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Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories
China Miéville
Operation Greylord: The True Story of an Untrained Undercover Agent and America's Biggest Corruption Bust
Terrence Hake, Wayne Klatt
Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto
Aaron Franklin, Jordan Mackay
My System: 21st Century Edition
Aron Nimzowitsch
The Wheeling Year: A Poet's Field Book
Ted Kooser
The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution
Francis Fukuyama
My Struggle: Book 2: A Man in Love
Karl Ove Knausgård, Don Bartlett
James Madison
Ralph Louis Ketcham
The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805
Richard Zacks

A Visit from the Goon Squad

A Visit from the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan While reading Egan's book, I found myself noticing that drugs were more or less the common thread between the overlapping and interwoven personalities that come and go in the stories. And no, not just the level one would expect when dealing largely with musicians, and rock musicians at that, but drugs are often the motive force, the critical component without which the story lacks the peaks and valleys of it's arc(s). Whether popping E before going for a swim, a coke habit requiring the complete restructuring of a face, drugs causing burn out and homelessness, the subject matters are subjugated and harnessed by the yoke of drug use. I'm not convinced that's what Egan was going for...and yes, I know there's drug abuse in the music industry, but it seems an over-worn trope.The writing crisp and lively, often times to the point of irritation. We meet characters at one point in their lives, then spin away only to meet them again far younger, or far older. We're invited to draw comparisons in their lives (and often to judge whether or not their lives were a "success") and to draw conclusions from that. But what irritates is the overuse of introducing the reader to a character, then immediately telling us within a single line what will happen to them later before continuing on with the story. It might just be me, but after one use, this effect loses it's novelty and begins to approach a lazy form of foreshadowing, as if rather than building a sense of dread culminating with the fatal blow, it's just easier to tip the cards at the beginning, and let your own internal foreshadowing play. It's terrific at first, but eventually it felt cheap. I also felt there were repeated points being hammered home, and those points were overwhelmingly negative and pessimistic. Again, not a new thing to be found in this type of literature but almost a little overdone in fact. It's a decent novel, and the writer has tons of talent, no question. But perhaps a little self-indulgent. Perhaps I blame the editing more than the composition.