Review Of Books In The Street

Do you leave piles of important stuff on top of your car? I do. When I lost a stack of four library books off the hood of my truck (because I couldn’t see them) I realized it might be time to stop using the dash as a shelf. The real horizon is obscured by the artificial escarpment creeping up the windshield. I also realized it was time for a Review of Books In The Street. The only book my neighbor didn’t find later in the day was also the only one I couldn’t get through:

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Overwrought, pseudo-intellectual “everyone’s a philosopher,” French shit. I wonder if the person who finds this book will like it. Even the title is annoying. When Betty Sprocket turns a phrase with obscure language, I like it; Barbery can go to thesaurus-hell. I don’t think we can blame the translator, either. Europa Editions usually provides better books, like this one.

King of Cool: Tales of A Lurid Life by Darwin Porter
Hollywood Babylon if Hollywood Babylon focused entirely on Steve McQueen. With pictures! Rated X. I think the library isn’t billing me the overdue charges because they don’t want it back. Truly excessive tabloid style details. According to this apparently bona fide story, just about the only person in Hollywood McQueen didn’t sleep with was Ronald Reagan. Read this book to find out why McQueen was on Manson’s hit list and why he survived -or watch this video:

The Dead Republic by Roddy Doyle
I loved listening to the audio version of the first novel in this trilogy, A Star Called Henry. It’s an ultra-violent chronicle of protagonist Henry Smart’s early years and the early years of the I.R.A. following the Easter Week Rising. This final book neatly wraps up the later years of both Henry Smart and the various factions/descendents of the I.R.A. starting around 1946 and ending in the Thatcher era. The story takes place in John Ford’s Hollywood and in Ireland. Doyle has a way with dialogue that manages to convey much of the story in snappy little bursts. A twisty, historical, sometimes unbelievable tale.

Dreaming In French by Megan McAndrew
This is a novel about a privileged girl growing up in a privileged family among privileged friends in 1980’s Paris. Not much to say about this one. Dad’s detached, mom has an affair, mom gets caught, mom gets stranded in a cold-war jail in Prague, divorce ensues, mom gets cancer, dad marries the Swedish housekeeper, someone sniffs cocaine, there’s a lesbian friend, protagonist gets her period, has lots of sex, leaves Paris, falls in love with the wrong man, becomes successful, then returns to Paris with real feminine confidence. Meh.