• A new take on binge reading?

    Binge reading. Okay, I love to read, and by extension — write. But, binge-ing? Though I understand the editorializing on the “joy of reading”, why can’t someone engage in one of the most pleasurable solitary activities in recent times that doesn’t require a screen, without having to acknowledge some kind of condition be met to make it happen?

    One night a couple of summers ago, the power went out and, unable to watch Netflix or engage in my customary internet fugue, I lit a candle and picked up a thriller by Ruth Rendell. For the first time in as long as I could remember, my sole source of entertainment for an evening was going to be a book.

    Okay, I’ll roll with the context. The reader is forced to entertain himself with what he hopes is the right kind of fiction. He starts to read, but then something weird happens. The physical book becomes a sort of extension of an autoplay feature that somehow the reader incorporates into the method by which he consumes the book. (Hello 21st century metaphor for protracted media consumption?)

    Now this may all seem a bit rich, coming from a fiction writer. You aren’t enjoying reading? Then read longer! Read faster! The problem is you! But the corollary to this way of reading — of taking books down in gulps rather than sips — is that you will discover much more quickly when a book isn’t for you, and you can then set it aside without the nagging suspicion that you might have sabotaged it by your method of ingestion.

    Sigh. I just like reading with a rhythm that’s on my own terms. | LINK

  • Book subscription services

    The race is on to be this century’s take on the old Columbia House model of (instant) gratification. Of course, it’s not that instant, but the subscription model of book purchasing takes out much of the musing over how and when to purchase your next favorite novel. Book Riot presents 30 of ’em.

    Me? I’ve only tried one service — Powells. Nothing wrong with it, but, alas, life — and a busy medical practice — managed to get in the way.

    Every six to eight weeks, Powell’s Books delivers the best new books, with special attention to independent publishers. Powell’s promises signed first editions, exclusive printings, and tons of other exciting surprises. For a peek at what Powell’s has featured in past boxes, check out the impressive list here. …
    Past books have included: The Mothers by Britt Bennet, Borne by Jeff VanderMeer, and There There by Tommy Orange. The next book, shipping out on December 18, is A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne.

    Check them all out!

  • Political thriller with ominous overtones to POTUS re-released in time for holidays

    I first heard about this novel which was featured on the Rachel Maddow Show … during a recent feature on Trump’s paranoia (honestly, when isn’t this an issue?). At the time, Amazon was not carrying it. Now the retailer is. Cool.

    Senator Jim MacVeagh is proud to serve his country—and his president, Mark Hollenbach, who has a near-spotless reputation as the vibrant, charismatic leader of MacVeagh’s party and the nation. When Hollenbach begins taking MacVeagh into his confidence, the young senator knows that his star is on the rise.

    But then Hollenbach starts summoning MacVeagh in the middle of the night to Camp David. There, the president sits in the dark and rants about his enemies, unfurling insane theories about all the people he says are conspiring against him.

  • Chinese novelist jailed for writing about gay sex

    A reminder of just how free the U.S. is.

    A Chinese writer has been given a 10 year sentence for writing and selling a novel which featured gay sex scenes. The writer, identified as Liu, was jailed by a court in Anhui province last month for producing and selling “obscene material”.

    Her novel, titled “Occupation”, featured “male homosexual behaviour including perverted sexual acts like violation and abuse.” But her lengthy jail term has sparked protest across Chinese social media.

    According to the Beijing News, Liu – better known by her online alias Tian Yi – has now filed an appeal to the court. Pornography is illegal in China.

  • Car Trouble

    I always like reading novels that explore certain aspects of Americana. The folklore, demographics, and culture of a given region in a period of time. Perhaps my favorite periods in recent modern history are of the years of the middle twentieth century — specifically the years 1950-1970. I can’t wait for this novel to hit the stands next week.

    A bygone world of childhood haunts and teenage pleasures came rushing back. The Kool-Aid stands I set up in front of the corner laundromat on Church Avenue. Diamond’s candy store, the scene of scandal when an employee was arrested for selling airplane glue to a minor in the days when kids would sniff it to get high. Discount City, the bargain department store where I bought my first record albums for $6.99. I remembered climbing to the corner-apartment house roof with my friend Marcia to see the Coney Island Parachute Jump or the lights of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and fetching my father from bars like the Dew Drop Inn, where he spent too many nights.

    I don’t care if it’s mystery, literary fiction, or historical fiction. I just love the period. Bring it on!