shynds's blog

A Miracle of Catfish

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ISBN: 9781565125360
Availability: Out of Print
Published: A Shannon Ravenel Book - March 20th, 2007

I'm out on a limb recommending an unfinished novel but this book is so good I am hoping the limb is strong enough to hold all of us. Larry Brown died of a heart attack in 2004 but in A Miracle of Catfish his superbly rendered characters are very much alive in northern Mississippi. I will not soon forget Cortez Sharp, a gentleman farmer with a couple of awful skeletons in his closet and a burning desire for a catfish pond, or the character known only as Jimmy's daddy who gives new expression to the term "loser". In the hands of a lesser author such characters are tossed off as unsympathetic stereotypes. Brown's masterful attention to detail makes them vivid and real. He knows enough to give them a shot at redemption. Readers will have to tie up a few loose threads for themselves--would there have been a showdown at the catfish pond?--but it's a small price to pay for the tremendous pleasure of reading what we do have of Larry Brown's last novel. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds

The Lay of the Land

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ISBN: 9780679776673
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Published: Vintage - July 24th, 2007

Is there a more meticulously defined character in modern fiction than Frank Bascombe? He is now in his mid-50's, selling real estate on the Jersey Shore and dealing with prostate cancer. By his own definition, he has entered the Permanent Period, when life is how it will be until the end. But more life happens to Frank in the three days of this novel (around Thanksgiving of 2000) than most people experience in a year. I loved every word on every page of this grand, beautiful and funny novel by one of the best American writers of our time. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds

Chuck Klosterman IV

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Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas Cover Image
ISBN: 9780743284899
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Business Days
Published: Scribner - July 3rd, 2007

Even though I'm too old and unhip to be among Klosterman's primary demographic (OK by me on both counts), I still appreciate his good writing and smart observations. Most of these pieces appeared in Spin, Esquire, and the New York Times Magazine. Because he is a good journalist, Klosterman, whose other books include Fargo Rock City and Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, always finds something interesting and surprising to say about his subject, whether it's Robert Plant, Radiohead, Britney Spears or Goth Day at Disneyland. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780393330472
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 17th, 2007

The offensive left tackle has become one of the most valued positions in the NFL. It is the 2nd highest paid player on many teams. Michael Oher (6'5", 350 lbs as a 16-year-old) was born to play left tackle. This is his amazing story. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds

A Long Way Down

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ISBN: 9781594481932
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Published: Riverhead Books - May 2nd, 2006

Hornby manages to be edgy and irreverent and generous and warm-hearted all at once. In this immensely appealing novel, four potential suicides enter into an uneasy life-pact with one another. This is vintage Nick Hornby! ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds

Stoner by John Williams - Book Review

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By John Williams, John McGahern (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781590171998
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Published: NYRB Classics - June 20th, 2006

Simply a great novel. Also in a 50th Anniversary hard cover edition. Treat yourself. Ian McEwan called it "a marvelous discovery for everyone who loves literature." ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds


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