Sunday, April 29, 2012


Finished Su 4/29/12

This is rather a dated, and almost nostalgic look at the Cultural Divide which existed in the America of the late 1960's. Written in 1967, Pulitzer Prize winning author, Wallace Stegner, relates the story of a retired, conservative couple living in rural California who must learn to deal with a hippie commune on their property, and also to emotionally support a young married couple tragically affected by pregnancy and cancer. The novel is well written, and examines some of the cultural issues, such as 'Free Love', 'Work and Play', 'Marriage', 'Study and Achievement' which galvanized the nation at that time. The only problem that I found with the novel was that book reviewers promised some kind of a violent climax, and that never really materialized. Instead of 'going out with a bang', it only ended with a sputter. Obviously, THE ANGLE OF REPOSE is Stegner's more important work.

 Joe and Ruth Allston (Curt-son who died in a surfing accident, or suicide).
...... John, Marian, Debby Catlin
...... Lucio, Fran, Julie LoPresti
...... Jim Peck
...... Tom, Dave Weld
...... Cattarh the Cat (The Allston's)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

DADDY by Loup Durand

Finished Tu 4/24/12

 An absolute delight from start to finish. I started the book thinking that it would be an espionage novel set during WWII, yet the book proved to be a tremendous character study of 'a hunter' and his 'prey'. Hans Thomas von Gall is an aging banker who has been apprehended by the Gestapo because he has certain banking codes which allowed clients of his to transfer hundreds of millions out of Germany. Instead of divulging this information to the Nazis so that they can imprison the perpetrators and reclaim the money, Gall commits suicide. His wealthy and brilliant granddaughter, Maria Weber, also knows this information, and so does her son, Thomas. The novel is about how young Thomas plays a cat and mouse game with the Gestapo. 'The most intelligent man in the Third Reich', Gregor Laemmle is set to find and detain Thomas, and this is the crux of the story. Laemmle is a professor of Philosophy, a cultured and well-educated man in many areas, and also, a homosexual. David John Qartermain

Saturday, April 21, 2012

THE HYPNOTIST by Lars Kepler

Finished Sa 4/21/12
 My Post at Good Reads:

 A terrific Swedish thriller which has a compelling story-line, is chock full of well-defined characters, and is as fast-paced as most movie screenplays.

I thought that the novel was presented in a fresh and interesting manner. The book begins with a particularly vicious and dramatic multiple murder which would provide more than enough sensational material to propel the average crime thriller, yet in THE HYPNOTIST, these killings are employed as a kind of sub-text which lead the reader on to a much more sinister and complex kidnapping plot which is the true heart and soul of the book.
It's a long and convoluted novel, but you never lose interest, and it all ties together very nicely at the end. I loved the novel and look forward to more by this husband and wife writing team.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Finished We 4/18/12

GoodReads Post:
This is the story of one of the best professional American writers of the 60's and 70's who just happened to cover Folk and Rock Music. As Youth Culture developed, so did the writers who covered the movement, and Paul Nelson was one of the most trenchant and hard-hitting. Almost half of the book is devoted to a biography of Nelson, and the second section covers the man's writings. Nelson's personal life could be seen as an abject failure(he certainly does not appear to have been a very happy man), yet his insight on Art and his descriptions of the artisits are some of the finest ever published.

Even if you are not a fan of these musical genres, "The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson" is are worth your time!

Friends of Paul Nelson:

Ross McDonald (Kenneth Millar)
Elliott Murphy
Warren Zevon
Bob Dylan
Clint Eastwood
Bruce Springsteen
Martin Scorsese
Rod Stewart
Jackson Brown
"The man who drank two Cokes with every meal, and never had a green vegetable since Nixon was impeached".

THE LITTLE SANDY REVIEW SING!OUT Early publications on Folk and Rock which he wrote for.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

THE ANGLE OF REPOSE by Wallace Stegner

Finished Su 4/15/12

This is a wonderful and compelling novel, yet I think you must learn about the life of Mary Hallock Foote before you even begin Wallace Stegner's novel. His novel is really the story of her life, and this book only recounts her story, right down to the names of her children, and the descriptions of each and every mining camp and homestead where The Foote's(The Ward's) lived their lives. Stegner's characters of Susan and Oliver Ward are really the historical figures, Mary Hallock Foote and Arthur Foote. In fact, the only fiction involves the sub-plot of Frank Sargent and the death of Mary's child, Agnes. Again, this is a wonderful novel, and I loved how Wallace Stegner recounted this beautiful story set in The Wild West of America's Gilded Age, but after reading the book, I was shocked about how much of the story was based on historical fact. My edition of the novel mentioned nothing of this, and I only found out about Stegner's problem with the Foote family about his use of Mary's letters in his book after I had finished the THE ANGLE OF REPOSE.

Read THE ANGLE OF REPOSE, but, at the very least, take the time to check out Mary Hallock Foote on Wikipedia before you dig in.

The mechanical definition "the maximum angle at which an object can rest on an inclined plane without sliding down".

"Present your subject in his own terms, judge him in yours". I DISAGREE!!!

Susan Burling and Oliver Ward- Ollie, Elizabeth(Betsy), Agnes
Richard Gilder and Helena de Kay(Gilder)- models for Augusta and Thomas Hudson in the novel.

Mary Hallock Foote
Mary Hallock was born November 9, 1847, in Milton, New York, of English Quaker ancestry. In 1876 Hallock married a young mining engineer, Arthur De Wint Foote,[2] then moved cross-continent to live with him at the New Almaden mine near San Jose, California(15 miles south of San Jose, CA). Subsequently, as Arthur pursued his engineering career, she followed him throughout the West; to Leadville, Colorado(100 miles west of Denver), to Deadwood, South Dakota(far western SD, 13 miles west of Sturgis, SD), then to Boise, Idaho, where Arthur originated a major irrigation project on the Boise River; then to Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico(about 185 miles west of Mexico City), and finally to Grass Valley, California(88 miles west of Reno NV, 57 miles NW of Sacramento, CA), where Arthur advanced to managing the North Star mine, and retired there.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Finished Sa 4/7/12

Finished Sa 4/7/12

LIGHTS OUT IN WONDERLAND is the tale of Gabriel Brockwell, a man who has decided to end it all. He has made up his mind to take his life, but not right away. He wants to spend a little time between Life and Death, or exist in a drug and alcohol fueled Limbo. And during this time of waiting, he wants to promote and indulge in the biggest and wildest party of his life-"Wonderland".

The book is all about excess, how to get it, and how to keep it going. On this level, it's a kind of meditation on the avarice and rapacity of the contemporary global markets, and the addiction to more and more regardless of the consequences. Also, the concept of 'Limbo' connotes a time of 'betwixt and between'. We are just over a decade into the new century and it seems that the old ways have died, and we have yet to replace our conceptual models. Communism has collapsed, Capitalism is floundering, Governments have been usurped by Public Opinion Polls, Money no longer seems to reflect true value, and there doesn't seem to be any consensus whatsoever about what the future will bring. And, politicians and social leaders only exhort us to continue to 'shop' and 'consume' until anything 'more real' comes along.

DBC Pierre's writing style is elegant and very specific, and you really feel you are sharing Gabriel's downward spiral.

Novel begins in rehab when Gabriel is in London.
Nelson Smuts-Gabriel's friend and a chef or international renown. Also know for his excesses.
He contacts Smuts who is in Tokyo, and travels to meet him.
Smut's exclusive restaurant deals in 'poison blowfish'.
Smuts frequently calls Gabriel, 'Putain' From French, and loosely translates as 'whore'.
A rich Japanese Gangster/businessman eats a poisonous fish, and it is blamed on Smuts. He is jailed, and Gabriel leaves for Germany(Berlin) to set up another exclusive restaurant, and arrange Smut's release.
The abandoned Berlin Tempelhof Airport is selected as the site for this enterprise. Ceased operations in 2008, and was originally built by Adolf Hitler. Was the oldest operating airport in the world.
In the end of the novel there are recipes for making dishes using endangered species. These are real recipes, but I doubt if they were ever used.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Finished Mo 4/2/12

Robert Ward is from Baltimore, and lived as a hippie during the sixties, and then, moved on to teach at the college level. He was never happy in that career, and worked as a news writer for various national publications, and also wrote for TV(MIAMI VICE, NEW YORK UNDERCOVER, THE DIVISION, HILL STREET BLUES). Winner of numerous writing awards.

GoodReads post:

Fairly interesting mystery/crime/thriller set in Santa Fe, New Mexico. FBI agent Jack Harper is asked by a girlfriend to come to a New Age Spa in Santa Fe, and checkout the disappearance of her sister. Crooked owners, questionable science, crazed motor cycle gangs, and human sacrifice are themes that are visited in the book. The novel had the feel of a work which is part of a series, and maybe more books are in the works. It's an easy read, and very fast paced. Worth a look.

Agents Jack Harper and Oscar Hidalgo
Michelle and Jennifer Wu- Michelle is Jack's girlfriend. She is involved in various criminal enterprises. Seductive, yet not to be trusted.
BLUE WOLF LODGE-New Age Spa that is looking for the secret of eternal life. Pineal gland injections, and cannibalism.
Lucky Avila-leader of motorcycle gang in Santa Fe.(SONS OF SATAN)
Alex Williams-Head of the Blue Wolf council.
Anasazi-Ancient Indian tribe in the American Southwest.
TUPINAMBA-South American tribe that believes in cannibalism. Kidnap victims, treat them well, and then eat their bodies to achieve immortality.