A few weeks ago I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
I have been singing the praises of Bruce Holbert’s debut novel, Lonesome Animals, since I put it down a few weeks ago. Before, actually. I was telling every reader I came into contact with to check this book out. It’s that good. Better than good. Holbert manages to do quite a lot in his first novel that hardened veterans have tried at and failed miserably. First off, he makes his main character, Russell Strawl, a violent, angry man—likeable. Heck, I didn’t just like him, I respected him. Strawl is a fully developed character, along with the rest of the characters—none of them are stock; all of them have their quirks and defining moments. This novel also bends the rules of genre, which I admire greatly. It’s a thriller, a whodunit, a serial killer novel, a western, all rolled up in beautifully written prose that leans toward literary. There should be no labels, but I know that’s impossible in today’s world. Simply put: Find it. Buy it. Read it. Regardless of which of the genres I mentioned that you read or don’t read.Visit Larry D. Sweazy's website and blog.
So after the experience I had with that book, I figured it would be difficult to find something that I would be enthusiastic about. After all, books like Lonesome Animals only come along so often. And then I stumbled onto Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton. Sounds like a great title for a mystery novel, but it’s not, it’s a memoir of New York City chef and restaurant owner. It’s a coming of age story, a cautionary tale, a love letter to food and a city, and so much more. Hamilton is a really good writer, but she is a better storyteller. She has a wonderful way of pulling you into a scene with all four senses (without beating you over the head with her perfectly crafted prose), and whispering into your ear so you don’t miss any of the details, the notes of every flavor. I’m savoring this book like a fine meal. It’s unflinching in its honesty, and beautiful because of it… I love good food as much as I do good books, and Blood, Bones, and Butter is a rich serving of both. I’m not looking forward to finishing it…
Read--Coffee with a Canine: Larry D. Sweazy and Brodi and Sunny.
The Page 69 Test: The Coyote Tracker.