Monday, November 21, 2016

WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT

Excellent film starring (among several other outstanding actors) Tina Fay as Kim Barker, a reporter for CNN covering Afghanistan during the early and middle phases of the US war there.  I recommend it highly.

BOOK SIGNING, November 26.

I'll be signing books and conversing with mystery fiction fans from 11 to 2 at Book World, in Viking Plaza, Alexandria, Minnesota. Hope to meet you there!

Thursday, November 03, 2016

COFFEE CONCERT BY MINN ORCHESTRA HITS HOME RUN

Our subscription to Minnesota Orchestra day-time coffee concerts for this season just kicked in. We drive half-a-mile to Rosedale Shopping Center where we park and board a comfortable bus. The bus brings us downtown Minneapolis to Orchestra Hall. We disembark, are greeted by smiling staff and make our way to the upper lobby. There we find tables laden with doughnuts, punch and coffee. Plus places to sit and socialize. After a while we wander into the concert hall and  find our seats. This concert is sold out.

Osmo Vanska conducts our world-class orchestra in a nice and  varied program. First, Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait. The music is interesting and the narration is voiced by a retired judge of the Minnesota Supreme Court. His name is Alan Page. Yes, THAT Alan Page.

Next up a spectacular violinist, Esther Yoo. She wears an intensely bright red ball gown, contrasting nicely with the black suits of the orchestra members. Unlike many guest soloists, this young woman connects energetically, first with her music, then with the audience and with the orchestra as well. She performed Max Bruch's Concerto no. 1 in G minor. I had never heard of this composer and it turns out he is not well-known, having composed only this single piece. It's a very pleasant concerto, well-performed by orchestra and soloist.

After intermission the orchestra offered up Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 from the New World.
It is a stirring, marvelous composition, well-known throughout the New World. The orchestra sounded excellent, played with enthusiasm  and the audience responded in kind/

Then we boarded the bus and were deposited back in the Rosedale parking lot, six car-lengths from our own vehicle. We then drove  home under intense blue skies and a radiant sun

Monday, October 24, 2016

Brookins Travels

After the chili feed in Webster, WI, I had  a chance to meet with some enthusiastic readers in Hastings. We were at the Bierstube, which I can recommend with confidence. The meal was large, the service was fast and pleasant, the atmosphere was warm and friendly. My wife and I enjoyed ourselves on our short trip to the historic river town to meet and talk with enthusiastic readers of mystery fiction on the evening of October 20. And, you can me a the library in Becker on Saturday, November 5.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

CHILI EVENT!

Ellen Hart and I will join the festivities in Webster, WI, for the 4th annual Larsen Family Public Library fundraiser. Today. 5-8:30 pm.
We'll eat chili and answer non-political questions? Give insights into the life of authors of fine crime fikctikon.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

FINE IMAGE AND EMOTION-RICH NOVEL

Every Boat Turns South
by J.P.White
ISBN: 9781579621889
A 2009 release from
Permanent Press
For a great many people the incalculable persistent rhythms of the seas that surround us, the tides, the fog, crashing surging waves, all serve to remind us of the vast unknown. Water has no permanent shape, it cannot drive a nail. It can form long-enduring shapes on the shores of our continents and drive islands into clusters we label archipelego but no island lasts forever. In the north, when winter comes and water in the ponds freezes into temporary hardness, something often urges us to look to warmer circumstances closer to the equator. We revel in the snow and crave the sun-baked climes of the tropical island.

There are a thousand stories of sailing voyages, likened to the human voyage of life and like life, those voyages are, in turn filled with storm and peace, ecstasy and sorrow. Here is one such filled with rich images, turbulent emotions, sadness, joy and death. After years separated from his family second son Matt returns to his home on a journey of expiation. The family torn apart by the death of the favored first-born, needs to heal, at least a little and Matt tries to make that happen. Of course he fails and in the process weaves a tale of life in the islands off our southern coast, repleate with passion, drugs, storms, smuggling, love and mixed results. For the sailor there's great and kindly detail, for the rest, the relentless drive of the author's poetical structure and language carries us alongside Matt to an uncertain conclusion.

At times the exaulted language and structure may bother some readers, just as other readers may find the quantity of technical detail confusing and off-putting. For those, I suggest trying to relax with the story, enjoy the scenery and the passion, but stay with Matt through his adventure in this fine poetical novel.

Friday, June 03, 2016

SONS OF THE PROPHET an INTENSE THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE

Park Square Theatre in Saint Paul staged the prize winner from Stephen Karam. Intense, fast and at times furious, the play is wonderfully staged on the main stage. The acting  is generally good, so the humor comes through even though the subject is difficult and for me, basing a major theatrical work on Kahil Gibran is  not a happy pairing. I like theatre too much. Even if we are not ever alone in our suffering, and always greater than we know, as the poet would have it. The set is a  marvelous creation that enhances the happy pace and the acting is of a high order. The play is not an easy experience and attendees will find some specific explanation of  they read the program before the play begins.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS--good movie

 A young woman suffering from Parkinson's befriends a drug rep working for Pfizer in 1990s Pittsburgh. Stars are Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. A good supporting cast as well. Watched it last night. Funny, poignant, raunchy sexy comedy. Snappy dialogue appropriately delivered.  Based on a true memoir. Enjoyed it a lot.

Good production, fine acting, very funny in spots. Good sex scenes as well. What sets it apart, is the realization that the way the drug company reps interact with the medical community is all true to life, if a bit exaggerated. And of course, a problematic ending.