Friday, May 1, 2009

Books April 2009

April 2009 is down and here is what I read. I see that there are not as many books as I have read during some months, that's in part due to the fact that I am still working on a couple (one big one that isn't handy to carry with me so I don't get to read it on my lunch break where I do get most of my reading done), and that I spent some time with a couple of short story collections.  I am going to by in large not include them on these lists, as I tend to read a story here, and read a story there, but rarely read the a collection from cover to cover.

 Nightfall by David Goodis
Tarot Card Book Mark: the Shadow
Goodis was one of those 50s pulp guys that I keep hearing people talk about, so I had to check out some of his work. Nightfall is a solid story, if a little obtuse and slightly off kilter. I found it hard to get into at first, but later on I discovered that was part of the story, where the protagonist isn't even really sure what has happened to him, who exactly he is and where he is headed. The story is about a man who is being hunted for a crime that he was somehow caught up in, and the quest to unravel the truth about what happened not only by him, but by the police and the criminals involved.  There is a very Lovecraft element of events affecting the mental state of the protagonist. I ended up liking the book enough that I plan to Dark Passage by Goodis soon.

American Rifle: A Biography by Alexander Rose
Tarot Card Book Mark: The Wise Old Man
Non-Fiction - Non-Crime.... unless you consider that a huge chunk of the book deals with the way that the US Military awarded contracts for small arms... criminal to say the least. Over all this was a very insightful book about not only the Rifle, but American Culture, Government and the growth of the nation. It focused on the way that the American Arms companies developed and effected and were effected by the culture. 

 The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian
Michigan Related Book
Tarot Card Book Mark: Four
A aging couple from Detroit with health issues take off on one last trip along the old route 66, have some adventures, and... well I am not going to give away the ending, let's just say the book is really worth reading.

33 1/3 Swordfishtrombones by David Smay
Tarot Card Book Mark: The Book
I have a couple of the 33 1/3 books, and this was one of the better ones I have read. The book starts off with a warning that not everything in it is true, and from there spins the tale of Tom Waits and the album Swordfishtrombones. It riffs on Tom Waits history and the times and the fact that here is an artist who got the big pile of cash (from suing a potato chip company) and suddenly could record the album he wanted "I don't hear a single" record company B.S. be damned.  Waits went from a 70s singer songwriter in the Warren Zevon mold to the musical version of that 50s Pulp Jazz/ Boho via the early 80s No Wave Scene. I guess the true value of any book like this is if it makes you want to listen to the album again. In this case I not only went back to Swordfishtrombones but sought out other bands and tracks that were mentioned in the book as fitting into the same cohort of tunes.

 House Dick by E. Howard Hunt
Hard Case Crime Book of the Month
Tarot Card Book Mark: The Cat
Another winning Hard Case Crime entry , House Dick is a fast and fun pulp crime adventure following the adventures of a Hotel Security Director... written by someone who later found out something about Hotel Security himself. I honestly didn't know that much about Hunt before this was published, and from what I have read it sounds like he was caught up in the events of the times... anyway I enjoyed this book, as always  and if I happen to run across more of Hunt's pulp stuff, I would check it out.

Dog Eat Dog by Edward Bunker
2009 will read list book!
Tarot Card Book Mark: The Cat
Written by Mr. Blue from Reservoir Dogs, who did time himself a couple of tines over the years. Dog Eat Dog tells the tale of three friends who have all done time in the Californian prison system and are looking to take down some scores, mostly heisting drug dealers-- and maybe they will escape the life of crime, or not. I liked that the book was both an honest look at criminals and their lives, as a gripping fast paced crime story. In end I really did want some of them to make it and get away and maybe have the chance to start over.

 Man with the Getaway Face by Richard Stark
Donald E Westlake Book of the Month
Tarot Card Book Mark: The Trickster
Speaking wanting the criminals to get away, I read the second of Westlake's Parker books and liked this better than the first one The Hunter. The Man With the Getaway Face is more in the mold of what Westlake came to be know best for Heist books...... of course because this is a Parker book, and not a Dortmunder it's the hard boiled, no funny biz type heist. This time around it is a plan to crack a Armored Car, but not everyone on the job is to be trusted. Throw into the mix that fact that Parker only takes on the job because he needs money, keeping his new face a secret from the outfit, a revenge seeking driver and you have the blueprint for classic Westlake story. I have the next four of the Parker books on my shelf and am pacing myself so as to not run out to quickly.

X saves the world: how Generation X got the shaft but can still keep everything from sucking by Jeff Gordinier

Tarot Card Book Mark: The Airplane

This is what I learned from this book which looked at the place of Gen X in our world, squeezed as we are between the Baby Boom and their children

1: We are Demographic Lepers

2: We find hundreds and thousands of solutions to problems and issues rather than focus on one big solution

3: We dare to act rather than talk about our impact or how great we are for doing something.

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