So Many Doors by Oakley Hall
This classic noir tale of a destructive love triangle set around Bakersfield around the time of WWII was first published in 1950. Cognitive dissonance drew me to this novel that revolves around a cat-skinner (I'm going to let you look that up) and a young farmer's daughter. The lurid cover of this Vintage Crime edition is all pulp and cheesy noir, yet graced with great praise from Michael Chabon, who says "So Many Doors is a beautiful, powerful, even masterful novel by a writer whose work enriched American literature." Even more striking, there is a blurb by Amy Tam on the back cover, saying in part that "he is the master of characterization, narrative immediacy, and the art of luring you into a gripping story."
After reading, I was glad to have taken a closer look at the book with the tall busty blonde with a strangely enormous left foot on the cover of an advance reader copy. I've seldom read a book that captured the mad yearning, inchoate confusion, madness and near horror of existence so pitch perfectly. It actually made me feel glad to be north of 50, which doesn't happen too often. I’ve since learned that Oakley Hall’s work included the novel Warlock, which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1958. The Downhill Racers, a 1969 movie starring Robert Redford, was based on another of his books. Hall taught at the University of California, Irvine, where he mentored Richard Ford, in addition to Chabon and Tan. He received lifetime achievement awards from the PEN American Center and the Cowboy Hall of Fame, and died in 2008.
Adult Fiction Paperback pr2096511
Let's Go (So We Can Get Back) by Jeff Tweedy
A funny, charming, self-aware look back by the Wilco front man, from growing up in SW Illinois to present day. You really needn't be a fan of Uncle Tupelo, Wilco in any of its configurations, or have even heard of Jeff Tweedy to enjoy this book (although that would help, of course). Read it if you enjoy memoirs by interesting people with the ability to tell a good story well. I'll admit that I've seen him in concert probably a dozen times, but not for almost two decades, and haven't engaged with his music since Mermaid Avenue Vol. II was released in 2000 (doesn't matter: it's a great read). For a deeper dive into the book and where Tweedy is at these days, you can find a full length review from Gentleman's Quarterly here.
Adult Non-Fiction Hardcover pr2093580