Book 4 of 52: Lucky You by Carl Hiassen

About this time last year, I was reading a novel by Carl Hiaasen, the ultimate writer of Florida men, while lounging in the Florida sun. This week, I read a novel by Carl Hiassen while lying under multiple blankets on my couch in New Jersey, a state that feels like it has been stuck on permanent gray for the last six weeks. This photo, which I took in my bathroom, matches the general vibe (though after telling myself I wasn’t making my annual trek south this year, I cracked. Expect a Florida-themed photo on this site next month). This time around, the Hiaasen book of choice is Lucky You, a 1997 novel about two people who win the lottery. One is JoLayne Lucks, an animal lover who plans to use a portion of her winnings to buy and preserve a plot of undeveloped land so it won’t be paved over. The other is Bode, an asshole who wants to use the money to fund a white nationalist militia. They each had a ticket for one $28 million jackpot, but Bode, being an asshole, gets greedy and decides $14 million isn’t enough. He has his equally assholish friend Chub (they go by first names here because they’re “cool” i.e. “dicks”) beat up JoLayne, steal her ticket, and plan to claim the whole prize. This is all set against the backdrop of a fictional town called Grange, whose biggest tourist draw is a panoply of faked religious sights, including a Virgin Mary…

Read More

Friday Folio: January 27, 2023

I’m trying out a new feature on the blog, where I wrap up some book world news on Fridays. We’ll see if this works!  So here’s some news. Spare by Prince Harry has become the fastest selling non-fiction book of all time, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. I imagine I’ll read it at some point, probably listen to the audiobook version as I did with other royal-related books, including Book 26 of 2022, The Palace Papers by Tina Brown. I’ve read bits…

Read More

Book 3 of 52: Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit & Glamour of an Icon by Kate Andersen Brower

How about some glamour, darlings? Then let’s dive into Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit & Glamour of an Icon by Kate Andersen Brower. This new book is the third biography I’ve read of Taylor. Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the Marriage of the Century by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger is a biography of Taylor and husband number five (and maybe six, depending on how you count, as they divorced and remarried then divorced again) with a focus on that relationship; and How to…

Read More

Book 2 of 52: Murder, She Wrote: The Maine Mutiny by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain

And we’re back on the Murder, She Wrote boat! Or a lobster boat, as is the case with Murder, She Wrote: The Maine Mutiny. This 2005 entry into the Murder, She Wrote literary oeuvre opens with Fletcher stuck in an abandoned lobster boat with a dead body. She doesn’t remember how she got there, thanks to someone (she assumes the person who did the murdering) hitting her on the head. That’s the middle of this story, which then jumps back to what lead to be…

Read More

Book 1 of 52: The Winter Guest by Pam Jenoff

Happy New Year! With the turning of the calendar starts a new year of book reviews. Writing this blog last year was a joy, and a much needed kick in the pants to get me to think about writing for writing’s sake — and not writing just stuff I was being paid for (though I do have a tip jar, and I get a cut if you order any books from the links, just putting that out there!) So here I am again, ready to…

Read More

Book 37 of 52: Streets of Gold: America’s Untold Story of Immigrant Success by Ran Abramitzky and Leah Boustan

I read Streets of Gold: America's Untold Story of Immigrant Success by Ran Abramitzky and Leah Boustan for work, so I'm not going to go too...
Read More

Book 36 of 52: Murder, She Wrote: A Question of Murder by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain

In January, on my way to Key West, I stopped at Connie's Bookshelf, a wonderful used bookstore in Daytona Beach Shores. I picked up an...
Read More

Book 35 of 52: Where the Deer and the Antelope Play by Nick Offerman

I have so many thoughts about Where the Deer and the Antelope Play by Nick Offerman that I'm going to number them. 1. It's not...
Read More

Book 34 of 52: Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

My plan to go back to Italy in 2023 or 2024 proceeds, as does reading books about Italy. So Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes...
Read More

Book 33 of 52: The Blue Diamond by Leonard Goldberg

How many more stories can we wring out of Sherlock Holmes & Co? Quite a few, it turns out. The Blue Diamond is the latest...
Read More

Book 32 of 52: Flying Solo by Linda Holmes

I'm a subscriber to a local weekly newspaper, and I always make sure to read the death notices. I'm nosey, but I also look to...
Read More