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William E. Adams RSS Feed (San Angelo, Texas USA)

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Amherst: A Novel
Amherst: A Novel
by William Nicholson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.39
113 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps this is best enjoyed by us Emily Dickinson nuts..., June 7, 2015
This review is from: Amherst: A Novel (Hardcover)
I found the book by accident in my branch library the other day. Having been interested in Emily's life and poems since college in the '60's, and obsessed by that world in the late '70's and early '80's, when I wrote a play (only produced once...so far) about how the poetry ended up being published after Emily's death, I couldn't resist seeing what Mr. Nicholson did with the same historical characters, in a 300-page novel, that I put on nearly a bare stage as ghosts in a 75-minute drama.

Before I began "Amherst" I read a couple of five-star reviews, and all the one-and-two stars. I was a bit jarred by the condemnation of the one-star writers, but Emily Dickinson, just as her poetry found haters and lovers after it was in print, had a complicated family and there are often bitter words exchanged between those scholars and fans who favor her sister-in-law Sue as a wronged woman, or her brother Austin's lover Mabel Todd as an early feminist and sexually emancipated married woman. "Amherst" concentrates upon this rivalry, of course.

Well, I think Mr. Nicholson has done a pretty good job of presenting in fictional form the true but hard-to-believe 12-year-long love affair between those two which indirectly led to Mabel becoming the editor who made Emily famous. Modern readers will find the extensive quotes from Mabel and Austin's diaries and letters to be florid,lofty,self-excusing and sentimental to the extreme. To counter all this sweetness, his modern fictional creations, Professor Nick and screenwriter Alice, argue more than adore, and use profanity rather than piety while having intense sex for a week or so. I found Nick initially irritating, but later came to feel quite sad for him. I liked Alice quite a bit. Their meeting, at a time when Nick's wife is away, and when he could offer a free room to the British girl half his age who comes to Emily Dickinson's hometown for research, is a bit too easy to believe, but that is forgivable. This modern story I would give three stars. His recreation of the Austin/Mabel affair of 1882-95 gets five stars, thus resulting in my four-star rating for the novel as a whole. I wasn't thrilled with the way he leaves Nick at the end, but it seems to parallel the way Austin Dickinson was feeling just before he met Mabel Todd and learned about the joy of living that had escaped him for 54 years in a poor marriage and a career filled with burdens. If reading "Amherst" creates a few more fans for Emily's poetry, which is difficult to grasp given her pre-civil war lexicon and love of telling things "slant" I'll be delighted. If a few of those readers get hooked on the soap opera aspects of Emily's extended family and their significant others, that's good also. They were fascinating folks, with secret sins, scarred souls and spiritual seriousness.


Robert B. Parker's Damned If You Do (A Jesse Stone Novel)
Robert B. Parker's Damned If You Do (A Jesse Stone Novel)
by Robert B. Parker
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.98
136 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars It is quite a bit like Parker's own work...but his touch is missed..., June 5, 2015
This is the first "Jesse Stone" novel I've read since the death of the originator, Mr. Parker, five years ago. I enjoyed it, found it a worthy imitation (I can devour one of these in just a few hours)if not quite "Parker" in every sentence and situation. We will never know if the late great writer would approve of others continuing his characters, but I think his estate has made a reasonable choice in the writers granted permission to keep producing "Spenser" and "Stone" episodes. In this one, Jesse has to solve the killing of a young "sex worker" and also bring justice to some old folks being mistreated at a long-term care facility. The novel is no masterpiece of a police procedural, but it is a pleasant escape from reality for a few hours. I think that's really all Mr. Parker himself wanted to do for us...let us lose ourselves in a world where the characters' troubles were greater than our own, but mostly got resolved in a just manner by people we liked. This book succeeded in that modest objective.


Robert B. Parker's Cheap Shot (Spenser)
Robert B. Parker's Cheap Shot (Spenser)
by Ace Atkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.97
129 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars My first non-Parker "Spenser" and I did enjoy it..., June 3, 2015
Yes, it has a little more descriptive prose than the late Robert Parker needed, but overall, I was impressed with Mr. Atkins grasp of the essential Parker/Spenser style. You can quibble about a slow start, as some of the one-star reviewers have, and I would rate the conclusion as a bit weak here, but after a four-year break from the world of Spenser, Susan and Hawk, I was happy to reunite with the characters. Even the late master himself was not equally good in every single Spenser book over 40 years or so.


Milan Extra Small Universal Horizontal Cell Phone Case / Pouch / Holster with Belt Loop & Belt Clip
Milan Extra Small Universal Horizontal Cell Phone Case / Pouch / Holster with Belt Loop & Belt Clip
Offered by i-Panda
Price: $5.90
16 used & new from $5.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good value for those of us who are NOT in the smart-phone world..., June 1, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I still own a flip-phone and need this kind of case, and they are getting scarce in retail stores. This is offered at a good price and quick delivery. I've only had it three weeks, but so far am content.


Insatiable Appetites (A Stone Barrington Novel)
Insatiable Appetites (A Stone Barrington Novel)
by Stuart Woods
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.93
279 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rough, slow start almost did me in..., June 1, 2015
It is only a 300-pager, but I was ready to give up on it until a twist on page 75. To that point, I found it populated by wealthy, successful people with unbelievable political and social connections, whose lives seemed full of great art, great food, exciting travel and romance. In short, nothing with which I could identify or root for. But after page 75, the route to justice after some killings was complex enough to hold me to the end. This was the first Stone Barrington novel I'd read, although I had devoured a few of Woods' novels back in the '90's. Unfortunately, I also found the climax a bit disappointing. There is a romance I rooted for that fails, and punishment for a villain that seems way too light and leaves many questions. I gave it one star more than it probably deserves, because Woods found a way to keep me reading, but overall this one seemed more like a first novel than someone's 50th. The dialogue and settings seem awkward and artificial rather than artfully accomplished.


A Touch of Stardust: A Novel
A Touch of Stardust: A Novel
by Kate Alcott
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.00
147 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars I liked this thoroughly, both the real and the invented people..., May 22, 2015
Perhaps you have to be a lover of classic Hollywood films, or Gone With the Wind in particular to really lose yourself in this novel. I read a few of the one-and-two star reviews, and while those critics apparently found a few factual errors in the work, their opinions that the non-historical characters were boring didn't resonate with me. The girl is plucky and trying to grow up and lucks into jobs and friendships that help her greatly. Her love interest is a conflicted man with flaws but essential goodness (kind of like Rhett Butler himself.) The portrait of the daily battles to get that great movie made in 1938-39 were of huge interest to me. Real-life stars Carole Lombard and Clark Gable do seem accurately captured in terms of how they managed their off-screen lives. I had fun as a reader and a movie buff, people to root for and no real villains. In a week in which I was dealing with the loss of a relative and the frail health of in-laws, it was a tonic I needed.


Not Too Late
Not Too Late
Price: $8.25
266 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mostly mellow, mostly lovely, a really pleasant 45 minutes..., May 19, 2015
This review is from: Not Too Late (Audio CD)
Actually, I like this better than her first album, the one that made her a star, "Come Away With Me" and the one she made with Billie Joe redoing the ancient Everly Brothers traditional folk LP. Both of those are good enough, but I'll give this one repeated play more frequently. Hard to say why, except that just about every track made me feel good and admire the writing and performing.


Bones Never Lie (with bonus novella Swamp Bones): A Novel (Temperance Brennan)
Bones Never Lie (with bonus novella Swamp Bones): A Novel (Temperance Brennan)
by Kathy Reichs
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.98
195 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars I'm giving it a generous rating..., May 12, 2015
Because it was so much better than the last one I read in the "Bones" series. I was in the mood for it, and stuck to it, but I think it got weaker in the last 50 pages, and overall would rate three stars. I guess it is difficult to sustain quality over a dozen or more entries in a series. I found that Robert B. Parker's last few "Spenser" novels were not so hot, Janet Evanovich's "Stephanie Plum" entries ran out of gas after a dozen for me, even though they were set in my native town and even though all of them are better than the one movie made. In "Bones Never Lie" there is a complicated bunch of serial killings to resolve involving two countries and three states. There are surprise deaths, an uncomfortable relationship between Bones and her former lover, poorly presented fellow detectives, too many victims (and their family members who are not helpful but take up pages) and a confrontation at the end with the real killer that just is not credible. Yet I stuck with this because I wanted it to work, wanted her "Bones" to again be as interesting as the very different TV character of the same name. But my verdict is that the television series has better characters and plots than the book's original version of Tempe Brennan. The first half-dozen in this literary line were great, the last few are missing something. Perhaps she now writes too fast, or has a intimidated editor, but just haven't had that old pizzaz that made Dr. Brennan worth putting on TV in the first place. So five stars for the first half, three for the final section, call it four to be kind, but I won't grab the next one even off the library shelf with eagerness.


The Singles 1969-1973
The Singles 1969-1973
Price: $12.75
116 used & new from $2.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Angelic voice became an angel way too soon..., May 9, 2015
This review is from: The Singles 1969-1973 (Audio CD)
I'm 70 years old, a music fan since about age five, and Karen Carpenter may be the best female vocalist in recording history. There have been a lot of good girl singers, but few had the tone and phrasing and intimacy she achieved in the 1970's. Here you get a sampler with a dozen singles hits from the first few years of their stardom. And I found it on Amazon for just under five bucks two weeks ago. At that price this is a great bargain. My personal favorites by Karen and brother Richard are actually not even on this disc, but all the songs are good, compositions by great writers.


Birth Of The Hot - The Classic Chicago "Red Hot Peppers" Sessions 1926-27
Birth Of The Hot - The Classic Chicago "Red Hot Peppers" Sessions 1926-27
Price: $4.99
31 used & new from $1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good-quality old recordings by excellent players..., May 9, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This CD won't give you Mr. Morton's piano solos, which of course are great. These are jazz combo tracks originally issued on 78's in the late 1920's. The songs, many of them, are Morton compositions, and the performances are high quality and full of spirit. And there are a lot of them. Listening to this for an hour straight, they can seem a bit much. But if you want a sampler of what New Orleans-style jazz groups sounded like, get this one. Although it was recorded in Chicago, it's as authentic as you'll ever find. Almost everything on here is up-tempo fund.


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