The Dog Of The South (Charles Portis)

This is one of those books that will make you shake your head in wonder at how much contemporary fiction is dull, lifeless trash, just because it’s so subtle and hilarious that to admire its virtues is to bring the flaws of others into sharp contrast by implication. The Dog of the South provides a sprawling panoramic view of a particular strain of American culture, with its mix of simple, uncomplicated religious belief and modern economics that seems to winnow the very life and meaning out of the country.  The prose style is very artful and the character of the doctor is an American type very reminiscent of the traveling hucksters and other marginal types found in Mark Twain’ or in O’ Tooles “Confederacy of Dunces”. [Read more…]

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Pawnbroker (Jerry Hatchett)

jerry-hatchett-bookIgnore the crappy cover. “Law. . . It was all a game, one whose outcome was usually determined not so much by right and wrong as by who had the money and who held the power.” I’ll buy that. In the case of this snappy, fast-paced novel by Jerry Hatchett, law as game and money and power is the whole point. Gray Bolton is a simple pawnbroker. He spends his days with the poor, the downtrodden, the hopeless and helpless of society. [Read more…]

Pigeons From Hell (Robert E Howard)

thriller-3This is one of the great horror tales of all time. I find the title particularly irresistable. If you are going to read this short story, go off alone somewhere with just a fading flashlight. Find an abandoned house with a cold unlit fireplace and read the story while sitting on the stone hearth. It will have a bigger impact.  I’ve added images from the 1961 television classic version, one of the Boris Karloff Thriller series. [Read more…]

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