review

book review

Other Voices, Other RoomsOther Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Capote uses character and language so well in this novel. This book gave me a fresh take on how words can be manipulated and strung together in fresh and innovative ways, and was definitely useful to me both as a writer and reader. I also like that it takes place in the deep south. Capote captures time and place and context, while offering us new lenses, fresh atmospherics. I found this novel magical, it casts a spell which holds on from beginning to end.

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book review

Drugstore Cowboy by James Fogle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved the movie so I decided to read the book. Much of the material is based on the author’s personal experiences as a junky who knocked off pharmacies with his partners on the West Coast to maintain their habits, and as a result were marginalized and meshed into a subculture exposed to violence, degradation, incarceration, and often on the run. The narrator owns his experiences like an adventure he takes part in ‘by choice’ and as an exercise of free will. The tone is one of dark comedy. The book is a quick read with simple vocabulary and lots of speaking parts rounded out by short descriptions and visualizations in and around Portland, Oregon. I felt like I could care about Bob and Diane and Nadine and Rick, maybe even more than they cared about themselves in the end!

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Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars A cliffhanging sequel that can be admired as a standalone., February 16, 2017
This review is from: Maze (Daughter of Darkness Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
Some top-class writing is on display from Katya Mills. She picks up the story of Ame, and introduces a new character with Kell, a young woman raised on the Texas border and forced to flee to Oakland. The similarities between Ame and Kell do not end at exile to a new life. Kell acts as both a mirror and new set of eyes for Ame. Meanwhile, we also hear about Maze’s story.
Ame’s bad-boy skater dude love interest has a lot going on beneath the surface, and it’s not all good. Indeed, there’s lots of subtle interactivity in the various relationships we’ve been introduced to over the two-book series. There’s a cliffhanger in this too – but as a standalone slice-of-life involving supernatural beings, this is some great and unique stuff.
The (e)book can be purchased here:  MAZE on AMAZON

book review

‘Forced Entries’ – a book review

Forced Entries: The Downtown Diaries: 1971-1973Forced Entries: The Downtown Diaries: 1971-1973 by Jim Carroll
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading Jim Carroll’s movement from all out junkie in NYC to mostly clean weedhead in California then traveling back to NYC to re-experience it like a challenge he was taking on for himself in his new sparkly dried out persona. – may he rest in peace – You almost think the kid didn’t stand much of a chance, hobnobbing with celebrity at Max’s and getting dissed by Warhol over the phone, because Warhol only wanted to talk to him when he was wired on speed (and recorded these phone calls apparently). Great street level perspective of NYC in the early seventies. Jim Carroll is an brutally honest sorta writer, so be prepared to go under carpets with him and hangout with fragments of cheese doodles and mites. Or inside a festering abscess. He certainly won’t glorify substance abuse or addiction, so you don’t need to worry about your children. Or do you? I found the first half of the book a little harder to get through, a lot of socializing with Ginsberg and name dropping (though anyone could be envious to hang out with William Burroughs and Bob Dylan for a night). Sometimes I felt he was writing to impress his celebrity buds. But mostly I admire Jim Carroll, I consider him a strong writer and the survivor we know by his Basketball Diaries. This book was supposed to be a sorta sequel to that one. He didn’t stand a chance as a kid himself going deep on the streets, yet he always respected the muse and was a real creative mind, and a local new yorker in his heart. The second half of the book I found a bit clearer, more honest, and particularly his return from Bolinas to NYC. The last quarter of the book was a straight read, I hunkered down in my apartment and really got into it. It ends well, I mean, more intimate and heartfelt. A good read.

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BOOK REVIEW

Book Review

Indestructible & Other PoemsIndestructible & Other Poems by Kristy Rulebreaker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Indestructible is Kristy’s sophomore effort as an indie author and poet. She is beloved for her contributions to social media circles, particularly the poets of ‘G+’ If you follow closely, you can see her evolution. She is experimenting with form and verse in interesting ways. I feel as though I am walking through life with her, and it is not sugar-coated. I appreciate her honesty. “The sun is posing but I don’t have enough tears to cry for a sunny day that does not warm the heart” she says. In other verses, she gives us a fresh take on the gap between rich and poor. You almost feel as though justice has already been served: “I couldn’t buy calm nights with my soul bright as lighter, I couldn’t buy clean days with my heart as cotton tender.” There is exciting talk about nature, and dreaming about nature overrunning the unnatural world and reclaiming it. In her poem “The wind has lost his mind” she personifies nature well to describe her grief. Her expressions are often spare and crystal clear. She opens windows into relationships and little loves of her life. I really love her work. She beckons me to the living of an authentic sorta life. The one and only way to live.

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book review

Book Review

The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Get a vivid picture of the work camp life in Siberia from a great author who was sent there and subjected to horrors most people could not survive. Solzhenitsyn’s triumph over his bitter and cruel life circumstance gave him a second lease on life, as he made he way to New England and lived out the remainder of his life in respectable fashion, known the world over and cherished for his spirit and writings. The story and history of Russia and Russian literature cannot be whole without mentioning the tragedy of the hundreds of thousands of intellectuals, activists, artists, citizens, and poets who were ‘disappeared’ by an authoritarian regime. This resounding text, The Gulag Archipelago, is a must read to round out the picture – the reality – and honor those who suffered and never made it home. Solzhenitsyn lived to tell, and became not only author but historian. Hopefully after reading this work, you will become excited (as I was) to locate the many other great works of his contemporaries. There is a treasure chest of art, poetry and literature. Brilliant lives, abbreviated and extinguished. One quality will surely be enhanced by reading Solzhenitsyn: a deeper appreciation for the great freedoms of speech and expression!

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book review

Book Review: The Outsiders

The OutsidersThe Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ponyboy narrates the story of his teenage life within a sewn together band of brothers and young ‘greasers’ in small town America (reminiscent of American Graffiti) who include working class orphans, school dropouts, criminals, athletes. He provides an emotionally-centered account of these trying circumstances for kids on the back side of the mainstream. Desperate times give rise to fierce loyalties, and it’s easy (as a reader) to love Ponyboy and root for him and his friends as they fight the rich kids and steal the hearts of their girls. The action includes drive-ins, cars, turf wars, switchblades, leather, cars, hair, grease, cocacola, madras, cops, heaters, music, ‘weeds’ (smokes), denim, runaways, sunsets, vacant lots. A whole lot of fun as you get to know some of the characters on deeper and deeper levels. Ponyboy’s not afraid to give you his opinion on people and things, and he’s not cool with all the greasers, either, but he sees the good in people when he can. It’s a sweet and tragic story and you might feel it all ends too soon.

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