AUGUST SNOW By Stephen Mack Jones


August Octavio Snow, former Detroit detective, gets unjustly fired, sues the city, and wins a $12 million settlement. But, money doesn’t bring Snow happiness. He finds himself involved in a complex murder investigation that leads to the world of high finance. Yes, August Snow is a mystery, but it has elements of the Executioner, too. This is Stephen Mack Jones’s first novel. It won’t be his last. GRADE: B

CAROLE KING SINGS TAPESTRY (FATHOM EVENTS)


In July 2016, Carole King performed her iconic album Tapestry at the BST Hyde Park London to a sold-out stadium. Not only did Carole King perform her album in its entirety for the first time in concert, King also treated the 65,000 plus fans in attendance to a number of classic Goffin/King compositions and an energetic performance of “I Feel The Earth Move” with Cassidy Janson and the London cast of Beautiful The Carole King Musical. DJ Scott Shannon introduces the program and there’s a special interview with Carole King included. Check your local Regal Theaters because this event happens tonight! Diane and I have our tickets! How about you? What’s your favorite Carole King song?
SET LIST:
1. I Feel the Earth Move
2. So Far Away
3. It’s Too Late
4. Home Again
5. Beautiful
6. Way Over Yonder
7. You’ve Got a Friend
8. Where You Lead (with Louise Goffin)
9. Will You Love Me Tomorrow? (with Louise Goffin)
10. Smackwater Jack (with Louise Goffin)
11. Tapestry
12. (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
Other Hits
13. Take Good Care of My Baby / It Might As Well Rain Until September (without band)
14. Go Away Little Girl / I’m Into Something Good / One Fine Day
(without band)
15. Some Kind of Wonderful
16. Hey Girl
17. Chains
18. Jazzman
Encore:
19. Up on the Roof
20. The Loco-Motion
21. I Feel the Earth Move
Encore 2:
22. You’ve Got a Friend

SUBMISSION By Michel Houellebecq


Submission was a controversial Best Seller in France in 2015. Michel Houellebecq writes about the growing Muslim influence on French society. His narrator, a college professor in the Literature Department, finds himself “retired” when a Muslim faction takes over the French education system. Polygamy becomes standard. Houellebecq’s story of France slipping into an Islamic culture generated plenty of debate a couple years ago. You can’t read Submission without coming away pondering the issues it raises. GRADE: B+

MORE ALIVE AND LESS LONELY: ON BOOKS & WRITERS By Jonathan Lethem


I’m a big fan of Jonathan Lethem’s book reviews and articles. More Alive and Less Lonely collects dozens of great pieces. My favorites are the articles on Philip K. Dick. I wanted to drop everything and reread some PKD! You’ll come away from with book with a list of books you’ll want to read. The articles and reviews range from recent books to classics. You’ll have an irresistible impulse to read Kafka’s THE CASTLE (I know I did!). Just check out the Table of Contents so see the depth of this author’s interests. GRADE: A
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
I. Engulf and devour —
The loneliest book I’ve read —
Footnote on Sylvie Selig —
Engulf and devour —
The figure in the castle —
The greatest animal novelist of all time —
The counter-Roth —
II. It can still take me there —
The only human superhero —
Forget this introduction —
What’s old is new (NYRB) —
To catch a beat —
Footnote —
III. Objects in furious motion —
Fierce attachments —
Attention drifting beautifully (Donald Barthelme) —
Rock of ages —
My hero: Karl Ove Knausgaard —
A new life (Malamud) —
A mug’s game —
Steven Millhauser’s ghost stories —
IV. Lost worlds —
The mechanics of fear, revisited —
On the Yard —
Walter Tevis’s Mockingbird —
Everything said and exhausted (Daniel Fuchs) —
How did I get here and what could it possibly mean? (Bernard Wolfe) —
‘Twas ever thus (Tanguy Viel’s Beyond Suspicion) —
Russell Greenan’s Geniuses —
V. Ecstatic depictions of consciousness —
Consumed —
Dog soldiers —
Bizarro world —
On two sentences from Charles D’Ambrosio’s “Screenwriter” —
Remarks perhaps of some assistance to the reader of Joseph McElroy’s Ancient history: a paraphase —
VI. Thomas Berger and I have never met (Ishiguro, Berger and PKD) —
Kazuo Ishiguro —
The butler did it —
Footnote on Ishiguro —
High priest of the paranoids —
The man whose teeth were all exactly alike —
To Ubik —
Life after wartime —
Thomas Berger —
Letters from the invisible man: my correspondence with Thomas Berger —
Footnote on Berger —
VII. OK you mugs —
Heavy petting —
More than night —
You talkin’ to me? —
New York characters —
Lost and found —
The original piece of wood I left in your head: a conversation between director Spike Jonze and critic Perkus Tooth —
Johnny’s graying teenaged sense of what isn’t boring (Da Capo Best Music Writing 2002) —
Close reading (Ricks on Dylan) —
Rod Serling —
Mutual seduction —
VIII. Fan mail —
Carved in need —
New old friend (a toast to Kenneth Koch) —
Eyes wide open —
Something about a slice —
Pynchonopolis —
To Cosmicomics —
Anthony Burgess answers two questions —
A furtive exchange —
Books are sandwiches.

SPIDERMAN: HOMECOMING


Spiderman: Homecoming returns to the roots of the Spiderman saga with the casting of Tom Holland who actually looks like he’s 15 years old. Much of the story takes place in Peter Parker’s High School in NYC. Michael Keaton plays a complicated Bad Guy called the Vulture (a bow to Keaton’s role in BIRDMAN) who deals in alien technology and weapons. Robert Downey, Jr. shows up as Tony Stark and IRON MAN. So does Chris Evans as Captain America in some humorous bits (be sure you stay for all the credits!).

However, my favorite character in this Spiderman movie is “Karen” voiced by Jennifer Connelly. I can’t wait for the next Spiderman movie! Great Summer fun! GRADE: A-

FORGOTTEN BOOKS #431: MISKATONIC UNIVERSITY Edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Robert Greenberg


Miskatonic University is H. P. Lovecraft’s home for the Necronomicon and other occult books. Miskatonic University is located in Lovecraft’s Arkham, Massachusetts where weird things happen all the time. This collection of original stories runs the gamut of faux-Lovecraftean creepiness. In addition, check out the cool Miskatonic University shirt that is tempting me below. Wouldn’t it be perfect for my appearance at the World Fantasy Convention in San Antonio in November?
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
9 · A Letter from the President to Incoming Students · Stefan Dziemianowicz · pr *
15 · Kali Yuga Comes · Tina L. Jens · nv *
57 · Teachers · Mort Castle · ss *
75 · Her Misbegotten Son · Alan Rodgers · na *
145 · Scavenger Hunt · Brad Linaweaver · ss *
153 · Black Celebration · Jay Bonansinga · ss *
167 · To Be as They · Stephen Mark Rainey · nv *
189 · Second Movement · Benjamin Adams · nv *
211 · A Dreaming of Dead Poets · Jane M. Lindskold · nv *
233 · Mandelbrot Moldrot · Lois H. Gresh · nv *
255 · The Smile of a Mime · Billie Sue Mosiman · ss *
271 · The Sothis Radiant · Will Murray · nv *
301 · The Play’s the Thing · Christie Golden · nv *
323 · Ghoulmaster · Brian McNaughton · nv *

CHEMISTRY By Weike Wang


Weike Wang earned a degree in chemistry at Harvard so she knows what she’s talking about when she writes this angst-ridden novel about a doctoral student who is stressed out by the pressures of academia. She is frustrated by the lack of progress in her research. She is frustrated by her relations with her parents who have high expectations. And, she is dealing with the marriage proposal of her roommate, Eric. Should she marry Eric…or not. Chemistry is Weike Wang’s first novel. Her next novel will be better. GRADE: B-

AL FRANKEN, GIANT OF THE SENATE By Al Franken


I read Al Franken, Giant of the Senate chiefly for the chapter on Ted Cruz. Everyone in the Senate hates Ted Cruz, but Franken is less hateful than most. I was never a big Al Franken fan when he performed on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. And, I was surprised as most people were when Franken won his Senate seat in Minnesota. Yet, the cliche that people grow into the job happens to be apt in the case of Al Franken in the Senate. Recently, he asked Jeff Sessions during his hearing about Sessions’s involvement with Russians. Of course, Sessions lied under oath. But it was a key moment in what could be the unraveling of the Trump Administration. If you’re looking for a breezy political biography, I recommend Al Franken, Giant of the Senate. It has humor, wit, and a lot of insight into life in the U.S. Senate. GRADE: B+
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Foreword
1 Why I’m a Democrat 5 (5)
2 How I Became a Comedian 10 (11)
3 Saturday Night Live (Not the Drug Part) 21 (9)
4 Saturday Night Live (The Drug Part) 30 (9)
5 Saturday Night Live (The Part Where I Leave) 39 (7)
6 Paul 46 (5)
7 A 99 Percent Improvement 51 (12)
8 Year of the Bean Feed 63 (12)
9 The DeHumorizer™ 75 (11)
10 I Attempt to Litigate Comedy 86 (5)
11 Hermann the German and the Pull-Out Couch 91 (7)
12 No Joke 98 (2)
13 Harry and Chuck 100 (9)
14 Icarus Soars 109 (5)
15 Twixt Cup and Lip 114 (5)
16 Public Opprobrium 119 (17)
17 My First Powwow 136 (9)
18 Tax-Dodging, Rape-Joking Pornographer for Senate 145 (7)
19 Franni Saves the Campaign 152 (8)
20 “Has It Gotten That Bad?!” 160 (8)
21 “It’s Close, It’s Very Close” 168 (4)
22 The Recount 172 (10)
23 Welcome to the NFL 182 (4)
24 I Actually Become a Senator 186 (4)
25 My First Big Win* 190 (6)
26 What Gets Me out of Bed in the Morning 196 (3)
27 The Case of Perry Mason’s Lost Case 199 (4)
28 The Angel and the Devil 203 (9)
29 Never Give the Staff Credit 212 (7)
30 Letting My Id Run Amok 219 (10)
31 I Screw Up 229 (6)
32 Operation Curdle 235 (12)
33 Health Care: Now What? 247 (20)
34 I Meet George W. Bush 267 (4)
35 The 64 Percent Rule 271 (12)
36 My Republican Friends 283 (10)
37 Sophistry 293 (15)
38 Bulletproof 308 (6)
39 Cracks in My Soul 314 (15)
40 The Koch Brothers Hate Your Grandchildren 329 (6)
41 No Whining on the Yacht 335 (9)
42 I Win Awards 344 (5)
43 We Build a DeHumorizer™ 349 (10)
44 I Get Reelected 359 (8)
45 Lies and the Lying Liar Who Got Himself Elected President 367 (9)
46 I Attend a Presidential Inauguration 376 (10)
47 Being as Good as the People We Serve 386 (7)
Acknowledgments 393 (4)
Index 397