Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sunday's at Tiffany's

After the intensity of the last book I read, I was looking for a palate cleanser, something light to read. This book, "Sundays at Tiffany's" is one of his, what I refer to as, romance novels. It's an odd genre to think about and probably inaccurate if for any reason that it might get lumped in to something similar to those old Harlequin Romances.

I have no idea about those Harelquin books but I assume there is no real character development or story - just schmaltzy stuff. I don't know. I didn't have huge expectations for this book but thought it would be fine. By the end, I kind of fell in love with Jane Margaux and really like this story.

I know, look, this is very lifetime movie-is in concept and I know a movie was made - I'm not gonna touch that. Like I said, I wanted something light to read and in the end, I found a story that was part fantasy, part love story, and had some charm to it.

While reading this book, I was able to put aside reality and just relax and enjoy the moment of the story and what more can you ask for in a book? If you are looking for classic literature or some brilliant work of fiction, this is not the choice. If you just want to get lost for a few hours in a nice story with a happy ending - take a chance.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Last Time I Died

I was in a library a few towns away from me, perusing their tables with all of the books they are trying to get you to notice when I saw this one looking back at me. The title alone was enough to capture me but further investigation to the back cover, I learn the main character is from Brooklyn and the story is based in NYC...sold.

This could very well be the darkest piece of fiction I've ever read yet Nelms manages to add levity at just the right points, allowing the (morbid) curiosity of the reader to remain intact - just what will Christian Franco do next? Or more accurately, what won't he do?

The high cost of sanity and piece of mind are always at play in this amazing novel that author of "A Reliable Wife" Robert Goolrick writes, "Like a junkie, once you pick up this book, you do not put it down until after the dope is gone."

Let me wet your beak just a little without ruining the story. Christian Franco, the main character, finds himself in "a downward spiral - divorce, career, friendships, family, etc. Trying to piece together memories repressed from childhood, when, as he knew it, his father killed his mother, it turns out that traditional therapy just doesn't cut it for him. No, for Christian Franco, the only way to gather a piece of his past is by dying; then, it becomes a matter of how may times can one die and survive and will it be enough to finally be at peace? Will it be enough to see the light?

This is a must read, a really well crafted piece of fiction that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


A one time voracious reader of Stephen King, the last thing he wrote that I held to read was "Lisey's Story" and I never really got into it. I've left King behind for the last, I don't know, I guess close to a decade. For how much I loved so much of what he wrote, I found myself hating some choices he made, I didn't like the direction the fabled "Dark tower" series took, and had grown weary of his excessive verbosity; so I took a much needed break.

I had been recently thinking about maybe picking something up by him again and the other day, I was at the Wellesley town library and saw "Joyland" sitting there. The cover was all I really needed, plus the fact that it wasn't 800 pages. The whole look of the paperback had a very old timey, dime store novel feel, turns out, that was the intent.

I finished the book this afternoon, and I am not certain if I can recommend it or not. I can say that what I liked about it, I loved, really loved. But, there were things I didn't love, in fact, things I really hated. Right off the bat, it took almost a third of the book before the story even began. Almost one hundred pages in building characters that were irrelevant or developing main characters that could have been done in a third the space. For me, this is a chronic King condition - and it really makes me mental.

In the end, I loved the actual story, but it seemed disjointed at times trying to find itself within the intended genre while blurring the lines from what the name Stephen King invokes just upon hearing it. I don't feel like I wasted my time reading this, I really like a few of the main characters and their interactions but I am not sold on how the story was told.

Your choice.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Peter Criss: Makeup to Breakup - My Life In and Out of Kiss

Having read Ace Frehley's book a few weeks ago, I was eagerly anticipating this one and actually decided to read it sooner than I had planned after seeing Peter Criss interviewed on "That Metal Show".

Where I found myself constantly questioning how much of what Ace wrote was revisionist, I found Peter to be quite believable and in some regards, this book not only gave me Peter's story, but helped me to better frame what I read in Ace's book.

Peter didn't pull any punches here, he told the stories, even when it was him fucking up and that's not an easy thing to do. There are things that he wrote about that made me not like him very much, this guy was one of my idols growing up and I've always been such a fan but aside from his "Rock and Roll lifestyle", which I do not judge or begrudge, some of his attitude as a musician kind of bothered me. For example, he often talked about when his drum parts were recorded for an album, he would just no longer show up for the rest of the sessions. I have a hard time standing behind that especially since one of his biggest struggles was to be respected as a band member. It's hard for me to justify that kind of attitude, in my opinion, a band should be united and there for each other through the entire recording. That said, who knows how it would have played out considering how awful he was treated. It's easy for me to offer opinions and thoughts but those moments in those moments may have been a very different thing, so I do thing he deserves the benefit of the doubt as well.

When I saw Peter talk on his recent "That Metal Show" appearance, I was pretty moved about his thoughts on the whole debacle with Kiss' (long overdue) induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. having had that fresh in my memory while reading this book, along with the very end of the book, I do believe Peter Criss is a different man today than through those very tumultuous years in Kiss, the years when Gene (and Paul) shifted the idea of Kiss being a "brand, over a band."

As a lifelong Kiss fan, it's hard to read about the bad times and the egos and bullshit. The whole idea of that band was to create a mystique, a fantasy that took you out of the ordinary everyday life and just take you into that moment, that fantasy - there was music and theater. I'd rather not have know about the smoke screens but as I am no longer that little kid whose mind is blown by the fire breathing and the theatrics, I realize that behind it all were real people.

As difficult as reading this book was, it was a well written book and as a fan of the band, and of the "Cat Man", I am glad to have read it.
One of the most moving pieces of this story is the revelation that Peter Criss is a breast cancer survivor. That's right! I am sadly in the minority of men that understand that men can get breast cancer! I think it's important to be sure that awareness is increased and that we all do our part to raise awareness. Rock on Cat Man!