Friday, April 17, 2009

bloody wonderful

I was about to say that I was NOT swayed by others when it comes to books, but that isn't true. I have read many of Michael Dirda's books in the hope of discovering someone I had never heard of before, nor read. Through Dirda I found Dawn Powell and countless others. But I was surprised to hear R L Stine on the radio recently talk about the author Sebastian Barry's book A Long Long Way.

My grandfather had served in World War I, and while I never met him (he died seven years before I was born), his memory and his service in France is part of the family lore. So, I promptly got a copy of Barry's book on Amazon for $1.99 and have been slowly reading it since. It's a beautifully written and simply awful book. "Simply awful" in the vivid descriptions of the horrors of the trenches and the brutality of war. It's a stunning book. I absolutely recommend it. But it's not a fast read, it's too painful for that. If you absorb it, you can't help but put it down and wince at the imagery and senselessness of it all.

Fantastic book.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Went to a quite successful used bookstore in Manassas, VA over the weekend and took in their great operation and wonderful selection. I won't name the bookstore as I have an issue with the method by which they have chosen to affix the price to their book. The sticker they affix to the front cover of the books comes off with pieces of the paperback front cover. This is not good. The pricing sticker is fine on hardbound books but on paperbacks? Not so much. Either bits of the cover disappear with the removal or a sticky residue remain on the cover, needing additional cleaning.


but as I said, the selection was good and if one were to google "used bookstores" and "Manassas", they might quickly conclude that I am writing about McKay's.