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Showing posts from March, 2018

Book Review: "The Ice Harvest" by Scott Phillips (2000)

I like to read and write noir/crime fiction, so years ago a buddy of mine recommended I watch the movie The Ice Harvest (2005) with John Cusak and Billy Bob Thornton. It was so long ago I can't even remember what I thought of the movie (which probably means it sucked). Anyway, I was in the used bookstore the other day and found a copy of the book so I figured what the heck.

This book is such amateurish garbage, I don't even understand how it got published in the first place. Frankly, it reads like some of my first attempts at fiction: the characters go from place to place having meaningless conversations and not really accomplishing anything, and then by the time something starts to "happen" the book is over. This book is divided into Parts I & II (evenly) and the entire Part I is unnecessary.

I'm not going to say it's not at least somewhat fun to read about characters getting drunk and going from bar to bar, acting like idiots on Christmas eve in suburb…

Book Review: "Mr. Mercedes" by Stephen King (2014)

I'm not the biggest Stephen King fan (not an SK hater either, mind you), but I heard him talking about this book on NPR one morning last fall, around the time of the TV mini-series debut, and decided to check it out. What I liked was the idea that the book is a crime story and has nothing to do with the supernatural, something I'm not a huge fan of in fiction.

In an age in which there seems to be some kind of mass killing every other week in the actual news, one can't help but be sort of mesmerized into buying a book -- by perhaps the world's greatest living genre fiction writer -- in which a man drives a Mercedes into a crowd of job-seekers at a job-fair and gets away with it, only to be hunted by a detective who comes out of retirement to chase him.

In typical Stephen King style, the book takes a wide-angle view on things. It's 500 pages where it probably could have been 200. There are, say eight characters where there probably could have been five, etc. But I s…

Saying Goodbye to The Wellington (from afar)

My favorite bar in Indianapolis -- and probably my favorite bar ever -- The Wellington, closed it's doors forever yesterday. I found out via a text message from my good friend Chris on Tuesday. I hoped I would have enough time to go back to Indy and have one last pint in The Wellington's cozy, wood-paneled interior, and commune one last time with the bar that was like a second home to my friends and I during grad school, but there was not enough time. As it is with certain people who leave us too soon: I never got to say goodbye.

It bothers me that I'll never know exactly when I had my last drink at The Wellington, but it was probably during the summer of 2016, my last summer in Indy. By then The Welly had become like an old reliable friend that you've stopped hanging out with regularly but whom you still go out of your way to visit. The days when I could show up at the bar and reliably find one or two of my friends there, or a familiar regular, or someone I knew behi…