Saturday, October 31, 2015

Apologies and Flight

Hello friends - long time, no see!

I wanted my readers to know why I haven't been posting book reviews lately. The reason is, I've been on vacation abroad. The relatively short trip (due to a lack of vacation time at my "day job") was to visit family and friends, but mostly to attend my 40th High School Reunion. Yes, I'm from the Evanston Township High School Class of 1975 (and yes, I'm that old). I'm glad to say that I had an absolutely amazing time - not the least of which included finding out that at least three of my classmates are librarians (how cool is that for someone who writes a book blog)!

Monday, October 12, 2015

What a Trader!

One Red Paperclip by Kyle MacDonald

Trading something seemingly worthless until you get something of real value might be a cheap trick, especially if it starts out with something as insignificant as a paperclip and ends up with a house. It may also seem like an impossible feat. However, that's exactly what Kyle MacDonald did. On the one hand, those of us who struggled to buy our homes might feel MacDonald cheated to get what others sweat years to achieve. On the other hand, it takes gumption, nay, chutzpah to actually attempt this, let alone actually make it happen. Others will say MacDonald is lazy, and his admitted laziness factors highly here. He wanted a house, but he didn't want to work years to earn enough to buy one. In fact, he didn't even want a job, but he also didn't want to sponge off his girlfriend. In the end, this wild exercise netted MacDonald a house. You can call him a trickster, a cheater or just lazy - but you have to hand it to MacDonald for his originality in achieving this dream.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Gritty New York Stories and Poems

Resident Aliens by Beth Porter

"Resident Aliens" by Beth Porter is actually a collection of writings. On the menu is a novella, four poems and three short stories, all focusing on New York in the 60s. Before I discuss the various elements of this book, there is a small warning - nothing included here is for the faint of heart. These are gritty tales, darkly atmospheric with glimpses into the city's stark realities. They show off New York's rough edges, without makeup or apology. Written with a clear and confident voice, Porter lays this city bare and naked before her readers. But don't let that put you off. This is well worth reading, even if some parts make you uncomfortable.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Deliciously Dressed Up Deceptions

Food Whore by Jessica Tom

Imagine losing your sense of taste. That would be bad enough for anyone, but if you're the top food critic for the New York Times that would be a complete disaster. That's just what happened to Michael Saltz, but then he found Tia Monroe. Fresh out of Yale, Tia is a starry-eyed a NYU graduate student in food studies. With her amazing palate and talent for describing how foods taste, Saltz knows exactly how to take advantage of Tia's first venture into the New York dining scene, and the people with all the influence and power.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The First Modern Graphic Novel

A Contract with God and other Tenement Stories by Will Eisner

After I made a seemingly disparaging comment about comic books on another website, one of the commentators challenged me to write a review of a graphic novel. What better graphic novel to review than the one that most sites have dubbed the first modern graphic novel, and also attributes it to having helped spawn the genre and bring it to art form level. I’m talking about Will Eisner’s 1978 graphic novel, “A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories.”