Thoughts on 3 Books #2

Hello friends, fellow Bloggers, virtual neighbors all!  I’ve been a busy bee and away from my beloved blog for far too long and am pleased as punch to be back.  Y’all can bet your tender vittles I’ve been reading all the while, though, and now I’m gonna tell you all about it.  Lemme just jump right in with my favorite of the batch, from my good friend and sometime co-conspirator Liz Charnes:

Violet Blue

Violet Blue: A Fairy Tale by Liz Charnes

I posted an earlier version of this review on Goodreads, where I rated it 4 of 5 stars, “really liked it”, and shelved it there as fairytale/folklore, fiction, modern fantasy, novella, & urban fantasy.  Clicking the linked title above will take you to Liz’s Amazon page, where you can read additional reviews and buy your own copy.  Seriously, go buy your own copy!

I really enjoyed Violet Blue (NOT to be confused with the prolific erotica author of the same name!), Liz Charnes’ fun, funny, and rollicking fantasy adventure of classic fairy tale characters possessed of 21st-century sensibilities. If you’re looking for a fast-paced, suspenseful, laugh-out-loud fantasy adventure full of great characters and neckbreaking twists & turns. you’ll want to add this one to your shelves. I’m damn glad I did!

I rated it 4 stars instead of 5 only because there were more than a few errors in spelling, syntax, & mechanics, the kind of mistakes a professional editor would’ve caught if Charnes could afford such a thing. In the current environment of self-publishing and small, independent publishers, these types of errors seem to have become inevitable.

As a sharp-eyed and picky former wannabe English professor (and briefly an adjunct professor of English), I can’t help but notice errors and feel obligated to mention them. As a lover of good stories, though, I assure you such errors aren’t so prevalent here as to detract from the joy of this book.

Seriously, though.  Read it.  Buy it.  And when you’re finished picking yourself up off the floor following one of your resulting laughing fits, go read some more of Liz’s awesome stories on her blog.

A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd.  Review of the audiobook version, read by Jason Isaacs.

I posted a review of this on Goodreads, where I rated it 5 of 5 stars, “it was amazing”, and shelved it there as fiction, horror, novel, supernatural, & young adult. Clicking the linked title above will take you to its Goodreads page, where you can read the blurb and many additional reviews.

Wow, what a story!

A Monster Calls is a gripping, gritty, dark, scary, and ultimately uplifting tale of the developing friendship between an unfortunate boy and the powerful, terrifying, all-consuming monster he unwittingly summons to save him from his rapidly disintegrating life. At the same time, it’s a thrill ride of a coming-of-age story about learning how to deal with the most extreme trials & tribulations of adolescence while figuring out who can or can’t be trusted and learning how to distinguish between enemy & ally, be they family or friend. And it contains one of the truest statements ever uttered, in the form of a piece of advice given from the monster to protagonist Conor: “You do not write your life with words…You write it with actions…What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”

Jason Isaacs does a phenomenal job narrating the audiobook, and I’ll be looking for more by Patrick Ness and the late Siobhan Dowd. And you’d best believe I’ll be giving The Girl a copy of this book for her upcoming 13th birthday!

Flight of the Silvers

The Flight of the Silvers (The Silvers #1) by Daniel Price

I posted this review on Goodreads, where I rated it 3 of 5 stars, “liked it”, and shelved it as fiction, novel, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, suspense, & series.  Clicking the linked title above will take you to its Goodreads page, where you can read the blurb and many additional reviews.

There are oodles of eloquent, accurate, and passionate 1-star reviews on Goodreads lamenting Price’s juvenile characterization, dialogue, depiction of emotional relations, and failed, sometimes pathetic, attempts at wordplay, but I will not add my voice to theirs; if you want, look a few of them up before you decide whether or not to read this doorstop of a novel and its even bigger sequel(s).

Through the first two-thirds of The Flight of the Silvers, I became so disgusted with those numerous shortcomings that I almost gave up on it. Several times I laughed out loud at how awful it could be; once even to the point of tears. More than once, I almost threw it in the trash can but didn’t because it was a loaner from my baby bro’.

But as bad as it can be, the world Price has created, the web of mystery he’s spinning, and the plight of the characters he’s presented & through them the fate of multiple worlds kept me hanging on, and I’m glad it did. Not all of his wordplay is bad; some if it is dead on, blackly punny, and will make you laugh aloud. Price does a great job of coming up with new words to describe his new worlds.

If you have the patience & the will to bear with Price’s authorial birth pangs, you’ll be rewarded by introduction to his brave and believable alternate world, its innumerable timelines and parallel worlds, and the flawed but brave guides he’s created to carry you through it. By the time I got two-thirds of the way through The Flight of the Silvers, I had a hard time putting it down. I’m already way behind on my reading goal of 60 books for this year because I’ve read so many long books, most of them nonfiction. But I think I’m going to have to go on to the even longer book 2, The Song of the Orphans, soon, even if it jeopardizes completion oy my reading goal.

Have y’all read any of these books yet?  Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts about them?  Tell me what you think in the comments down below.

Take care, be well, and always, always, always, happy reading!


Via FOWC with Fandango for 8/20/18, “neighbor

Via Ragtag Daily Prompt #81, “tender


A Poem, Some Pics #2

The Boss and I celebrated our 24th anniversary yesterday, so we left the kids with the grandparents while we went out to play.  We have now been married for longer than we were alive before getting married and for twice as long as we’ve been parents.  If The Boss continues to tolerate me and my myriad flaws, I’ll continue to count myself the luckiest man alive.

We ate a delicious lunch at Tenn Sixteen Food & Drink Co. in Nashville’s trendy, toney, hipster paradise and foodie mecca Five Points neighborhood.  I enjoyed the Crawfish Carbonara and washed it down with a draft Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale and an Oatmeal Milk Stout, and The Boss loved her Creole Pasta.  Best of all were the large portions.  My leftovers were enough to feed me at least 3 more lunches, 2 for The Boss!

After lunch, we went to see the joyfully exuberant Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, and it was delightful.  A bit cheesy and over the top at first, especially considering the high bar that the original set, but by the time the cast started in on its third number, I had surrendered to the ecstatic nostalgia that is Abba’s music and allowed myself to be carried away on soaring wings of sheer musical bliss.  The Boss promises she’s not embarrassed to be married to a man who can be so easily reduced to a blubbering jellyfish in public.  And yes, I brought my own facial tissues.

Yesterday was also the last day of summer break, so upon returning to Mom & Dad’s, we spent a couple of hours playing in the pool with the kids.  Today was their first day back to school.  The Girl is a 7th-grader, and The Boy is in 2nd now.  I’m sharing a few pics of my amazing, beautiful, intelligent, and talented sweethearts here.  And in solidarity with returning schoolkids everywhere, I’m sharing a poem I wrote many many years ago, when I was a student myself.




If ever a little brother adored a big sister…


…it’s that kid right there!



I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve them, but I’ll forever be grateful!

The poem:

Autumnus Interruptus

Just when it seems summer,
her humid humors, her scorching
dry spells, long days and lazy nights,

is prepared to precede autumn,
his mid-season moist mornings, latter-
months’ early sunsets blown on cool breezes,

to the Hall of Changing Seasons
to await another year,
August intercedes.

This year you forgot, thought that
last summer month would mean welcome
cooler weather, respite from wet heat,
sweat-stained armpits, rolled-up windows,
artificial air conditioning every melting morning.

But August blunders slowly by under
bleached, pale blue skies.  Summer heat
drags on, intensified by desiccated wisps
of rainless clouds stubbornly refusing
to offer even small hope of replenishing rain.

To beat the heat that has, in truth,
overstayed its welcome, you take to
leaving earlier in the morning

while silver moon and golden sun hang
opposed in the heavens, marshaling
night-black and morning-blue to battle for the sky.

You roll before the lumbering yellow buses
and notice children scattered at stops along
your route, on every other corner it seems,
some solitary, others in clusters of three or four,
dark dots on a line dying to be connected.

Then two on a green bench catch your eye,
boy and girl drawn close, knees touching and face
to face, cheeks painted with adolescent warmth,
the kind that makes the dry morning steamy
and drenches your parched heart with dreams again.

Via Fandango’s One-Word Challenge for 8/7/18, “Setting

Via Ragtag Community’s Ragtag Daily Prompt #68, “Play




Novel Commotion

The other day, I was blissfully blogging away when I stopped by my friend LuAnne Holder’s entertaining and enlightening blog Wind Rush and was delighted not only by the lovely haibun she posted but also by a novel word she used that I’d never come across before.

Y’all know how much I love discovering new words.  A mild but growing despair had been brewing in my breast over the past few months.  Since April 9th, I have read 18 books but have not encountered any new words.  You can imagine how delighted I am finally to have a new one to add to my page “A Writer’s Reliquary” today.

Even better: the page that lists the word contains several others in the same category, so I learned more than one.  None of them are all that common; some of them haven’t yet made it into printed dictionaries.  A few of them I was already familiar with.  Still, I only included one in my reliquary.  If you love words, have some free time, and want to experience the joy yourself, click the link following the definition below.

petrichor, noun, (Oxford English Dictionary):  A pleasant, distinctive smell frequently accompanying the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather in certain regions.
(From, accessed 8/3/18)  (Added 8/3/18)

I have always absolutely loved the odor that accompanies the first few raindrops falling on hot asphalt and have wondered if there were a single word for that delightful aroma.  Yet I wonder still.  Does petrichor suffice to describe it?  Or does it need its own word?  “Astrichor” doesn’t sound right.  How about “pavetrichor”?  Now I don’t want to start a commotion, but what do y’all think?  Do you have a word you use to describe that scent?

Via Ragtag Daily Prompt #64, “novel

Via Fandango’s One-Word Challenge for 8/3/18, “commotion

Gullible Monsoon

Hello friends and fellow Bloggers.  I hope y’all’re doing fine on this lovely Wednesday as I prepare to slog through another long and most likely frustrating day in court.  The Judge & I’re guaranteed to have to endure a veritable monsoon of tearful sob stories from today’s steady parade of misdemeanants, ne’er-do-wells, and repeat offenders.

Last night, The Girl sat me down in front of the home PC & said “Dad, you NEED to hear this song!”.  ‘Cause that’s the kind of thing we do in our happy household; I share good music with the kids to make sure they’re properly acculturated, and they help keep my aging, arthritic, and too-often trembly fingers on the pulse of popular culture.

After we finished watching an episode of The Shannara Chronicles & The Girl was finished preparing for bed, we awoke the sleeping computer and pulled up the ol’ YouTube.  Now The Girl has good taste, so I was expecting something good, and I was not disappointed.  The song & animated video she shared made me laugh and even brought forth a few bittersweet tears.  I apologize to y’all for the inconvenience of having to click the link to hear the song, but this poor boy hasn’t yet dredged up the funds (or really, the will) to graduate to a paid WordPress plan, so I don’t have the option of adding a fancy video feature.  Regardless of your age, I think you’ll like this sweet song & cute video titled “Life is Fun” by TheOdd1sOut featuring Boyinaband.

I’m not so gullible as to think that everyone will like it, so please let me know what you think in the comments down below.  And if you like it, y’all, please spread the joy!

Via FOWC with Fandango for 8/1/18, Gullible

Via RDP #61, Pulse

Via RDP #62, Monsoon

A Bit (More) About Me #1

–Via Melanie at Sparks From a Combustible Mind‘s Unofficial SYW 7/30/18

I recently began following Cee Neuner at Cee’s Photography because, after seeing several of the Bloggers I follow respond to Cee’s “Share Your World” challenge, I decided I wanted to get in on that.  When I learned that Cee is taking a break ’til around mid-August, I was sad that I’d missed the boat.  So I was delighted when Fandango shared some of his world in response to Melanie’s stand-in for Cee’s challenge, thereby giving me a chance to share some of mine too.

I think I’m going to have fun with this particular feature.  Y’all let me know what you think, and feel free to join in & share some of you, too!

Have you ever been in a food fight?
No.  But on a few memorable occasions, I’ve been fortunate to have used a lover’s body as a plate off of which to eat delicacies and as a cup from which to sip whiskey.  Does that count?

How do you deliver bad news?
Context, context, context.  It depends on to whom I’m delivering the bad news and why.

What (if anything) do you think is beyond the stars?
Vacuum and void.  As our obtrusive universe is ever-expanding, I’d hate to think that it was actually displacing something else, just squeezing it out of existence as if it didn’t matter and had no right to its place anyway.  I mean, it’s not like we enlightened humans have ever done (or would ever do!) anything like that, right?  Right?!?

 What “redneck” (unsophisticated) activity do you like to do?
I’m a Southerner in middle Tennessee.  To many, I’m sure, almost everything I do is redneck.  And perception is reality.  Seriously, though, define “unsophisticated”.  Does that mean things like picking my nose or walking around my house naked when I’m home alone?  Or singing in the shower?  Guilty!  Don’t look at me like that.  Don’t you do the same?

Is there a scary scene from a movie (or book) you viewed a child that still haunts you?
No, but I can remember scenes from 2 particular movies that haunted me for a long time after I first saw them as a child.  At the end of the 1976 version of Carrie, when her hand reaches up from the grave.  And from a movie called, I think, Night of the Scarecrow, when a hapless victim is running for his life through a cornfield and runs right into the tines of the killer’s lowered pitchfork.  Ouch!  My Dad scared the ever-lovin’ CRAP out of me during that movie, and it was a year before I was able to watch a scary movie again.

Seal’s ‘Kiss From A Rose’ was the theme from which film?
Batman Forever.  But it wasn’t made strictly for the soundtrack.  If I remember correctly, that was from Seal’s 2nd album.  Let me know if I’m wrong, y’all.

Wellnow that was fun.  C’mon and share y’all’s worlds a little bit, won’t ya?


Moon Shot

Via Dave Kingsbury’s Moon Shot tanka challenge

Dave Kingsbury at A Nomad in Cyberspace posted a beautiful, evocative tanka today and challenged followers to add their own “in the hope that . . . the whole thing turns out to be somehow greater than the sum of its parts.”

Here’s Dave’s kickstarter tanka:

Eyes down for stray coins
Or lonesome tweets. So what, if
Dull skies lack twitter?

Where are the swifts blown? Summer’s
On hold till they’re back on course.

And here’s my response:

Of course, coins enrich,
as much as the swift’s sweet song,
while tweets leave minds dull.

Autumn, elevate my thoughts
on gentle, warming updrafts.

Y’all let me know what you think, if you would, and please visit Dave’s blog and consider adding your own!

My 13 Reasons Challenge

When my friend Soph at Sophia Ismaa Writes tagged me with this, I had no intention of accepting the challenge.  Not because I found it uninteresting but because there is nothing keeping me going other than the mere fact that my body continues to function well enough to keep me alive.

Let me explain.  Although I have suffered plenty of physical and emotional trauma and tragedy and have (very infrequently, thank goodness!) been physically incapacitated or emotionally crippled to the point that I could barely function, I have never been so far down that I contemplated not carrying on.  I have never needed to look for reasons to keep going.  I like living, I love my life (all of it, even the hard parts!), and I am eager to see what each day brings.  That’s reason enough for me.

As some of y’all have noticed, though, and as I have occasionally mentioned here, I’m somewhat of a rulebreaker.  When presented with a challenge that is intriguing enough to inspire a response, I don’t hesitate to follow my own version of the rules.  Which is what I’ve done here.  Please visit Soph’s enlightening response to this challenge, especially if you’re interested in learning what the real rules are.

Thank you, Soph.  Keep fighting the good fight, love!

Denny’s rules:
A) Mention the person who nominated you (done).
B) List 13 things for which you’re grateful (see below).
C) Tag a few Bloggers (see below).
D) Display the picture (done).

1.  My family, by which I mean my immediate and extended family and the few friends I have who I consider close enough to be family.  Most especially, my wife, The Boss, without whom I would struggle to keep going.


2.  The Girl and The Boy!  No, they aren’t perfect.  They sometimes make me want to pull my hair out, and I blame my mounting accumulation of gray hairs and wrinkles on them.  But they are my greatest source of joy.  Even on their worst days, they always manage to make me laugh at some point, and often I am so overcome by parental pride that I have to reach for the facial tissue.





3.  My job as a County Probation Officer.  It is challenging, stressful, and often extremely frustrating, but it’s not difficult.  If I can hold on to this gig ’til I’m able to retire (and if I live that long!), I will consider myself one of the luckiest men on earth.  Only 20 years to go!

4.  Books, audiobooks, and ebooks.  I enjoy fiction & nonfiction, especially literary fiction; sci-fi/fantasy; horror; history; world religions; mythology; good, thorough biographies of great historical figures written by top-tier biographers; and poetry, especially by Billy Collins.  I don’t care much for autobiography/memoir but occasionally make exception for comedians who are also talented memoirists like Tina Fey, George Carlin, Amy Schumer, and Billy Crystal.

5.  Music, especially rock & roll, hard rock, classic rock, alternative, adult alternative, classic country (1960s through 1990s mostly), alt country, and Americana.  I love entirely too many bands & artists to even begin listing them here.

6.  Blogging and my blog!  I was shocked, awed, and amazed last year after I began blogging regularly to discover how deeply gratifying it is.  WordPress offers such a safe, pleasant, and supportive community of Bloggers.  I was surprised to discover that I have developed a strong enough bond with a few of the Bloggers I’ve followed for a while and routinely engaged with that I consider them friends and would very much like to meet them and have dinner & drinks together.

7.  National and State parks.  I love hiking and kayaking and still enjoy camping, though I don’t know for how many more years my aching, aging body will be able to handle sleeping on the ground.  I am especially grateful for Tennessee’s numerous awesome State parks.

8.  My health.  It’s not perfect, but none of my ailments keep me from enjoying life and being able to work.  Too many people I interact with on a daily basis do not enjoy the same relatively good health that I do, and their pain and suffering saddens me.

9.  Financial stability.  As government employees, The Boss and I will never be wealthy, but largely thanks to her capable management of our finances, we want for little, and in case of emergencies, my family always comes through for us.

10.  Our house.  Like my kids, it isn’t perfect, but it’s ours, it’s in relatively good shape, it’s in a decent neighborhood with very peaceful woods outside the back yard, and the mortgage should be paid in full by the time The Girl graduates high school.

11.  My car.  It’s a 2009 model with over 150,00 miles on it, but it’s still holding up pretty well, and the cd player still works, so I can listen to audiobooks during my hour & a half+ daily commute.  The Boss’s 2013 vehicle will be paid off in a few months, and we’ll start saving up for a big chunk to put down on a new one for her, at which point her current one will become mine.

12.  The hand that fate has dealt me.

13.  Evan Williams and beer.

What are y’all grateful for?

Damn, I almost forgot!  I tag:

Rachel Ann at Fitful, Fearful, Phantasmal because I owe her.

T at TShawWriter because I haven’t heard much from her lately and I miss her.

Winnie at Musings because she’s such a free-spirited thinker & writer.

Em at Earthly Brain in the hope that listing things she’s grateful for might cheer her up.

🎵”I need a hospital, I need a clinic, I need a reason not to be a cynic”😎♥️

Kick-ass song! So tragically true.  This Blogger I follow, Svelte, does not have comments enabled on her blog, so reblogging this post is my only means of letting her know how much I love it.  Enjoy!


‘Over and over
So right wing that you might tip over
I need a hospital
I need a clinic
I need a reason not to be a cynic
I’m so straight
I’m so white
My God I’ll sleep well tonight
Look at this retard, he’s so dumb
This is America sucking on its thumb

Let’s fire up the electric chair
Three cheers for the billionaire
Coca-Cola and your favorite prayer
Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight

One more night
Beneath the stars, beneath the stripes
One more night
Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight
Goodnight America

(Woo) (Woo)
Goodnight America
(Woo) (Woo)

Over and over
We’ve got guns, you should all come over
Actually, just some of you
Let’s build a wall
Actually, I’m rich
So fuck you all
A thousand bullets
Oh, what a sight
My God I’ll sleep well tonight
Ambien, Ambien, sing me to sleep
This is America, you are what you…

View original post 130 more words

A Common Tragedy

Confession:  When I first saw my friend Rachel Ann’s invitation to attempt her “List Story Writer’s Challenge”, I was skeptical.  About whether or not a story could be told using nothing but lists.  About whether or not I could tell a story using only lists.  But after reading her original and very interesting list story “In Mr. Habte’s Apartment”, I couldn’t push the idea aside.  Rachel Ann’s list story and the challenge itself twisted in my mind like a burrowing worm and refused to leave, finally wrapping itself around whatever shriveled subcortex in my warped mind controls creativity.

Scriptocystic ideas began to germinate.  After a routine day in court, a good one finally implanted in my creative subcortex wall and began to grow.  I am grateful for the quick and relatively painless labor.  And now, with the oafish pride of any new father, I offer it up to you, beloved friends and fellow Bloggers, swaddled in my hopes and love.  Please let me know what you think in the comments down below.  And please visit the talented genius Rachel Ann’s incredibly creative blog Fitful, Fearful, Phantasmal.

Thank you, Rachel Ann, for the challenge.

Criminal Charges listed in case # 2018 – F – 11859, State of TN v Simon Leatherby, on the Copperhead County General Sessions Court Arraignment Docket for Wednesday, July 25th, 2018:
Ct. 1:  TCA 39-17-418, Simple Possession/Casual Exchange of a Controlled Substance, A Misdemeanor
Ct. 2:  TCA 39-17-425, Possession of Unlawful Drug Paraphernalia Uses & Activities, A Misdemeanor
Ct. 3:  TCA 39-17-434(a), Methamphetamine, Manufacture, Delivery, Sale, or Possession with Intent, B Felony
Ct. 4:  TCA 39-417-417(G), Schedule VI Drugs:  Manufacture, Delivery, Sale, or Possession with Intent, C Felony
Disposition:  Defendant failed to answer all docket calls, arrest warrant issued:  2018 – F – 11859A, TCA 39-16-609(D), Failure to Appear, A Misdemeanor, $50,000.00 bond, entered by Deputy Clerk N. Wiseman.

Partial transcript of Copperhead County EMS 911 call received 5:45:29 PM Wed. 7/25/18:

Caller:  Omigod, omigod, you gotta help my baby!
Dispatch:  Ma’am–
C:  Omysweetjesus please you gotta come right now please!
D:  Ma’am, what is your name, location and the nature of your emergency?
C:  Omigod it’s me I’m here I’m home sweet mother of god I think my baby’s dead!
D:  Ma’am, I need your name and location.
C:  Omigod omigod this is Namona Leatherby oh sweet Jesus he ain’t breathin’!  I’m at 2525  Black Racer Road.
D:  Ma’am, an ambulance is on the way.  I need you to check your baby for a pulse–
C:  He ain’t a baby he’s just my baby osweetgod his lips is blue!
D:  Ma’am, I need you to—
C:  He’s so cold why’s he cold omigod, osweetlord, oh my sweet baby boy!

Selected comments from Wade Funeral Home’s online obituary tribute page for Simon Bryce Leatherby, 7/26/93 – 7/25/18:

You may be gone but you will never be forgotten. You always was the one that made everyone laugh. Everytime I seen you, you always had a big smile on you’re face you are going to be missed by so many people you was loved by everyone. RIP Simon love you. (Kay Cameron, 7/27/18)

Sending prayers to the family such a great and care free spirited young man who will be greatly missed. (Tippy Smith, 7/27/18)

I love you cousin Sime!! We grew up together and had lots of memories that I will cherish forever!! Too young and too soon!!💔 (Savannah Satterfield, 7/28/18)

RIP Simon U were a great guy will miss u (Cheryl Johnson, 7/28/18)

I am so sorry for your loss Namona your Simon was one of the happiest people I have every been around, he will be missed by many of course everyone who met him knew he never met a stranger and could make anyone laugh no matter what kind of day it was. May Christ be with the Leatherby family, during this difficult time and may everyone have peace knowing God has accepted a great angel today with love and care. (John Cabell, 7/29/18)

Lists conclude.

Although this story is a work of fiction, similar events occur every day in cities and counties across America.  Drug and alcohol addiction is a serious disease that has reached epidemic proportions in my beloved country.  If you have a friend or loved one who is in the grip of drug or alcohol addiction, and chances are high that you do, please call or encourage them to call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit SAMHSA’s Website at:

Take care, be well, and stay sane, y’all!



Thoughts on 2 Books #5

As I’m sure y’all have noticed, I haven’t had much time for blogging lately.  But you can bet yer sweet bloggin’ patooties I’ve been doing plenty of reading.  Here’s what I think about my two most-recently completed books.


Rendezvous with Oblivion: Reports from a Sinking Society by Thomas Frank

I rated it 2 of 5 stars, “it was o.k.”, on Goodreads and shelved it as American, Essays, Government, Nonfiction, & Political Issues.  You can read the synopsis by clicking the linked title above.

If Goodreads allowed it, I’d rate Rendezvous with Oblivion 2.5 stars.

The 12 chapters comprising the first three parts of the book are reprinted essays first published between 2011 – 2016. Some of the issues discussed are a bit dated, but the essays serve as a decent introduction to Thomas Franks’ thinking and politics. I would rate Parts 1 through 3 as 2 stars.

The 5 chapters comprising Part 4 are a solid 3 stars, though. This is where Frank finally gets around to offering some profound insights about how America got into its current political mess (and what’s likely to happen in the near future if we don’t figure an acceptable way out of it) and offers some interesting and creative (though challenging) proposals for righting our foundering ship of state.

If you consider yourself to be progressive or even farther left politically, you’ll probably like Rendezvous with Oblivion. But if you’re a moderate liberal or a conservative, it’ll probably make you more angry than intrigued.


This is a Call: The Life and Times of Dave Grohl by Paul Brannigan

I rated it 3 of 5 stars, “liked it”, on Goodreads and shelved it as Biography, Cultural studies, History, Music, Nonfiction, and Rock & Roll.  You can read the synopsis by clicking the linked title above.

Paul Brannigan states early in the book that it is not an authorized biography of Dave Grohl, and he means it. If you’re looking for an actual biography of Dave Grohl, look elsewhere or wait for the authorized bio.

This Is a Call is the history of the rise of punk/hardcore/metal rock music as only a journalist who’s spent a lifetime chronicling it can tell it. It just happens to have plenty of quotes from and biographical anecdotes about the gifted, hard-working, and highly talented Dave Grohl and the parts that he and the various bands of which he’s been a member have played in that history.

I checked This Is a Call out because I thought it was a Dave Grohl biography; I have been a fan of his since the first Foo Fighters album came out and have only grown to like and respect him more as his career developed. I so like Dave & the Foo Fighters that I recently took my 12-year old daughter to see them in concert, her first, and it was a wonderful evening for us.

Despite it not being a real biography, though, I was not at all disappointed in the book. It is well-written, interesting, entertaining, and compelling, at times even hard to put down. And I found very few typos & grammatical errors, which always makes me happy. If you’re into punk/metal/hardcore music and are interested in its history, you’ll definitely like This Is a Call. The Dave Grohl bits are simply a bonus.

Have y’all read Rendezvous with Oblivion or This is a Call?  What did you think about them?