Home > Uncategorized > What I’m Reading (August 2014)

What I’m Reading (August 2014)

This might be a first, but I’m a few days late getting this month’s reading list posted. With a holiday weekend, I thought there’d be no problem writing my monthly post, but work, LegoFest, painting some rooms in the house, yard work, and more left little time spare time. It even cut into my bike riding time. That’s when you know it’s busy, if I can’t find time to ride the bike. Nevertheless, this month’s list:

Book of the Month: The Devil All The Time by Donald Ray Pollock.  Amazing. I’ve been discovering lots of southern noir to read this year, and not only does this rank as one of the best, it might be one of the best books I’ve read this year. Rather than focus on one person, the novel centers around a small area and the interwoven lives of the characters over a period of time. Stunning, unique, picteresque. Go to amazon and read the summary sample. It’ll either creep you out or get you hooked. This is one of those books I’ve been recommending to people, and so far people have enjoyed it. Pollock previously published a collection of short stories, Knockemstiff, which I read after The Devil All The Time.


Juarez Dance by Sam Hawken follows a careful hit man who is hired to plan an attempt on a man’s life, and in the planning, he falls for the man’s daughter. At the same time, th his last murder for hire begins causing him problems. This is the classic story of a man in control losing control. As of now, this ranks as my favorite Hawken novel.

Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bowman came recommended to me and I’m glad it did. Another country noir novel, although this one, written in the first person, follows a small town policeman trying to determine the solve the murder of an unidentified corpse. Drugs, distrust, and long-standing feuds simmer in this well written book.

They Don’t Dance Much by James Ross, originally published in the 1930’s, is like stepping back in time. Money troubles come to two men in a small town, and the solution they find is to rob and kill a lonely man for his money. Greed, distrust, and backstabbing ensue.

I also read The Sins of the Father by Lawrence Block, and A Cool Breeze on the Underground by Don Winslow


The MAD World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs That Define the 1980’s by Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein brought back memories of the music I listened to in high school and college. Each chapter focuses on one band and one of their hit songs. They write about how the band came together, wrote the song, and in a number of cases eventually broke up. Really interesting book. Fun to skip around and read the different chapters.

I also read The Skeleton Crew (an account of amateur detectives who try to help solve missing person’s cases) by Deborah Halber, Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe, and Tibetan Peach Pie (a memoir from the author) by Tom Robbins.


A few enjoyable documentaries this month as well:

Stories We Tell – Is this a documentary about a family history? how we remember things? the search for truth? the implication of those truths? It is all of the above. The documentary begins as a daughter’s search to resolve long-standing questions about her mother, who died when she was young, and the man she considers her father. To say anything more is to give the story away, but it’s worth your time (and available on Amazon Prime).

Dangerous Edge: A Life of Graham Greene – An overview of one of England’s most celebrated authors. Novelist, travel writer, and spy. Fascinating life.

The Other Dream Team – Tells the story of the 1992 Lithuania Olympic basketball team, which contained the core members of the team which had previously enabled the Soviet Union to be a dominant basketball powerhouse. Despite their prowess on the court, when the country declared independence, they lacked the financial resources to support an Olympic basketball team, and they financial support from the Grateful Dead. You may remember the tie-died uniforms and shirts from the 1992 Olympics.


Book update – I’m still editing away at the latest draft, a page a day. It’s a slow process, but I’m pleased with how the story is evolving and taking shape. In some ways, it’s quite different than what I imagined in both the first and second drafts. The slower process might be frustrating, but it’s providing great rewards.

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