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May Music Roundup

Each month, I build a playlist to listen to while I work.  This is a review of last month’s playlist. Emusic: Bhi Bhiman, The Cookbook: Bhiman’s soulful voice and good sense of humor makes this album a winner for me.  Several songs have a narrative component like “Equal in My Tea,” and all brim with […]

April music: Brian Setzer, They Might Be Giants, HelloGoodbye

emusic Brian Setzer Orchestra, The Ultimate Collection [Live] – a fine collection of nostalgic big-band swing music.  It’s good, but there’s nothing here that stands out for me, perhaps because it’s too nostalgic.  I am very fond of his rendition of “Summertime Blues,” though. They Might Be Giants, Nanobots – TMBG are very good at […]

You mean, like in the Simpsons Movie?

Under the Dome by Stephen King; narrated by Raul Esparza What would happen in a little Maine town if it were suddenly cut off from the outside world by an impenetrable invisible barrier, a dome stretching across the town and trapping the residents inside?  Things would devolve pretty quickly, apparently.  A few thoughts: I’ve always […]

Zoo City

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes, narrated by Justine Eyre Beukes’ startling novel imagines a world where murder causes a kind of cosmic guilt that spawns an animal companion which the guilty must then tend on pain of his or her own peril.  A dead companion animal causes a whirlwind of danger not unlike the ghosts […]

Music roundup MEGA EDITION, part 2

I haven’t done a music roundup since, ahem, October.  This does not mean I haven’t been listening to new music each month.  I just haven’t been writing about it.  Today I present the second half of a list of the music on those playlists and brief notes on the albums. December In December I always […]

Music roundup MEGA EDITION, part 1

I haven’t done a music roundup since, ahem, October.  This does not mean I haven’t been listening to new music each month.  I just haven’t been writing about it.  Today and next Saturday I will include a list of the music on those playlists and brief notes on the albums. October Emusic Mumford & Sons, […]

Operation Mincemeat

Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory by Ben Macintyre, narrated by John Lee Ben Macintyre has a strong sense for storytelling, crafting a tale full of vital details that bring it to life while providing the reader a strong sense of the history […]

Gun Machine

Gun Machine by Warren Ellis Ellis’ latest novel follows the investigation of a burned out homicide detective in New York who accidentally uncovers an elaborately-built cache of guns in a tenement apartment.  His life gets much more complicated when it turns out that every one of the dozens of guns he found have been used […]

Books you missed while I was busy (4) – Non-fiction

 Even though I stopped my regular blogging in mid-October, I didn’t stop reading.  I certainly don’t have time to go back and write reviews of all the stuff I read, but I do like to keep track and I know you need to know what I’ve been reading.  So here are the last of the […]

Books you missed while I was busy (2) – Audio fiction

Even though I stopped my regular blogging in mid-October, I didn’t stop reading.  I certainly don’t have time to go back and write reviews of all the stuff I read, but I do like to keep track and I know you need to know what I’ve been reading.  So here are some more books I […]

Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman

Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman by E.W. Hornung, read for Librivox by Kristen Hughes Like many detective stories of the era (and still being written today), Raffles is told by an admiring sidekick, someone who knows the hero but isn’t able to see inside that big brain of theirs.  In many ways, Hornung’s story works much […]

A Princess of Mars

by Edgar Rice Burroughs, read by Mark Nelson for Librivox Edgar Rice Burroughs fantasy story about the adventures of Captain John Carter (of Virginia) among the six-limbed people of Mars is a rousing adventure in the old style, with tales of derring-do, sword fights, honor, and villainy.  Carter, succombing to a wound in a mystical […]

The Fire-Eaters

by David Almond I listened to this short children’s novel during the epic Labor Day drive to Florida and back. The Fire Eaters follows a few days in the life of Bobby, a British boy who lives in a coal-mining town and has just started at a new school.  The novel takes place during the Cuban […]

Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders

Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders by John Mortimer, read by Bill Wallis For the width and breadth of his career, Rumpole has often mentioned his most famous case, the Penge Bungalow Murders, when he went “alone and without a leader” to defend a murderer whom everyone else thought was guilty.  Finally, as he realizes […]

Profiting from Death

The 24 August episode of This American Life was about “loopholes,” and concentrated mostly on the story of financial advisor Joseph Caramadre, who found a loophole in an insurance policy that allowed him to make risky investments with no risk.  Here’s how it worked: Insurance companies offered a new kind of life insurance called “variable […]