"I sit in happy meditation on my rock, pondering while my line dries again, upon the ways of trout and men. How like fish we are: ready, nay eager, to seize upon whatever new thing some wind of circumstance shakes down upon the river of time! And how we rue our haste, finding the gilded morsel to contain a hook. Even so, I think there is some virtue in eagerness, whether its object prove true or false. How utterly dull would be an utterly prudent man, or trout, or world! did I say a while ago that I waited 'for prudence' sake? that was not so. The only prudence in fishermen is that designed to set the stage for taking yet another, and perhaps a longer, chance."
I'm reading the first novel the late, great and insanely prolific Ed McBain ever wrote: So Nude, So Dead, which was reissued in paperback from Hard Case Crime.
Here is an interview with the author if anyone's interested. (38 minutes)
Jeff of Earth-J said:
OLYMPUS, TEXAS by Stacey Swann: I've been living in Texas for two decades now and I still don't understand the mythology of Texas. So when I heard about this novel, written by a native Texan and set against a backdrop of ancient Greek mythology, I couldn't resist.
Here is a link to the interview I heard. (5 minute listen.)
The interview speaks of puzzles, which I also like, so I'll lay out some of the pieces. The patriarch and the matriarch of the Briscoe family are Peter (Zeus) and June (Juno). Their children are Thea (Athena), Hap (Hephaestus) and March (Mars). Early in their marriage, Peter was unfaithful with Lee (Leto) and had twins out of wedlock, Artie (Artemis) and Arlo (Apollo). March's two dogs, Romulus and Remus, are gimmies. Beyond that, you're on your own.
The book takes place over the course of a week and is written in seven sections, "Friday" through "Monday." Most of the sections are supplemented with "flashback" chapters, such as "The Origin of March's Exile" or "The Origin of June's Rage" which add depth to the narrative. You don't have to be familiar with mythology to enjoy the story, but I do feel the urge to break out my mythology book to find out how closely the plot hews to the myths.
THE FOG MOUND TRILOGY: After I finished Larry McMurtry's "Thalia" series, I spent a week or so deciding what to read next. While I thought about it, I read this trilogy. I almost didn't post here because 1) it's a children's book series, and 2) it's half comics. I bought and read the first book, Travels of Thelonious, when it was first released, but I didn't read the next two, Faradawn and Simon's Dream until now. (I'm "test reading" them for my nieces and nephew now that some of the are aging into the audience range, 8-12 years.
The series is produced by a husband and wife team (Susan Schade and Jon Buller), one writes, the other illustrates. Chapters alternate between prose and comics. That ought to be enough information for anyone interested. Highly recommended for children of that age group.
The Other Night at Quinn's (2018)- Mike Faloon: Improvisational jazz-influenced prose recounts fragments of a man's life and his visits to a small bar in New York state with a jazz night. Interesting, though not for everyone. Out of nowhere, on one page, someone references the Nihilist Spasm Band, a local legend. The son of one of the members lives on my street. However, the person quoted misidentifies them as a "Toronto band." Hey, we're a couple of hours away and Canadian. Close enough.
I have been doing some LGBTQ themed reading, both out of interest and to expand the material I can recommend to the teens I work with:
The Boys of Fairy Town: Sodomites, Female Impersonators, Third-Sexers, Pansies, Queers, and Sex Morons in Chicago's First Century (2018)- Jim Elledge: An interesting, very researched look at hidden histories and corners of the world of which I had been unaware. I am a huge fan of hidden history. A lot of it hides in plain sight.
Last Night at the Telegraph Club (2021)- Malinda Lo: a very well-written, if slow-moving book that straddles the YA and literary, set mostly in San Francisco's Chinatown in the 1950s. It concerns a cross-racial same-sex relationship between high school seniors, and the social realities of the time. Gripping use of its historical context.
Cool for the Summer (2021)- Dahlia Adler: Urrh. I am, like, so totally not the market for this book. I mistakenly thought it was a graphic novel. YA romance, well enough written, but set on the Planet of Mary Sues. Everyone in this book is beautiful and/or wealthy and/or extremely competent. High school senior must choose between the attractive, affable QB / MVP / local hero she's crushed on for years, and the hot super-talented girl she fell for in the summer. Much of the conflict would vanish if anyone behaved sensibly for five seconds (even by teen standards). Includes a diversity checklist scene where the protagonist goes to a party and describes everyone by their racial and/or sexual identity, and then those characters don't really figure in the story.
"When I call to mind my earliest impressions, I wonder whether the process ordinarily referred to as growing up is not actually a process of growing down, whether experience, so much touted among adults as the thing children lack, is not actually a progressive dilution of the essentials by the trivialities of living ."
After five Larry McMurtry novels and two James Bond books, I took so time to decide what to move on to next. My thought was to read several relatively short works which I had never read before. The problem is, all of the short novels I was interested in I had previously read, and all of the books I was interested in that I haven't read are all longer. I think I've chosen the next four or five I'm going to read, but not the order. In the meantime, I'm reading three works of nonfiction: a collection of essays, a book of philosophy and a reference book. I'll post more about each when I have finished.
The City of the Beast by Michael Moorcock. This is very much a book that reads as an homage to the likes of John Carter and Flash Gordon. It was okay.
Bronx Noir - This is a short story collection that all take place in the Bronx. I don't give a rip about the Bronx, nor do I have any sort of infatuation with NYC. I just wanted a good anthology. This certainly delivers that, and only contains a couple of clunkers.
Maxon: Art out of Chaos by Malcolm Whyte. This is a biography about Maxon Crumb, and it includes a lot of his art. It was an enjoyable and quick read. Between this and the Crumb documentary, Robert is the most normal of the Crumb boys.
Sculpting A Galaxy by Lorne Petersen. One of the primary model makers for the original Star Wars trilogy looks back at the glory days of model building at ILM. Profusely illustrated with photos of the various vehicles, creatures and environments created by the ILM team.
Currently reading Stranger in the Shogun's City, by Amy Stanley. A nonfiction work about Tsuneno, a woman from rural Japan who ran away to Edo (Tokyo) in the waning days of the shogunate in the early Nineteenth Century.
I forgot to mention what I'm currently reading. Star Wars X-wing: Rogue Squadron. I've actually been looking for this for a few years now at every HPB I go to. I found this about a month ago at the one in Mesquite, honestly probably own Jeff knows about where I am talking about. This is the first book in the X-Wing series, so I'm glad to be reading it.
"...probably only Jeff knows about where I am talking about..."
I don't recall whether you watch The Walking Dead or not, Travis, but in the season 11 opener, a small group of regulars was interrogated by members of the Commonwealth and one of the questions was to list the zip code where you used to live. Eugene rattled off the zip of every place he's ever lived, and two of them were Addison and Keller (more your neck of the woods than mine).
"Whether you will or not
You are a king, Tristram, for you are one
Of the time-tested few that leave the world,
When they are gone, not the same place it was.
Mark what you leave."
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