Sunday, August 19, 2018


I can't think of a specific topic I wish to write a blog post about. 2018 has been a trying year that I believe has temporarily sapped my creativity. But still, no matter how tough the going gets I will always remember to stop and smell the roses...or whatever flowers happen to be around. Things are looking up again after some scary revelations and I'm certain that creative juices will flow again soon enough. Until then, here's a little of this and a bit of that for your contemplation and enjoyment.

#FilmStruck4 hashtag caused me to ponder which movies I found to be most impactful out of many great contenders.

You know who continues to be a colossal embarrassment.

I love this picture of two true heroes.

Fantastic piece of advice!

A simple truth.

I tweeted something at Rosie Perez AND SHE TWEETED BACK AT ME

Legitimate reason for major excitement as a #Jets fan? Franchise Quarterback FINALLY in the building?

We lost the Queen of Soul

I second this!

Once upon a time I hoped these guys would deliver my #Knicks to the Promised Land.

Faces change but hope and optimism never die.

One more basketball tweet.

I watched a little golf recently for the only reason I ever bother to watch a little golf. Can Tiger relocate his roar of triumph?

She really does become the character she's playing. What an amazing talent!

Can't stand it

I did a quick check and MATTERS OF CONVENIENCE is not one of the books. But still nice to be reminded that we once had a president who reads books.

You don't need to be a world leader to read or recommend books, but borrowing some oft repeated descriptions can be helpful.

Here are my two latest reviews.

Avenue of MysteriesAvenue of Mysteries by John Irving
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I love John Irving. I kept waiting for this novel to get better and less odd as it went along. Not that odd is bad, and Mr. Irving is the master of making readers fall in love with peculiar characters, even kids who seem overly obsessed with statues of legendary religious virgins such as Mary rather than normal kid interests. But as I read this novel (which has a wonderful title) I got the feeling that he simply felt like writing about writing, and aging, and dying, and religion/Catholicism, and homophobia, and sex. All things he has written profoundly about before, but in more intriguing and plot driven ways. He delves into miracles and ghosts/angels to a greater extent in Avenue of Mysteries than most of his earlier novels, though miracles are also nothing new to the prose of John Irving. The fact of the matter is, there are many familiar elements recognizable to readers of his earlier work in this book, and the author's easy to read and digest style is as John Irvingesque as ever, more or less. But at his best John Irving writes novels that I fall madly in love with, and that simply wasn't the case with this one. Something was missing, or perhaps too much of something usually restrained was present. He is still and always will be one of my literary heroes and favorite authors, but if you've never read a John Irving novel, I do not advise starting with this one.

View all my reviews

A Brief History of Seven KillingsA Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There is A LOT going on in this novel that I admittedly found to be a challenging read. Much of it takes place in Jamaica where perhaps you have visited on vacation, but this is certainly no "beach read". It is told from the vantage point of multiple characters, each of them telling their own story, each of the stories related to the build up to a failed attempt on the life of Bob Marley and the aftermath. It took quite a while for me to get through this book, and I confess to considering stopping once or twice. The use of Jamaican dialect for many of the characters was a small part of the challenge. A bigger part were the chapters (fortunately not too many of them) written in stream of consciousness never ending sentence format. Yet even as I struggled to keep my reading momentum going, there was something gripping about the narrative that had me hooked. The book eventually leaves Jamaica behind and moves to New York during the enchanting crack epidemic years. I found the latter portion easier reading, perhaps because I grew up in the Bronx and have familiarity with the setting. Before coming to the Bronx I lived on a Caribbean island, not Jamaica but St. Thomas. And of course I'm a huge Bob Marley fan because I can't understand how anyone could not be. So there are quite a few elements to this story that had me looking forward to reading it, and even though it was a tougher than anticipated read, I'm glad I stuck with it because Marlon James' talent is undeniable. Every one of the characters rings true during their moments as the focus of the story. The style in which it is written, feeling like a long series of somewhat connected scenes, almost like a short story collection rather than a novel, was an author choice that I know impressed some people (since it won a Booker Award) but probably put off a fair number of readers as well. This is not a book that you casually invest some time in. It's a major literary commitment with a generous pay off. Reading much of it while listening to Bob Marley's music is not a requirement, just my personal recommendation.

View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment