Update for week of 1/24

Haven’t abandoned the blog — have 1 post 80% done, 3 more in progress (sadly, have barely read anything this week) — and 1 kid in the hospital.

That last one trumps even you guys 🙂 It’s nothing serious (probably), just people with many initials after their names and the cool white coats being cautious. Still, it takes something out of a guy.

Regular programming will resume shortly, DV.

Saturday Miscellany – 9/17/16

Odds ‘n ends over the week about books and reading that caught my eye. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:

Lastly, I’d like to say hi and welcome to hoveprinting and Krissys Bookshelf Reviews for following the blog this week.

Let There Be Linda Excerpt: Detective Gary Shuler

Detective Gary Shuler

Early on, when he was six, seven, and eight years old, when he was hurt and confused because he was the one and only child who was addressed by his full name plus a name that wasn’t his name, his parents had pacified him with tall cold glasses of milk and stacks of Oreo cookies. The cookies became physically, emotionally, and intellectually synonymous with safety and comfort. He ate them constantly throughout his life. He couldn’t stop eating them. At the same time that they were feeding him Oreos, his parents also recognized there was nothing they could do to stem the Gary Shuler Vista tide, so they taught their son to ride those waves with laughter, to be in on the joke instead of being the joke.

Oreos and comedy became the subconscious pillars upon which his life was built. He became the class clown in every class and carried an Oreo four-pack everywhere he went. He was popular and smart and a good athlete. But he was also a bit of offline, not your normal everyday kid. He saw the world at odd angles. He was an odd angle himself. “He’s a good guy, Gary Shuler Vista,” people would say, “but he’s a strange bird.” 

Let There Be Linda Excerpt: Donald the Dentist

Donald the Dentist

It was Wednesday noon. Donald the Dentist only worked a half-day (one to five), which was a good thing because he had been up all night doing cocaine in his office after Detective Shuler had handed over the garbage bag holding his dead dog. He couldn’t bear going to bed and listening to Carol cry herself to sleep.

He had finally dozed off somewhere around six and was awakened by the sound of music—literally; The Sound of Music was blasting in the living room—Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, and all the various Von Trapps singing “So Long, Farewell” as they slipped into the night and across the border.

He rubbed his index finger through the white dust on the mirror on the coffee table, ran the finger across his gums, got out of the armchair, picked up the garbage bag that held Chachi’s carcass, and walked out of his office. He went down the hall, intending to grab a shovel from the garage so he could dig a hole in the backyard behind the trees beyond the pool and bury the bag, but he arrived at the large living room just in time to see his wife kick the chair away from her feet—the chair she was standing on, so she could hang herself with the rope she had looped over the rafters that spanned the room beneath the twenty-foot, tongue-in-groove, cathedral ceiling painted Dr. Seuss red.

Let There Be Linda Excerpt: Meet Jenny Stone

Meet Jenny Stone

“I’m Danny Miller,” he said, taking the chair next to her, “President of Miller Talent Agency.” There was a bamboo reception desk, a wicker loveseat, the two chairs, the big mirror, and a fan that made a dying animal noise. There was no receptionist.

She was sitting, but Danny thought she might be five foot five or so. She had straight-as-string brown hair that was pulled back in a tight ponytail. Her skin was smooth and clear and white, as if she never went out into the Southern California sunshine. She wore zero makeup. No gloss, no eye shadow, no blush. She wore thick black glasses. She was thin, he thought, but he couldn’t really tell what was happening under her blousy blue shirt and gray Catholic-school skirt. She wore knee socks and sensible shoes. She had brown eyes that made him think of coffee. She was younger than him, late twenties. She wasn’t wearing a wedding ring. She was unadorned in every regard. It was as if she were trying not to be here—or anywhere—trying to be unnoticed by any and all. There was no guessing what kind of talent she thought she had.

“I’m Jenny Stone,” she said in soft voice void of confidence, a voice that in and of itself was trying to be unnoticed. “What do you do, Jenny Stone?” Danny said, putting his hand out.

She shook his hand and said, “I bring dead people back to life.”