Brooklyn Noir, 2004
I had high expectactions from this collection of short stories. I love noir. I love Brooklyn. A winning combination I thought. But a lot of these stories were either trying too hard, too boring, or overall just not my thing. There were a few good ones but overall, I was not that impressed. I will not be reading anymore of the books in this series.
Jhumpa Lahiri - Interpreter of Maladies, 1999
Jhumpa Lahiri - The Namesake, 2003
After reading this post, Ms. Bri at Unwellness lent me these books the very next day. The first is a collection of short stories and the latter is Lahiri's first novel. I had been told by many people that the short story collection was overall a better read. But I don't agree at all.
Where Maladies has some high points, it too often felt like a New Yorker piece that I wouldn't read. Maybe I just don't like the short story form? It often takes me a good amount of pages to really get into a novel and short stories don't offer me that luxury. I don't know - that isn't always the case with me. But The Namesake is fully fleshed out and a heartbreaking, engrossing read. Lahiri was clearly honing her craft with her earlier short stories but I'd take the novel anytime. I look forward to the upcoming film adaptation because nothing says drama like the dude from Harold and Kumar.
Jim Baumer - When Towns Had Teams, 2005
Baumer, who writes the Words Matter blog over in my links wrote this loving tribute to town ball in Maine. There once was a time where this kind of thing was commonplace. Having grown up in the 80's on a steady diet of major league baseball, I was fascinated and a wee bit jealous at not having been able to grow up with these experiences. Baumer's uncle was a great pitcher in the 60's and Baumer himself was quite a stud himself before arm troubles derailed him time and again.
Even though I know next to nothing about Maine, this was an interesting read especially the chapter on Baumer's personal connections to the game. I'd love to read a similar thing about teams in Maryland if there was such a thing. I'd love to read an oral history like The Glory of Their Times of town ball players throughout the U.S. I mean, who wouldn't want to read more about guys named Ted "Bitsy" Ionta?
Andy Miller - The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, 2003
This is the third of the 33 1/3 series that I've read. I liked this one okay. I like the historical aspect of reading old quotes and such. But my eyes tend to glaze over with all of the in depth song by song coverage. I love the idea of this series but have yet to read one that set my world afire. Still, they are all quick reads and and are all written by different writers so I'll probably keep coming back for more.
Sarah Vowell - Assasination Vacation, 2005
I've never been a huge fan of her writing in the NY Times. And NPR kind of irks me -not quite sure why other than everyone sounds so fucking satisfied to either be on it or to be listening to it. Maybe I just don't like the way the microphones sound? I don't know. So I would never have thought to pick this up myself. But after I read Mondale's stellar review, I decided to give it a shot. I'm glad I did. It is a great read.
Vowell takes a number of trips, dragging family and friends, to anywhere associated with the assasinations of three presidents - Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley. I learned a hell of a lot from this book yet it was always fun and light. Vowell's style is quite readable. It kind of feels like a nice companion piece to the film Sherman's March - yet instead of it being told by a neurotic guy obsessed with woman, it is told by a nerdy woman obsessed with history.
Phillies 9 Mets 4
1 week ago