That kid -- you know, the one who collects rocks and digs a hole in the backyard just to see what's there -- will like this book. Author Charles Ferguson Barker is a geologist who, I suspect, never got over wanting to know what he'd find if he dug a hole.
George Clooney, Northern Kentucky University dropout turned famous actor, is discussed in detail in this unauthorized biography, a lightweight primer that forgoes deep, authentic analysis of Clooney's career and life in favor of regurgitating information from various interviews and reviews that have appeared in other places.
Ever wonder "How could that have happened?" when evening news has a story of some terrible event carried out by an ordinary person, somebody who could live down the street from you, a perfectly nice person never given to mayhem? Cincinnati writer Dorothy Weil tells us how things like that can happen in her new novel, which takes place mostly in Walnut Hills.
Michael Faber is new to me, but he's not a new writer: He's written four novels, and 'Vanilla Bright Like Eminem' is his second collection of short stories. If this book is a reflection on his earlier work, then I have some catching up to do.
When victims of Hurricane Katrina face delays in getting federal assistance, when Oprah Winfrey is denied service at Hermés' flagship store in Paris as the store is closing and when no cab stops for Danny Glover in midtown Manhattan, the reflex action is to call it racism. Sounds like it is. But what if it isn't?
If Zachary Lazar has an inherent enthusiasm for the Rolling Stones, his novel's subject, he keeps it hidden. Rather, he meticulously challenges a truism of the 1960s: that the Stones' performance at Altamont dramatically ended the '60s.
Steve Lopez, metro columnist for The Los Angeles Times, was walking around downtown one day when he saw a shabbily dressed homeless man serenely playing Beethoven on his battered violin at a street corner. He was intrigued -- and, of course, looking for column material. "Violin man. It's got potential," Lopez recalls thinking in his book about the relationship that resulted from that encounter.
Things to keep in mind when starting a Salman Rushdie novel: It's difficult, if not impossible, to understand everything during a first reading; the bawdy language is as much a device as the plot itself; and, most importantly, Sir Rushdie is consistently lighthearted, despite the heaviness of his subjects. His newest book is no exception.