The Kingdom of Ohio (Review)

Matthew Flaming, Amy Einhorn Books

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Life before the internal combustion engine was no damn fun. That, along with a vague sense of disquiet, is the thrust of The Kingdom of Ohio, the debut novel of possibly former Portlander Matthew Flaming. Flaming builds his story on a solid foundation, filling his characters’ histories with concrete detail. It’s compelling stuff, satisfying despite the novel’s inconclusive and confusing denouement.  

Two Weddings and a Funeral

Novelist Richard Russo discusses his craft

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Richard Russo's latest, 'That Old Cape Magic,' returns to the novelist's longtime topic of choice: family, and all the endlessly fascinating narrative and dramatic tension that topic allows. Its very Russo-ian protagonist Jack Griffin is going through an existential crisis of sorts, set off by the death of his mother and the marriage of his only daughter.   

The Melting Season (Review)

Jami Attenberg - Riverhead Books

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 3, 2010
In Jami Attenberg’s second novel, Catherine Madison is in her truck heading to Las Vegas. She’s leaving her small Nebraska town, her husband and her dysfunctional family. What she’s keeping is a suitcase full of money. From the start, we realize Catherine is running from something. She’s paying for motel and hotel rooms in cash and signs her maiden name in an attempt to cover her tracks.  

The Little Book Of Absinthe (Review)

Paul Owens and Paul Nathan - Pedigree

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 3, 2010
It might be looked upon as a book of cocktail recipes for connoisseurs of underground history or perhaps a lurid history book for those looking for a harder ride than Gentleman Jack can offer. The Little Green Book of Absinthe: An Essential Companion with Lore, Trivia and Classic and Contemporary Cocktails has many faces — all with bloodshot eyes and all flavored with the mystique of the green fairy.  

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned

Wells Tower - Picador

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 10, 2010
There’s a great moment in “Retreat,” a new short story by Wells Tower. Two brothers have been out deer hunting on a chilly island in Maine. They haven’t bagged anything and they’re wet and cranky. but just as they’re packing up for the day, one spies an enormous moose. He takes a shot and brings it down.   

1000 Comic Books You Must Read (Review)

Tony Isabella - Krause Publications

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Cataloguing a thousand of anything is an impressive, likely painstaking task. If there’s anyone fit to amass a list of 1000 Comic Books You Must Read, it’s prolific comic scribe/industry observer Tony Isabella. Per the title, Isabella has the great fortune of not having to decide the thousand finest but rather the thousand that he finds compelling.  

Spencer's Gift

Former local club owner/city council candidate finds his groove in the comics industry

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 13, 2010
"Nick Spencer Cincinnati" — the results of this Web search yield a litany of news and critical opinions surrounding the now 31-year-old former co-owner of alchemize bar, two-time candidate for City Council and founder of the one-off Desdemona Music Festival in 2006. Buried in that search, though, is news about Spencer's latest venture: writing comics.  

More of This World or Maybe Another by Barb Johnson

Harper Perennial

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 16, 2009
For the past 20 years, author Barb Johnson has been a carpenter in New Orleans. Luckily for us, the reader, she’s put down her carpenter tools and has picked up pen and paper. In More of This World or Maybe Another, the Bubble Laundromat in mid-city New Orleans serves as a backdrop for nine astonishing stories.  

The Anthologist by Nicolson Baker

Simon & Schuster

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Nicholson Baker is a word nut, in a good way. In The Anthologist his narrator and perhaps alter ego, poet Paul Chowder, muses on “divulge” in the very first paragraph — “What a juicy word. Truth opening its petals. Truth smells like Chinese food and sweat” — and you’re off on a tear through Paul’s passionate beliefs about rhyme in poetry.  

Another Galaxy

Red Panda Comics pays tribute to Ed Emberley

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Chances are you know who Ed Emberley is, even if you think you don’t. He’s an old guy from Massachusetts, but he’s also an illustrator and Caldecott Medal winner who’s worked on more than 50 children’s books since the 1960s.   

No Direction Home for Chaon

Dan Chaon discusses his latest novel, 'Await Your Reply'

0 Comments · Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Dan Chaon's new novel, 'Await Your Reply,' is both an entertaining thrill ride and an incisive look at the way we live today, a world in which technology has fractured our existence and called into question the ever-mutating nature of identity. Chaon recently spoke with CityBeat about everything from his Alfred Hitchcock fixation to the questionable existence of Sarah Palin.  

The Last Of His Mind (Review)

John Thorndike - Swallow Press

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The Last of His Mind is not a laugh a minute. But if it’s not a fun read, perhaps it’s an important one. The subtitle, “A Year in the Shadow of Alzheimer’s,” acknowledges the subject matter as that terror hiding in our closets. We, or someone close to us, will outlive our mind. The value of this book is in its engagement with the demon, bringing it to recognizable size and letting us know how one man met his father’s diminishing abilities.  

God Says No (Review)

James Hannaham - McSweeney's

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 21, 2009
James Hannaham’s God Says No might be slightly more interesting if it were a work of nonfiction. The fact that it’s not — the fact that Hannaham enjoyed full creative authority in detailing his main character’s struggle with homosexuality — renders the book not merely irrelevant as social commentary but plain boring to boot.  

Fit for a King

John Hartley Fox's new book looks at the history of King Records

0 Comments · Tuesday, October 20, 2009
As Jon Hartley Fox made his scheduled appearance at a Books by the Banks event at the Duke Energy Center Oct. 17, the many years the Dayton native had spent writing the just-published 'King of the Queen City: The Story of King Records' had finally paid off. This book was a daunting task.  

The Persistence of R.J. Ellory

British author's love of reading and writing pays off

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 14, 2009
R.J. Ellory is a persistent guy. It took the 44-year-old British-born author 16 years and 22 rejected manuscripts before he could get one of his novels, 2003's 'Candlemoth,' published. Six years and several successful books later, he's made his mark as one the most distinctive writers of the crime thriller genre. Ellory took time out of his busy book-tour schedule to answer a few questions for CityBeat in advance of his appearance at the Books by the Banks festival on Saturday.