April 24th, 2015


Argonauts Telling More

Thomas More, by Richard Marius
This is a very rich, very slow book that focuses mostly (but far from exclusively) on More's intellectual life. I spread reading it out over the course of a year or so because it was more interesting that way. It fully satisfied my urge to know more about Thomas More, and is neither a hagiography nor an indictment.
(100, O37)

The Telling Room, by Michael Paterniti
This story of a cheese and a cheesemaker and a village in Spain took me forever to read. But it was a lot of fun, and sometimes incredibly compelling. On the other hand, it was a hot mess. The hotmessness was part of the compellingness though? Hard to explain. Also I felt like while I *liked* the author's version of this story, there are at least half-a-dozen people IN the story whose version I would've *loved* instead... And yet, there were moments where I so delighted in this book that if the author had been in front of me, I might've hugged him.

The Argonauts, by Maggie Nelson (complimentary copy)
Sometimes when I am all excited about a book because I love the look of it and I love the description of it and I love the press that published it and I squealed when I opened up the envelope the publisher sent it to me in and the last time I read a book by this author I read it all in one day and then bought copies for several friends... I worry that the book itself cannot possibly live up to the level of my hopes for the book.

In this case I needn't have worried.

It's a deeply odd book, intellectual and earthy, crisp and messy, abstract and personal, and lots of other binary pairs and in-betweens. It sometimes made me uncomfortable, and it's not as accessible as Bluets (the book I bought lots of copies of). It's not for everyone. But it was oh so very much for me. What it reminds me of is how when I was 18 and 19 and 20, I would often spend ALL DAY reading nearly-randomly in the stacks of 3 different McGill libraries, and then I would go find one of my friends who, while they'd not usually spent all day reading, were mostly better-educated than I was, and we would bounce ideas and personal stories off of each other until we got all muddied together and tired, at which point we would do something else - fall asleep, cook dinner, get in a laundry fight, cuddle on the couch while looking at Mapplethorpe photos... the options were multiple, and splendid. Anyway, this book makes me feel like I felt on those days, and that is a most welcome thing. It's also one of only a few books I've read that talk about womanhood and motherhood in ways that make me feel more affinity for my mostly-gender, rather than less.

My only regret is that, even though I tried REALLY hard to wait to read it until I could read it all in one day, I instead gave in to temptation and read it in bits and spurts when I didn't really have much time to read. I could occasionally tell that I wasn't as gloriously immersed in the interconnections and callbacks as I would've been if I hadn't had to interrupt myself. Next time I read it, it will be on a day when I don't have to put it down.
(102, O38, A3)
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On our last visit to New Orleans, I picked up the book Why New Orleans Matters by Tom Piazza, a resident thereabouts, which talks about the culture of the city and the devastation of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. As an example, there's nearly a chapter devoted to life in New Orleans on Mardi Gras day. It's a good read, and I think it makes its case very well. Worth it.

Book 38: Green River, Running Red by Ann Rule

Book 38: Green River, Running Red.
Author: Ann Rule, 2004.
Genre: Non-Fiction. True Crime.
Other Details: ebook. 708 pages. Unabridged Audiobook (19 hrs, 23 mins). Read by Barbara Caruso.

The subtitle of this book: The Real Story of the Green River Killer--America's Deadliest Serial Murderer pretty much sums up its content as Ann Rule writes an account of the twenty-one year hunt for this serial murderer.

This is my first book by Ann Rule. Although I had heard references to the Green River Killer and seen a TV movie, I was not aware of many details of the case or how he was finally apprehended thanks to advances in forensics and how the case was resolved. I applauded the fact that Rule focused on the lives of the victims, their families and the work of the detectives who over two decades sought this prolific serial murderer.

Obviously this is a work of true crime without the kind of plotting found in crime fiction and yet Ann Rule has a style of writing that allows for a level of tension even if the outcome is known. I certainly plan to read more of her work. Like her first book about Ted Bundy this was a very personal book for Rule as she was living in Seattle during the time of the initial murders and researched the case closely through the years. Although she didn't know him as she had Bundy, she learned afterwards that he had attended a number of her book signings and talks. Chilling.

In this case I chose to read it and also listen to the audio edition. I felt that Barbara Caruso did an excellent job of narrating the book; again focusing on the tragedy of the victims rather than glamorising their murderer in any way.

On a side note the cover of my edition does resembles a work of pulp fiction.
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Book 41

Frank IncensedFrank Incensed by Don Massenzio

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received the book in exchange for an honest review which did not influence this review in any way. This is book three but my first so it took me a moment to get my footing. It's a quick read, more suspense than mystery, centering on Frank Rozzini, former detective in NY and now a P.I. in Florida. Several years back some actors in organized crime killed his wife and effectively ended his career as he was separated from his children who went into the witness protection service.

Now, a monster from his past has raised its ugly head. One of the mobsters wants Frank to help him and Frank is put into a terrible position, assist the man who destroyed his family or let the man kill the new love of his life. Frank, with the assistance of his computer savvy friend, Jones, have to stay one step ahead of the villain or Frank will lose another woman he loves.

It was an entertaining suspense story. I'm glad I got to read it. The title is punny as many mystery/suspense books are.

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