City on Fire

CoFCity on Fire

by Garth Risk Hallberg

Knopf, New York, New York 2015

Borrowed from SPL.

The last time I was in New York City was during Memorial Day weekend, 1975.  I had travelled there with my boyfriend, Crazy Bob (that is another story), to deliver some furniture for the company he worked for.  We got stuck mid-town, and it took us three hours to get off the island.  I swore I’d never go back.  And I haven’t, even though I miss the museums, the library, St. Patrick’s, Central Park.

I really wanted to dislike City on Fire, what with all the hype and the $2 million dollar price tag but I could not put it down.

I can’t say I loved it, even though there were plenty of times when I believed I did.  It is way too disruptive and difficult a novel for that easy out.  It could have used some editing, but what parts of this massive 900+ novel could have been cut out?  Every messy, multilayered bit feel absolutely necessary to the whole.

New York, a fantastically mythic city, fueled by money, art, crime, drugs and the 1970’s in America.  Heartbroken humans reflected through time as if bouncing off shards of a fun house mirror.  All connected like nodes in Indra’s Net, thrown into darkness and then backlit by explosions of light.



Filed under America, Books, LiteraryFiction

Between The World And Me

25147754Between The World And Me

by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Spiegel & Grau, New York, 2016

I own it.

There is only one thing I have to say about this book.  Please read it, then sit with what you read, then read it again.

Here is a link to some quotes.


Filed under American History, Memoir, Racism

A God In Ruins

agod  A God In Ruins by Kate Atkinson

Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2015

Borrowed from my public library.

The first book I read by Kate Atkinson was When Will There Be Good News? .  I remember devouring it, loving the characters, loving the writing.  I read all the Jackson Brodie books, and was excited to learn about Life After Life.

It took me weeks to read that book.  I kept picking it up and putting it down, not sure if I would ever get through it.  I think it was the time shifting, creating a kind of vertigo, much like the main character, Ursula Todd, felt, constantly dying and being reborn.  I ended up finishing the book, really enjoying it, and amazed at Atkinson’s writing abilities, at how different Life After Life was from her other novels.

Atkinson calls A God In Ruins a companion piece to Life After Life.  I read it over five days, taking it in at a moderate pace. It follows the life of Ursula’s younger brotherTeddy, and lovingly weaves in family members, Teddy’s parents, his wife, child and grandchildren.  It also shift chronologically, following the lives of these people in a way I found less jarring, filling in the Todd family story and allowing for mystery, elements of family drama that evolve because of events finally revealed at the end of the book.

There is history it both of these novels, World War II, the blitz, the British and Allied bombing of Germany.  Atkinson dug deep, she holds nothing back in her descriptions of the blitz, in the scenes of Teddy and his crew in their Halifax bomber, flying to and from their bombing runs.   A God In Ruins is beautifully written, deeply engaging and I found it emotionally honest.  I highly recommend it, even if you haven’t read Life After Life.

There, I’ve jumped in, glad to be back in the water.  I find myself reading more and more historical fiction lately, particularly World War I and World War II.  Not sure what that is about but any suggestions would be appreciated.



Filed under Books, British, Historical Fiction, Kate Atkinson, Uncategorized


Soyuziss034e005039_fullI’ve been receiving comments and requests.  Seriously thinking of beginning to post again, or creating a new space on WordPress.  Will visit some old friends and see what is up.


Filed under Uncategorized

Gone missing?


It has been over a month since my last post.  I’ve been traveling, spending time outside away from my computer and dealing with a minor health issue.  I have also been reading, loving what I read and finding it difficult to write about the books I’ve finished.  You can see the books on Goodreads.  My user name is Gavin9.

Even with all that keeping me busy, it is obvious to me that I’m just not into keeping up with this blog.  I am reading your posts,  finding time to visit your blogs and sometime leave comments.   I will continue to do so.  I hope to revive my poetry blog and occasionally I post something on tumblr, so you are welcome to visit those place.  For now be well, be happy and keep reading!



Filed under Uncategorized


Iain M. Banks 2/16/1954 - 6/9/2013

Iain M. Banks 2/16/1954 – 6/9/2013


According to a post at the Daily Minor Planet website Iain Banks now has an asteroid named after him.  I’m sure he would be very pleased.

The official citation for the asteroid reads:

Iain M. Banks (1954-2013) was a Scottish writer best known for the Culture series of science fiction novels; he also wrote fiction as Iain Banks. An evangelical atheist and lover of whisky, he scorned social media and enjoyed writing music. He was an extra in Monty Python & The Holy Grail.


Filed under Authors, Iain M. Banks, RandomPost

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

0316216852.01._SX140_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Mulholland Books, New York 2013

Borrowed from my library.

First I read Zoo City.  Then I read Moxyland.  I have been waiting for this one to come out since I first heard Lauren Beukes had another novel being published in the US.  Boy, was it ever worth the wait.  This is a thriller, a murder mystery.  Very enthralling and very creepy.

A killer find a key.  The key opens the door to a house.  The house opens the door to time.  The girls shine.

A young girl meets a stranger.  Years later, she is attacked and almost killed.  When she recovers she is obsessed with finding her attacker.

The Shining Girls grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.  It’s a time travel story unlike any I have read, with a structure like a house of mirrors, dark, frightening and constantly driving towards a resolution.  I loved it.  I think it could be this year’s Gone Girl.


Filed under Books, Mystery, SciFi, Thoughts, Thriller