Wednesday, December 26, 2012


This may go far to explain why I was too impatient to sort out the Christmas lights... I was busy, dammit!

"Life Is A Gift, the Zen of Tony Bennet" by Tony Bennett  Harper (books)  250 pages   $28.99

The "zen" of this book are little talking points that follow each chapter.  That isn't too "zen-y" to me, but ...  Bennet thanks and praises everyone he apparently met in his long career (he wrote this book at age 86.)   If he's not lying, he is one of the more modest entertainers ever.  Everyone sang better than he did!

As he's able to sing and/or paint every day, he remarks that he doesn't feel he's worked a day in his life. 

"Creole Belle" by James Lee Burke   Simon & Schuster   528 pages (one of his longer books)   $27.99

Burke has started to go south on my reading pleasure of his works.  His villains are always deformed in notable ways.  Tiring.  This book does have fewer weather/landscape details, but 'way too much WW2 history.  Burke will be in the middle of an action scene -- and interrupt himself to pass on Words of Wisdom in the form of comments on wars, quotes from famous warriors.  Tedious.  Still, his magic can prevail.  He described a shot and a beer back so eloquently that for a second, I wanted to try one.  But if an editor takes out all of his "like a" and "as a" in similes, his writing career is finished.   

"Hotels, Hospitals and Jails" by Anthony Swofford   12 (press)  276 pages   $26.99

This is a son's account of his no-account, martinet of a father and their last attempts to bond when they are both well into adulthood.  Swofford remarks that he thought a road trip in Dad's RV would do it, but it took three different trips to come to an understanding. 

Swofford is amusing enough (lots of bad language and used properly, I like that) but his diffident "Ain't I a tough guy -- with a sensitive streak, too!" is too apparent for too long.  The crux of the entire book is their explaining the other's misdeeds to the do-er.  Both are stubborn, both are determined to win.  In the end, death does. 

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