Friday, March 23, 2018

What The Neighbours Did, And Other Stories (by Philippa Pearce)

Read for my resurrected book club with my friends in Chicago, the League of Unreliable Narrators! This is a middle-grade short story collection full of tiny gems of stories that reminded me strongly of the stories we used to read in Junior Great Books -- like "All Summer in a Day" or "The Veldt."

These ambiguous, Joycean little stories are set in a small British village, focus primarily on boys, and are out of print. They should not be -- they are wonderful. And they were tremendously fun to talk about! I highly recommend "Fresh" and "Return to Air" -- if you can find them.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

I’ll Be Gone In the Dark (by Michelle McNamara)

I made the mistake of reading this late at night, on vacation, while staying in a room with a glass sliding door.  Well, that was a miscalculation.

Michelle McNamara was the late wife of comedian Patton Oswalt. She also founded the True Crime Diary website, and was an amateur sleuth trying to find the identity of a never-caught California serial rapist and murderer, the Golden State Killer (aka EAR-ONS).   This book was in progress when she died, and does have sections pieced together from her notes.

What there is of her writing is wonderful. She writes with compassion and clarity, and draws you into the puzzle of who EAR-ONS is, or was, whether he's still alive somewhere, and of possible theories and evidence about who he may have been or how to find him.  It's a terrific true crime book about a killer I hadn't even known existed -- despite being from California.

It's a real loss that McNamara wasn't able to finish the book and write many more.

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Thursday, March 08, 2018

Catch Me If You Can (by Frank Abagnale)

Finally, a true one-sitting book! Read this in the terminal and on the flight back from Palm Springs to SFO. 

I've seen this movie many, many times (it's one of my old "rewatch" staples back when I used to rewatch movies and had no child) and so when this came up as available on my library app I thought, why not, would make a fun airplane read. And indeed it did.

It's a somewhat fictionalized version of Abagnale's escapades and is quite entertaining. It honestly doesn't give you much more than the film version does, and in some cases it gives you less, so if anything I recommend the movie. But it was still a fun and entertaining read, and another tick mark in my pursuit of the Read Harder Challenge.

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