F. Paul Wilson’s The Tomb (1984, revised edition 2004) introduces a character who lives “off the grid.” Jack has no Social Security number, doesn’t pay income taxes, or deals with the Government. Jack reminds me of an extreme form John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee (a “salvage expert”) because he is hired to deal with problems and “fix” them privately.

F. Paul Wilson has a sense of humor because he has Jack’s friend (and armorer), Abe, display a neon sign that reads:
Of course, those lines come from A. E. Van Vogt’s Science Fiction classic, The Weapons Shops of Isher. In these times of Trump, those words take on an ominous aspect.

In The Tomb, Jack is hired to find a missing necklace. That leads to an investigation to find two missing sisters. And, an ancient curse with supernatural and Lovecraftean implications comes into play. F. Paul Wilson didn’t write another Repairman Jack novel for 15 years. I’ll be reviewing the entire series over the next year. Have you read any Repairman Jack novels? GRADE: B+
The Tomb (1984)
Legacies (1998)
Conspiracies (1999)
All the Rage (2000)
Hosts (Oct 12, 2001)
The Haunted Air (Oct 18, 2002)
Gateways (Nov 1, 2003)
Crisscross (Oct 7, 2004)
Infernal (Oct 20, 2005)
Harbingers (Sep 19, 2006)
Bloodline (Sep 18, 2007)
By the Sword (Oct 14, 2008)
Ground Zero (Sep 15, 2009)
Fatal Error (Oct 12, 2010)
Dark at the End (Oct 11, 2011)
Nightworld (1992 – Extensively revised edition: May 22, 2012)

Secret Histories (May 27, 2008)
Secret Circles (Feb 2, 2010)
Secret Vengeance (Feb 1, 2011)

Cold City (Nov 27, 2012)
Dark City (Oct 15, 2013)
Fear City (Nov 11, 2014)


I’ve always enjoyed Gloria Estefan’s music over the decades. This bio-musical tells the story of her life and blends in plenty of dancing and singing. The touring company delivered a high-energy performance to a packed house at the Shea’s Performing Arts Center. Family problems dominate much of the plot. The struggle to get “Latin” music accepted by the mainstream record companies figures in, too! If you’re in the mood for a rollicking musical with plenty of hit songs and swirling dancers, On Your Feet! fits the bill. Do you have a favorite Gloria Estefan song? GRADE: A-
Act I
“Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” — Gloria, Company
“Cuando Salí de Cuba” — Little Gloria
“Tradición” — Little Gloria, Gloria, Company
“Anything For You” — Gloria, Rebecca
“1-2-3” — Gloria, Company
“I See Your Smile” — Gloria, Emilio, Company
“Mi Tierra” — Gloria Fajardo, Company
“Con Los Años Que Me Quedan” — Guitarristas
“Here We Are” — Gloria, Emilio, Guitarristas
“Dr. Beat” † — Company
“When Someone Comes Into Your Life” — José, Gloria
“Conga” — Gloria, Company
Act II
“Get on Your Feet” — Gloria, Company
“Live for Loving You” — Gloria, Company
“You’ll Be Mine (Party Time)” — Gloria, Company
“Oye Mi Canto” — Gloria, Company
“Cuba Libre” — Gloria, Company
“Famous” — Gloria
“If I Never Got to Tell You” ‡ — Gloria Fajardo, Emilio
“Wrapped” — Gloria, Little Gloria, José, Emilio, Company
“Don’t Wanna Lose You” — Emilio, Company
“Reach” — Company
“Coming Out of the Dark” — Gloria, Company
“Mega Mix”
“Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” — Gloria, Little Gloria, Company
“Oye” — Gloria Fajardo, Company
“Conga” — Consuelo, José, Company
“Turn the Beat Around” — Rebecca, Emilio, Company
“Everlasting Love” — Gloria, Emilio, Company
“Get on Your Feet” — Company


I’ve been trying to catch up with Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels. I really liked Child’s Make Me. You can read my review here. Night School was published in 2016 and is set in 1997 when Jack Reacher was a Major in the Military Police. Reacher finds himself sent to a “school” that in reality is a task force investigating why a U.S. citizen is selling “something” to a terrorist group for $100 million.

I enjoyed Night School but some aspects of the novel annoyed me. Jack Reacher has “hunches” and nearly every one of his hunches pay off. Reacher gets to beat up some neo-Nazis and sleep with his boss. Everything comes a little to easy for Reacher in this novel. He barely breaks a sweat. The search for the U.S. citizen is clever and compelling. The $100 million “something” was a little more challenging to figure out, but I was pretty close. I find Jack Reacher novels ideal for reading during airline flights and doctor’s appointments. Do you have a favorite Jack Reacher novel? GRADE: B


After the debacle in Charlotte last Sunday, an ugly 9-3 loss to the Panthers where neither team managed to score a touchdown, the Buffalo Bills now face an even better team in the Denver Broncos. I’m mystified by Vegas making the Broncos a mere 2 1/2 point favorite over the hapless Bills. It should be more like a 14-point spread. Bills running back has made the national news by calling Donald Trump “an asshole.” How will your favorite NFL team do today?


Columbus celebrates the uniqueness of Columbus, Indiana that possesses an extraordinary number of architectural treasures by Saarinen, Pei, Pelli, Meier, and other famed architects. That’s the Good Part. Despite the beautiful cinematography by Elisha Christian, vast stretches of Columbus are tedious and boring. One story line involves John Cho (who plays “Sulu” in the Star Trek reboots). His World Famous Architect father is in the hospital unconscious and possibly dying. The second story line features Haley Lu Richardson, a young woman trying to help her troubled mother (played by Michelle Forbes). Parker Posey is completely wasted (she mostly gets to drive around in her Cadillac SUV). Director Kogonada needs to learn that a movie is a lot different from a documentary. The elements for a good movie are all here–good cast, interesting setting–but the lack of plot and story doom this film. GRADE: C-

FORGOTTEN BOOKS #442: SWORDS & SORCERY Edited By L. Sprague de Camp

Back in 1963, Pyramid Books published Swords & Sorcery, an anthology that celebrated the then neglected sub-genre in Fantasy. L. Sprague de Camp would go on to edit three more anthologies similar to this one. Over the next few months, I’ll be featuring them as FFBs. But this first volume is my favorite with the cover and interior artwork by the great Virgil Finlay. With these four collections, L. Sprague de Camp brought wonderful Sword & Sorcery stories to a reading public eager to read such adventures. Do you have a favorite Swords & Sorcery writer? GRADE: A
Poul Anderson – The Valor of Cappen Varra
Lord Dunsany – Distressing Tale of Thargobrind the Jeweller
Robert E Howard – Shadows in the Moonlight
Henry Kuttner – The Citadel of Darkness
Fritz Leiber – When The Sea-King’s Away
C.L. Moore – Hellsgarde
H.P. Lovecraft – The Doom that came to Sarnath
Clark Ashton Smith – The Testament of Athammaus


I’m a sucker for books like Remarkable Reads. J. Peder Zane collects 34 essays by a variety of writers about the books that most affected them. I enjoyed most of the accounts of the writers about the books they chose. I predict you will want to read (or reread) many of these books after you finish the essays about them. I was surprised at the range of books surveyed in this volume. Remarkable Reads is a browser’s (and reader’s) delight! GRADE: A
Introduction: Adventures in Reading by J. Peder Zane
Bebe Moore Campbell The Most Memorable Book I Read: THE CAT IN THE HAT by Dr. Seuss
Jonathan Lethem The Loneliest Book I Read: THE HAPPY VALLEY by Eric Berne
Betty Adock The Most Enchanting Book I Read: ANDERSEN’S FAIRY TALES
Denise Gess The Most Important Book I Read: THE STRANGER by Albert Camus
Lee K. Abbott The Most Daunting Book I Read: ABSALOM, ABSALOM! by William Faulkner
Scott Weidensaul The Most Resonant Book I Read: A SAND COUNTY ALMANAC by Aldo Leopold
Frederick Busch The Most Dangerous Book I Read: THE DARING YOUNG MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE & OTHER STORIES by William Saroyan
Robert Morgan The Wisest Book I Read: DOCTOR ZHIVAGO by Boris Pasternak
Eric Wright The Classiest Book I Read: HOWARD’S END by E. M. Forster
Anthony Walton The Most Eloquent Book I Read: ROCK SPRINGS by Richard Ford
Joan Barfoot The Maddest Book I Read: THE GOLDEN NOTEBOOK by Doris Lessing
Marianne Gingher The Most Double-D-Daring Book I Read: THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM by Eudora Welty
J. Peder Zane The Most Hippest Book I Read: CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS by Sigmund Freud
Haven Kimmel The Most Familiar Book I Read: SOUTH OF THE BIG FOUR by Don Kurtz
H.W. Brands The Most Incomprehensible Book I Read: THE EDUCATION OF HENRY ADAMS by Henry Adams
Ben Marcus The Most Devastating Book I Read: THE EASTER PARADE by Richard Yates
Lydia Millet The Most Apocalyptic Book I Read: THE WAR WITH THE NEWTS by Karel Capek
Nasdijj The Saddest Book I Read: TO TAME A LAND by Louis L’Amour
Bret Lott The Most Fragile Book I Read: THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J. D. Salinger
Jill McCorkle The Most Beautiful Book I Read: SHOT IN THE HEART by Mikal Gilmore
Charles Frazier The Most Tempting Book I Read: THE TARAHUMARA by Antonin Artaud
Elizabeth Hay The Most Fearless Book I Read: 5001 NIGHTS AT THE MOVIES by Pauline Kael
Aimee Bender The Most Intuitive Book I Read: THE WIND-UP BIRD CHRONICLE by Haruki Murakami
Margot Livesey The Most Scottish Book I Read: SUNSET SONGS by Lewis Grassick Gibbon
Clyde Edgerton The Most Technically Elegant Book I Read: STICK AND RUDDER by Wolfgang Langwiesche
Peter Cameron The Queerest Book I Read: THE SCAPEGOAT by Jocelyn Brooke
Fred Chappell The Most Exotic Book I Read: THE WORM OUROBOROS by E. R. Eddison
Sven Birkerts The Most Smokin’ Book I Read: CONFESSIONS OF ZENO by Italo Svevo
Peggy Payne The Most Seductive Books I Read: LITERATURE FROM INDIA
Howard Bahr The Most Elegant Book I Read: LANTERNS ON THE LEVEE by William Alexander Percy
Peter Gay The Most Surprising Book I Read: I BEAR WITNESS: A DIARY OF THE NAZI YEARS by Victor Klemperer
Marvin Hunt The Most Disappointing Book I Read: HOTEL HONOLULU by Paul Theroux
Doris Betts The Most Unpleasant Book I Read: AMERICAN PSYCHO by Bret Easton Ellis
Lee Smith The Most Luminous Book I Read: THE LITTLE LOCKSMITH by Katharine Butler Hathaway


Usually I get my flu shot in October. But doctors are warning that the flu season is starting early this year and are urging everyone (but especially “Senior Citizens”) to get their flu shots RIGHT NOW!

For those of you over 65, you should request the “high dose vaccine” which is designed specifically for people 65 and older and contains 4 times the amount of antigen as the regular flu shot. The adjuvanted flu vaccine, Fluad, is made with MF59 adjuvant which is designed to help create a stronger immune response to vaccination if you’re older.

My flu shot cost me nothing (insurance paid 100%). Most health insurance will cover part or all of the cost of a flu shot. I got my flu shot at my neighborhood Rite-Aid. Have you gotten your flu shot yet? Do you plan to get a flu shot?


Diane loves romantic comedies so I was dragged to Home Again despite the terrible reviews (the things we do for Love). Reese Witherspoon plays a wife and mother with two cute daughters. Reese is separated from her husband (played by Michael Sheen) and trying to restart her life. She’s moved from New York City to Los Angles. She’s starting an interior decorating business. Hallie Meyers-Shyer wrote and directed this mess. Lake Bell is wasted. Candice Bergen is wasted. Reese gets to go to bed with young Pico Alexander to show us her Cougar side. No suspense, no surprises, no romance, no comedy. Avoid this turkey! GRADE: C-

WHAT HAPPENED By Hillary Rodham Clinton

Writing What Happened helped purge Hillary Clinton of her frustration and disappointment. She was supposed to win (and win Big!) while making History as the First Woman President of the United States. But, it was not to be. A series of gaffes, mistakes, and miscalculations (along with Russian hacking and Fake News) produced the unlikely Trump Presidency. After reading What Happened it’s clear that Hillary Clinton doesn’t know what happened. What do you think really happened? GRADE: B

Ch. 1: A Life in Public Service

Ch. 2: My Turn After Obama

Ch. 3: Campaign Kickoff: A Running Start (But No Visits to Wisconsin!)

Ch. 4: A Woman in the Lion’s Den (How I Bluffed Biden)

Ch. 5: A Better America or Making America Great Again?

Ch. 6: Hollywood Nights: George, Amal, Meryl and I

Ch. 7: Bill’s Baggage

Ch. 8: I Never Liked that Man, Jeffrey Epstein

Ch. 9: Things Start to Go Wrong

Ch. 10: John Podesta: Friend, Art Connoisseur, Pizza Lover

Ch. 11: Passing Out

Ch. 12: Bernie Sanders: Marxist

Ch. 13: A Strong Wall Street is a Strong America

Ch. 14: Comey Drops the Investigation

Ch. 15: We Kill Seth Rich

Ch. 16: Bleaching Emails to Protect National Security

Ch. 17: I Need to Remember to Stay Hydrated

Ch. 18: The Russian Hack Idea

Ch. 19: Donald Trump and Rape Culture

Ch. 20: How I Almost Killed Huma

Ch. 21: The Final Stretch: Fake News and Comey Returns!

Ch. 22: Our Misogynist Racist Working Class

Ch. 23: Whose Fault Was It?
The FBI, Vladimir Putin, the Obamas, the New York Times, James Comey, Huma, Suburban Women, Bernie Sanders, Julian Assange, John Podesta, Corporate Media, Misogyny, My Campaign Staff, Aspartame, Macedonia, Our Misogynist Racist Working Class, Alexandre Dumas, Facebook, Pollsters, Harambe, Meryl, El niño, Anthony Weiner, Ohio’s Department of Motor Vehicles, Twitter, Chipotle, White Supremacists, Nazis, Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy

Ch. 24: We Kill Klaus Eberwein

Ch. 25: Looking Ahead: 2020?


Author’s Note
Showing Up 3
Grit and Gratitude 17

Get Caught Trying 39
Getting Started 59
A Day in the Life 83

On Being a Woman in Politics 111
Motherhood, Wifehood, Daughterhood, Sisterhood 147
Turning Mourning into a Moment 173

Change Makers 195
Sweating the Details 217
Making History 243

Country Roads 263
Those Damn Emails 289
Trolls, Bots, Fake News, and Real Russians 325
Election Night 377
Why 391

Love and Kindness 429
Onward Together 447
Acknowledgements 465
Index 471