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26 january 2020

In Kwame Alexander's verse novel The Crossover, life is proceeding normally for Josh and Jordan Bell when their father Chuck suddenly passes away. Before Alexander's prequel Rebound begins, life is proceeding normally for Chuck Bell, back in his own childhood, when his father suddenly passes away.     read more

22 january 2020

I don't believe I have ever seen a kingfisher. At first I thought perhaps this was because kingfishers don't live in Texas. But no, all three species of kingfisher native to the U.S. occur in Texas, two of them (the green and ringed kingfishers) only in Texas, among the States (they are common further south). The belted kingfisher is found in all 49 continental states, and its conservation status is "least concern." I just haven't been paying attention.     read more

21 january 2020

I recently received a gift of a complete set of Balzac's works, published in English in 1900. This runs, of course, to over a score of volumes and many thousands of pages, and it's quixotic even to start reading the thing, but what the heck.     read more

18 january 2020

The Man on the Balcony is the third of Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö's Martin Beck novels, and the first where their sardonic social commentary starts to break through the police-procedural surface in a major way.     read more