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Missive #232 Published 2 March 2024

First published in 1940, James Still's masterful novel has become a classic. It is the story, seen through the eyes of a boy, of three years in the life of his family and their kin. He sees his parents pulled between the meager farm with its sense of independence and the mining camp with its uncertain promise of material prosperity.

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Missive #230 Published 29 February 2024

This is an interesting book but in my opinion is muddled . He moves the chronology around such that I found it difficult to keep track of when events were happening. There does not seem to be any continuity to an overall story; each of the '21 laws' stand alone for the most part. I may try some of his other books.

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Missive #229 Published 28 February 2024

A week in the life of a 22-year-old grifter in the Hamptons.
Cline does pretty-but-creepy like no one else and now takes her brand of alluring ickiness to the wealthy enclaves of Long Island (the location is unnamed but clearly recognizable) in the last week of summer. We meet Alex swimming in the ocean, high on painkillers she's stolen from her man of the moment, a "civilian" named Simon who doesn't know Alex is a working girl and who has invited her to spend the month of August at his place "out east."

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Missive #228 Published 27 February 2024

It not very common that a physician practicing both pediatrics and general medicine would also be a poet and novelist. However, that is what Williams was, he also served as the Passaic General Hospital's chief of pediatrics from 1924 until his death. I'll be reading the rest of this trilogy just to see what happens to Flossie.

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Missive #226 Published 24 February 2024

Critically acclaimed science journalist, Mark Buchanan tells the fascinating story of the discovery that there is a natural structure of instability woven into the fabric of our world, which explains why catastrophes— both natural and human— happen.
Scientists have recently discovered a new law of nature and its footprints are virtually everywhere— in the spread of forest fires, mass extinctions, traffic jams, earthquakes, stock-market fluctuations, the rise and fall of nations, and even trends in fashion, music and art.

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Missive #224 Published 22 February 2024

The quietly repressed tension in the opening chapters here—a dead-eyed young stranger appears in the black section of St. Adrienne, Louisiana—seems to be revving up a subtly gripping and artfully shaped narrative. What Gaines (The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman) actually delivers turns out to be neither subtle nor shapely, nor especially original, but on every page there's an authentic moment, or a dead-right knot of conversation, or a truer-than-true turn of phrase—enough of them to carry you through to the overly theatrical finale.

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Missive #223 Published 20 February 2024

Hugh of Singleton, fourth son of a minor knight, has been educated as a clerk, usually a prelude to taking holy orders. However, he feels no real calling—despite his lively faith—and he turns to the profession of surgeon, training in Paris, and then hanging his sign in Oxford.

Soon after, a local lord asks Hugh de Singleton to track the killer of a young woman whose bones have been found in the castle cesspool.

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Missive #221 Published 16 February 2024


Old West meets New West in this novel set in Southern California by early western writer Henry Herbert Knibbs (1874-1945). Most of the story, in fact, would happily take place in the 19th century. There is a ranch with cowboys on horses, gold prospecting in the Mojave, and a big gunfight outside a saloon. But for good measure, Knibbs also throws in a motor car, Los Angeles, and references to movie-making.

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Missive #220 Published 14 February 2024

"In this semi-autobiographical novel, an American named Roland Lancaster has a doomed affair with a younger woman, Elsa, in Cuba during World War II. The love story, in its happiest moments, parallels the idyllic life that author John Dos Passos had with his first wife, Katy."
I didn't dislike this book but think that Dos Passo's nonfiction is better than his fiction. A semi-autobiographical book is only half way between.

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Missive #219 Published 12 February 2024

Child of God established McCarthy's interest in using extreme isolation, perversity, and violence to represent human experience. McCarthy ignores literary conventions – for example, he does not use quotation marks – and switches between several styles of writing such as matter-of-fact descriptions, almost poetic prose, and colloquial first-person narration (with the speaker remaining unidentified). — Wikipedia
The book is all of that and may not be to everyone's taste.

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