JOHN O’HARA: STORIES Edited by Charles McGrath

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“John O’Hara had three great themes: class, sex, and drinking,” Charles McGrath writes in his Introduction. Yes, I have most these stories in other John O’Hara collections, but I couldn’t resist this Library of America volume. It’s 860 pages of great writing! I consider John O’Hara one of the great short story writers of the 20th Century (his novels are more problematic). The 60 short stories in this book cover a broad range of American Life in the middle decades of the past century. I like what what Gay Telese said about John O’Hara: “He gave people like me a sense of a larger America. He got inside the political back rooms and the parlors and told us what Americans said, how they lived, the details of the clothing, the shoes, the cars.” If you’re looking for a collection of short stories by a master story-teller, John O’Hara: Stories delivers. Do you have a favorite John O’Hara story? GRADE: A
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
On His Hands
Early Afternoon
It Must Have Been Spring
Over the River and Through the Wood
The Doctor’s Son
Price’s Always Open
Are We Leaving Tomorrow?
The Cold House
Trouble in 1949
Do You Like It Here?
Too Young
Bread Alone
The King of the Desert
Summer’s Day
Graven Image
The Next-to-Last Dance of the Season
The Pretty Daughters
Common Sense Should Tell You
Ellie
The Moccasins
A Phase of Life
Time to Go
Encounter: 1943
The Heart of Lee W. Lee
The War
The Time Element
Family Evening
Requiescat
Imagine Kissing Pete
Call Me, Call Me
Mrs. Stratton of Oak Knoll
You Can Always Tell Newark
In the Silence
Winter Dance
Appearances
Your Fah Neefah Neeface
Justice
The Lesson
Pat Collins
Agatha
Exterior: with Figure
The Flatted Saxophone
The Man on the Tractor
At the Window
The Answer Depends
Can I Stay Here?
I Spend My Days in Longing
I Can’t Thank You Enough
In the Mist
Afternoon Waltz
The Assistant
Fatimas and Kisses
Natica Jackson
How Old, How Young
The Farmer
We’ll Have Fun
The Sun Room
A Man To Be Trusted
The Journey to Mount Clemens
Christmas Poem

THE HOLLOW CROWN: THE WARS OF THE ROSES [Blu-ray]

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The Hollow Crown includes Henry IV: Part I, Henry IV: Part II, and Richard III. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugh Bonneville, Judi Dench, Michael Gambon, Sally Hawkins, Sophie Okonedo, and Tom Sturridge, these adaptations of three of Shakespeare’s best plays are a delight to watch. Special features include: deleted scenes and “The Making of The Hollow Crown. This package holds 6 hours and 19 minutes of pure drama. If you love Shakespeare, you’ll love these performances! Do you have a favorite Shakespeare play? GRADE: A

HILLARY VS. TRUMP: THE FIRST DEBATE

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Will Trump have Gennifer Flowers seated in the first row next to Mark Cuban? Will Hillary be too wonky> Will Trump melt down? With the Debate turn into a yawner? I’ll be watching some of the Debate tonight, but I’ll be flipping over to Monday Night Football, too. Tomorrow morning, I’ll check with Morning Joe on MSNBC to see who the Chattering Classes think won the Debate. Will you be watching? What do you think will happen?

ARIZONA CARDINALS VS. BUFFALO BILLS

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The Good News is that the Cardinals haven’t beaten the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo in 45 years. The Bad News is the Bills are a disappointing 0-2 and 4 1/2 point underdogs in this game. After the Thursday Night Football debacle, the Bills management fired Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman. Most Bills fans think the Roman firing was a simple case of scapegoating. This is a team with a lot of problems. Speaking of problems, the Buffalo Bills travel to New England to take on the Patriots next week! Yikes! How is your favorite NFL team going to perform today?

AN EVENING WITH BRIAN MCKNIGHT

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I’m a big fan of soulful music so I was eager to hear Brian McKnight’s new music CD recorded live in January 2016 at Los Angeles’ historic Saban Theatre . Brian McKnight sings about love and loss and hope. I find his music compelling and honest. If Brian McKnight was singing in the Sixties, he’d be on Motown Records. If you’re in the mood for some mellow music, I recommend An Evening With Brian McKnight. Take a listen below. GRADE: B+
TRACK LIST:
1. Find Myself in You 7:39
2 Used to Be My Girl 2:58
3 Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda 3:14
4 The Only One for Me 7:16
5 My Kind of Girl 2:43
6 Crazy Love 6:57
7 6,8,12 5:44
8 On the Down Low 4:15
9 The Rest of My Life 2:51
10 One Last Cry 3:09
11 Anytime 5:56
12 Back at One 3:45
13 Fall 5.0 5:16
14 Still 5:27
15 Everything 3:23
16 Forever 3:41
17 Brothers in the End 3:30

FORGOTTEN BOOKS #390: EARLY DAYS: MORE TALES FROM THE PULP ERA By Robert Silverberg

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Back in 2006, Subterranean Press (one of my favorite small press publishers) brought out In the Beginning: Tales From the Pulp Era by Science Fiction writer Robert Silverberg. Silverberg wrote a ton of SF back in the 1950s and Subterranean decided to collect some of it. Now, Subterranean Press has just published a companion volume, Early Days, with more stories from Robert Silverberg’s early writings. Granted, Silverberg developed into a marvelous writer in the next decade. But these stories from the 1950s show his talent and his affection for the genre. I enjoyed this nostalgic trip back to my younger days when I first read these stories with delight!
TALBE OF CONTENTS:
Introduction
The Inquisitor
The Ultimate Weapon
Harwood’s Vortex
Quick Freeze
Six Frightened Men
Puppets Without Strings
A Time For Revenge
Housemaid No. 103
Rescue Mission
Planet of Parasites
Slaves of the Tree
Frontier Planet
The Aliens Were Haters
The Traders
Waters of Forgetfulness
You Do Something to Me
There’s No Place Like Space!

SURRENDER, NEW YORK By Caleb Carr

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Ever feel like flinging a book across the room? I had that sensation a few times while reading Caleb Carr’s new novel, Surrender, New York. A couple of State University of New York (SUNY) professors (like me) investigate a series of deaths of “throwaway” children. A “throwaway” child is a child whose parents have moved away and abandoned them. Carr’s narrator, criminal psychologist Trajan Jones, formerly of the New York City Police Department, now lives in a upstate town. Dr. Jones has a sidekick named Mike Li. Together, they teach online courses for SUNY and help the local police when they’re stumped.

Carr loves excess in Surrender, New York. Dr. Jones has a pet. No, not a dog or cat or fish. It’s a cheetah! Dr. Jones has an office. No, it does not look like a Dilbert cubical, it’s a World War II German airplane! The plot is compelling, but the over-the-top aspects of this book really mount up over its 600+ pages! If your tolerance level for annoying excesses is high, then I’d recommend Surrender, New York. If not, skip it. GRADE: C+

THE ELEMENTS OF PIZZA: UNLOCKING THE SECRETS TO WORLD-CLASS PIES AT HOME By Ken Forkish

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I love pizza and although Western New York has plenty of great pizzerias, I occasionally like to make pizza at home. The Elements of Pizza shows how to make great pizza in the comfort of your home. Ken Forkish shares the secrets of great crust. He enthusiastically develops great pizza recipes. And this book is full of mouth-watering photos of the world-class pizzas you could make, too. I plan to make the Pepperoni, Mushroom, and Onion Pizza this weekend! What’s your favorite pizza?
TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1 Introduction

11 CHAPTER 1 THE SOUL OF PIZZA

39 CHAPTER 2 PIZZA STYLES

51 CHAPTER 3 EIGHT DETAILS FOR GREAT PIZZA CRUST

61 CHAPTER 4 INGREDIENTS AND EQUIPMENT

83 CHAPTER 5 METHODS

103 CHAPTER 6 PIZZA DOUGH RECIPES

SATURDAY DOUGHS
108 Saturday Pizza Dough
110 “I Slept in but I Want Pizza Tonight” Dough
112 Single Dough Ball
114 Enzo’s Pizza Dough
116 Saturday Pan Pizza Dough

REFRIGERATED LONG DOUGHS
118 24- to 48-Hour Pizza Dough
120 48- to 72-Hour Biga Pizza Dough
124 48- to 72-Hour New York Pizza Dough

NATURALLY LEAVENED DOUGHS
127 Wild Yeast (Levain) Culture
130 Overnight Levain Pizza Dough

SPECIALTY DOUGHS
134 Al Taglio Pizza Dough
136 Bar Pizza Dough
138 Gluten-Free Pizza Dough

141 CHAPTER 7 PIZZA RECIPES

SAUCES
145 Basic Tomato Sauce, Two Ways
146 FWSY Sauce
147 Vodka Sauce
148 New York Pizza Sauce

ITALIAN & ITALIAN-INSPIRED
150 Pizza Marinara
153 Pizza Margherita
156 The Ferdinando
158 Pomodoro Royale (with Cheese)
161 Prosciutto and Bufala
163 Mortadella and Pistachio Pizza
166 Zucchini Blossom Pizza
168 River Po Pizza
171 Carbonara Pizza
173 Pizza Bianca and Pizza Rossa

NEW YORK & NEW YORK–INSPIRED
175 New York Cheese Pizza
177 Simple Tomato Pie
181 Meatball Pizza
183 A.J.’s Pie
184 Vodka Sauce and Sausage Pizza
187 Brooklyn Hot Honey Pie
189 Pepperoni, Mushroom, and Onion Pizza
192 Grandma Pie
195 Adam Kuban’s “Love Supreme” Bar Pizza

KEN’S ARTISAN PIZZA CLASSICS
197 Margherita and Arugula, Two Ways
200 Arrabiata Pizza
202 Prosciutto Pizza
204 Fennel Sausage and Onion Pizza
206 Spring Onion Pizza

TRIFECTA FLATBREADS
209 Oregon Basil Pesto and Burrata Flatbread
211 Tarte Flambée
214 Nettle Pesto Flatbread With Morel Mushrooms

VEGETABLES & JUST BECAUSE
217 The White Owl
221 Escarole Pizza
223 Delicata Squash Pizza
225 Butternut Squash Pizza
227 Artichoke and Bacon Pizza
230 Chanterelle and Garlic Pizza
233 The Tommy Habetz Pizza
235 The Pie Hole Skillet Pizza
237 Hawaiian Pizza
240 Raclette Pizza

242 Measurement Conversion Charts

EQUITY

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There aren’t very many good movies about business, but Equity is one of them. Anna Gunn plays an investment banker launching an Initial Public Offering (IPO) that will make or break her career. Very high stress. Directed by Meera Menon and written by Amy Fox, Equity shows the duplicity and backstabbing that can occur when millions of dollars are at stake. James Purefoy plays Michaal O’Connor, Gunn’s lover and possible competitor. Sarah Megan Thomas is convincing as Gunn’s Girl Friday. Alysia Reiner steals every scene she’s in as Samantha, an SEC investigator who yearns to bust some hedge-fund billionaires. I really liked the Machiavellian plot and all of the realism of the characters’ decisions. If you’re a fan of business skulduggery, Equity delivers. GRADE: B+

BOUCHERCON 2016: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY

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George Kelley, Diane Kelley, Jeff Meyerson, Bill Crider, Deb Pfeifer, and Jackie Meyerson
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Jeff Smith, Janet Rudolph, Beth Fedyn, Joe Danger, Jackie Meyerson, and Kate Derie
bouchercon-oldies
Diane Kelley, Marv Lachman, George Kelley, and Art Scott
THE GOOD:
1. Meeting Deb and her husband, John. What a fun couple!
2. Free Books! Lots of them!
3. A decent Dealers’ Room. Good, but not great.
4. Loved the panel featuring Bill Crider, Joe Lansdale, Lawrence Block, S. J. Rozen, and Catherine Coulter.
5. Enjoyed seeing everyone who missed the Albany BOUCHERCON! And Raleigh!
6. Getting a tour of the Tammany Morgue by our niece who is a CSI agent for the Coroner’s Office. I saw a dead body they were about to autopsy!

THE BAD:
1. Heat, humidity, and torrential rain.
2. The faucet in the bathtub in our room at the Marriott leaked. I complained and the Front Desk sent an “engineer” to fix it. It continued to leak all during our stay. What a waste of water!

THE UGLY
1. Southwest Airlines sent us from New Orleans to Orlando, FL. Then there was a “mechanical” problem. Delay. Then Southwest decided to fly us to Buffalo on a “different” plane. But the plane had to fly in from Aruba. More delay. We left the Marriott at 11:30 A.M. and finally arrived home at 10:00 P.M. Not fun!