Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen

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Andrew Yancy’s life in the Florida Keys as a disgraced detective now on restaurant varmint patrol may not be his ideal life, but it is great fun for readers. In Razor Girl, Carl Hiaasen’s latest hilarious adventure, Yancy finds himself plagued by Gambian pouched rats, an Italian mafioso, television agents, an exceptionally randy personal injury lawyer and his money-hungry fiancee, the patriarch of a reality t.v. clan of faux backwoodsmen, and a woman who intentionally causes automobile wrecks while shaving her bikini area. Yancy does not live a boring life.

And Hiaasen does not write a boring book. Razor Girl is a rock and roll, non-stop, occasionally out-of-control festival of a book.

razorgirlOn the first day of February, sunny but cold as a frog’s balls, a man named Lane Coolman stepped off a flight at Miami International, rented a mainstream Buick and headed south to meet a man in Key West. He nearly made it.

Twenty-seven miles from Coolman’s destination, an old green Firebird bashed his car from behind. The impact failed to trigger the Buick’s airbags, but Coolman heard the rear bumper dragging. He steered off the highway and dialed 911. In the mirror he saw the Firebird, its grille crimped and steaming, pull onto the shoulder. Ahead stood a sign that said: “Ramrod Key.”

Coolman went to check on the other driver, a woman in her mid-thirties with red hair.

“Super-duper sorry,” she said.

What the hell happened?”

“Just a nick. Barely bleeding.”She held her phone in one hand and a disposable razor in the other.

“Are you out of your mind?” said Coolman.

The driver’s jeans and panties were bunched around her knees. She’d been shaving herself when she smashed Coolman’s rental car.

“I got a date,” she explained.

“You couldn’t take care of that at home?”

“No way! My husband would get so pissed.”

“Unreal,” said Coolman.

The woman was wearing a maroon fleece jacket and rhinestone flip-flops. On her pale thigh was the razor mark.

The novel (classified by its publisher as Suspense/Thriller, which I suppose is accurate but I’d add comedy to the categorization) begins when Merry Mansfield crashes into Hollywood agent Lane Coolman’s car. Coolman is fleeing an expensive California divorce and is on his way to a “performance” by his most lucrative client, Buck Nance patriarch of reality t.v.’s Bayou Brethren. Unfortunately, Coolman is mistaken for a sand con artist and abducted leading to Nance’s disappearance.

Somehow these colorful individuals become involved with roach patrol detective Yancy, a loathsome couple who want to build a MacMansion beside Yancy’s plot of Keys heaven, a Mafioso and his service dog, John, and various and assorted other nuts and charcarl-mugacters.

I don’t like: I love Carl Hiaasen. And I’m not sure if it’s because I love the snarky, jaded,
narcissistic, beach-loving, flawed characters of his or if it’s because of his zippy language or simply because he’s a journalist-turned successful novelist and I want to be him when I grow up. He wrote Strip Tease, Bad Monkey and Lucky You, among many others, during his time off (one supposes) from writing a column and reporting for The Miami Herald. http://carlhiaasen.com/bio.shtml Incidentally, the Miami Herald is also the part-time home of another of my favorite writers, Dave Barry.

In Razor Girl, Hiaasen skewers just about everything and everyone, including the Bayou Brethren fan base of “patriotic Americans” who think a gun, a flag and a wall will save America.

For the dead of winter, it’s the sunniest book imaginable. I highly recommend.

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My menu for a Razor Girl bookclub (despite Yancy’s job as a restaurant inspector, I would serve food) would include:

Hummus (no diamonds included)

Shrimp Cocktail

Cuban Sandwiches, with Chicken

Key Lime Pie — whipped cream is mandatory! Epicurious.com says this recipe won their internal contest for best key lime pie ever: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes-menus/best-key-lime-pie-recipe-article

MUSIC

Of course, Jimmy Buffett would be appropriate. Or some Cuban tunes. The soundtrack from Hiaasen’s Strip Tease is available. You could add AC/DC’s Razor’s Edge, if you like that kind of thing.

Happy Reading!

 

 

Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett ✎✎✎✎

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Amid a gin-soaked christening party in sunny Southern California, two adults share a kiss: a decision that upends the lives of two married couples and their six children. What begins in California leads to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and reverberates to the Swiss Alps, the Hamptons, Hollywood, and New York.

In 2005, my long-established book club read Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto and thus began our devotion to all things Patchett. We devoured State of Wonder, Run, The Magician’s Assistant, The Patron Saint of Liars. Patchett has a way of writing the beauty of extraordinary moments within sometimes ordinary lives. In Commonwealth, the lives are much more ordinary and even the extraordinary moments are prompted by commonplace events: a family vacation, a bee sting, a christening gift.

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My book club met this week to discuss Commonwealth and several of us had the same reaction to reading it. After putting down the book for the night, you come back to it and find that you’ve missed something. Somehow something major has happened that you don’t remember. So you backtrack and re-read trying to find the trail that you forgot and instead, find it isn’t there. I believe this is intentional. The Washington Post reviewer felt much the same way:

Offered only the thinnest exposition and confronted with the details of four parents and six children, you may find yourself grasping for a dramatis personae. Indeed, for many pages, reading “Commonwealth” feels like being somebody’s baffled second husband at a family reunion. Who are all these people? How is he related to her? Whose child is that? Even Franny admits that “she couldn’t follow all the lines out in every direction: all the people to whom she was by marriage mysteriously related.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/commonwealth-ann-patchetts-masterful-novel-of-family-and-family-secrets/2016/09/06/fdc14946-7062-11e6-9705-23e51a2f424d_story.html

There is a family saga here, one which I’ve learned resembles many of the circumstances ann-patchettin which author Ann Patchett was raised. But my take-away from Commonwealth was that Patchett was commenting more on writing than on family. Franny, whose christening party begins the novel, grows to adulthood and has a long-term relationship with a prominent author 30 years her senior. Franny tells him her family story which he promptly novelizes to great acclaim — and the sale of movie rights.

And now twenty years later here was Albie in the actress’s summer house, having read about that day he had largely slept through in a novel written by someone he’d never met. Franny shook her head. Her hands were cold. She had never been so cold before. “I’m sorry,” she said. The words came without volume and so she said them again. “I know that isn’t worth anything but I’m sorry. I made a terrible mistake.”

“How did you make a mistake?” Leo said. He reached into the box and took out the bottle of Beefeater. “I’m going to have a drink. Would anyone else like a drink?”

“Did you think I was never going to see it?” Alfie asked. “I mean, maybe that was a good guess. It took me long enough.”

“I was trying to explain to him before you got here,” Leo said, pouring some gin in a glass. “Writers get their inspirations from a lot of places. It’s never any one thing.”

Franny looked at Leo, willing him to pick up his glass and go back out to the porch to smoke with his guests. “Just give us a minute,” she said to him. “This isn’t about you.”

“Of course it’s about me,” Leo said. “It’s my book.”

“I still don’t understand this,” Albie said, pointing at Franny and then at Leo. “How did he wind up with my life?”

Ultimately it may be the STORY of the life rather than the living of it that is the ultimate separator or connector of this family.

Commonwealth begins with a party and ends with a party and but gin and regret fuel the journey. I highly recommend it for your book club.

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Ann Patchett provides lots of delicious food options if you want to cook from the book.

Franny’s christening features gin and oranges.

Franny and Leo’s Hamptons excursions offers several possibilities:

A meal of steak, asparagus, baked potatoes, salad and cake. Frank rubs the steak with “a little bit of Old Bay” and then lets it sit before cooking.

Another meal involves her mother’s seafood chowder, salad with nectarines, cheese biscuits.

Lobster.

The final party of Commonwealth features a Virginia Christmas feast: ham biscuits, boiled shrimp with cocktail sauce, petit fours.

Our book club’s hostess served the ever-present gin with fresh-squeezed orange juice as was served at Franny’s christening. Salmon poached in lemon. Roasted asparagus. A salad with nectarines. Orange cake. It was delicious.

MUSIC

My playlist would include:

Only the Good Die Young, Billy Joel

Sweet Virginia, Rolling Stones

It Never Rains in California, Alan Hammond

D.I.V.O.R.C.E, Tammy Wynette

Wrapped Around Your Finger, The Police

Happy Reading!

 

 

Election Day

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Welcome to Election Day, November 8, 2016. The culmination of months — years even — of hard work, passionate debate, bitter propaganda. Finally, an end (we all hope, I’m sure) to this most contentious of election years.

As the day is upon us, I find myself pondering the right I have to vote. It wasn’t always a guarantee. On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified granting me the right to vote. Me. My mother. My grandmothers. My sisters. My niece. My girlfriends. My aunts and cousins.

As a child, I recall my mother taking me behind the curtains of the voting booth as she cast her ballot. The swish of the curtains, we stood in front of a panel of buttons. At the end of the voting, my mother allowed me to pull a lever from left to right, recording the votes as official.

I hope that tomorrow brings the beginnings of a peaceful transition of government in the U.S. as the day after presidential election has in the country for the past 240 years. I hope that you exercise your right to vote, remembering that in many places in the world — even today — it is not a guaranteed or a meaningful choice.

Want a good read for the day, or days after the election, with a political theme? Here are a few of my more recent favorites.

presidents-menAll the President’s Men, Carl Bernstein & Bob Woodward.

The tale of Watergate, Nixon, Deep Throat and perhaps, the end of American innocence.

madhouse

 

Madhouse: The Private Turmoil of Working for the President, Jeffrey Birnbaum.

Birnbaum looks at six senior staffers inside the Clinton White House and details the challenges wreaked upon their lives by the honor of working for the President.

residenceThe Residence, Kate Anderson Brower.

Author Brower interviewed hundreds of the White House’s retired ushers, chefs, florists, maids, butlers, doormen, painters and many other former staff members to tell history from the vantage point of those watching it made.

game-change

 

Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, John
Heilemann and Mark Halperin. 

The riveting story of the 2008 election and the personalities who made that election so electric. Many of the interviews were conducted on deep background and the authors do not hold back on their descriptions of the people or situations.

A few more classics for good measure:

The Boys on the Bus, Timothy Krause with Hunter S. Thompson covering the 1972 Presidential Election.

All the President’s Men, Robert Penn Warren. Pulitzer-prize winning fictionalization of Huey Long, Louisiana political kingpin.

Absolute Power, David Baldacci. A good, ripping read of murder involving the fictional U.S. president.

Election, Tom Perrotta. High school student council elections can be murder!

Primary Colors, Anonymous. The fictionalized account of Bill Clinton’s first presidential run. A riot.

But whatever you do, don’t sit around reading. Take a book to the polls with you. Vote.

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Happy Reading & Voting!

 

I’m Published!! Nowhere Magazine

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I’m pleased to announce that Nowhere Magazine has published a piece of my creative non-fiction writing titled “Clearing Out.”

Nowhere Magazine is dedicated to publishing literary travel writing, work that celebrates a sense of place with literary travel writing.

I hope you’ll take a moment to read Clearing Out on nowheremag.com: http://nowheremag.com/2016/10/clearing-out/

Happy Reading!

 

The Sport of Kings, C.E. Morgan ✎✎✎

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Horse Racing Neck and Neck, public domain

My mom asked me what book she should recommend for her book club to read. I suggested The Sport of Kings, by Kentucky author C.E. Morgan. I hadn’t read The Sport of Kings, but I like to support local authors, I liked Morgan’s first novel All the Living and I had heard good things about The Sport of Kings. Two weeks later, the founder of my mother’s book club called and asked me to present the book for them.

I soon found myself studying this 500+ novel for themes, plot, structure, style, literary allusions . . . in short, I felt like I was back in my undergrad literary seminar and my grade was just as important! I didn’t want to let down my mom or the women in her group with a presentation on The Sport of Kings.

In the end, the women were lovely, appreciative, and I ended up actually quite enjoying the application of my college student skills.

In this age of twitter, Facebook, goodreads, tumbler, ad nauseum, C.E. Morgan is a c-e-morganthrowback: she’s an author who allows her writing to speak for itself, preferring to keep an exceedingly low profile. If she has a website, I can’t find it. In one of her rare interviews, she does admit to graduating from Berea College in Kentucky and Harvard Divinity School. Her novels are filled with the tones, colors, sights, and sounds of rural Kentucky as well as theological meditations.

I’ve read many of the reviews of The Sport of Kings. The word “sweeping” is used quite a bit. “Generational.” “Epic.” It is all those things and more: long, complex, contrary, palaverous, disturbing, beautiful. My personal theory is that The Sport of Kings is Morgan’s attempt to define Kentucky first, its people second, and the thoroughbred industry third in all of their beautiful cruelty. To do this, she uses individual allegorical characters. Back-to-nature Pen. Salt-of-the-earth-farmer-Jamie. Narcissistic-land-owner-Henry.
equestrienneAt the heart of The Sport of Kings is horse farm owner Henry Forge and his daughter Henrietta. Henry is obsessed with breeding: the perfect horse and the perfect progeny and will go to any length to achieve his goals. Henry believes he’s achieved at least one of his goals with Hellsmouth, a fiery filly. But when a recently released ex-con, Allmon, arrives to work as a groom on Henry’s farm, complications (as they say) ensue.

Morgan’s style ranges from the scientific exploration of equine breeding, to bloated descriptions of natural phenomenon. At various points it takes her two pages to effectively cover one year in Henry Forge’s life and two pages to describe a sunset.

The corn spat him out. His face scraped by the gauntlet, he clutched handfuls of husk and stood hauling air with his hair startled away from his forehead. Here the old land is the old language: The remnants of the county fall away in declining slopes and swales from their property line. The neighbor’s tobacco plants extend as far as the boy can see, so that impossibly varying shades of green seem to comprise the known world, the undulating earth an expanse of green sea dotted only by black-ship tobacco barns, a green so penetrating, it promises a cool, fertile core a mile beneath his feet. In the distance, the fields incline again, slowly rippling upward, a grassed blanket shaken to an uncultivated sky. A line of trees traces the swells on that distant side, forming a dark fence between two farms. The farmhouse roofs are black as ink with their fronts obscured by evergreens, so the world is black and green and black and green without interruption, just filibustering earth. The boy knows the far side of that distant horizon is more of the bright billowing same, just as he knows they had once owned all of this land and more when they came through the Gap and staked a claim, and if they were not the first family, they were close. They were Kentuckians first and Virginians second and Christians third and the whole thing was sterling, his father said. The whole goddamn enterprise.

Truthfully, I found myself often bogged down in the vocabulary at times. But if you slog through these places, the plot holds.

Having now read the book, I do recommend The Sport of Kings but it is with reservation. Make sure your book club has set aside plenty of time to read. This is for book clubs that enjoy more challenging reads.

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There may be food described in the novel, but I wasn’t scouring the pages of The Sport of
Kings
for food references. This is a Kentucky novel, I am a Kentuckian, and I would fix traditional Kentucky food. So my menu would include:

Mint Juleps

Country Ham on Beaten Biscuits

Beer cheese with crackers and celery

Corn Pudding. This is my favorite recipe but there are many. It’s from ShakerTown at Pleasant Hill:

INGREDIENTS

    • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
    • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 3 whole eggs, slightly beaten
    • 2 cups frozen corn
    • 1 3/4 cups milk

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, blend the butter, sugar, flour and salt.
  2. Add the eggs, and beat well with a rotary beater or mixer on low –.
  3. Stir in the corn and milk (if using frozen corn, chop it up a little first to release the milky juices).
  4. Pour the ingredients into a buttered flat 10×6″ casserole and bake at 325* for 45 minutes, stirring once halfway through the baking period.
  5. When done, the pudding will be golden brown on top and a knife inserted in the middle will come out clean.
  6. THIS MIXTURE CAN BE PREPARED AHEAD OF TIME AND KEPT IN THE REFRIGERATOR. STIR WELL, THEN POUR INTO A BAKING DISH AND BAKE AS INSTRUCTED.

Steamed asparagus

“Kentucky pie” aka the pie named after the Run for the Roses which name has now been copyrighted.

Recipes for Mint Juleps and Kentucky pie here: https://daeandwrite.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/the-first-saturday-in-may/

MUSIC

Town & Country offered a Kentucky Derby playlist in 2014 that would work quite well for The Sport of Kings. You can find it here: http://www.townandcountrymag.com/the-scene/parties/a1923/kentucky-derby-party-music/

To their suggestions, I would add:

Run for the Roses, Dan Fogelberg

Blue Moon of Kentucky, Bill Monroe

Kentucky Rain, Elvis Presley

Kentucky Woman, Neil Diamond (I hate it but . . .)

Paradise, John Prine

MOVIE CASTING

Henrietta — Kentucky Girl Jennifer Lawrence, as if the book was written with her in mind

Henry Forge — Matthew McConaughey

Allmon — Jessie Williams

John Henry Forge – Sam Shepard

Happy Reading!

Don’t forget to like this post and share it!

 

 

 

A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles ✎✎✎✎✎

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Hotel Metropol

When an author takes the reader in hand, immediately plunging her into a world of scent, sound, touch, sight and taste — a world perhaps familiar but just different enough to intrigue — when a writer can do that and hold your attention through each page, so that you can’t wait to pick the book up again, to reconnect with the author’s time and characters . . . that is as soul-satisfying to me as anything could be.

Thanks to author Amor Towles. He’s accomplished this feat twice, first with The Rules of Civility and now with the recently-released A Gentleman in Moscow. I loved The Rules of Civility so much, I couldn’t wait to read A Gentleman in Moscow, even I couldn’t fathom how a novel set in Moscow during World War II and the Cold War, times and a place that didn’t seem to hold much of fascination, could be riveting. How wrong I was.

It is 1922. The Bolshevik Revolution is holding daily inquisitions into aristocrats and summarily standing them up against a wall and administering a lethal dose of justice via bullet. Count Alexander Rostov finds himself before a tribunal explaining a poem he published years before, which the Bolsheviks consider a call-to-aristocratic-arms. Rostov admits everything and nothing in a genial, good humored, fatalistic manner — a manner the reader will come to know and love over the course of A Gentleman in Moscow.

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Vintage Travel Poster

Somehow, Count Rostov escapes execution. He is, however, sentenced to life imprisonment within the confines of his current residence, the Hotel Metropol located on Theatre Square in central Moscow. According to A Gentleman in Moscow, and Amor Towles’ website, www.amortowles.com, the Metropol was of the same vintage and standards as New York’s Plaza, London’s Claridge’s, and The Ritz in Paris. But Count Rostov is not escorted to his multi-room, luxury suite. Instead, the Bolsheviks lead him to a 100-square-foot room in the attic where he must make do.

He unpacked some trousers and shirts into the back rights corner of his bureau (to ensure that the three-legged beast wouldn’t topple). Down the hall he dragged his trunk, half of his furniture, and all of his father’s books but one. Thus, within an hour he had reduced his room to its essentials: a desk and chair, a bed and bedside table, a high-back chair for guests, and a ten-foot passage just wide enough for a gentleman to circumambulate in reflection.

But there are worlds within the Count’s world, and he finds them with the help of a precocious young lady named Nina who has somehow procured a pass key to all the rooms of the Metropol and uses it to great effect. But the Count finds not only the Metropol’s wine vault, silver room, and lost and found, he also finds love, friendship, and a life far fuller than one would imagine could be found within the confines of one hotel, however luxurious, for more than thirty years.

I cannot recommend this novel highly enough. You and your book club will love it. And the food and music options excellent.

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The author, Amor Towles

My guess is that Amor Towles is a gastronome (though his on-line bio says only “that Mr. Towles is an ardent fan of early 20th century painting, 1950’s jazz, 1970’s cop shows, rock & roll on vinyl, manifestoes, breakfast pastries, pasta, liquor, snow-days, Tuscany, Provence, Disneyland, Hollywood, the cast of Casablanca, 007, Captain Kirk, Bob Dylan (early, mid, and late phases), the wee hours, card games, cafés, and the cookies made by both of his grandmothers”).

HIs descriptions of food, cooking, dining are among the finest in the book. But perhaps there is no way to even compare passages of such beauty ranging from food to literature to philosophy to love. (An aside: this novel is so divine I am ready to re-read it right now.)

Back to a menu — the Hotel Metropol is awash in champagne, brandy, vodka. Towles’ comments are priceless:

“Now, vodka was not the Count’s preferred spirit. In point of fact, despite his love for his country, he rarely drank it.”

“Anyone who has spent an hour drinking vodka by the glass knows that size has surprisingly little to do with a man’s capacity. There are tiny men for whom the limit is seven and giants for whom it is two.”

Some prominent menus:

Vodka and caviar

Whole bass roasted with black olives, fennel and lemon

Osso bucco (“a dish best preceded by a light and lively appetizer”)

A ten scoop ice cream sundae, each scoop a different flavor

Cucumber soup and rack of lamb with red wine reduction

But the piece de resistance for Chef Emile, the Count and maitre d Andrey, is the night when the three conspire to make bouillabaisse; it  has taken them weeks, months even, to acquire all of the ingredients. The author notes 15 ingredients, I can find reference to eight: fennel, two to three fresh oranges, one and a half ounces of saffron, absinthe, haddock, mussels, celery, tomatoes.  I would speculate that onion, garlic, olive oil are involved and potentially herbs of bay and thyme. That still leaves two for discovery, unless Chef Emile (and Author Towles) include salt and pepper.

bouillabaisseAll told, there were fifteen ingredients. Six of them could be plucked from the pantry of the Boyarsky at any time of the year. Another five were readily available in season. The nut of the problem was that, despite the overall improvement in the general availability of goods, the last four ingredients remained relatively rare.

From the outset, it was agreed that there would be no skimping — no shortcuts or substitutions. It was the symphony of silence. So the Triumvirate would have to be patient and watchful. They would have to be willing to beg, barter, collude and if necessary, resort to chicanery. Three times the dream had been within their grasp, only to be snatched away at the last moment by unforeseen circumstances (once by mishap, once by mold, and once by mice.)

But earlier this week, it seemed that the stars were wheeling into alignment once again. With nine elements already in Emile’s kitchen, four whole haddock and a basket of mussels meant for the National Hotel had been delivered to the Metropol by mistake.

. . . At one in the morning, the conspirators took their seats. On the table before them were a single candle, a loaf of bread, a bottle of rose, and three bowls of bouillabaisse.

. . . How to describe it? One first tastes the broth — that simmered distillation of fish bones, fennel, and tomatoes, with their hearty suggestions of Provence. One then savors the tender flakes of haddock and the briny resilience of the mussels, which have been purchased on the docks from the fisherman. One marvels at the boldness of the oranges arriving from Spain and the absinthe poured in the taverns. And all of these various impressions are somehow collected, composed, and brightened by the saffron — that essence of summer sun which, having been harvested in the hills of Greece and packed by mule to Athens, has been sailed across the Mediterranean in a felucca. In other words, with the very first spoonful one finds oneself transported to the port of Marseille — where the streets teem with sailors, thieves, and madonnas, with sunlight and summer, with languages and life.

MUSIC

There’s a bit of a running joke about the song, Yes, We Have No Bananas a tune first made popular in 1923.

Tchaikovsky is mentioned of course, and the Count’s adopted daughter masters Chopin and a Mozart variation or two.

Amor Towles’ website includes a playlist of classics if you want to go that route: http://www.amortowles.com/gentleman-moscow-amor-towles/gentleman-moscow-music/

But the passages that most caught my attention were those of the band rocking the Hotel’s bar with American jazz during the Cold War when foreign correspondents took turns telling tall tales to try to catch the attention of the KGB. Since Mr. Towles expressed a preference for 1950s jazz, that’s what I would play. It fits the celebratory air of A Gentleman in Moscow as well. Here’s a two hour track you can play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N1KlyEbazo

MOVIE CASTING

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The Count: Ah, for Cary Grant to be alive to inhabit the shoes of Count Rostov. I can see Michael Fassbender in the role. Eddie Redmaybe. Jude Law. Andrew Garfield maybe?

Anna:  Again, I’m wishing for Rita Hayworth in a non-Rita Hayworth world. Marion Cotillard? Jessica Chastain?

Adult Nina: Emma Watson

The roles are numerous. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thank you for reading. If you’d like to make sure you receive every blog post, please follow daeandwrite.wordpress.com (available on the home page at top left). And if you enjoy, please feel free to share.

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

 

Eat the Document by Dana Spiotta ✎ ✎ ✎ ✎

Updated with Author Dana Spiotta’s playlist

daeandwrite

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The late 60s and early 70s are hot in literary circles. I’ve read at least four novels this year that examine the events of the Age of Aquarius from the perspective of today and each of the following are reviewed on daeandwrite.wordpress.com: Manson (The Girls), Gen-X kids (The Nest), would’ve been rock stars who aged into generic suburbanites (Modern Lovers). In Dana Spiotta’s Eat the Document the focus is on war protestors: revolutionaries whose violent activities forced them off the grid, underground, and into new identities.

The first thing about the novel that puzzled me was the title: Eat the Document, comes from a documentary of Bob Dylan’s 1966 tour of the United Kingdom with the Hawks during which he transitions from folk singer to rock star. (The entire film is actually available to watch on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJWWEjyqI68.) So, there’s a documentary maker…

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