Friday, August 6, 2010

Summer Reading

The Night Editor has picked up and moved from Washington, DC to the sunny shores of New Jersey. Never fear, however, the world is as dark as ever from where I'm sitting. Herein is a look at some of the reading I've been doing lately (some new, some old), all of which I highly recommend:

1. One Too Many Blows to the Head- JB Kohl and Eric Beetner-This is pure pulp from two writers who know how to work over a reader. Set in the underbelly of the thirties-era Kansas City boxing world, it's compulsive hardboiled reading--stylish and violent, yet sensitive to the nuances of character.

2. "Old Boys, Old Girls"-Edward P. Jones-I first came across this story in an Otto Penzler collection called Black Noir. The book is a superb compilation of stories by great crime writers like Walter Mosley and Chester Himes, but the shining jewel in the collection is the story of an ex-con named Caesar Matthews trying to deal with the fallout of his life after prison. The story is, by my lights, a perfectly constructed piece of short fiction. It seems to fit an entire world into a few pages. The author, Edward P. Jones, is one of the best writers working today. You can find the story in his collection All Aunt Hagar's Children. You can also read it online here.

3. Phoenix Nightlife-Jason Duke-If you've never checked out the site Crimewav to hear pulp authors read their work, then you should give it a try right now while they're rolling out a four part work by writer Jason Duke. This guy writes like the world is on fire; we're all gonna burn, but Duke is going to expunge a few demons before he's engulfed in flames.

4. Under the Banner of Heaven-Jon Krakuer-I've read this book three times now, and part of the reason I love it so much is the deft way Krakuer blends the story of two fundamentalist Mormon brothers accused of murdering their sister-in-law with a history of the Mormon church in America. No matter what feelings you have about Mormonism, or religion in general, this is a fascinating mix of true crime and history lesson.

Any suggestions for further summer reading?

1 comment:

Laurie Powers said...

I don't have any further suggestions, but thanks for the reminder about the Krakauer book. I've always loved his writing and missed this one when it first came out.