September 2011

Author Rating: C

Pirates of the Universe (read 9/22/11) recommended

Well, when I say “recommended” …

This was a pretty disappointing read, although I did finish it. At the time Mr. Bisson wrote this novel, he had some pretty serious issues with women. Only men could be space rangers, all the women were either sex objects or drudges. It’s too bad because the premise was pretty good. It’s set an unspecified time but presumably several hundred years in the future. Very, very large “creatures” appear near the moon periodically, and their “skin,” peeled off by rangers in space ships, is used as a source of energy. Earth no longer has oil or gas as it was all destroyed by an organism created to clean up spills.

In addition to Bisson’s disrespect for women, there were consistency and concept issues which were often annoying. Bisson is also the author of The Fifth Element.


Author Rating: A

Sherman Alexie is a Spokane Indian from Wellpinit, Washington, who is both a poet and a novelist.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (read 9/17/11) Recommended

I knew I had to read this collection of short stories after seeing a Youtube video of a scene with Victor and Thomas Builds-the-Fire from the movie adaptation (Smoke Signals). The written stories did not disappoint.

Most of the stories are told first-person through Victor Joseph, a Spokane Indian. All of them are about life on the reservation and the difficulties of being an Indian in a white man’s world.

Author Rating: Not Yet Read

I am adding Banville/Black to my list after reading a recommendation for his crime novel Christine Falls while grazing the internets this morning.

According to Wikipedia, “Banville is known for his precise, cold, forensic prose style, Nabokovian inventiveness, and for the dark humour of his generally arch narrators.”

Author Rating: B+

Reginald Hill is a contemporary English crime writer, awarded the Crime Writers’ Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement in 1995.

Death Comes For The Fat Man (read 8/20/11) Recommended

This is Hill’s 22nd crime novel featuring Yorkshire detectives Andrew Dalziel, Peter Pascoe and Edgar Wield. I would have liked to start reading this series with the first book, but my neighborhood library has a limited selection and, not knowing whether it would be worth the wait to order the first (A Clubbable Woman), I plunged in. If you are a fan of crime fiction and enjoy a good series, I can tell you, if your library has to order it from elsewhere in the system, it will be worth the wait to be able to begin at the beginning. Hill is definitely one of the better crime fiction writers.

Dialogues of the Dead (read 9/3/11) Recommended

Hill does a great job creating compelling characters and sustaining the reader’s interest throughout. I highly recommend this novel for its intelligence.

Pictures of Perfection (read 9/30/11) Recommended

A Dalziel and Pascoe mystery in which appearances can be deceiving.

Good Morning Midnight (read 10/6/11) Recommended

Dalziel and Pascoe investigate a suicide done in such a way as to throw suspicion of murder on the “wicked stepmother” and uncover hints of an international arms conspiracy.

The Woodcutter (read 11/13/11) Meh

I actually haven’t finished reading this one yet and I wouldn’t if I had anything else on my table. It’s a stand-alone story about a guy who leaves home as a young man to seek his fortune so that he can win the hand of his true love. The source of his fortune is the big mystery. When he’s been happily married for about 16 years, he’s convicted of fraud and pedophilia. The story really starts when he’s in prison and we learn his past through his conversations with his psychiatrist. The psychiatrist character is badly drawn and really annoying. I’m in a section now where that character is not involved but I dread her reappearance. I’ll keep reading until the library gets the books I’ve ordered but I doubt I’ll finish this.