Weekend Update

Occasionally, I plan to list a few books, movies, records, articles, blogs, overheard conversations, or just whatever else may have popped into my head over the course of a week or so.

These may include (but will not be limited to) actual reviews, recommendations, weird musings, and/or the occasional dumb joke.

So here goes:

Defending Jacob by William Landay (Audiobook)
I would call this a literary thriller. If you take the best story elements from Grisham, Martini, et al, then apply generous amounts of elegant technique, this is what you get. The comparisons to To Kill A Mockingbird may be a bit lofty. But I get why they’re made. Two enthusiastic thumbs up.

Blue Like Jazz – (DVD)
I really liked this movie a lot. I do wish I’d been able to see it before I’d heard ANY opinions about it though. Even better, I wish I had seen it without the knowledge that Don Miller wrote it and Steve Taylor directed it. I don’t know that I would have enjoyed it any more or any less, but I’m certain a little more ignorance on my part would have helped keep my mind in neutral during the film.

Standup Comedian by Demetri Martin
The ONLY thing working against this album is my own rampant expectations! In a word, Martin is brilliant (and not just brilliantly funny, he’s like a bona fide genius). His comedy is from the Steven Wright lineage. Martin delivers heady one-liners that might “take a second,” rather than full blown jokes with traditional setups and punch lines.

I did finish Coal Black Horse by Robert Olmstead and liked it well enough. It’s a dense read and takes a little long to get to the heart of things. Not sure who else I would recommend this book too. It’s historical fiction (Civil War), rather bleak, sometimes depressing, other times horrific.

I started, then stopped Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon. He’s so good, and I like his stuff so much, that I wanted to make sure the book had my full attention. Although I liked what I read, I kept finding myself confused (I’m pretty certain it’s me, not Chabon). So I’m shelving it until I have time to reader in longer bursts.

The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings – I’m about halfway through and am really enjoying it. I will admit that I like the premise and the writing more than the characters and/or the way the story has developed thus far. But as far as contemporary-literary-fiction-with-a-humorous-bent, I think it’s going to be a darn good one.

1922 by Stephen King (audio, novella) – This was a bit of a downer for me. King is obviously an amazing writer. I began championing his literary cause when I was in high school. The man certainly knows his way around a paragraph. But my tastes have changed over time. The story and the writing were fine. But the gore and the haunting and all the silly rats just got a bit tedious for me.

The blog of the week for me would have to go to Mike Duran’s DeCompose. He’s a really smart, really talented, and really nice guy. He likes to ask hard questions and stir the pot to make people think. And that’s a good thing.

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