Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

By Steve Weddle

Happy New Year.

Here are the top three books I’m looking forward to reading post-holidays.


I don’t know what the heck is brief about a 700-page book, but there you go. Here’s what smart folks thought of the book.

Named a best book of the year by:
The New York Times
Chicago Tribune
The Washington Post
The Boston Globe
The Huffington Post
The Seattle Times
The Houston Chronicle
Publishers Weekly
Library Journal
BuzzFeed Books
Electric Literature 
Kansas City Star
L Magazine 

On December 3, 1976, just before the Jamaican general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert to ease political tensions in Kingston, seven gunmen stormed the singer’s house, machine guns blazing. The attack wounded Marley, his wife, and his manager, and injured several others. Little was officially released about the gunmen, but much has been whispered, gossiped and sung about in the streets of West Kingston. Rumors abound regarding the assassins’ fates, and there are suspicions  that the attack was politically motivated.
A Brief History of Seven Killings delves deep into that dangerous and unstable time in Jamaica’s history and beyond. James deftly chronicles the lives of a host of unforgettable characters – gunmen, drug dealers, one-night stands, CIA agents,  even ghosts – over the course of thirty years as they roam the streets of 1970s Kingston, dominate the crack houses of 1980s New York, and ultimately reemerge into the radically altered Jamaica of the 1990s. Along the way, they learn that evil does indeed cast long shadows, that justice and retribution are inextricably linked, and that no one can truly escape his fate.
Gripping and inventive, shocking and irresistible, A Brief History of Seven Killings is a mesmerizing modern classic of power, mystery, and insight. -- Inkwood


I bought this one a couple months back and immediately read the first couple stories, which were amazing. Then I set the book aside because life. Dang, I have to get back to this one.

From Booklist

Intrigued by the life-altering reverberations of hubris, friendship, marriage, class clashes, and betrayal, Lee, herself like a great cat in her stealth, speed, and slashing attacks, takes on academe in several mind-whirling stories, including one set in 1987 in which an act of plagiarism ignites a peculiar, heartrending alliance between a hazy-minded student and her professor, a Polish immigrant accused of being a “Soviet puppet.”  --Donna Seaman

LIKE LIFE by Lorrie Moore

A few months back I read and completely dug BARK, Moore’s newest collection. This one came out all the way back in 1990 when dinosaurs smoked joints with Christopher Walken, I think.

In Like Life’s eight exquisite stories, Lorrie Moore’s characters stumble through their daily existence. These men and women, unsettled and adrift and often frightened, can’t quite understand how they arrived at their present situations. Harry has been reworking a play for years in his apartment near Times Square in New York. Jane is biding her time at a cheese shop in a Midwest mall. Dennis, unhappily divorced, buries himself in self-help books about healthful food and healthy relationships. One prefers to speak on the phone rather than face his friends, another lets the answering machine do all the talking. But whether rejected, afraid to commit, bored, disillusioned or just misunderstood, even the most hard-bitten are not without some abiding trust in love. -- publisher's summary

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