Bill Clinton’s Novel

Bill Clinton published a mystery novel? Well, since his wife ventured into the fantasy genre, why not?

If only he didn’t get James Patterson – aka the least gifted author of all times – to write it for him, I might have leafed through it. Couldn’t be much worse than the horrific Araminta Hall book.

Is anybody on the blog going to confess to reading it? Or is it going to be like being a Trump supporter, which people conceal on phone polls, skewing the results?


What I find bizarre is the habit of putting restaurant napkins in one’s lap. What purpose can they possibly serve there? Are they supposed to catch bits of food that fall out of one’s mouth? That would only work for extremely skinny, flat-chested, flat-stomached people. And if they are so thin, what is the likelihood of them eating so greedily and sloppily that clumps of food would keep plonking in their laps?

I hate this habit because the darn napkin always slips to the floor and it’s a drag to have to fish it out every five minutes.

Soviet Vacation

N’s vacation is almost over and he’s getting ready to leave. I’m staying on with Klara because we are Soviet people at heart and we exist under the moral imperative to “take the kid out in nature” for as long as possible.

N is being very solicitous of me because he thinks it’s heroic I’ll be here alone with Klara. He reminded me of a scene in a famous Soviet novel set at an early collective farm in the 1920s. When a daycare was being organized at the kolkhoz, a collective farmer said that the women who were going to work there didn’t need to get paid at the same rate as other kinds of full-time work.

“It’s not like it’s hard to take care of toddlers,” he said.

The kolkhoz women were so enraged that they beat him up.

“I’d tear that motherfucker to pieces with my bare hands,” N says decisively. He stayed with Klara while I was in Seattle, and even though she’s a very easy kid, he was wiped out.

Book Notes: Araminta Hall’s Our Kind of Cruelty

I wanted a good British thriller to read on vacation and like a total putz I trusted a review in the New York Times that gushed about Araminta Hall’s Our Kind of Cruelty. This is absolutely the last time ever I trust an NYTimes reviewer because the book stank like you have no idea.

The novel was written by a professor of creative writing, which is already a bad sign. In the author’s own words, she was motivated by rage against men and hatred of patriarchy to write the book. There is pretty little in terms of a plot, no interesting characters, no mystery, no insight into character psychology. All the readers get are vignettes that feature nasty, sex-obsessed, violent, and mean men who despise and victimize tiny, skinny, helpless and angelic women. The novel reads like an essay by an earnest freshman in a gender studies course, who can’t write yet is happy to trot out the primitive ideas and the in-group jargon she learned in class. Since the ideas are extremely shallow, all the author can do is repeat them with little variation again and again.

I should have known that an NYTimes reviewer would love this kind of a pseudo-feminist screed and consider it great literature. I was hoping that at least the book reviews would be free from the affirmations of ideological allegiance that have become all that the newspaper publishes. But I was wrong.