Book report: The Shining Girls and The Maid’s Version

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes – Always engaging though it does take a little while for the central idea to settle. Once it does this time travel tale strives to tweak the nose of the serial killer genre and knock your socks off in a blast of energetic story telling. It succeeds on both counts. Recommended.

The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell – Something increasingly rare in first person POV fiction, a distinct voice, captures you from the opening. A brilliant tale of a town in despair after a deadly dance hall fire will consume you. Perhaps comparable in theme to last years Growing Up Dead in Texas by Stephen Graham Jones. There’s a paragraph later in the book about a night train passing through or nearby the town and Woodrell writes it so that the words and sentences capture the rhythms of the train. It may have been 7 years since the last Woodrell novel and with this one lesser writers have been put on notice. Highly Recommended.

Started another anticipated book by a writer I love and the opening left me cold. Put it down for now.

Started reading Red Moon by Benjamin Percy and The Year of the Story by John Mantooth and am liking them both so far.


Are Boomers musically shitty?

These first three paragraphs ring true to me. That folks of a certain age stopped growing musically. Of course this isn’t universally true but, for me, is anecdotally true. :

“You don’t have to listen to any Classic Rock radio station for very long before you realize that every single one of them is drawing from the same 200 song playlist every single day, and has been for the last 30 years. That’s because the Baby Boomer generation is all shitty people.

Part of their shittiness is that after they turned 25 they just stopped listening. They were perfectly content with their AC/DC and their Aerosmith and when rap music really broke big around 1990 it scared most baby boomers shitless to the point that they never again listened to any new music on purpose. Seriously. Go ask your parents to name a ‘new’ rock band and they’re probably going to say Green Day or Foo Fighters or some other band that’s more than 20 years old.

We’re determined not to let that happen to us. Even though we’ve spent the first part of adult life building an iTunes library that could easily carry us through the rest of adulthood without many new additions, we’re still seeking out new bands to see and new records to buy.”

A problem with historical fiction

[Y]ou get horrors like the moment in Gladiator (which is in general a very good, very Roman-feeling movie) where Commodus berates Marcus Aurelius for not having loved him as a boy. What nonsense. No Roman man would have asked for this from his father, nor would a Roman father have apologized for it. A Roman man might have been justly condemned for not teaching his son the manly virtues, but love…? Irrelevant. One has to understand that people really did think differently in the past.

Agree or disagree?

Saw the below quote in an Amazon review:

Some entertainments are race cars; some are watches. All stories are wheels. In a plot driven entertainment, the wheels hit the road spinning as fast as they can to get you from point A to point B. (The fastest plots, like formula ones, drive you in a circle to the starting line.) In a clockwork entertainment, there are wheels within wheels: the stories interlock like the gears of a clock, and the point is to tell you what time it is now. This is the difference between, for instance, “Law and Order” and “The Wire.”