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Dystopia & Disruption

Man Booker Longlist announced today. Dystopia and Disruption. Signs of the times to be sure. But. I want to escape all that. It’s clearly a good year for Canada’s Michael Ondaatje. His 1992 The English Patient won the Golden prize for the best work of fiction in the past five decades. Warlight made this year’s list. I didn’t love it as much as one of my all time faves, The Cat’s Table. Not sure about the others on the list. In general, not the most upbeat subject matter. So.

Empire Falls Revisited

One of Book Trek’s favorite authors, Richard Russo’s essay in today’s New York Times discusses how difficult it has been and remains to write about school shootings. Russo’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel Empire Falls was published after Columbine, yet was written years before. It culminated in a scene in the local high school where a lone bullied boy turns his anger on classmates. Since then that scenario is all too common with little changed in the character of the shooter or reasons for his alienation. Broken Record Alert! Until America Loves… Read more Empire Falls Revisited

The Only Story

by Julian Barnes. Love as Albatross. Exhausting self-indulgent pompous musings on “love”. If this is love, it’s the most masochistic self-loathing version of it ever written. I did get through it despite it becoming more ponderous and plodding as it went so slowly and depressingly along. Wow. Alcoholism aside. Martini. Please!

Cruise Prose

Michael Ian Black’s recent New York Times column cemented my decision to never take a cruise. So Uncool, It’s Cool. Not. He liked the mindless ordinariness. All I could focus on were the stairs, elevators and confining crowded decks, “surrounded by a thousand fleshy strangers in swimsuits”,   yuk!  Everything I thought bad seems to be true. However, he linked a 1997 essay by David Foster Wallace, Shipping Out, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. Wallace’s solo adventure on the megaliner Zenith, which he dubbed the Nadir. It was one of… Read more Cruise Prose

Fox & Friends

Emily Jane Fox & Friends. Hawking her new book, Born Trump. Hanging out with Maureen Dowd and other media glitterati and the Vanity Fair crowd at Ludlow House downtown. Ridiculing Ivanka as no longer an elite. That’s rich. Irony notwithstanding. Trashing Trumps is fun for the vain coastal cocktail contingent. But. Beware. In the end deplorable Fox & Friends viewers will outfox the punditry again. With votes.

Social Creature

by Tara Isabella Burton. Ghosting. Literally. Louise, a social media-savvy millennial psychopath uses her skills to survive. And then some. She takes over the life of young, rich narcissistic Lavinia and fools everyone who knows her. Almost everyone. Plausibly modern twist on a thriller. Evil fun.


by Michael Ondaatje. The story of Nathan’s narrow beam of a life. Ondaatje’s writing has a richness and depth that is rare. His melodic poetic wordplay is a craft beyond compare. His metaphors sublime. As with one of my all-time favorite novels, The Cat’s Table, he returns to the table metaphor often in this work. The war light itself shines on Nathaniel and his world in England after WWII. The story is told through his narrow lens which is unfortunately dulled by a personality lacking curiosity or emotion after being… Read more Warlight