Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Changeling

Victor Lavalle assumes you have a decent working knowledge of New York City. Well, I've got news for you buddy, I do not. I've only been there once and it's been a while. I remember thinking that it was too expensive to go to the observation deck of the World Trade Center. I know you are thinking, wow I'll bet you regret that, but no, it was like over $22 per person and that was in 2001. Pfft! For some, NYC is their favorite city in the world. I'm like, have you been to San Diego? Sun, beer, succulents and well adjusted corgis running around. No, some prefer a grey, dirty day with a slimy subway pole to grab.

The Changeling is a modern fantasy novel, set in NYC which is like--we get it! It's a retelling of old fairy tales that is going to appear dated in about three years. There is a cautionary tale about new parents that post too many baby pictures on Facebook. Y'all, monsters are coming for you. No, it's not just passive aggressive comments because you'll get those too. "Your baby is so cute it looks just like that prize wining potato I saw on the Food Network." No, real monsters both human and otherworldly. I image they all look like Tony Robbins for some reason.

This book reads more like a thriller than fantasy. It's not a "fun" book. For as exciting as it seems I kept putting it down. Some like it, others meh. This book goes with that trend of newer novels that are "screenplay like" but to me that's what a screenplay is for. It's like giving me a pie and telling me it's a tart. That's not a great analogy as I would not turn down pie. I would judge them for not knowing the difference but I would definitely eat it. There are not a whole lot of desserts I turn down. Ok, flan. Not a flan fan. 

This book covers a lot of NYC including Queens so why not drink a Queens cocktail (yes named after the borough and not QEII): 1 and 1/2 ounces gin, 1/2 ounce dry vermouth, 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth, 1 ounce pineapple juice. Add ingredients to a shaker, strain and add to a coupe glass or other appropriate glassware. Enjoy on a fire escape.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

Ah, this book is set at a fancy bookstore in the late 90's, maybe early naughts. Remember bookstores? There are still a few around so hug one today. The author really did work at the Tattered Cover in Denver so naturally this a mystery set well...at a bookstore just like that.  I wonder if he actually started this book in the late 90's and that's why its set then, because I feel like he really could have upped the nostalgia by adding more details. What details you ask?  Well, flip-phones, the Rachel haircut, hip-hugger corduroys (swish-swish), Snapple and a casual Radiohead reference. I mean lets just embrace it. One of my favorite things about Better Call Saul is the small details of 2002. Sounds like it was just yesterday but sadly it was not. Blast.   

I thought this book was ok but I will confess that I'm not a huge mystery person, I'll make an exception for an ultra British mystery. I was more interested in the bookstore patrons and employees of the bookstore which are not the main focus. I know when I worked at my three bookstores it was a revolving cast of characters. I had a former trumpet player manager that wouldn't stop talking (oral fixation apparently), a woman that when to a religious boarding school in Italy AND lived on a houseboat in Bermuda THEN she in her partner had desert tortoises in AZ. I had one owner that was into astrology and so he read my "chart" before he hired me--he said it was ok for me to come on board. He has since gone out of business.

I wasn't crazy about our protagonist and that's always going to be an issue so if you are a bibliophile and a mystery person then maybe you would like it. I do wish Michael Sullivan the best.  He's a former bookseller turned successful author. That, my friends, is like hope in a jar. Also, I love his author photo he looks soooo happy. The photographer must have shown him photos of cats in cute sweaters or something.

Lets drink a cocktail from the late 90's for nostalgia's sake: Cable Car: 2 ounces spiced rum, 1 ounce triple sec, 1/2 ounce lemon juice, 1/4 ounce simple syrup and one egg white (optional but will make it make it frothy). Shake it all up in the shaker and strain into a chilled glass. This sounds sweet and decadent. I don't remember the late 90's being that way but I was kind of broke back then--probably from my low pay working at the bookstores. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯