American War, by Omar El Akkad First novels aren’t often ready for inclusion in the canon of American literature. True, they will likely demonstrate a raw, natural talent with language and a gift for storytelling. Invariably, though, some fundamental technique or another needs to be polished and expanded upon. El Akkad’s first work of fiction, American War, fits these […]Read More Civil War Redux, or How Do You Like War Now?
A Piece of the World, by Christina Baker Kline The world of fiction is an organic, living one. That is to say, in regard to Kline’s fine book, there is a growing number of ways to write a biography. (Having written and soon to have published a similar biographic novel about one Hans Ulrich Rudel, […]Read More The Prisons of Home
Nutshell, by Ian McEwan One of the challenges to writing fiction is deciding on a narrator. Is it your protagonist? The author – on the outside looking in? Some wild and wacky personage – dare I say improbable? McEwan, always inventive in his compact little novellas, has decided to have an unborn child narrate Nutshell. […]Read More A Shot to the Gut
Most Blessed of the Patriarchs – Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination, by Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf I’ve been fascinated for years by Jefferson, and have read most of what’s out there on this sometimes eccentric man. But this book takes a new tack. Rather than focus on his politics, […]Read More Dreams of a Better World
What happens in your life during your youngest, most formative years will likely stay with you the rest of your life. This is the challenge Artie Royal continues to face into his middle age years in our novella, THE BLUE BICYCLE. He’s a good kid, despite having lost all those people who matter to him, and […]Read More Growing Up Is Never Easy
Sometimes it takes a push to get us out of our rut, the habits that would have us waste the precious days of our lives. And when we fail to see the love and support of those around us for what they are, well, it’s time to hit the road, to clear our senses and minds […]Read More Home and Heart
Clapton, The Autobiography, by Eric Clapton This book wasn’t on my stack until Christmas Eve, when Bill Mattocks, blues harmonica player extraordinaire tossed it to me. End result? Having just read Keith Richards’ LIFE, reading this one was sort of like viewing seminal British blues rock through a stereoscope – certain things up front, others […]Read More Guitar Hero Settles Down