Tuesday, 1 November 2016

My Back Pages - October



Well I hit my projected 50 books this year, and then some. Having read 46 by the end of September, another 10 during October brought me to 56 books read this year. And there's still November and December to take into account. It's been quite a year when it comes to me and the printed page.

October was as eclectic as ever with some music industry books, some old favourite detective tales and a little something new and different.

In the music category Pigs Might Fly, titled for a possible Pink Floyd reunion, was a great read. As was Bruce Springsteen's autobiography. This guy can really write and his story is full of great anecdotes. Also interesting but to a lesser extent were Apathy For The Devil by former British rock writer Nick Kent and Never Say No To A Rock Star by former record engineer Glenn Berger.

But I have to say the month was special in terms of returning to some of my favourite authors and a great collection of detective and investigative characters. Michael Connelly and his Harry Bosch, Jo Nesbo and his Harry Hole, James Lee Burke and his Dave Robicheaux and my all-time favourite Ken Bruen and his former Irish Guard officer Jack Taylor. All good reads and highly enjoyable.

I came across a huge disappointment this month in Neal Stephenson's The  Diamond Age. Stephenson wrote Eleveneves which I quite enjoyed. But this so-called postcyberpunk novel just didn't do it for me. Thirty per cent through it I caved and gave it a toss.

The surprise this month? A collection of short stories from my blogging buddy Michael Whiteman-Jones. Michael's from Colorado and he's pretty much stopped blogging to spend more time writing. His collection of stories is wonderful and witty. Not witty ha-ha, but witty smart. He captures the human condition, or conditions if you will, brilliantly and as if he's lived all these experiences himself. Michael shared these stories with me in an e-mail, but I think he should be sharing them with   a wider audience. Perhaps he could post them one at a time on his blog site. If not, he should be making them available by publicly publishing them. Well done, Michael.

Here's the books I read in October and how I rated them.

Pigs Might Fly - Mark Blake ****
Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen *****
The Emerald Lie (Jack Taylor #12) - Ken Bruen *****
Apathy For The Devil - Nick Kent ***
The Crossing (Harry Bosch #20) - Michael Connelly ****
Police (Harry Hole #10) Jo Nesbo *****
Burning Angel (Dave Robicheaux #8) - James Lee Burke ****
The Diamond Age - Neal Stephenson * (DNF)
Never Say No To A Rock Star - Glenn Berger ***
St Lucia's Day and Other Stories - Michael Whitman-Jones ****

In the land of television I continue to watch Madam Secretary, Designated Survivor and The Circus (about the American election). And I've started watching Westworld and Bull.

Musically this month I'm tuned to Van Morison's latest, what I call a very sublime CD and Leonard Cohen's latest. Cohen's 82 and this may be his last release of music. For that reason alone it's worth buying but the music itself is great. I purchased a lot of music in October but these two artists really stand out.

Let me know what you've been reading or watching or listening to lately. I'm always interested in exploring other folks' choices.

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