The City of Falling Angles

One of my goals in 2019 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

I bought the audio book of The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt at the Wall book sale for $4.


I love the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, based on another of Berendt’s books. I read that book many years ago, so when I saw this audio book I was happy to snatch it up.

Having always been fascinated with Venice, John moves there to see what it’s like to be one of the locals. He unintentionally comes at a time of upheaval, right after one of the grandest opera houses burns to the ground. The characters he meets living in Venice all have something to say about the Teatro de Fenice.

This book doesn’t so much have a concise story line, but a meandering group of stories and experiences. This is what Berendt is known for; observing and gathering these stories and tidbits and making a book with many interesting characters that happen to be real people. Like in Midnight in the Garden Of Good and Evil, this book loosely follows a trial, and that trial doesn’t end in a satisfactory manner. The City of Falling Angels gives an amazing, mysterious and magical picture of a Venice, which seems to be lost or stuck in a history all it’s own. Although the reader is not overly exciting, perhaps a little flat, Holter Graham does a fine job at conveying all the people living there. This book’s main character is the city it’s set in and how it effects all living in it. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in true mysteries that are not gorey, books about Venice, real life personalities, or books about unique cities.

This book made me want to read more about Venice, more fiction and true stories about or set in that city. Do you have a favorite city to read about?

Bone Island Mambo

One of my goals in 2019 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

I picked up Bone Island Mambo by Tom Corcoran at the Wall Library Book Sale, which is held twice a year.


I had no idea what I was getting into when I selected this book. I knew I liked the cover, and I knew I have an affinity for noirs set in Florida. I only found out this was the third in a series when I started writing this review.

Alex Rutledge is a freelance photographer, ex navy officer, a Key West transplant of 25 years, and, it would seem, a magnet for trouble. While innocently taking pictures of the island’s rapidly growing and changing commercial landscape, Alex is attacked and run off the scene. Only hours later a body is discovered at the exact spot. Was he being distracted so he would not see anything he shouldn’t? Was he being implicated? Why and how does he always end up in the middle of things?

The author clearly loves Key West, has an extensive knowledge of photography, motorcycles, cars, and other techy interests which he sprinkles throughout this (and I imagine other) Alex Rutledge novels. Unfortunately, his expertise, such as it is, takes precident over the the actual plot of this novel. He seems to care more about constructing a self aggrandizing fantasy than making a readable approachable book. I find this a common problem in many modern mystery novels. Write what you know is the old saying, but some many writers take it as permission to create a perfect version of themselves; perfectly attractive to the opposite sex, all knowing, devilishly clever and witty, endless stamina. This seems to be what Corcoran is more interested in writing about. Although, the action in this book is compelling, little of it adds up to solving the mystery, and all of the clues feel a bit thin. Bone Island Mambo has some interesting characters, even the seemingly ineffable, perfectly smart and shockingly talented Alex. I may read another in the series, but bc of the many holes in this novel I can’t say I would recommend it.

Do you have a novel you’ve read but haven’t liked? Do you have a least favorite detective?

Jitterbug Perfume

One of my goals in 2019 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, written in 1984, is probably one of my all time favorite books.


Robbins 4th novel spans time and space, myth and reality, love and loss, gods and men, and does a jitterbug the whole way. Alobar, the immortal king, Priscilla, the genius waitress, Pan, the goat god, perfumers, shamans, monks, psychedelicists, and beekeepers are only a few of the people you’ll meet through this fantastic love story.

I’ve probably read this book a dozen times. It’s a great book to read every few years, as are all Robbins early novels. His fantastical but solid writing style reminds us to find the magic in the everyday, the whimsical in the mundane, the love in ourselves and others and in nature. The copy I read this time was pretty beat up. I can’t remember where I got it, but his books are those that I can never leave behind. If I see a one at a book sale, yard sale, or free for, I have to take it! Books like this, I love bc they are very helpful in kickstarting a good reading habit. If I’m having trouble getting in to new books reading an old favorite often help me get back in the groove.
Jitterbug Perfume is one of my favorites of Robbins novels bc it is an epic tale. It literally spans over a thousand years. But at it’s core, and the core of most of his novels, it is a love story. It’s hard to describe Robbins writing, at once flowery and brutal, mystical and visceral. I was struck this reading by how many passages were gross to me, but compelling. I think his secret lies in how his books make you feel; completely transported. When they are taking you to worlds just off from ours, our world but different, more vibrant and more magical, it’s hard not to want to stay there. Or at least take a little magic when you leave.
I highly recommend Jitterbug Perfume for anyone who enjoys fiction of any kind, books about drug culture or mysticism or perfume. I would also recommend this book for those who enjoy epic love stories.

What is your favorite book to read and reread? What book have you read the most?


Last Seen Wearing

One of my goals in 2019 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

I’m happily working my way thru all the Inspector Morse series. Last Seen Wearing, An Inspector Morse Novel by Colin Dexter is book two. This was also read by Kevin Whately, who played the character Sargent Lewis in the BBC version.


Cantancerous Morse would rather not deal with the living. Only the dead and the reason for their deaths make sense to him. So when he land the cold case of a missing girl, he’s less than pleased. But maybe she’s not missing, maybe it’s murder after all?

Morse might be one of the best cops on the beat, but he also needs his sargent to bounce ideas off of. Once he meets Sargent Lewis, he finds his foil. Lewis has seen a lot of Morse’s crazy ideas. Lewis is straight forward, diligent, and pretty unimaginative. He doesn’t understand Morse’s methods, but Morse gets results. In this case, Lewis and Morse couldn’t be more at odds, holding opposing ideas the entire time.
All great detectives are flawed and Morse may be more so than most. He drinks too much, he lusts too much, he jumps to conclusions. He thinks very highly of himself and very little of everyone else. But he sees balance in Lewis. If only Lewis would loosen up!
I’ve really been enjoying these novels! I would recommend this book and this book series for those who like British novels, complex lead characters, or small town murder mysteries.

Do you have a favorite detective series?

Made From Scratch + Giveaway

One of my goals in 2019 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

I picked up Made From Scratch: Discovering the Pleasure of a Handmade Life by Jenna Woginrich after I found her blog, Cold Antler Farm.


Last year, I went thru a rash of buying books I was interested in on Amazon. I am very torn over this practice. On the whole, I think amazon is a bad thing, but it does make it easy to find many things easily and quickly. I really appreciate that it’s easy to find used books from smaller sellers. This was a book I bought used off of amazon, it’s taken me forever to finish it.

The first of several books from urban farmer, Jenna Woginrich, Made from Scratch follows Jenna while starting her own homestead. With high hopes, and great expectations, she sets out on a unique journey that often is less exciting and more difficult than she imagined. Ultimately she finds a fulfilling life, handmade.

Although this book was informative and interesting, it wasn’t my favorite. I don’t love Woginrich’s voice in this book, part know it all, brash and unapologetic, part entitled, part humbled by experience (but to a much lesser degree). I understand that there will be trials and errors in farming of any kind, but she kills an entire hive of bees, a rabbit and creates other waste with very few pauses to reflect on this aspect of homesteading. It does make sense with the gung-ho attitude in which she dove into this new lifestyle, that her memoir of it is gung-ho as well. Unfortunately, this just did not resinate with me. That being said, there were aspects of this book that I did enjoy! I love and connect with her idea of seeking out used equipment, and household items, that she places great importance on music, handmade food and clothing, solitude and being unafraid and unashamed to try new things, even if you might fail. I recommend it to those who are interested in homesteading, thrifting, and simple living.

Now for something a little different: A giveaway! I didn’t love this book, but one of my readers might!
Since I’m not interested in keeping it in my collection I want to pass it on to one of my readers, coffee rings and all. Head over to my instagram, to the post with Made From Scratch, follow me there, and leave a comment telling me what you’d name your farm/homestead to be entered to win this book.

The giveaway will be open only to those living in the United States and runs Thursday 4/11 to Thursday 4/18 and a winner will be chosen on Friday 4/19. I chose these dates to align with the full moon for this month! Good luck!

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

One of my goals in 2019 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

When I went on my first audio book buying binge, I was certain to get a novel by mystery great, Agatha Christie. The Mysterious Affair at Style is the first novel in the famous Poirot series and was read by James Langton.


Poirot is another classic and famous detective that I have watched for many years, but I’ve never actually read any of his novels.

Hastings, freshly back to from the war is resting and recouperating but edging to boredom until he runs into his old friend John Cavendish who invites him to stay at Styles Manor for a while. Relaxation soon turns to tragedy when John’s step mother is poisoned and the household is sent in to disarray. Although Hastings earns to be a detective, this case might prove to be too much for an ameture. Hasting speculates that if only the odd, meticulous, but brilliant Inspector Poirot were available the case would be solved in no time. And whom should he meet unexpectedly in the village… Why Poirot himself!

This is another first mystery novel that betrays the newness of the author. Long and meadandering, with a lot of contasting clues and misdirections, The Affair at Styles can drag a little. Although not the most dynamic novel, it still has all the great elements that Agatha Christie is known for. Not the least of which is Poirot himself. Fastidious, exacting, Belgian, Poirot demands as much from his suspects and friends as he does for himself. This mystery kept me guessing until the end, and I would recommend it to those who enjoy murder mysteries, famous detectives, or novels about British aristocracy.

Do you have a favorite first novel? First work, first in a series?

Last Bus to Woodstock

One of my goals in 2019 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

Last Bus to Woodstock, An Inspector Morse Novel by Colin Dexter. Read by Kevin Whately.


I finally caved and started buying digital audio books. I really held out for a long time, listened to every free audiobook that audible had (that interested me) before I bought new books. I waited for such a long time partly bc I knew that I would want to buy so many books!! And I was right. I still take umbrage at the prices, but there are a lot of books on Audible that are quite reasonable. I was delighted to find a whole trove of Inspector Morse novels for under $10.

Inspector Morse eyes a possible new partner as he is called to the scene of a grisly murder. As the two investigate and are constantly confronted with lies along the way, Sargent Lewis gains insights in to the odd but effective methods of the cantankerous Morse. Lewis soon learns there’s a softer side hidden there, too.

Now, I’ve long loved PBS’s Mystery series and Inspector Morse is a great one! I also particularly like the spinoff, Inspector Lewis. I’d been looking to read the original books but never managed to pick one up. In this, the first book in the morse series, we are introduced to Morse, not everyone’s favorite police inspector. He’s off beat, weird, love opera and whiskey, is prone to angery explosions. He doesn’t work or think like other officers but he gets things done. He takes a shine to Sargent Lewis, who thinks more traditionally, more by the books. Together their skills combine to solve the convoluted murder of a young woman. It might have been by destiny that they become partners, or it might have all been by Morse’s design. I really enjoy Morses grumpy style and the subtly of the back story of the characters. Last Bus feels like a first attempt, but it was very enjoyable. I can’t wait to listen to more of this series. One of the things I loved most about this Audio book was that it was read by the actor that played Lewis in both series!! I highly recommend this book for those who like police novels, British novels, and murder mysteries.

Do you have a favorite Inspector?

The Lighthouse

One of my goals in 2018 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

I'm not sure where I got this copy of The Lighthouse, one in a series of Adam Dalgliesh mysteries, by PD James, but I'm guessing it was a book sale or stoop. I don't make it a point to pick up her novels when I see them in the wild, but I should!


I've read several PD James books and her eloquent, subtle, and evocative writing has a way of being lengthy, intricate and simple at the same time. She will form a sentence, that when looked at as a whole, seems exceedingly complex and complicated, but when read, flows so naturally and easily, it is a joy to read.  

Combe Island doesn't just seem like a perfect, idyllic, restful spot where a person of very stressful and crucial, high profile job might come to find absolute seclusion, rest, and peace, it was designed that way. It's staff and occupants pride themselves of the total serenity given to the rich and powerful, so they are completely shocked when murder rocks the tiny island. Dalgliesh and his small team are the only appropriate response for such delicate matters.

I put off reading this book for a long time bc it is late in the series of James' most famous detective. Despite it being the 13th book, and taking place in the middle of many of the characters lives, it was easy to jump in having not read many (if any at all) of the other novels. I guess I should have known. Reading this book definitely made me want to read the ones that came before and learn more about the central characters and how they came to be. Besides the revered and astute Dalgleish and his crew, The Lighthouse has the mismatched characters of Combe island for you to get to know. This mystery kept me guessing until the last fourth of the book, and only when I wasn't reading did I think "how will it end?". While reading, I was just hoping to soak up more of the action and intrigue. I would recommend this book to anyone who like mysteries with stoic detectives, anglophiles (like myself), and people who like books set on islands. 

What is your favorite book set on an island? Who is your favorite serial detective?

The Cheese Monkeys: A Novel in Two Semesters

One of my goals in 2018 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

The Cheese Monkeys: A Novel in Two Semesters by Chip Kidd was a book I picked up somewhere (a book sale, a stoop sale, a stoop?) bc it had an interesting cover and an interesting sub title. 


This book sat in my to-be-read pile for a long time, years and years. Who knows why it was the one I chose one day?

Navigating love, lust, art, and inspiration during his first year away at college is hard until our narrator meets surgary sweet Maybelle Lee, and kitchy bitchy Himilllsy and enigmatic, design obsessed Winter Sorbeck. Then it get far harder!

Set in the 1950s, a young man struggles with becoming an adult, what that means and how it revolves around art. An interesting take on a coming of age story, a look at the art school life in all it's quirky glory, I really enjoyed this book. Written in a non traditional manner, by a graphic designer, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in design, art school, or coming of age stories, or books set in the mid century. 

This book is hard to describe but that might be what makes it worth reading. What's your favorite book that you can't explain?

The Hound of the Baskervilles

One of my goals in 2018 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

I've read The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arther Conan Doyle before, but when my dad gave me The Complete Sherlock Holmes read by one of our favorite readers, Simon Vance, I was super excited. 


My excitement didn't get me too far when I realized that we no longer had a place to listen to CDs!! The only place we can listen to CDs is in the car but that means I have to actually bring the CDs into the car. That didn't happen for a while, so I ended up listening to this book thru one of my free subscriptions, read by Simon Prebble. 

Infamous detective Sherlock Holmes sends his friend and partner, Dr Watson, to the countryside to investigate the legend of a huge hell hound stalking the Baskervilles. After the last Baskerville to live at the manor dies under mysterious circumstance, Watson and Holmes must protect the new heir and discern if the hell hound is real or only a myth. 

If you know mysteries, you know Sherlock Holmes and in this, one of his most supernatural and disquieting cases, he does not disappoint. There's not much to be said of Conan Doyle's brilliant detective, fluid writing style, sardonic wit and gripping mysteries that has not been told. If you've never read any Holmes tales, this is a classic to start with. If you have, it's well deserves another reading. I highly recommend  this book for those who love mysteries, period pieces, books of the supernatural, and the list goes on and on. 

Who is your favorite fictional detective?

Working Cats

One of my goals in 2018 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

When I saw Working Cats by Terry Deroy Gruber in one of my favorite used book shops in Brooklyn, I couldn't resist. 


This book was published in 1979, the year I was born! It's full of photos of cats "working" in various places, or on the street. It features really awesome photos of these cats and a quote from a human working along side them. I got this booked but I put off actually reading it for a long time. Some of the stories are sweet, some heartbreaking.  But I know that this coffee table style book will be one that I will cherish and have for a long time. I would highly recommend this book for cat lovers, those who love vintage photos and people who love coffee table books! 

Buddhism For Beginners

One of my goals in 2017 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

Buddhism for Beginners by Thubten Chodron is not the type of book I would usually read, but it was offered as a free audio book from one of my subscriptions so I gave it a try. I loved the reader, Gabra Zackman. 


Growing up I was taught about multiple religions by my non religious parents. I had picture books about The Buddha, Shiva, Anansi... Although I had some previous ideas about the Buddhist methods, this book was a plain language, simple explanation of the Buddhist teachings. 

I won't be converting to Buddhism, but I took a lot from this book. It's core concepts of love, compassion, mindfulness, and careful speech, thought and action really resignate with me and my beliefs and ideals. This is a nice introduction to these concepts, plus the more complicated beliefs of Buddhism. It also gives the reader a good overview of the history of the religion and it's branches and how Buddhism differs from place to place. I really liked the reader for this book. The launguage can be confusing even in its simplest forms and the concepts can be daunting so it was nice to have a really pleasant reader for this introduction to Buddhist teachings and practices. I would recommend this book to those interested in learning about Buddhism, those who like self help books, books on history and culture, or those looking to be more mindful in day to day life.  

I listened to half of this book twice, I had started it, put it down for a while, and when I went back I decided to start it again. The calm reader, and the wonderfully peaceful ideas are soothing and easy to listen to over and over so this is a book I plan to listen to again and again. 

What books do you like to read more than once?

The Down East Murders

One of my goals in 2017 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

I picked up The Down East Murders at a local book sale bc it looked old and just a little bit corny. I was not wrong about this third in a series by J S Borthwick, it is a delightfully bad mystery novel. 


I didn't realize this was the 3rd in a series when I picked it up, or I might not have. That fact doesn't even really become clear until a quarter way into the novel. But some relationships might have been easier to understand if I'd read the previous series. 

Sarah Deane doesn't mind slaving away at the local museum near her aunt's Summer home in Maine. She'll get to visit her aunt and with any luck Alex, the ruggedly handsome doctor/birdwatcher/ameuture slueth that has been in and out over her life the last few years. But when local artist's work starts disappearing, and then people start turning up dead, Sarah must turn her attention to investigation.

This was a pretty terrible book. Long winded, a bit boring, nonsensical, trite. But it was also exactly the kind of book I thought it would be and exactly the kind of book I was wanting to read!
This is the epitome of what I would call a beach novel; easy to read, light, forgettable. Read it one Summer, or every Summer. It's the kind of book I aspire to one day write!! It also feeds my love of books about shore towns, with it's focus on fictional Weymouth, Maine and it's crazy characters. I don't think I'd recommend this book. It was pretty poorly written. But if you're researching your trashy beach mystery, as I am, it might be worth a look!

Do you prefer silly fanciful mysteries?  


Sunny's Nights

One of my goals in 2017 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

I picked up Sunny's Nights: Lost and Found at a Bar on the Edge of the World by Tim Sultan new, which is rare for me. But when I heard about it, so close to bar savant Sunny's death, I had to read it!


Sunny's is a special place, and Sunny was a special man. More than a drinking establishment, Sunny's bar was a gathering place, a creative vortex, and for Tim Sultan, a life changing event. 

Put together as a series of vignettes, stories and small chapters, Sultan starts at his unexpectedly finding Sunny's and ends with time's slow, inevitable, move forward. It's clear that he loves this place, and the man behind it, as more than just a bar and bar owner, but it's also clear that Sultan thinks highly of himself and sees himself as an intragal part of Sunny's (which perhaps he was). This, along with the common held belief (by Brooklynites) that Brooklynites are a superior variety of people, makes this book a little overblown and pompous. Now, perhaps, having been a Brooklynite, I have a biased take on this. Although I found Sultan himself to be a bit bloated, I still really enjoyed this book. Again, having been to Sunny's many times, and having my own arsenal of stories, moments, and memories about the bar, I may be biased. The lyrical way in which Sultan describes his time and memories does well to transport the ready to a time and place. Overall, I liked the atmosphere created by the stories of an otherworldly bar at the edge of the world. I enjoyed the feeling of being cocooned in a strange place and time that this book evokes. I would recommend this book to those who read books about Brooklyn, NYC history, bars, or old souls. 

Have you read any books about places you've visited? Were they written about in the way you experienced that place?

The Price Of Salt

One of my goals in 2017 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

The Price of Salt By Patricia Highsmith was a free audio book from one of my subscriptions. I had wanted to see the movie (Carol) based on this book, so I decided to listen to to the book first. 

I listened to this one a while ago. I haven't been reading much and I'm falling behind in my reviews!

Therese is a young woman freshly moved to NYC making her way in the big city. She has trouble  connecting with people, but she's not going to let that stop her from living her dream and becoming a theater set designer. Until that happens, she's resigned to slog thru working in a department store and dating a boy she doesn't love. Everything changes when she meets Carol.

This was an odd book for me, there were parts that dragged on and on and while I was listening to it, I didn't much like it. But now that it's over, I guess I enjoyed it? There was a lot of imagery, and texture to the writing, which I did enjoy, but at times even that felt uneven, or distracting. I enjoy books about the queer community and this period piece had some thought provoking aspects. But I also felt as if this book tried too hard to capture that time and place. Over all, I wouldn't read anything else by Highsmith, but I would recommend this book to those who enjoy dreamy textured writing, queer or lesbian stories, or roadtrip books. 

Has any of my readers read this? Has anyone seen the movie? Thoughts?


One of my goals in 2016 was to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here. This is also a goal for 2017.

I have been wanting to read Jaws by Peter Benchley for a while but every time I picked it up, I couldn't get into it. Sometimes listening to a book is easier. This version is read by Erik Steele. This book was listened to in 2016 and can be added to that list. 


I had a few themes to my reading/listening materials for 2016 and this book definitely falls in to one of them. I've been devouring books about shore towns, beach life, and seasonal communities. 

Amity hibernates in the Winters. But the town comes alive in the Summer. The people of amity rely on Summer tourists and Summer business to keep it alive in the off season. The town leaders are willing to make Summer profitable at any coast. But Police Chief Brody's job is to protect the town, too. 

The movie Jaws is a classic, of course. The book was quite different; much slower and more involved in the town itself, and the character that make up Amity. I really enjoyed that this book was about a seasonal shore town facing a devastating Summer. There's an interesting juxtaposition between the towns needs and the shark's needs. I would recommend this book for readers who live by the beach or have a seasonal life style, fishermen, or people who like books of movies based on books. 

Do you have a favorite beach town novel?


One of my goals in 2017 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

Another book from my father's audio stash, Ghostman by Roger Hobbs was read by Jake Weber. 


I listened to this book way back at the end of 2016. My husband got to hear some of this one, and it was fun to share and discuss this audiobook. 

Jack is the man on a robbery they call the Ghostman. His area of expertise is to make the other members of the heist disappear, but he never existed in the first place. When old debts and old loves come back to haunt him, Jack must reassess his career choices. 

I put off posting about this book for ages bc I didn't get a great picture of the cover. And bc I wasn't overly thrilled by the story it's self. But last week, my dad texted me to let me know that the author had died. In fact, Roger Hobbs died last year right around the time I was listening to this book. He was only 28. My father wanted to let me know, and also to see if I wanted to read/listen to the sequel. 
Ghostman was extremely silly mafia noir style. But it wasn't very good. Violent and genre specific to the point of nonsensical, I found the book a little hard to get thru. I liked the reader's enthusiasm, but he lost the thread a few times, intermingling voices, which didn't help this book's flow. Overall, Ghostman was a silly violent romp and totally worth reading/listening to, if that's your thing. Personally I'm more into classic noir. My favorite thing about this book is that it's set in Atlantic City, NJ. I enjoyed that it has some reference to the city and surrounding area. 
I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy this type of mafia/noir/heist genre. 

Any lovers of this style of book out there? Can someone recommend other books like this?

The Prestige

One of my goals in 2017 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

Many years ago, shortly after the movie came out, I read The Prestige by Christopher Priest. Recently I saw it pop on as a free audiobook from one of my subscriptions so I decided to listen to it. To my surprise, it was read by Simon Vance. 


Hot off the heels of listening to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo read by Simon Vance, I had no idea The Prestige was read by the same reader when I started it! I really loved his reading style on the last book, but even so, it took me a while to recognize it was him. It was a fun surprise!

Andrew Westley (born Nicholas Borden) is tempted to look into his early life, his life before he was adopted, when he is sent a mysterious diary. Next an invitation to the sender's home reveals yet another dairy and the strange tale of rival magicians spanning over a century. The story of Rupert Angier and his grand father Alfred Borden turns out to be far stranger than he can possibly imagine!

Having read this book over 10 years ago, I didn't remember everything, but I did remember some of the big reveals. I remembered it was very different than the movie and I remembered that I liked it. One of the things I had forgotten that the book consists of the diaries of the two men, and that the history of their rise to fame and sometimes gruesome details of their hatred towards each other is slowly explained via the journals. The Prestige is not your typical mystery but it will keep you guessing until the very end. I recommend this book for mystery lovers, magic enthusiasts, and those who like the diary style of story telling. 

What are your favorite books that were made in to movies?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

One of my goals in 2017 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here

I had avoided seeing the movies or reading the books in this Swedish series for many years, but when my father recommended the book on tape, I decided to give it a shot. This copy of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson is read by Simon Vance. 


It took me a while to get into this book, but Simon Vance's reading really won me over which made me want to finish.

Mikael Blomkvist is an aging but charming investigative journalist who has no troubles with the ladies, but does have a tendency to be drawn into the wrong stories. Lisbeth Salander is a young and brilliant but defiant ward of the state trying to find her place in a world of men who hate women. This unlikely pair is drawn together by a 36 year old mystery and a shared passion for justice. 

Having never seen the movies or read the books, I really had no idea what this book was about when I started. I vaguely knew there was a older man and younger woman in it and that she was a "goth" type. When I first started reading people told me to watch out as this book contained very violent scenes, particularly brutal violence against woman. Later my father told me the book had been originally titled Men Who Hate Woman or something to that effect. I knew that the books and movies were immensely popular, so I was surprised but this. After reading, I can say that this book is very violent, chauvinistic, misogynistic, and portray woman as stupid, lacking common sense and prone to falling to pieces over men and sex. What bothered me most about this was that Larsson, a male author, clearly thought he was writing the opposite. It seems to me as if he were trying to say how strong woman are to the best of his abilities, yet he still had woman make stupid, self harming decisions, and fall into the arms of, and in love with, any man who didn't rape them, and in turn fall to despair and spite when that love was not 100% reciprocated. Even if these men didn't rape them, it was still ok for them to bully and disrespect the woman in an appallingly casual fashion. I think Larsson completely missed the point he was trying to make. This aspect of the book infuriated me, more so than the anti woman theme itself, and I came close to stopping many times. It also made me question what aspect of the book that people liked so much. I feel sure that the parts of the story that I found to be intriguing are not what the general public liked or focused on. This book contains rape, murder, horrific violence, incest, degradation, animal cruelty and animal killing. Be warned. 
The aspects of the book I did enjoy were a slow build of character, family, and mystery written in a uniquely Scandinavian style and sensibility. Simon Vance's reading was wonderful, the various voices distinct and thought out.  

Overall, I have to say I cannot recommend this book and will not be reading the sequels. I'm sure many people have read this and feel differently, share your comments here!

Please Kill Me, The Uncensored Oral History of Punk

One of my goals in 2017 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here

Through many years and many roommates it seems I've always had a copy of this book. Not sure who or where this one came from, but it finally came time to read Please Kill Me, The Uncensored Oral History Of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain. 


I came to punk rock music later in life, but I quickly fell in love. To me, punk is like the blues in that it gives release from the nature of feelings it invokes. Blues expresses your sadness, allowing you to let it go and punk does the same for anger and injustice, isolation and self doubt. I tend towards later, more arty punk, most notably The Minutemen, which this book doesn't even touch upon. Please Kill Me delivers only a slice of punk biased by the author's particular view of the music and the scene. But that's ok, too. 

From interviews with various leaders in the punk scene in the late 60s, throughout the 70s and into the 80s, Please Kill Me, The Uncensored Oral History of Punk weaves a story known to few, lived by less, but influential to all. 

It's amazing to think that Elvis, Libarace, Miles Davis and Iggy Pop, all lived in the same time period and their astoundingly different music was around at the same time. This book is a fascinating look at how influential punk was and how it shaped a music era unlike any other, all though the player's own words. Oral histories can be difficult to keep track of and this one falls into that category. With dozens of characters, and no clear linear narrative, this book can be hard to grasp. It has a glossary of it's rogue gallery, but unless you already know these characters it's easy to get confused. It also deals a lot with the gossip and relationship between punk's forerunners, and that often overshadows the impact and ramifications of punk on the world. Having some knowledge of the punk scene is recommended before starting this book. Those new to punk might want to check out the book Our Band Could Be Your Life, or several documentaries on the subject before diving into this book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in punk rock and those who like any of the bands mentioned in the book; Iggy and the Stooges, The Ramones, MC5, The Sex Pistols plus many more are the obvious groups, but Patti Smith, David Bowie, and Miles Davis also apply. I'd also recommend this book to music lovers in general. But be warned, drugs, sex and rock and roll do apply and this book is often gross and graphic. Overall, Please Kill Me is a fast paced and easy read with an unique historic relevance. 

What are your favorite books on music?