I wound up having this book in my hands because my friend found it at an ocean cabin and we realized it had been checked out of the Providence Public Library and never returned. So I grabbed it, determined to repatriate it, and while I had it I read it. It was great. A small collection of very bleak stories about gender and salvation and poverty taking place in the rural south. Poignant and raw without being overly shocking or ... I don’t know, in your face? I have a hard time with stories that are filled with graphic sex and violence and while these stories are often about such things, they are rarely spelling it all our for you, preferring instead to imply what others might write down. I like that choice and I loved this book of stories, but I’m still returning it to the library.
I got a phone call from the guy who is making this graphic novel into a screenplay soon to be a major motion picture, we hope. I had heard a lot about it and hadn’t read it, so I ILLed it from my local library, expecting great things. And while I am still looking forward to the movie, I can’t say as I enjoyed the comic. The story is great, but the illustration is computer-generated which just isn’t my taste. There’s also a metanarrative running through the entire story that I found sort of confusing and distracting. Plus the type is SMALL and while this has never been a problem for me in any other graphic novel, it was a problem here. So the book gets returned to the library, unread.
Sassaman has combed the pages of his local paper for a decade and assembled a great curated collection of small town police activities and a reflection of the small town itself. Anyone who lives in a small town will recognize the combination of community management and occasional crime-solving that make up the job of a rural police department. Sassaman has picked out the good stuff and arranged and organized it to highlight patterns and trends that he then comments on. A fun collection, especially for people who have been to Bar Harbor or any other small vacation town.
A really interesting book grabbed from a booksale shelf because it looked quirky. This book starts off telling the tale of an Amherst MA librarian’s quest to buy an unpublished Emily Dickinson poem. Along the way he discovers that the poem is a forgery and not just a forgery but a creation of one of this century’s greatest forgers, Mark Hoffman, the man responsible for creating hundreds if not thousands of documents creating a false history of the Mormon church, a man now in jail for murder. Worrall does a really good job of telling the story without being too precious or twee. There is a lot of good research and interviews with key players. While I think Worrall does seem to have a bit of a distaste for the Mormon church and personal sense of “This is how it went down” that I think colors the story more than it might be with a “just the facts ma’am” approach (concerning Hoffman, Dickinson, people’s feelings about the whole situation after the fact), it remains mostly very readable and a real page turned.