Seldom Disappointed: A Memoir by Tony Hillerman

Tony Hillerman’s Seldom Disappointed: A Memoir is both sorely disappointing, for how badly and boringly it is written, and how much of a sell-out shill Hillerman, despite still calling himself a “journalist.”
Please, let us be clear: I do not just mean “shill” as a put down. I am being exact in language here. Hillerman is a shill and he should feel deeply ashamed and ethically compromised for it.
Even if Hillerman weren’t a shill and a disgrace to the journalism profession, his memoir is still a terrible and boring read.

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Among the Thugs by Bill Buford

There are two kinds of violence in Among the Thugs.

The first is the violence we, the reading and civilized public, are supposed to abhor: violence perpetrated by the football (soccer) hooligans.

The second kind of violence is that perpetrated by the police forces against protesters of all stripes, including those football hooligans, American author Bill Buford all but outright states is an entirely acceptable form of violence perpetrated by state actors.

Don’t get me wrong: Among The Thugs is an enjoyable read and the violence is certainly disturbing.
However, Buford falters many times and a large portion of his falters are the sanctioning of state terror and violence.

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Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro

Dear Life: Stories is, as one reviewer posited, a bad place to start reading such an acclaimed author. This may very well be true. Either way, I have no intention of continuing to read any of Munro’s work after reading what amounts to an extremely over sold and boring set of stories.

I honestly have no idea where Munro earned her reputation from, earning the Nobel prize and all. Then again, Humboldt’s Gift by Saul Bellow earned the Pulitzer and I’m stuck a third of the way through that. So, yes, I can see the award winning, I just can’t understand it.

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Clans of the Alphane Moon by Phillip K. Dick

A fast-paced novel, Clans of the Alphane Moon has a little of everything: a meditation on the civil rights of the mentally ill and the freedom of free will and free agency; the trials of marriage and divorce; the insanity of a paranoid security apparatus.

Far from being the failure or claptrap Barry Malzberg calls it (sci-fe being a lesser genre in his not-so-humble opinion) in at least one edition (Bluejay Special Edition) of the book.

Worth the read.

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Samaritan by Richard Price

Samaritan, the first Richard Price book I’ve read, reminded me why reading can be so enjoyable. Plotting, pace, dialogue, characters, it’s all brilliant here. Easy to look over are the beautiful turns of phrase.

I will admit, at the end, the morality starts beginning to feel less like a revelation after the fifth or sixth time and more like hammer banging on an already flush nail.

Leading up to that morality, and the play itself, was not something I realized until I finished the book, was not something I was cognizant of. Brilliant.

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The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

The sequel (in a planned series) to The Long Earth is a disjointed, unbelievable and internal-morality questionable series of vignettes, too many characters and, worst of all, no actual plot.
Please, don’t get me wrong. I love Terry Pratchett’s books, to a fault, and I feel sacrilegious writing this review after his early death.
The Long War is, however, an un-plotted bore that breaks the suspension of disbelief and has an uneven moral grounding.

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