Recommendations for Serious Downtime

Some recommendations for the person with lots of time on their hands, including some country noir recs.

Every Day Should Be Tuesday

A dear friend of mine recently had major surgery and is looking at a long recovery.  Which sucks, but CAN YOU IMAGINE THE TIME TO READ?!?  And watch movies and stuff, I guess.  She is fishing for recs, and lacking options simply will not do.  Besides, I have a history of being there for long convalescences and reading recs is kind of what I do (and watching recs too, I guess).  Not all of these may be to my friend’s tastes, but then neither was country music once upon a time, and it only took a decade for her to come around.  Without further ado, some recommendations for someone with a lot of time on their hands…

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Music Monday: Choctaw Bingo by James McMurtry

We took no-angel (our daughter’s nom de gerber) down to Texas over Christmas to see my wife’s family.  It was her first time on a plane.  The first flight was a quick hop affair, but that didn’t stop it from being the longest flight of our life as no-angel threw up on us over and over.  And over.  And over again.  Those poor people behind us, and their poor bags.  At some point you would think we would have learned our lesson about saying “at least she doesn’t have anything left in her.”

We should have give her some Benadryl.

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2019 State of the Blog: Hillbilly Highways Edition

Hillbilly Highways officially launched on June 6 of this year, and it has been a tremendous experience.  It was a bit of a leap of faith to start a new, second blog after spending three years building my SF blog, especially one so different and so personal.  I have been gratified to entertain and enrich some fans of the old blog (“I’m beginning to like highways better than your other blog. The topics are far closer to home. I love Americana, and nothing is better than Appalachian tales, folk heroes, honest struggles, and a touch of mystery.” – Oghma), attract new fans (most notably the inestimable Jim Cornelius at Frontier Partisans), and even have some small measure of numerical success.

My most personal posts, and four of my favorite posts, were on Chris LeDoux’s This Cowboy’s Hat, Chris Stapleton’s Was It 26, Joan Williams’ White Working Class, and Charlie Robison’s Photograph.  I’ve got another one coming this month that I’ve had a hard time writing.

Establishing a fresh beachhead on the war-torn internet mainland is no easy task, but, while I may not be getting the numbers I get at Every Day Should Be Tuesday, Hillbilly Highways has done better in its first seven months than Every Day Should Be Tuesday did during its first seven months.

Thank you for joining me for 88 posts and contributing 254 comments and 276 likes.

You can find my State of the Blog for Every Day Should Be Tuesday here.

no-angel knows what I need to review next.

Continue reading “2019 State of the Blog: Hillbilly Highways Edition”

Country Noir: Ohio by Stephen Markley

I can’t help but think that Ohio would have been a great book if Markley never went to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.  Markley has a lot of talent, and there is a lot of good grist in there—even a real plot!—but Ohio displays all the worst tendencies of literary-minded fiction and it derails the book.

Ohio tells the interweaving stories of four twenty-somethings returning to their small, Rust Belt hometown.  The story is driven as much by who isn’t there as by who is (more on that in a bit).  I picked it up on the strength of Paul’s review at Paul’s Picks and comparisons to Friday Night Lights (in which you may have noticed some interest on my part).  I get Paul’s view and the comparison, but this is a book that falls well short of its potential.

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