Bel Canto

Fifteen international world-travelers attend a gala party in the presidential palace of a  South American country to hear a famous American opera singer perform. The palace is stormed by armed terrorists who hold the party-goers hostage while they negotiate with … Continue reading

Degrees of Invisibility

The first-person Invisible Man is an unnamed young black man in the 1950s who recounts his journey from the fog of unknowing to self-awareness. The story is framed in opening and closing scenes by the mature narrator, who lives in an … Continue reading

Vietnam Era Shows its Age

This novel about America after the Vietnam War must have seemed more profound and insightful in the late 70’s. Now it seems worn and clichéd. Converse, a hard-bitten foreign reporter in Saigon buys three keys of heroin and attempts to … Continue reading

Astrophysics in a Nutshell

Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s short (222 page) book on astrophysics is attractive in a 4.5 x 7.5- inch format (hardbound). Just looking at it you get the impression it would be easy and fun to read. If you have some science … Continue reading

Shadowy Characters

This little time-burner involves a young college grad in San Francisco who gets a job at an all-night bookstore that seems to have more books and shelves than New York’s Strand. Certain preferred and important customers use the store like lending … Continue reading

Holden Caulfield’s Evil Twin

Charles Bukowski is a name that often comes up in conversations among and about writers, so I decided to sample him. Ham on Rye is his quasi-autobiographical tale of a young man in Los Angeles, from abusive childhood to alienated … Continue reading

Ten Things That Don’t Work

These products and processes don’t really work, at least not as they should. Cell phones Amazingly, after a quarter-century, cell phones still do not work reliably for making simple voice calls.  I still have to move to the south side … Continue reading