I may or may not be here for Thanksgiving, but I wanted to make sure I got to say thanks to everyone who matters, so I’ve scheduled this post for today. If I do not respond to comments, please do not think I’m ignoring you. It only means I’m not around to comment.
Career wise, 2015 was the best year I’ve seen. Sales of my work have gone from sporadic to steady, and I only have you guys to thank. I rely entirely on word of mouth for my independent releases. I do not buy ad space, nor do I spam readers. You’ve proven to me (and anyone else who’s watching) something that I’ve known all along. You do not need to invade someone’s space or spend thousands on promotional materials to succeed in this business.
To everyone who has taken on the task of making my work the best it can be (Matthew Pontiff, David Antrobus, Gregor Xane, and everyone at or associated with Red Adept Publishing), you have my undying appreciation. To all my beta readers, thank you for being my first line of defense.
To everyone I worked with this year on past, present, or future projects (Craig Saunders, Evans Light, Jason Parent, Kealan Patrick Burke, Adam Light, and again, Gregor Xane), I hope our collaborations continue.
To everyone who has enjoyed my work, no one’s happier than me that it worked out for you. To everyone who hated my work, thank you for making me want to do better next time. To everyone who has ever spent their hard earned money on my offered distractions, a profound Thank You.
My good friend and resident Booklikes Dinobot, Grim ♥ Black Bolt, sent me two books recently. She saw my post about the shitty condition of The Ecstatic that I received from Amazon and had an extra copy laying around, so she mailed me it along with a signed copy of one of my favorite Palahniuk books.
I’ve known Grim for going on two years now. She’s one of the most unique people I’ve ever met and one of those rare all-around good souls who finds joy in seeing others happy.
This is my first experience with a Dennis Lehane book. I’ve seen the movie adaptations of Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River, and Shutter Island but had yet to read something by him. Last night I figured I would remedy that. Thanks to the magic that is Minecraft and Audible, I was able to blow through it in one session of gaming. The audiobook is narrated by Jonathan Davis (no, not the lead singer of Korn), and Mr. Davis does a passable job. Nothing stellar, but he got the job done.
The book itself is your typical private investigator drama. The team of Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro share a certain sexual tension that is fun for a very short period of time but soon grew to annoy me. Angie is married to an abusive hubby, and you know at some point she’s either going to get her revenge or her partner is going to step in, and I just wanted it to fucking happen already. Kenzie is pining after Angie, and he’s not subtle in the least. I appreciated that at one point Angie tells him to lay the fuck off, because I was kinda hoping he would too. You know what? Just one time I’d like to see a book tackle a PI duo where the dude is being abused by his spouse and the woman of the team is constantly harassing him for a piece o’ that swingin’ sausage dangling betwixt his legs. If nothing else, it would break the monotony of this overdone dynamic.
What makes this book standout in one of the most crowded genres in the industry is Lehane’s literary prowess. The guy can write. And while I don’t know that I would continue on with this series (the characters really did nothing for me), I would read one of his standalones in a heartbeat. (Scratch that. Just noticed I have the next book in this series, so I’ll at least get that far.)
In summation: Overdone character dynamic mixed with some fantastic prose puts this one in the middle for me. I didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it. Recommended if you like PI stories and good writing.
Final Judgment: Wicked writin’, kid! I’m fawkin’ serious, dood.
With the GOP debate scheduled for tonight, I started thinking of questions to tweet to what could be the biggest group of poster children for mental instability ever to be gathered in one place and televised (seriously, have you heard Carson and Trump speak?). But then something occurred to me. Something that might actually sway some Republicans to rethink their positions on critical talking points like raising the minimum wage.
If you’re a republican, you’re fucking things up for yourselves. No, don’t run away, read the rest of this. I will try to be respectful from here on out, but I have very little filter, so I apologize in advance if I offend you with how poor this nation is.
While I was out at my local thrift store today, I noticed how busy they were on a Wednesday afternoon. It’s quarter-book day, but I was the only person in the book section, something I still cannot comprehend. Anyway, it astounded me that this place would be so packed in the middle of the week. And then it hit me.
When the nation has such little disposable income and the minimum wage isn’t a living wage and trickle-down economics is a thing, you’re really and truly screwing yourselves. People shop secondhand and Walmart and hit up neighborhood food pantries. Do you know what all these things have in common? Zero to very-little tax income. Thrift stores put no money back into the community, at least not here. All the thrift stores in town are church owned, and we all know churches don’t pay taxes. Food pantries do not pay taxes on the food they give away. And Walmart employees are paid such low wages that they require public assistance just to survive.
Why is this? Republicans cannot be this blind. You’re stealing from yourselves by not raising the minimum wage. If consumers cannot consume new items, you’re missing out on tax dollars. How are the rich going to get any richer if the government doesn’t have the money to offer them tax breaks and loans? How are you going to buy poster board and sticks and markers to protest Planned Parenthood if there’s nothing to trickle down? How in the name of all-holy Tom Cruise are you going to buy more guns if the NRA goes broke due to lack of government kickbacks? What are you going to do?!?!?!?!?!?
Surely we must vote to raise the minimum wage so that you may continue to be rich and comfortable and entitled and segregated from the filthy working class. Because if you don’t, the terrorists win.
Norwegian Wood is not what I expected. I was looking for more of Murakami’s surrealist fiction, more of his magical realism, but I got a coming-of-age love story. That in no way lessened my enjoyment. It was simply a much different experience than I was prepared for.
If you have not read Murakami and you enjoy literary fiction, you’re truly missing out. I’m ashamed I didn’t come across him sooner. He was completely off my radar until my buddy Gregor introduced me to his writing. Translator Jay Rubin does a fantastic job, and all his translations come Murakami approved, so rest assured that nothing is lost in translation. At least not where the author is concerned.
Norwegian Wood is told in first person from the perspective of Toru, a college student who’s simply floating through life. He meets a girl named Naoko and a guy called Kizuki, and his life is changed forever. This book is passionate. Murakami harnesses the power of love without being sappy. He writes erotic scenes without overused shit like “her glistening sex” and “her throbbing core” or “his swollen member” or “his massive fuck stick.” Those silly-ass terms are the reason I don’t read erotica. Hard to find something arousing when I’m laughing my balls off at word choice. Murakami succeeds at being the only author I’ve read that uses “penis” and “vagina” sensually. And his scenes are truly sensual. I’ve read a lot of sex in my day. Murakami writes about making love without beating to death all the standard romance tropes.
Fuckers kill themselves like its feudal Japan in this piece. The folks in this book might as well be dishonored samurai. This fucker kills themselves in turn making this fucker kill themselves and then some other fucker kills themselves. Jesus Christ, I thought I was reading the novelization of The Happening, you know, without the stupid-ass killer trees. But there’s a point to all of it. The book has a theme. Bring your reading caps, friends and neighbors, or this is just going to seem like a simple tale of love lost and love won followed up by some more love lost.
In summation: If you’re not on it already, you need to board the Murakami Train. His books are at turns beautiful and sorrowful, and consistently magical. Even when there’s no magic involved. Highly recommended.