Books Acquired, 2.07.2012


Large pile accrued yesterday although some of these were sent to the old abode. First: Lake by Banana Yoshimoto:


Publisher Melville House’s description:

With its echoes of the infamous, real-life Aum Shinrikyo cult (the group that released poison gas in the Tokyo subway system), The Lake unfolds as the most powerful novel Banana Yoshimoto has written. And as the two young lovers overcome their troubled past to discover hope in the beautiful solitude of the lake in the country- side, it’s also one of her most moving.


Thomas Mallon’s novelization of a scandal: Watergate. From the author’s website:

In Watergate: A Novel, Thomas Mallon conveys the drama and high comedy of the Nixon presidency through the urgent perspectives of seven characters we only thought we knew before now, moving readers from the private cabins of Camp David to the klieg lights of the Senate Caucus Room, from the District of Columbia Jail to the Dupont Circle mansion of Theodore Roosevelt’s sharp-tongued ninety-year-old daughter, and into the hive of the Watergate complex itself, home not only to the Democratic National Committee but also to the president’s attorney general, his recklessly loyal secretary, and the shadowy man from Mississippi who pays out hush money to the burglars. Mallon achieves with Watergate a scope and historical intimacy that surpasses even what he attained in his previous novels, as he turns a “third-rate burglary” into a tumultuous, first-rate entertainment.

Watergate gets big points for its cover: the book jacket (oh, how I loathe them!) is punctuated with holes suggesting one of those antique things your grandfather called a telephone; strip away the jacket and there’s this (far lovelier) cover:



Reefs and Shoals, a naval adventure historical thing from Dewey Lambdin. From publisher Macmillan:

Pity poor Captain Alan Lewrie, Royal Navy! He’s been wind-muzzled for weeks in Portsmouth, snugly tucked into a warm shore bed with lovely, and loving, Lydia Stangbourne, a Viscount’s daughter, and beginning to enjoy indulging his idle streak, when Admiralty tears Lewrie away and order him to the Bahamas, into the teeth of ferocious winter storms. It’s enough to make a rakehell such as he weep and kick furniture!


The Hitman’s Guide to Housecleaning by Hallgrimur Helagason, from, uh, Amazon’s publishing imprint:

Toxic, the hero of Hallgrimur Helgason’s The Hitman’s Guide to Housecleaning, had a record of 66 perfect kills. Then came the 67th–an undercover FBI agent–and suddenly he found himself in Iceland with a new identity. Oops. Avoid this kind of careless error by following Toxic’s handy tips.

1. Don’t miss the target. People tend to get a bit upset if they notice you’re trying to kill them.
2. Don’t waste a bullet. You have to think about the environment, too–you really shouldn’t add an unnecessary gunshot to an already noisy city.
3. Morning is for murder. Nobody expects a bullet for breakfast.
4. Don’t kill a priest. He who kills a man of the church will be killed by a church.
5. Don’t confuse killing and murder. Murder is for amateurs, killing is for the professionals.
6. If you have to take on another person’s identity, never let it be a priest. With that collar around your neck, your sex appeal is gone.
7. When you’re dating, don’t talk about your job–unless you’re overseas. Foreign girls are crazy about guys who kill Americans.
8. Embrace every new passport they give you. It’s always nice to get a new life now and then.
9. Don’t kill the wrong guy. Or you’ll end up in Iceland.
10. When in Iceland, stop the killing. There are so few of them.


5 thoughts on “Books Acquired, 2.07.2012”

  1. You’re just hopeless. You need a guide dog to get you past the outlet at the mall. Say, can I interest you in a dust cover collection of originals?


      1. It was well meant. A remark on all the books you come up with, many of which I would like to read. ‘The mall’ was a reference to Books a Billion, from which I can never find anything to actually buy.

        The dust cover comment was about your dislike (and mine) of book jacket covers. Surely, somebody must collect them when they are brand new. What do you think a flawless first edition of GWTW dust cover would fetch?

        Now, can somebody please inform me what ‘realist/minimalist’ means. Does that include Zane Grey or Mickey Spillane? Or just stuff by inbred cube mice? I avoid classification because classification leads to generalization which is a way station onward to the tower of Babel. I thought the general genres were fiction, non fiction, with a sub classification of Classic, which means works by authors now dead that some people think are great. I mostly read adventure autobiographies, which I suppose could be considered a classification. I have audiobooks in my library that I would classify as Historical Faction. I guess if one were obsessive/compulsive/anal about it you could divide on down into Science Fiction, Futurist, and on.

        I do hope there is no such thing as ‘meaningful literature’, as there is ‘meaningless violence’ in movies. Meaningful, to me, would be a work that I got involved in and that revealed insights. If I can locate a copy of the Gaddis book out here in the swamps, I would like to give it a try.

        Why is Ann Patchett considered a big one? I read the Amazon novel and thought it shallow, with wooden characters speaking sound byte kind of words informing for the drug research industry. Later, I discovered that she actually went to the Amazon for a few hours to do background for the book. Kind of like visiting the museum for a Lit. 102 paper.


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