The Double Life of Alfred Buber by David Schmahmann

KUMAR(to Goldstein)Well, if you have the yellow fever tonight, there’s a rocking Asian party over at Princeton tonight. GOLDSTEIN Man, I have the yellow plague. There’s nothing sexier than a hot Asian chick…or dude for that matter… Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle (Danny Leiner, 2004), script by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg A commodity appears at first sight an extremely obvious, trivial thing.  But its analysis brings out that it is a very strange thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy (1867) by Karl Marx A Woman of Property David Schmahmann … Continue reading The Double Life of Alfred Buber by David Schmahmann

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Black Swan: A Sam Acquillo Hamptons Mystery (Book 5) by Chris Knopf

Chris Knopf begins Black Swan with an epic set piece.  During a ferocious October storm off the coast of Long Island, Sam Acquillo pilots the Carpe Mañana to safety with the help of his companion Amanda Anselma.  His dog, the ever faithful and frisky Eddie Van Halen lays below decks, asleep in medicated bliss, avoiding the dangers of the open seas.  The craft eventually gets piloted to Fishers Island, New York, a bizarre socioeconomic enclave on Long Island, home to Old Money and a xenophobic underclass.  (Chris Knopf visited the theme of natural disasters and social friction in Elysiana, a … Continue reading Black Swan: A Sam Acquillo Hamptons Mystery (Book 5) by Chris Knopf

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Expiration Date by Sherril Jaffe

Following what is presumably a supernatural vision, Flora believes she will die.  What follows is Sherril Jaffe’s novel entitled Expiration Date.  Flora finds herself in the Heavenly Court where a verdict is passed.  She will die in twenty-five years.  At the time the announcement is made, Flora is pregnant.  The novel follows Flora’s impending date with doom, alternating chapters with her life and that of her mother, Muriel. Muriel stands in opposition to her daughter’s predetermined death by avoiding a life in a nursing home outside San Francisco.  She takes up with a taciturn gentleman named Wilbur, a former pilot … Continue reading Expiration Date by Sherril Jaffe

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Self-Referential 100th Post

Nothing like an arbitrary milestone for the blogosphere. This is the 100th post of the Driftless Area Review.  It’s been a fun experience thus far.  I’ve met new people and started receiving free review copies.  I have enjoyed the works of the Permanent Press and enjoy the publishing philosophy of co-founder Martin Shepard. For those interested, I will continue my two long term essay series: The Art of Reviewing and Essays on Capital.  I am currently half-way through Capital, Volume 2.  The work presents more of a challenge, since the text is more technical, dry, and math-intensive than the first … Continue reading Self-Referential 100th Post

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The Ringer by Jenny Shank

On a mid-March afternoon in Denver, Ed O’Fallon and a DPD SWAT Team enter a run-down building on a no-knock warrant.  He comes upon a sleepy Mexican man who doesn’t respond to his commands.  A gun is drawn (or not?) and Ed fires.  The man is killed.  Ed later finds out that the no-knock warrant had the wrong address and the man had a name, Salvador Santillano. The Ringer by Jenny Shank chronicles the repercussions in Denver’s Latino and law enforcement communities.  While the engine that propels the narrative forward revolves around Santillano’s death, Shank begins the novel with Ed … Continue reading The Ringer by Jenny Shank

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Standing at the Crossroads by Charles Davis

Strange and short, straddling realism and fable, Standing at the Crossroads by Charles Davis tells the tale of Ishmael, his encounters, his adventures, and, above all, his love for literature.  Employed as “The Walking Librarian,” he cuts a muscular figure from the heavy books he carries from village to village.  For now, his books lay buried in a dry well and he finds himself on a journey with a strident woman named Kate. Ishmael grew up in the harsh land of an unnamed African nation, now a failed state filled with militias sporting anemic acronyms and engaging in atrocities.  One … Continue reading Standing at the Crossroads by Charles Davis

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Dead Center by Joanna Higgins

Joanna Higgins crafts a novel that extends beyond the normal genre boundaries of the murder mystery and courtroom drama.  Dead Center revolves around the Weber family.  Dr. Benjamin Weber is a beloved pediatrician with a practice in Hawaii.  He lives with his wife Karen.  Prior to marrying Ben, Karen had two daughters, Laura and Lin, from a previous marriage.  Ben and Karen also have a daughter of their own, Katherine.  Ben Weber married Karen following the death of her husband, Peter Hyland.  Ben was present when Peter died in Tunley, Michigan.  Was it an accident?  Was it murder?  Now, twenty … Continue reading Dead Center by Joanna Higgins

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