Skip to main content

January Reads: Jean-Patrick Manchette, Marky Ramone, Nikki Dolson, Jess Walter, Shirley Jackson

The Mad and the Bad by Jean-Patrick Manchette
There's nothing better than a new literary crush, and Manchette has won my dark heart. Lean and mean and delectably absurd, the brutal scenes had me guffawing. Julie, unwieldy and tough, fresh out of the mental hospital, might be my favorite antiheroine ever. I loved it so much I read it twice.

Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life As a Ramone by Marky Ramone
I checked out Punk Rock Blitzkrieg after watching Marky Ramone spar Johnny Rotten during a very un-punk panel discussion. While his time as a Ramone was why I read it, my favorite chapters were about Richard Hell and the Voidoids and the NYC punk scene. But what truly knocked me out was his inspiring story about losing what matters most to find your higher self. Bonus: Hearing his NYC accent while reading adds a charming layer to his tales.


All Things Violent by Nikki Dolson
Staying true to the title, All Things Violent is a brutal, episodic novel featuring Laura, a crackerjack assassin who'll break your bones and your heart. Her fatal flaw is her unwavering love of her ex-boyfriend, who also happens to be her boss. Time after time, she battles bruisers and ruffians and somehow comes out on top. But she leaves you wondering just who she's trying to punish. 
 
Over Tumbled Graves by Jess Walter
I've been avoiding serial killer novels, but after reading Dead Girls by Alice Bolin, I checked out Over Tumbled Graves. Excellent writing and pacing — a real page-turner. I thought I'd solved the case early on, but the final twist proved I wasn't completely on-track. 

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Rereading a book is an indulgence, especially when there's a menacing character like Merricat Blackwood, whose rituals, sorcery, and superstitions amplify the terror of a disturbing childhood. While Merricat's words and schemes betray her deadly heart, Constance's obsession with cooking and cleaning is also genuinely frightening. Outside of the Blackwood’s twisted family dynamics, Jackson tackles class struggle, with the Blackwood's snobbery being avenged by a vulgar village mob. Jackson is just simply one of the best. 




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Love Lifted Me | #365 Prompts

LOVE LIFTED ME We’d practiced "Love Lifted Me" in GAs until it sounded reasonably good. Well, Anna sounded good. I suppose it was expected since she was the preacher’s daughter and honestly blessed with an angelic voice. She carried any number the trio performed. This time, however, it was a quartet. The choir director had reluctantly invited me to join—I guess she felt it was her moral duty to include me while knowing I couldn't sing.   But I would do for a Sunday night service when the pews were mostly empty. I wasn’t nervous really, even though I’d never sang in front of an audience. And I had forgotten about my bouts of hysteria. Now, these little fits weren’t debilitating. Just brief and inappropriate responses to stressful situations. Like when my dad fell from the ladder and caught his foot in the rung. He was swinging by his sickled ankle, and all I could do was laugh. He grew angry, livid even, screaming at me to help, but I rolled on the ground in hilarious conv

Out of the Blue

Out of the blue and into the black describes the descent of a wildly dysfunctional family in this rambling, nihilistic film by Dennis Hopper. Don, a degenerate convict, pulses with Hopper’s dark charisma, devouring everything in his path. Kathy, his wife, numbs herself from the chaos with drugs and sex, leaving Cebe, their daughter, on her own to deal with the fallout. It doesn’t end well. Cebe, played by Linda Manz, seems to sneer at the brutal cards handed to her, but under that tough facade is a bruised child who craves the comfort and love that’s been absent in her life. Tragically, her signature walk, that strident march, leads her nowhere.

May Reads: Not a Lot

I was a mess this month — moody, unfocused, restless. It felt like every day was a full moon. My mindset affected my reading, and I quit three novels. I didn't love the other two I finished. It would be unfair to name them because it probably wasn't the books — it was me! Really! O.K., there was one clunker. But somewhere along the way, I turned a corner. My attitude has been adjusted, and I'm halfway finished with a pretty good book! I'll tell you about it next month.