Many of us remember the horrible rape of the central park jogger in 1989, and the tabloid-like headlines that accompanied the case. What didn't make the headlines was the fact that the five boys (four under 16) that were tried and convicted of the heinous crime were all exonerated of that crime in 2003. Once the boys were in the system though, the system decided convict them no matter what the facts bore out. Sara Burns does justice to their cases, and reminds us all that our race and class is oft times used against us in a court of law.
This is, without a doubt, one of those books that will have you grabbing every available minute to read. Winner of the Edgar for Best Novel, The Lock Artist functions as a coming-of-age tale, and an exciting thriller. Michael, the lock artist, has not spoken since he was eight, because of a trauma that will be revealed by the end, but he has also acquired a skill that makes him quite sought after in the wrong circles. He can pick any lock or combination safe. This vibrant and well-written tale is a blast!
Before Lonesome Dove and All the Pretty Horses, A. B. Guthrie's The Big Sky was the go-to novel of the American West. Those who want a gritty and realistic portrayal of the characters and environment that made up the frontier at that time need look no further. Sink your teeth into The Big Sky and at the end when you hunger for more, pick up book two, The Way West, which won Guthrie the Pulitzer Prize.
Yes, this is actually a laugh-out loud book about unhappiness. Zeke's funding for his Inventory of American Unhappiness Project is running out. In the meantime, while gauging the unhappiness of everyone around him, he ignores his own well-being. Zeke is a likable narrator that just needs a good waking up to discover the riches that surround him. This is a warmhearted book that will cheer you up, even as it inventories the unhappiness of America.
Yes, it's yet another apocalyptic zombie novel, but this time the only survivors are those people who were high on meth at the time, and the only way to avoid catching zombie fever is to stay high on meth. A ragtag group of addicts must locate a cooker, and supplies in order to survive. Zombies and their inherent gore are here as expected, but in the end Fiend is more about the horrors of addiction, and who you may want to have by your side at the end of the world.
This story left me unsettled and I like that in a book. Scenes from this tale still haunt my waking hours as well as my dreams. The vision of a society without sleep, hallucinating and confused, and having it in for those who can still sleep, is nightmarish and even apocalyptic. At times the story seems disjointed, but that only adds to the feel of jittery edginess that accompanies this tale of insomnia.
I think The Diving Pool may be my next read. One of the customers at our bookstore recommended it to me, and the plus side is that it's short (three novellas.) After reading the tome about Joe Strummer, I will be wanting to read something brief.
I am 125 pages into the 600 page biography of Joe Strummer, Redemption Song. I've always been a fan of The Clash, and Joe Strummer in particular. One of my few cherished material objects is a Kurt Vonnegut paperback, signed by the members of The Clash. I've had Redemption Song in my library since its release in 2006. As I semi-promised myself at the beginning of the year, I'm determined to read books from my library that I've had for years. The Strummer bio certainly falls into that category, and the length of the book makes it definitive, including friends and relatives revealing how Joe didn't like to wash or brush his teeth. I'm determined to stick with the book, because I do want to read it, and there' s no reason to put it back down now. I'm already peering at other titles that I might read next though, and they're all short!
I was just asked to list my top ten favorite books that I read last year. Here they are in no particular order:
1. Going Clear - Lawrence Wright.
2. Fiend - Peter Stenson.
3. The Rook - The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
4. Barabbas - Par Lagekvist
5. Harvest - Jim Crace
6. At the Bottom of Everything by Ben Dolnick
7. Misquoting Jesus - Bart D. Ehrman
8. Samedi the Deafness - Jesse Ball
9. Man in the Woods - Scott Spencer.
10. The Lock Artist - Steve Hamilton
It's one of those day, like most day, when all I want to do is go home, find a comfortable spot with good lighting, and get back into the novel I started a couple of days ago. When people find out that I work in a bookstore, they assume that I have all this time to read at work. Not so. We sell books in the store, and read them at home.
I just found out that my copy of Big Brother is ready to pick up at the local library, but I'm just in the beginning of Jonathan Miles' Want Not. Maybe if I can whip through that, I'll start Big Brother soon.