Sunday, January 21, 2018


Finished Mo 1/22/18

GIRL IN A BAND; A MEMOIR; KIM GORDON. Downloaded from the library to Axis 360 on Sa 1/20/18 after listening to the podcast,  'Kim Gordon in conversation with Aimee Mann'.
Father- sociologist- high school genres; ex. 'surfers/ stoners/ punks/'
Mother's car accident. Yoga and fitness all her life, hit by a car-giver, never regained her life.
Keller/ Kim- paranoid schizophrenic is the sixties; fairly easy to go undetected.

J. Mascis/ neighbor
Northampton ?
Coco never wanted her friends to know who were her parents
She produced Hole's first album

Eva Prinz

Assorted relevant rubbish-

Saturday, January 20, 2018


Finished Fr 1/19/18 The January selection for the Contemporary Book Club. I got this hard back from Amazon and received it on Fr 10/13/17- like new copy.

This is a 'page turner' that lived up to all expectations. It's a Thriller immersed in the theory of Reincarnation.
Noah Zimmerman is four years old and lives with his mother, Janie. He has always felt that his home is somewhere else, and he wants to go back to his 'real' family. He remembers drowning.

Dr. Jerry Anderson is a writer who is studying the phenomenon of 'past lives'. He wants to publish a new book, but his editor tells him he needs a contemporary case, and he finds the Zimmerman's.

Anderson brings Noah and his mother to a family that seems to meet the criteria that Noah remembers, but it's the wrong family.

Then, he finds the Crawford's. Denise had a son, Tommy, that is missing. Tommy has a brother named Charlie. This is an African-American family, and the Zimmerman's are white.

It unfolds that Tommy was accidentally shot by Paul Clifford, and then he dropped Tommy into an unused well and let him drown. Paul was showing Tommy how to shoot his father's rifle. He aimed at a metal bucket and the ricochet wounded Tommy. Paul goes on to become an alcoholic because of guilt from the incident.

From the book's page at Amazon-

"What would you do if your four-year-old son claimed he had lived another life and that he wants to go back to it? That he wants his other mother?

Single mom Janie is trying to figure out what is going on with her beloved son Noah. Noah has never been ordinary. He loves to make up stories, and he is constantly surprising her with random trivia someone his age has no right knowing. She always chalked it up to the fact that Noah was precocious―mature beyond his years. But Noah’s eccentricities are starting to become worrisome. One afternoon, Noah’s preschool teacher calls Janie: Noah has been talking about shooting guns and being held under water until he can’t breathe. Suddenly, Janie can’t pretend anymore. The school orders him to get a psychiatric evaluation. And life as she knows it stops for herself and her darling boy.

For Jerome Anderson, life as he knows it has already stopped. Diagnosed with aphasia, his first thought as he approaches the end of his life is, I’m not finished yet. Once an academic star, a graduate of Yale and Harvard, a professor of psychology, he threw everything away to pursue an obsession: the stories of children who remembered past lives. Anderson became the laughing stock of his peers, but he never stopped believing that there was something beyond what anyone could see or comprehend. He spent his life searching for a case that would finally prove it. And with Noah, he thinks he may have found it.

Soon, Noah, Janie, and Anderson will find themselves knocking on the door of a mother whose son has been missing for eight years. When that door opens, all of their questions will be answered.

Gorgeously written and fearlessly provocative, Sharon Guskin’s debut explores the lengths we will go for our children. It examines what we regret in the end of our lives and hope for in the beginning, and everything in between."

From Amazon and this book is a non-fiction account of this phenomenon; Guskin read this book before she wrote her novel-


For thirty-seven years, Dr. Ian Stevenson has traveled the world from Lebanon to suburban Virginia investigating and documenting more than two thousand of these past life memory cases. Now, his essentially unknown work is being brought to the mainstream by Tom Shroder, the first journalist to have the privilege of accompanying Dr. Stevenson in his fieldwork. Shroder follows Stevenson into the lives of children and families touched by this phenomenon, changing from skeptic to believer as he comes face-to-face with concrete evidence he cannot discount in this spellbinding and true story."

Friday, January 19, 2018

GLITZ by Elmore Leonard

Finished We /17/18

This is one of my ancient trade paperbacks and there's no notation that I've read it, but I probably read a different edition. It would make an excellent movie, and there was one made in the late 80's, but it's not available on Netflix or Prime.

Basically this is a story of Revenge. Teddy Magyk, a sleazy rapist, is put away by police detective, Vincent Mora. When Teddy gets out of prison, he seeks his revenge.

Set in Puerto Rico, Miami, and Atlantic City.

The first crime involves a young woman thrown to her death from a high rise in Atlantic City. This girl was friendly with Vincent when he was in Puerto Rico on leave. He had been shot in a robbery attempt..."he gave up the will to live".

The writing style is both pithy and picaresque- Leonard is a Master. I especially loved the character of Teddy Magyk. He's truly a one-of-a-kind psychopath. He looks harmless enough to drive an ice cream truck, yet he preys on old women. The guy's obviously got some 'mother issues'. 

From the book's page at Amazon-

"Psycho mama’s boy Teddy Magyk has a serious jones for the Miami cop who put him away for raping a senior citizen—but he wants to hit Vincent Mora where it really hurts before killing him. So when a beautiful Puerto Rican hooker takes a swan dive from an Atlantic City high-rise, and Vincent naturally shows up to investigate the questionable death of his “special friend,” Teddy figures he’s got his prey just where he wants him. But the A.C. dazzle is blinding the Magic Man to a couple of very hard truths: Vincent Mora doesn’t forgive and forget . . . and he doesn’t die easy."

Friday, January 12, 2018

LILY DALE- The True Story of the Town That Talks to the Dead by Christine Wicker

Finished Th 1/11/18 This is one of my hardback books that I've never read and bought over the internet at a Quality Paper Back Books Clearance sale in February, 2004.

I skimmed through most of it. It's not bad, but I just couldn't seem to get a firm handle on it. It's not as much about Spiritualism, but more about the author's impressions of the town, the people, and how they internalize their beliefs. She's not trying to prove or disprove the phenomenon, but to examine it. In the end, she is able to release certain psychic abilities within herself. Many of the mediums had told her that they were not doing anything that was particularly special-  All humans have some level of ability.
It's more about the larger issue of 'Faith', rather than whether or not 'Spiritualism' is a scientific reality.

"You only need to see one white crow to believe that all crows are not black" (If anyone can prove that one ghost/ visitation is true, then they all are possible)

Paraphrase William James-

"Each single event taken on its' own is easy to dismiss, yet because these events occur in every culture and every historical period, it is impossible to ignore. Example- One twig is easily broken, yet bundled together, they become impossible to break.

You must be a medium to own a house in the city of Lily Lake.
The town is in far western New York state and nearly on the shore of Lake Erie- closer to Cleveland than NYC.   

For some reason the female mediums seem to be heavier than most people. A wag noted that the signs on the houses should be changed from 'medium' to 'large'.

The book is organized around a half dozen people who have connections to the town and the phenomenon of Spiritualism.

Harry Houdini was a big disbeliever. He would visit the town in disguise and publicly 'out' the crooked mediums. However, when his mother died, he desperately believed so that he could continue his relationship with her.

 From Amazon Books, Publishers Weekly

"Since it's become nearly extinguished, the American Spiritualism movement seems more ripe for sociological study and amused incredulity than a topic for deep reflection or journalistic memoir. But Wicker, a Dallas Morning News religion reporter, resists her own skepticism just as Lily Dale's citizens resist letting the movement die. The result is a portrait not just of an upstate New York town built 122 years ago on old-fashioned spirituality, but also of the mediums who practice there, their clients, and Wicker herself, who lets details of her own spiritual beliefs lightly shade her travels to Lily Dale. Although the book details the town's story, Wicker uses its history merely as a framework to explore more slippery topics, e.g., the nature of faith, the value of belief and the need for solace. She explores these areas through the stories of those who visit Lily Dale annually, craving a few insightful words about deceased family members or hoping for a premonition about romances, careers or children. Some of the tales are sad ones, but Wicker's jaunty pacing and humor keep the work from growing too dark and leave the reader with a feeling of tenderness, rather than pity, toward her subjects. She also weaves in stories of trickery, giving the tales of otherworldliness a nicely earthbound counterpoint. By the end, Wicker feels subtly changed, and she offers no answers as to why that might be or how long it may last. This lack of resolution is refreshing, however, and wonderfully fitting for a book about the mystery of faith."

Monday, January 8, 2018

FROM THE TEETH OF ANGELS by Jonathan Carroll

Finished Su 1/7/18

This is an over-sized paperback that I received with THE WOODEN SEA. I got turned on to Carroll when I read AFTER SILENCE.

The premise of this novel is that Death is a character that visits while you dream. He will answer any question, but if you don't understand the answer, you will be wounded and scarred.

The story is told by the three or four principle characters. The first section is a letter Jesse to Sophie about his trip to Sardinia with Caitlin  where he meets Miep and Ian McGann. Ian was the man who was dreaming of Death.

Arlen- A very popular movie star who quits it all to live in Vienna. She meets the love of her life who turns out to be another manifestation of Death.
    -She loved her dead mother, but receives her mother's diary several years after her death and learns that her mother didn't really love her at all. The woman felt that both her daughter and husband were merely a burden and kept her from her 'true' life.

Rose- Best friend of Arlen and becomes the star's 'secretary'. Rose falls in love and marries Arlen's manager.

From Publishers Weekly at Amazon-

"Long popular in Germany and other parts of Europe, Carroll is acquiring a larger audience here, but his latest effort, though as provocative and as cleverly written as his previous books ( Outside the Dog Museum ; After Silence ), does not quite come together. Understanding the nature and logistics of dying becomes a perilous enterprise in this quirky tale of four people's supernatural confrontation with the malevolent angel of death. Wyatt Leonard, formerly "Finky Linky," a famous children's TV star, is dying of leukemia when his best friend Sophie pleads with him to accompany her to Vienna and find out what's wrong with her brother Jesse. Both Jesse and Englishman Ian McGann, who met while vacationing in Sardinia, are suffering from weird dreams in which they meet with Death and ask various questions. When Jesse and McGann fail to comprehend Death's cryptic answers to these queries, they awaken with serious injuries and ailments. Also in Vienna is Arlen Ford, a former movie star who has fled Hollywood and is living as a spartan recluse. Arlen falls in love with an HIV-positive photographer named Leland Zivic and ultimately must share the odd predicament of Wyatt, Jesse and McGann. Carroll develops his plot largely through the spoken anecdotes and exchanged letters of principal characters and their loved ones. Each of these accounts draws the reader in further with incremental revelations and skillfully crafted, suspenseful narrative. Unfortunately, these individually intriguing parts never cohere to form a greater whole. Despite the Faustian pretensions, obvious metaphysical questions are never probed and only murkily formulated, making the invocation of Death less meaningful than Carroll probably intended."

The book gets pretty metaphysical and maybe even 'out of control', but I thought that the ideas and issues were very thought provoking.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

VIOLENT WARD by Len Deighton

Refinished Fr 1/5/18

This is one of my ancient paperbacks that I bought at the library book sale on Fr 6/13/97 and read and finished on We 8/26/98. My comment was, "why did I wait so long"?

I really liked the book and the writing is superior. However, Len Deighton is actually more of a major figure of the Spy Thriller genre, so this book is a kind of unusual. Since The Cold War is not really relevant anymore, he's probably trying to cash in on the 'comedic thriller' genre. The book seems to me like something Donald E. Westlake might have done, but Deighton is probably the better craftsman.

The story-line might be a little too convoluted, but the writing makes it all worthwhile.

This is the review from Kirkus that sums up the plot and comments on the style.

"What's a veteran cold war novelist to do when there's no more cold war? In the case of British spymaster Deighton, head west for a knotty, if zesty, seriocomic thriller set against Aspen snow and L.A. sleaze. You suspect Deighton's off stride when he starts with a small cheat: Mickey Murphy--a rumpled L.A. attorney whose appealingly grumpy narration energizes the story--huddles behind his desk, trying not to frighten ``the woman'' perched on his office window ledge. Mickey finally coaxes ``the woman'' inside--and only then tells us that she's his ex-wife, angling for a handout. Mickey's day goes downhill from there, as he meets with an actor who wants a gun, visits his own wastrel son, and attends a party thrown by Zack Petrovich, the tycoon who's just bought control of Mickey's small law firm--and who's married to his old flame Ingrid. At the party, Mickey chances upon a bomb hidden in Zack's phone: Who's trying to kill his new boss? Is it Ingrid--who claims that Zack wants to kill her? What do these threatened murders have to do with the body-snatching scheme by which one of Mickey's clients will be declared dead in order to run off with an illicit fortune? And who knocked off and then freeze-dried the retired hit man who claimed, just before he died, that Ingrid had asked him to kill Zack? A picturesque visit to Zack's Aspen ranch doesn't clarify matters, but Mickey finds plenty more to grumble about as he tends to his vintage Caddie and mouths off about foreign cars, smoking, lax airport security, and even appliance-repair requirements, meanwhile tying together plot threads right up to a twisty finale that's not half as compelling as the burning cityscape--courtesy of L.A.'s 1992 riots--that backdrops it. Like sugarcoating on a pill, Mickey's lively patter makes the contorted, lumpy storyline easier to swallow--but this kind of bumptious California thriller really isn't Deighton's bag."

Tuesday, January 2, 2018


This is one of my old trade paperbacks that I got on the Internet and finished Mo 6/4/07 at The Club. I had 'dispatched all day'.

Refinished New Years Day, Mo 1/1/18. I've got the Heath Ledger movie on order from Netflix, and I can't wait to see it- again.

This might just be the best Junkie Love Story ever written or at the very least, the best that I have read.

Set in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia during the 90's (published 1997)

Part One: Invincibility
Part Two: The Kingdom of Momentum
Part Three: The Momentum of Change

Within the 'Parts', each chapter has a one word title that sums up the content.

In the end, they split up; months and years later he hears isolated facts about Candy, and then he completely loses touch with her. Life goes on....for those lucky enough to stick around.

A description from Amazon Books-

"Painful, sexy, tender, and charged with dark humor, Candy provocatively charts the daily rituals of two lovers maintaining a long-term junk habit. Told in stunningly vivid prose and set against the backdrop of suburban and urban Australia, Candy is both an electrifying and frightening glimpse of contemporary life and love."