With a personal viewpoint, writing about the arts stops sounding like Newspeak. Here is the best gift I can give an artist—a flash of my impressions of the work as open as I can divine them, uncluttered by social and historical baggage, and free of plot-spoilers.


Photographs were taken of or from Point Richmond, California and Champaign, Illinois.


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HOPE NEVER DIES by Andrew Shaffer

Ha, ha! In HOPE NEVER DIES by Andrew Shaffer, the POV character is Joe Biden. Yup, that one. He's a little disgruntled because his erstwhile best friend, Barack, isn't dropping around any more.

One of Joe's longtime buddies has died in a mysterious fashion and the famous duo (eventually) get around to solving the underlying crime. It's not strictly a mystery, more like an amusing caper with mysterious overtones.

Memorable Books of 2017 on DorothyL

From December through the end of February, readers of DorothyL listserv posted their favourite books read (for the first time) during 2017 to the DorothyL list.

Our volunteer Allocator read all DL posts and forwarded relevant emails to our volunteer processors (fondly known as Indefatigable Sharpies), each of whom copied, cleaned and pasted data from those emails into an Excel spreadsheet which they then forwarded to me. I did some more data cleansing, and then sent out a cry to the list for volunteers to verify submitted data (copyright dates, titles of books and authors). And this year we provided some opportunity for DorothyL "submitters" to verify the data before it was posted online.

Free Books for DorothyLers posting Memorable/Best Books of 2017

Dear DLers,

Below are books which I have received from publishers, authors or purchased. I don’t want to keep them and I’d like them to go to interested readers. I will send free books to some folks provided that said person has posted one or more Best/Memorable Of 2017 either to the DorothyL list or off-list to me. Here's what we want for Best/Memorable Of 2017: http://tinyurl.com/ya4zl2q

Memorable Books of 2016 on DorothyL

From December through the end of February, readers of DorothyL listserv posted their favourite books read (for the first time) during 2016 to the DorothyL list.

Our volunteer Allocator read all DL posts and forwarded relevant emails to our volunteer processors (fondly known as Indefatigable Sharpies), each of whom copied, cleaned and pasted data from those emails into an Excel spreadsheet which they then forwarded to me. I did some more data cleansing, and then sent out a cry to the list for volunteers to verify submitted data (copyright dates, titles of books and authors). And this year we provided some opportunity for DorothyL "submitters" to verify the data before it was posted online.

SEE ALSO MURDER by Larry D. Sweazy

I've just finished Larry D. Sweazy's See Also Murder ©2015. The scene is North Dakota, I think in the 1960s. The protagonist, Marjorie Trumaine, is a farm wife, an indexer (to make ends meet), and an amateur detective. Many times throughout the story I thought the plot was moving too slowly, but really, it's just right.

Issues For Posting DorothyL Memorable Books of the Year Lists

Here is a series of posts related to posting your Best of / Memorable Year Booklists to the DorothyL list.

[If you've accessed this page from the front page of the website (so are thus seeing the "summary" view of this page), click on the title of the post which will open up the complete view of the article, with links to related posts below.]

BLACKLIST by Sara Paretsky

Sara Paretsky’s BLACKLIST ©2003 could have been written today; it doesn’t seem like we’ve learned very much in nearly fifteen years. Our Islamophobia today sounds as rabid as shortly after 9/11/2001. Private Detective V.I. Warshawski is shocked by just how many freedoms Americans gave up with the Patriot Act. Several storylines start in the mid-twentieth century, when McCarthyism and segregation were rampant. Activists and writers and dancers pushed xenophobic publishers, patrons and politicians. There is a very clear distinction between the supremely wealthy and the rest of us poor souls, in the past and the present. Seems like we haven’t learned much in the last sixty or seventy years.

FORENSICS by Val McDermid

Val McDermid makes everything read well. I’m uninterested in history, but read a lot of crime fiction, yet I was fascinated by FORENSICS by Val McDermid ©2014.

The book covers the evolution of forensics as a tool for crime detection in the past 200 years. Not interesting, you say? Ha! There you’d be wrong. It read like a story, with lots of exciting discoveries, complete with satisfying ending.

Brilliant, positively brilliant.

NEVER GO BACK by Robert Goddard

As a lover of crime fiction, it’s perfectly believable that an amateur finds herself knee deep in intrigue. In some mysteries, it’s uncanny (and unrealistic) how suddenly an amateur gets embroiled in yet another murder investigation. But, one argues, some crime must be discovered by amateurs. In real life, how would this work?

TIME’S UP by Janey Mack

TIME’S UP ©2015 by Janey Mack stars a fabulous, feisty heroine. Maisie McGrane and her four brothers are Black Irish, first-generation Chicagoans. Her family are all cops and lawyers (including her parents). Maisie has had a life-long dream of being a cop, which is now thwarted, so, with characteristic deviousness, she becomes a meter maid, prone to mishap and misadventure.