Sharky as a badass with a cool name.

On our adult viewing, it looked a bit different. It’s hard to define – it wasn't good but not entirely bad, either; you could tell it was trying for something, a style, a mood, an artsy feel. As my husband put it afterwards, “I wouldn’t exactly call it good; it’s ambitious. It’s bizarre and trippy and very ’70s.” (Even though it came out in 1981, the lingering mist of the '70s was very much alive, especially in this film.)

Friday, January 15, 2021

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

This book is a wonder. It takes topics that normally wouldn't grab me (an old former soldier travelling around the Old West, a tragic tale of an orphan that sounds way too sad for me) and it snares me, hook, line and sinker. 

News of the World by Paulette Jiles introduces us to Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd as he makes his way through Texas post Civil War, making a living giving readings from a stack of newspapers to audiences seeking a window on the world. The old man has fought in two wars and lost a wife, and now enjoys his rambling life on the road. When he's asked to deliver a young orphan who had been captured and raised by members of the Kiowa tribe to her only living relatives, he reluctantly agrees. The heart, understanding and courage he displays on the perilous journey is matched by the young girl's bravery and tenacity in the face of being torn from the only family she remembers – her Kiowa family.

Friday, January 8, 2021

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel has a lot going on, a lot of different threads. There's a Ponzi scheme, ghosts, and moral dilemmas aplenty. It was a lot; at moments a little too much, but it somehow never quite went overboard for me.

Thanks to the dumpster fire that was 2020, my attention span for reading dimmed as the year wore on. I turned to short stories (and found many great ones), and still managed to get in several novels or full-length nonfiction books. But they seemed to take so long to get through! I didn't fly through this one at top speed, but I finished in less than two weeks, which was pretty damn good given my difficulty staying focused by the end of the year.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Slow Burner by Laura Lippman


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't read a lot of mysteries, but this was kind of fun. 

In Slow Burner by Laura Lippman, a woman finds her husband's secret burner phone with flirty text messages to another woman. Whatever will she do?