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15 June 2006 @ 12:29 pm
Ten random things: June 15  

Ten novels set in Pennsylvania:

  1. Richard Russo, Straight Man
  2. Jason Cherry, Bloody Circles of War
  3. Jennifer Haigh, Baker Towers
  4. Karen Rile, Winter Music
  5. Tamar Myers, Crepes of Wrath
  6. John Updike, Rabbit Run
  7. R. Troyan Krause, The Works of the Flesh
  8. Norma Peterson, Rhonda the Rubber Woman
  9. Denise Dennis and Gregory Miller, Becoming His Father’s Son
  10. Bud Shuster, Double Buckeyes

Straight Man is my favorite book by one of my favorite authors. I was thinking about Richard Russon this morning, because I just finished One Mississippi, a new book by Mark Childress, the promotional text for which described it as being "in the spirit of Richard Russo and Tom Perrotta," which in my opinion is a hell of a good spirit in which to be. (Having now read it, I'm not sure I wholeheartedly agree with the comparison, but it was a good read, if somewhat unsurprising in its narrative climax.)

On the other end of the scale is Double Buckeyes, which is a dreadful novel. I didn't expect it to be very good — it's a children's book written by a former U.S. Representative Bud Shuster of Pennsylvania — but it failed even to meet my low expectations of it. I wouldn't say it's the worst book I've ever read — I think Jack Valenti's Protect and Defend still has it beat, but it might be the worst children's book I've ever read.