Misfortune

February 23, 2008

Author: Wesley Stace
Copyright: 2005
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Started: 2/23/08
Completed: 3/4/08

This is another by Wesley Stace, whose By George I enjoyed so much recently. That book, his second, was good enough that I wanted to try this one, his first. It was worth it. This is quite a book. It seems influenced by the work of Charles Dickens, but takes turns within 19th Century society that Dickens would never have followed.

Author: Ken Hodgson
Copyright: 2007
Publisher: Thomson|Gale

Started: 2/19/08
Completed: 2/22/08

I will always admit that I sometimes choose books based on their covers. This book’s title stood out. There as also the book jacket blurb that said that this is “the most demented writer this side of Carl Hiaasen.” I like demented writers.

After reading this novel, I will say that it is not a part of his most demented work, but has a nice taste of absurdity mixed into a sad view of life in the depression-era west. This is a story set in a dying western mining town that sees a brief resurgence in the depths of the depression when a con artist tries to generate a mining-stock scam. It boasts good charaters, a hint of comedy and a sad,sweet story. A pleasant read.

By George

February 10, 2008

Author: Wesley Stace
Copyright: 2007
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Started: 2/10/08
Completed: 2/19/08

I didn’t know much about this novel going in. It appealed to me on the shelf as different. According to the jacket, it is the story of a ventriloquist’s dummy, as told by that dummy. That seemed worth a look.

It turned out to be a wonderful novel about several generations of a British show-business family. The dummy, George, carries part of the story. The rest is the story of a young man, also named George, who is the grandson of the dummy’s ventriloquist.

The author, Wesley Stace, is also a singer/songwriter who performs as John Wesley Harding. This is his second novel. I enjoyed it so much that I have grabbed the first novel from the library and added it to my reading pile.

Author: David Cordingly
Copyright: 2007
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Started: 2/2/08
Completed: 2/10/08

I am a great fan of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series, which follows the career of a fictional British Naval Captain during the Napoleanic wars. That Captain, Jack Aubrey, was based on the real British Naval hero Thomas Cochrane. As was Horatio Hornblower, lead character in a series of novels that captured my imagination as a youngster.

In this book, Mr. Cordingly offers a biography of Cochrane that helped fill-in details and historic fact about Lord Cochrane. It was not as engrossing a story as the individual novels offered, but that is often the difference between real life and fiction.