Saturday, June 25, 2016

BULL MOUNTAIN by Brian Panowich

Finished Fr 6/24/16  May 2016 selection for the Contemporary Book Club. I mistakenly ordered this book from a seller in Germany. It took almost two months and when I received the novel, it was in German. I sold the paperback to Prairie Books downtown on the square for a buck and a half. I asked the German vendor how to send the book back, but I didn't hear from them so I sold the book. Then, they said that they had credited my card.

The story is centered on, The Burroughs, a criminal family in rural North Georgia.

Clayton Burroughs is the town sheriff, and seems to be a brother that has gone straight, but he still has terribly violent tendencies. Also, he's a recovering alcoholic with a loose grip on sobriety.

Simon Holly is a rogue ATF agent who tries to bring down the entire clan. He is the illegitimate son of Gareth Burroughs and brother to Clayton.

Simon's mother was a prostitute for the family in the early 70's and was disfigured by Gareth after he slept with her. Even as  young boy, Simon swore that he would avenge this act.

Halford Burroughs is Clayton's older brother and he controls the family's interests up on the mountain.

Oscar Wilcombe is an arms dealer who works with the family. He supplies guns to the clan.

It took me a while to get into the book, but then I was hooked. The story became compelling, but the writing was a bit sub par. Just a tick or two up from the level of a graphic novel. This is a first novel, and it kind of shows. Maybe he'll get better. I'm glad the library bought this one instead of me (that is unless the German seller wants his book back).

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Finished Mo 6/20/16

After a visit to Dr. Ellison's office for dermatitis (poison ivy, left hand), and the final visit to the ophthalmologist for the cataract surgery.

June 2016 selection for the Contemporary Book Club

Loved the book. Each character is given a chapter to explain a rather complicated storyline. However, very easy to follow. 'There are no minor characters in real life, everyone is the star of the tale.'

Set in Wells, CT (not real) which is near Torrington, CT and Moclips, WA (real place) Aberdeen, WA. Torrington is where the old guy screamed at the young mother who was breast feeding in a Target and he freaked out. In the news when I was reading the book. Aberdeen is where Kurt Cobain grew up.

Lydia- wife of Earl Morey. Luke's mother by George. "A small town Elizabeth Taylor'. p. 289

June- 50's, Blonde, chic city dweller who owns an old (historic?) home in Wells, CT. She's part of the crowd that stays in Connecticut only during the summer. Split from marriage to open an art space in London. Had one in Manhattan.

Lolly- June's daughter. Also beautiful and blonde.

Adam- June's ex husband who left her for a younger woman. He had a history of womanizing.

Arnette and June grew up in Lake Forest, IL. Went to camp in New Hampshire and June snubbed her.

P.97- Adam's sexual harrassment suit wiped out June/Adam financially.

Rebecca/Kelly- lesbians, co-owners of Moonstone Motel, Moclips, WA
Rebecca had a friend, Penny who became a heroin addict. Raped and killed. Rebecca met Kelly when visiting Penny in Rehab.

George's son od'd at boarding school in CT. and that's how he ran into Lydia. He's from Atlanta. The motel that Lydia worked was called The Betsy. A bed/breakfast near Wells.

P. 131 Author uses the phrase, DID YOU EVER HAVE A FAMILY

Cissy- maid at Moclips Moonstone Motel. Pam is her sister.

P.170 Liked this quote-

"Not son's job to be interested in your father, but the father's job is to be interested in the son"

P. 175 George's fling with Lydia at The Betsy.

Winton scams Lydia for $750 then sends it back. Empathizes with her?

P, 222 Rex set up Luke to take the fall in a drug bust. Lydia sides with Rex and convinces Luke to go to prison. Everyone lied to her, except Luke. He was true-blue.

Unification Church 'The Moonies'. Near June's house.

Sunday, June 12, 2016


Finished Tu 6/7/16

I heard about this on a FRESH AIR podcast, and was surprised the library had it.

Read in two days; long walks and reading/recovering from hernia procedure.

Page at amazon books-

"Hepola’s wry voice stays on the sane side of raw but doesn’t relinquish any power of authenticity as she casts a light on her own bad decisions as well the fact we now live in a culture where women getting tipsy or drunk is considered a sign of female empowerment".

Female Empowerment is what I enjoyed/interested me the most, and I'm not so sure that she really answered that question. Is it really 'Empowerment' to be blasted and taken advantage of????

She's barely five and a half feet tall....Can any kind of reckless behavior on her part be considered 'empowering'?

She had a 17 year old cat that she got from an ex-boyfriend. He was an 'outside' cat, but never forgot his 'inside roots'. Near the end of his life she got a leash and they transversed the wilds together. I'm a sucker for anyone who loves and loves a cat.

One of the many sobriety tales, from here and back. This was one of the better ones.

Excellent podcast by the author-

BE MY BABY- by Ronnie Spector with Vince Waldron

"How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness or My Life as a Fabulous Ronette"

Finished Su 6/12/16- This books had been 'before bed' reading since late spring. It was a hardback from my collection and I bought it from the main branch on Sa 1/5/02, and this was the first time that I'd read it.

When the Ronettes began it was really a 'family affair' and very innocent.

Phil Spector is a creepy character and it's surprising that the family would allow Ronnie to become involved with this guy.

Standard Rock Star Bio with some revealing stuff about their relationship with the Beatles.

Cher and Billy Joel write the Foreword and Introduction

Amazon books-

Her page at wikipedia-

Sunday, June 5, 2016


Read and finished Su 6/5/16 One long session on the living room couch after a walk to McD's on MacArthur and before a long walk around the neighborhood. Still recovering from hernia surgery.

On one of the video interviews Hanya Yanagihara felt this novel deserved some attention. I agree.
I borrowed this from the library.


Caroline's father has a journal that he writes/copies quotes that are important. I liked that one.

13 year old girl and her father live off the grid in the wilds of Oregon. Some question as to whether he really is her father, but I think I'd follow the storyline. He is taking her from a family after she has been placed in foster care. His wife has died and he couldn't care for his daughter.

The father is killed when they share an abandoned 'yurt' with Susan and Paul. They appear to be mother and son, but they're not. He might be suffering from cancer. Caroline's father's death is mysterious. Did Susan kill him, was she protecting herself from a sexual assault- purposely left unclear. Although, they do leave with Caroline and her father's pack and snowshoes.

author's page on wikipedia-

What Caroline's horse/doll means according to the author(from Amazon)-

Q: Who is Randy?
A: Randy is a toy horse that Caroline's father gave her. She'd wanted a My Pretty Pony–type doll, and what she got was an acupuncturist's horse model--one side covered in numbers and dots, where the needles would go, and the other side flayed to reveal the horse's bones and organs. Caroline doesn't know what Randy is for; she just loves him and carries him with her. And Randy does exist in my life as well. One way I stayed with Caroline was to have Randy next to me every moment I was writing the book, reminding me of who I was and what was at stake. A small white horse, reassuring me.

I loved the book and would read more by this author

Saturday, June 4, 2016


Finished Sa 6/4/16

This is a library book that I got because I loved his book, BLACK & WHITE.

It wasn't as good as the newer book, but this was his first novel (1993), and definitely 'worth a look' if you like a Police Procedural.

Many policeman in the author's immediate family, and he later opened a detective service. His brother is the 80's Rock singer, Eddie Money.

Brian McKenna and Ray Brunette, characters in BLACK & WHITE, are revealed as to how they began to know each other. Both are alcoholics that are off the sauce, more ore less

Brian is on duty in Brooklyn and notices a man carrying a concealed weapon. He chases the man, and kills him. This guy is a highly regarded international terrorist and a member of the Chilean SHINING PATH. This group have kidnapped a rich South American and are holding him for ransom. They have cut off two of his fingers.

The terrorist that Brian killed is the brother of the other member of the crew. His wife is also a 'die hard' member'.

The book got a little bogged down when the writer went into all the backstory about the two brothers in the Shining Path. But, very interesting about the idea that Castro propped up his regime by dealing drugs. Also, because drugs were so important to Panama, this was why the US invaded that country.

From Amazon-

 There's a secret war on the streets of the city. Only a New York cop can win it.

His claim to fame is finding guns on the bad guys, and Detective Second Grade Brian McKenna has just spotted the beard carrying a piece. What he doesn't know is that he's about to shoot his way into a war with a highly disciplined, well-armed enemy so treacherous, not even the NYPD knows they exist.

Exiled from the bright lights of Manhattan for breaking one too many rules, pressured by his girlfriend to quit the job, this is McKenna's last chance to win back his reputation and make the coveted rank of Detective First Grade. But if his moves aren't swift and right, a new breed of criminal-- who has found a leader in an exotically beautiful and ruthless woman-- will own his city.

From the savvy and experience of a cop who gave over 25 years of his life to the NYPD comes a stunning novel of undeniable authenticity and unrelenting suspense.

Link to Amazon page-

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A LITTLE LIFE by Hanya Yanagihara

Finished We 6/1/16  After the final visit to Dr. High after the hernia procedure.

This novel was recommended by one of the members of The Contemporary Book Club (the sex therapist/nurse?). I had it on hold for many, many weeks and when it came in, because it was so long, I thought I would just read a couple of dozen pages. But, I got hooked, and loved it!

Best novel that I've read in a long while. And, I have watched many videos of the author talking about the book and I plan to get her first book which the library owns. This one also involves child sexual abuse.

Because I was recovering from the hernia procedure, I couldn't do anything, so reading over a hundred pages a day was a pleasure. Did the whole 720 pages in a week.

It's really a Gay Novel, but while I was reading the book, it never crossed my mind. I kind of agree with Willem when he says that he's not gay even though he is in a love/sex relationship with Jude. "Not gay, just in love with Jude".

Willem- Poor rancher family from Wyoming. Parents distant and cold, but not abusive. Loves his younger brother who has cerebral palsy.

Jean Baptist (JB)- Black Haitian who grew up in a family of women who adored him. He is an important artist on the NY scene. He is the most 'out' gay in the novel.

Malcolm- Trust Fund Kid; low key and he pays for all of the stuff when they are younger, but he never rubs it in anyone's face. Becomes a renown architect. He is always renovating Jude and Willem's places. Lispenard/Greene Lower Manhattan.

Jude- Much abused child. First in a monastery- Brother Luke who becomes his pimp; then, kidnapped by a sick psychiatrist, Dr. Traylor. So much 'over the top' abuse that it's hard to take in. He goes on to become a top notch litigator- Take No Prisoners.

Willem dies before Jude, and that was unexpected. He dies in a car accident that also takes out Malcolm and his wife. Jude lives a couple more years and then kills himself. Injects air into a vein.

Link at wikipedia-