Summer Reading

With the unofficial start of summer less than two weeks away, it’s a good time to take a look at some of what’s out there to read while you are at the beach, pool or at home with your air conditioning turned up high.  Here are some books that are on my list to read this summer.

spenserI have been a big admirer of Robert B. Parker’s sparse style for many years. Since his  death Ace Atkins has primarily taken over writing his Spenser series, and doing it with the same sharp dialogue and flavor as the master. Little White Lies is the latest. 

SinceJust published, Dennis Lehane’s latest has been getting rave reviews. I have to admit, I have not read any of Lehane’s earlier books, however from what I have read, Since We Fell, is a bit different from his previous endeavors. That’s fine with me, since I am coming to him with fresh eyes.

jacksonShirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin came out in September of last year. It’s been on my read list since I read the many positive reviews. The book made both the New York Times and Washington Post notable picks for 2016.

Wrong Side  Late

 

I have been reading, and listening to Michael Connelly a lot lately. Watching Amazon’s fantastic Bosch series sparked my interest to dig into Connelly’s backlog of work. Not one disappointing read yet.

The Wrong Side of Goodbye is Connelly’s latest Harry Bosch novel (published 11/16) which I still have not read. Coming in July is The Late Show with  a new character, Renee Ballard, a once on the rise detective, now stuck on the night shift.

Forever JuneIn June, Hard Case Crime will publish legendary crime novelist, Donald Westlake’s Forever and a Death. The backstory on this never before released work is fascinating. About twenty years ago, the producers of the James Bond films hired Westlake to write a story treatment for a new Bond film. The treatment was never used due to political concerns at the time with China. Westlake took the story and turned it into an original novel which was never published during his lifetime.  It’s seeing the light of day for the first time.

ExposureStuart Woods’ Stone Barrington is a guilty pleasure. Barrington is one of those characters who has it all: looks, money, beautiful women and influential friends. He also manages to get himself in plenty of trouble, but not before buying another house, he has at least five, and bedding just about every woman he meets. The books have varied in quality lately, but are light fun reads.

HighCasa

Three film related books on my shelf that sound like absorbing reads are Glenn Frankel’s High Noon: Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic and Noah Isenberg’s We’ll Always Have Casablanca. Being an admirer of both films, these books are making me salivate. You can read a review I wrote on High Noon here.

IMG_4817.JPGLast but not least on the film front is Dan Van Neste’s new biography of Ricardo Cortez which is a must read.

HemingwayHemingway’s Cats – This book  came out in 2015, but it only recently came to my attention while I was doing some research about authors and cats for a future post I am looking to write. The macho Hemingway love animals and had a special affection for cats.  Throughout his life, from childhood to his suicidal end, the author had cats in his life. Author Carlene Brennan chronicles the felines in Hemingway’s life in words and photos.

Hubbard Country Store – Hancock, Vermont

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Hancock, Vermont is a small town with a population of 323 people, as of the 2010 census. A couple of years ago we did a road tour of Vermont starting in Burlington and traveling in a circular route to various spots where we planned to stop and photograph. Hancock was not on the list; it was a town that happened to be on the route we were taking. Sometimes the unexpected happens and it works out.

Hancock was named after John Hancock, the prominent patriot and  statesman who also served as President of the Second Continental Congress. Among  other functions, Hancock twice served of Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. John Hancock was arguably the most prominent signer of the Declaration of Independence, so much so, that the phrase “put your John Hancock on that paper” became a common alternative for signature.

While on our road trip, we stopped for a few minutes and took a some photos of Hancock’s “downtown” area. The above photograph of Hubbard’s Country Store, located on Route 125, was closed. I later found out it went out of business a few years ago. The original owners, Earl and Mamie Hubbard, sold the business to Bill and Irma Perry who ran the store until it closed. In 2013, the store was auctioned off. The winning bid was made by Jonathan and Sara Deering.

Inside, the place was a mess with the floor buckling and parts of the ceiling coming down. In early 2014, friends and neighbors began to help Jonathan and Sara renovate the local landmark. I took the  above photograph in late September 2015. From the outside, it still did not look like any improvements were made. The new owners and their friends though were hard at work inside. The revitalized store finally opened in 2016.

Maybe, we’ll get back there some day and see the revitalized store.

Devious Tales: 12 Short Stories is Now Available online at Barnes and Noble

My new collection of short stories,  Devious Tales: 12 Short Stories, is now available as both a Nook ebook and in paperback from Barnes & Noble. The paperback contains two bonus stories!Devious Tales Book Cover - Final (1 of 1)-001

You can also purchase it from Amazon, Kobo and CreateSpace.

Holcomb Bridge
Holcomb Bridge has been a secluded and romantic make out spot for the local teenagers for many years, but that changed one late night.

Amanda
Photographer Derek Shaw’s life changes in both good and bad ways after he meets Karen, the new love in his life, and her two kids, Gerald and Amanda.

Late Night Diner
Some people like working the over night shift. Others need to. It gives their demons and nightmares a place to escape.

Smart Like Dillinger
Love, even in old age, can take an unforeseen turn.

An Almost Perfect Woman
Judy was perfect…well almost. She did have one little problem.

Life Lesson
For young Bobby Smithfield there are some lessons you never recover from.

The Organic Garden
A bad marriage and an organic garden make for a delicious mix of ingredients that will make your garden grow.

An Office Romance
Office romances can be great; they can also be bad. However, sometimes it’s just what you need when your life is about to take a deadly turn.

The Anniversary Surprise
As Brad Hollis discovers, surprises do not always turn out quite as you anticipate.

The Old Man
Young Billy Atwood becomes friends with an old man who lives in his apartment building. Their relationship is short lived, but for Billy there’s an unexpected twist of fate.

A Merry Little Christmas Gift
The holidays can brings out the worst in everyone, and does in this Christmas treat.

Call Waiting
Can old lovers come back and haunt you? Well, not if they are dead…or can they?

Windows as a Theme in Art

Windows let us see. They let light, air and the sun come into our lives. In art, windows have been used by many artists as a framing device, as a means of a way to make us look. Over the years, I have used windows as my own tool of expression. Below are a few example…

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Vermont

NYC Macy's (1 of 1)

New York City

San Felipe del Neri Church-CW (1 of 1)

New Mexico

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Vermont

Methodist Church at Cades Cove_DSC5968-B&W-CW-5968Church Window in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee

 

Window View CW (1 of 1)

Smoky Mountain of Tennessee

El Santuaario de Chimayo Window View -CW (1 of 1)

New Mexico

Outside my Window_DSC_1132-CR

Yellowstone National Park

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Ghost Ranch , New Mexico

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Vermont

Libraries Are Essential!

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Libraries are sanctuaries for learning. They are storage facilities filled with knowledge providing precious resources for current and future generations. Many books and periodicals no longer available anywhere else are preserved in libraries. Libraries are essential research conduits for writers, doctors, business people, scientist and just about everyone else. They are also on the frontlines against censorship.IMG_1486Bette Davis fights censorship in Storm Center

Today, libraries are not just for books and periodicals. Today, libraries have audio books and movies available for loan. They provide free classes on computer training and other educational opportunities. They present art exhibits, film showings, author presentations, talks, and a multitude of other programs for adults and kids. Libraries are a central part of your home town.

The first modern day public supported library opened in Peterborough, New  Hampshire back in 1833.

Don’t let local politicians ever tell you, when they want to cut funding, libraries are not essential. Today, more than ever, they are a fundamental fabric of each and every community.

The first two images below are of the New York Public Library (main branch). It’s the second largest in the world.

Public

 

NEW-YORK-PUBLIC-LIBRARY-MAIN-READING-ROOM-INTERIOR-1000PX

The following photographs are of two small libraries in quaint  New England towns.

Southwest Harbor Public Library Maine-0336

Southwest Harbor, Maine Library

Hancock Vt. Library-DSCN0952-0952

Hancock, Vermont Library

Use, support, defend and fight for your library!

Feeding the Kids

I had to crop these photos quite a bit because this family of Anhingas were well back from our path and the trees and brush did not give me a clear shot. I used a 300mm lens but I really needed more like a 500mm or 600mm. Photographed at the Sawgrass Lake Park in St. Petersburg.

Anhinga Feeeding1 (1 of 1)

Anhinga Feeeding2 (1 of 1)

Anhinga Feeeding3 (1 of 1)