Search Results for: Books Read

A

“A” Is for Alibi

Abandon Ship!

The ABC Murders

About a Boy

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

After the Funeral

Against All Enemies

The Agenda

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland 

The Alienist

Alive

All the King’s Men

All the President’s Men

American Conspiracies

American Jihad

American on Purpose

American Rhapsody

America’s Great Unsolved Mysteries

The Amityville Horror

The Ancient Alien Question

And the Sea Will Tell

And Then There Were None

Angela’s Ashes

Animal Farm

Anna Karenina

The Antichrist

Appointment with Death

Arctic Drift

Are Men Necessary?

Around the World in 80 Days

Art That Changed the World

The Ask

Atonement

Aunt Dimity’s Death

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Autobiography of Mark Twain

Awake in the Dark

 

B

Bad Love

Bag of Bones

Ball Four

The Beatles

Beautiful Ruins

The Bedwetter

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Being There

The Bell Jar

Benjamin Franklin

Bias

The Big Short

The Big Sky

The Big Sleep

The Black Arrow

Black Like Me

Blizzard

Blood Feud

The Bonfire of the Vanities

Bonjour Laziness

The Book of Genesis

The Book of Guys

The Bourne Identity

Brave New World

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Breakfast of Champions

A Brief History of Time

A Bright Shining Lie

 

C

Call of the Wild

Candy Girl

Captains and the Kings

Captains Courageous

Cards on the Table

Carrie

The Case of Jennie Brice

The Case of the Stuttering Bishop

Catch-22

Catch Me If You Can

The Catcher in the Rye

The Cater Street Hangman

Cat’s Cradle

Cell

Chariots of the Gods?

The Chill

Christine

A Christmas Carol

The Circular Staircase

A Clockwork Orange

Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind

The Club Dumas

The Cobra Event

A Coffin for Dimitrios

The Coffins of Little Hope

Cold Mountain

The Color of Magic

The Coming Generational Storm

The Complete History of Jack the Ripper

The Concrete Blonde

A Confederacy of Dunces

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Confessions of a Video Vixen

Contact

The Count of Monte Cristo

Creepy Archives, Volume 1

Creepy Archives, Volume 2

Crime and Punishment

The Crying of Lot 49

Cujo

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Curtain

 

D

The Da Vinci Code

Danse Macabre

The Dante Club

The Dark Side of Genius

Dark Soul of the South

Dark Star Safari

Darkness, Take My Hand

The Daughters of Cain

David Copperfield

The Day of the Jackal

The Dead Zone

Deadly Innocence

Death by Black Hole

Death Comes for the Archbishop

Death in Holy Orders

Death in the Clouds

Death Is Now My Neighbor

Death of a Salesman

Death on the Nile

The Deep Blue Good-by

Deliverance

Democracy in America

Desperation

Devices and Desires

Devil in a Blue Dress

Diary of a Drug Fiend

The Diary of a Young Girl

Different Seasons

Dog On It

The Dogs of Riga

Don’t Look Now

Dr. Death

Dracula

Drift

A Drinking Life

Duma Key

Dumb Witness

The Dying Animal

 

 

E

Early Autumn

Eats, Shoots & Leaves

Eerie Archives, Volume 1

Eleven on Top

Empire Falls

The End of Men

The End of the Affair

Endgame

An English Murder

Equus

Everything Bad Is Good for You

Evil Under the Sun

The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore

Exclusive

The Executioner’s Song

The Exorcist

Explosive Eighteen

 

 

F

Faceless Killers

Fahrenheit 451

Fatal Vision

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Fear of Flying

Fearless Fourteen

The Fellowship of the Ring

Fiasco

50 Great Short Stories

Fight Club

Finger Lickin’ Fifteen

Firestarter

Flowers for Algernon

Flowers in the Attic

Forging the Tortilla Curtain

Fountain Society

Four Past Midnight

Four to Score

The Fran Lebowitz Reader

Frankenstein

Friday Night Lights

From Beirut to Jerusalem

Full Service

The Further Prophecies of Nostradamus

Future Shock

 

 

G

The Game

Game Change

A Game of Thrones

Get Shorty

The Ghost

Ghost Soldiers

Ghost Story

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

God Is Not Great

Gone Girl

Gone with the Wind

The Good Nurse

The Grand Design

The Grapes of Wrath

A Great Deliverance

Great Expectations

The Great Gatsby

Gulliver’s Travels

The Guns of Navarone

The Gunslinger

 

 

H

Hallowe’en Party

Ham on Rye

Hamlet

A Handful of Dust

The Handmaid’s Tale

Happy Endings

Hard Eight

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry Potter:  Page to Screen

Harvey

Hating Women

The Haunting of Hill House

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

Heart of Darkness

Heartburn

Helter Skelter

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas

Hickory Dickory Dock

High Fidelity

High Five

Hitchcock

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Hocus Pocus

Holy Bible

Homefront

The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty

Hot Six

The Hot Zone

The Hound of the Baskervilles

The House Next Door

How to … Make Love Like a Porn Star

The Hunger Games

The Hunt for Red October

Hush Money  

 

 

I

I Ain’t Got Time to Bleed

I Am Legend

I Hate Other People’s Kids

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell

I Lock My Door Upon Myself

I Love This Game!

The Ice Princess

I’ll Always Have Paris!

In Cold Blood

In Defense of Women

Independence Day

The Inferno

Inside the White House

Insomnia

An Instance of the Fingerpost

Into Thin Air

Invisible Man

The Invisible Man

The Island of Dr. Moreau

It

 

J

Jane Eyre

Jaws

The Jewel that Was Ours

Johnny Carson

A Journey to the Center of the Earth

Juliet, Naked

 

K

Kidnapped

The Killer Inside Me

Killing Floor

King Arthur and His Knights

King Lear

Kiss the Girls

Kitchen Confidential

The Kite Runner

  

L

Last Bus to Woodstock

The Last Good Kiss

The Last Magazine

The Laughing Policeman

Lean Mean Thirteen

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Les Miserables

Let the Right One In

Lies My Teacher Told Me

A Life on the Road

Light in August

The Lodger

Lolita

Lonesome Dove

The Long Walk

Look Homeward, Angel

Looking for Rachel Wallace

Lord Edgware Dies

Lord Grizzly

Lord of the Flies

The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover

The Lovely Bones

Lucky Jim

   

M

Macbeth

Maigret and the Man on the Boulevard

Main Street

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love

The Man with the Golden Gun

Master and Commander

Master of Ballantrae

Me Talk Pretty One Day

Mein Kampf

Memoirs of a Geisha

Men and Marriage

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

Men in Love

The Merchant of Venice

The Metamorphosis and Other Stories

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Mike’s Election Guide 2008

A Million Little Pieces

Misery

Miss America

Moby Dick

The Monkey’s Raincoat

The Monster of Florence

The Moon and Sixpence

The Moronic Inferno

Mortal Stakes

The Most Dangerous Game

The Mother Tongue

A Moveable Feast

The Moving Finger

The Moving Toyshop

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

Mr. Murder

Mrs. McGinty’s Dead

Much Ado About Nothing

Much Obliged, Jeeves

Murder in Mesopotamia

A Murder Is Announced

Murder Must Advertise

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

The Murder on the Links

Murder on the Orient Express

My Dog Skip

My Life and Hard Times

My Life So Far

Myra Breckinridge

Myron

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

The Mysterious Island

  

N

Naked Pictures of Famous People

Needful Things

Neither Here Nor There

Never Let Me Go

The “New” New Rules

Nickel and Dimed

The Nigger of the Narcissus

Night Film

Night Shift

A Night to Remember

The Nine

1984

Nineteen Minutes

No Easy Day

No Mercy

No More Dying Then

Nothing to Lose

Notorious Nineteen

  

O

Obsession

The Odyssey

Of Mice and Men

The Old Man and the Sea

Oliver Twist

The Omnivore’s Dilemma

On Death and Dying

On the Beach

On the Road

On Writing

The Once and Future King

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

One for the Books

One for the Money

102 Minutes

One Hundred Years of Solitude

The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes

The Osterman Weekend

Our Final Hour

Out of Sight

Out on a Limb

Outrage

The Oxford Murders

 

P

Pale Blue Dot

The Passage

The Pelican Brief

People Who Eat Darkness

Peril at End House

Pet Sematary

Peter Pan

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Playmates

Plum Lovin’

Plum Lucky

Plum Spooky

Plutocrats

The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

The Poet

Portnoy’s Complaint

The Post-American World

The Postman Always Rings Twice

Presumed Innocent

Pride and Prejudice

Primary Colors

Private Parts

Pros and Cons

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion

The Psychopath Test

Pygmalion

 

R

The Rant Zone

Rebecca

The Red Badge of Courage

Red Dragon

Red Lobster, White Trash, and the Blue Lagoon

The Redbreast

The Regulators

The Remains of the Day

The Remorseful Day

Rendezvous in Black

The Riddle of the Third Mile

The Right Stuff

The Road

Robinson Crusoe

Rosemary’s Baby

The Round House

The Ruins

The Rules

The Rules of Attraction

Rules of Prey

 

S

‘Salem’s Lot

Sanibel Flats

The Scarlet Letter

The Searchers

Second Reading

The Secret Adversary

The Secret Life of Bob Hope

The Secret Sharer

Semi-Tough

Sense and Sensibility

A Separate Peace

Serling

Service of All the Dead

Seven Up

The Shining

Shock Value

A Short History of Nearly Everything

Shrub

Sidetracked

The Silence of the Lambs

Silent Witness

A Simple Plan

The Sirens of Titan

Sizzling Sixteen

Skeleton Crew

Skinny Legs and All

Slaughterhouse-Five

Smokin’ Seventeen

The Sociopath Next Door

The Solitary Vice

Some Buried Caesar

Someone Like You

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Song of Solomon

The Sound and the Fury

Sphere

The Stand

Starship Troopers

State of Wonder

Stealing Shadows

Stiffed

Stormy Weather

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The Stranger

The Stranger Beside Me

Stupid White Men

The Sun Also Rises

The Swiss Family Robinson

  

T

Takedown Twenty

A Tale of Two Cities

The Talented Mr. Ripley

Ten Big Ones

The Terror of Living  *

A Test of Wills

A Thief of Time

The Thin Man

The Thin Woman

Third World America

The Thirty-Nine Steps

Three to Get Deadly

Through the Looking-Glass

Thus Was Adonis Murdered

The Tiger in the Smoke

The Time Machine

A Time to Kill

Timeline

The Tin Drum  *

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

To Kill a Mockingbird

To the Nines

Totally MAD

Toxic Bachelors

Track of the Cat

The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

Treasure Island

True Grit

The Turn of the Screw

The Twelve Caesars

Twelve Sharp

20,000 Leagues Beneath the Sea

Two for the Dough 

 

U

Ubik

Undaunted Courage

Under the Dome

The Unexpected Guest

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman

  

V

Valley of the Dolls

Vanity Fair

Velocity

Visions of Sugar Plums

 

W

Waiting for Godot

War and Peace

The War of the Worlds

The Way Through the Woods

The Way We Live Now

Weir of Hermiston

The West Wing

What Cops Know

What’s the Matter with Kansas?

When the Sacred Ginmill Closes

When You Ride Alone You Ride with Bin Laden

White Fang

The White Lioness

White Teeth

Who Goes There?

Whose Body?

Why Do Men Have Nipples?

Why You’re Still Single

The Window at the White Cat

Wiseguy

The Witches of Eastwick

Wolf Hall

Women on Top

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Working Stiff

The World According to Garp

Writing Scripts Hollywood Will Love

Wuthering Heights

  

Y

The Year of Magical Thinking

You’ll Never Eat Lunch in this Town Again

  

 

*  There are two books on the list that the Grouch did not read from cover to cover.  The Terror of Living was too terrible to finish; The Tin Drum was simply annoying.

 

© 2010-2021 grouchyeditor.com (text only)

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Since we are “self isolating,” we thought this would be a good time to post something fun. So here are thumbnails of the covers of books that Grouch has read over the past 25 years. Where possible, the covers shown are the actual covers when the books were purchased, whether in 1995, 2005, or yesterday — probably about 95 percent of the titles. The list is alphabetical. 

Click on any image for a view of the full cover. 

 

grouchyeditor.com perfect people 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whew … that’s a lot of scrolling. If you’d like to read short reviews of about one-third of the above books, click here for an index with links.

 

© 2010-2021 grouchyeditor.com (text only)

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Books

 

If Art Garfunkel feels the need to post a “books read” list on his Web site, then so does the Grouch.  Here is a list of Grouch’s literary conquests of the past 20 years – works of genius and works of dreck.  Click here.

 

© 2010-2021 grouchyeditor.com (text only)

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 by Joe Queenan

Queenan

 

Humorist Queenan, now in his 60s, says he occasionally visits the suburban Philadelphia library that he patronized in his youth, and where a librarian from that era, one Edith Prout, still toils among the shelves.  One of Queenan’s books is stocked on those shelves.  “Edith herself isn’t all that taken with my work,” Queenan tells us.  “Too cynical, she says.  Too snarky.”

I think Edith might have a point.  Although Queenan’s homage to the book, in which he writes lovingly not just of his collection’s content but also of each title’s importance as a symbol of treasured moments in his life, is often funny, sometimes poignant, and frequently biting,  I think One for the Books is probably best read in bits and pieces, rather than all at once – too much snarkiness can be hazardous to your health.

 

© 2010-2021 grouchyeditor.com (text only)

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by Jonathan Yardley

Reading

 

What a great book about books.  Yardley, a literature critic at The Washington Post since 1981, has an infectious writing style; I couldn’t decide what I enjoyed more, the prospect of digging into some of his recommendations, or the reviews themselves.  Yardley praises the majority of “notable and neglected books revisited,” but on occasion he unfurls critical claws, most memorably on Steinbeck (“too often, for me, reading his prose is like scraping one’s fingernails on a blackboard”), Ulysses (“a book I simply cannot read”), and The Catcher in the Rye and The Old Man and the Sea (“two of the most durable and beloved books in American literature and, by any reasonable critical standard, two of the worst”).  He also has some choice words for the National Book Award:  “I read Morte d’Urban not long after it won the NBA; in those years that prize still occasionally went to books that deserved it.”  But mostly, Second Reading is a love letter to the 60 books and authors in its pages.  I’d say more, but I have to get reading.

 

© 2010-2021 grouchyeditor.com (text only)

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Click on title for review 

 

Adios, America!

Aesop’s Fables

Against Football

The Almost Nearly Perfect People

American Conspiracies

American on Purpose

The Amityville Horror

The Ancient Alien Question

Anna Karenina

Art That Changed the World

The Ask

Atonement

Autobiography of Mark Twain

Beautiful Ruins

The Bedwetter

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Being There

The Big Short

Bleak Harbor

Blood Feud

Booked to Die

Brideshead Revisited

Candide

The Case of Jennie Brice

The Chill

A Christmas Carol

The Clocks

The Coffins of Little Hope

Consider the Lobster

The Constitution & The Declaration of Independence

The Corrections

Crooked House

The Cuckoo’s Calling

Dark Soul of the South

The Daughters of Cain

David Copperfield

Death in Holy Orders

Death in the Clouds

The Devil in the White City

Diary of a Drug Fiend

Dog On It

Don’t Look Now

Down the Rabbit Hole

Drift

The End of Men

Endgame

An English Murder

The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore

Explosive Eighteen

The Far Side Gallery

Fatal Vision

Final Justice

Finger Lickin’ Fifteen

Five Little Pigs

Flashman

Four Past Midnight

The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy

Free Women, Free Men

Full Service

Game Change

A Game of Thrones

Get Shorty

The Ghost

The Girl on the Train

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

God Is Not Great

Gone Girl

The Good Nurse

A Good Time for the Truth

The Grand Design

Grand Hotel

The Handmaid’s Tale

Happy Endings

Harry Potter:  Page to Screen

Heartburn

The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty

The Hunger Games

The Ice Princess

In the Woods

Iron Lake

The Island of Dr. Moreau

Jane Eyre

Johnny Carson

The Joy Luck Club

Juliet, Naked

The Killer Inside Me

Killing Lincoln

Killings

The Killings at Badger’s Drift

The Last Magazine

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Les Miserables

Let the Right One In

Lights Out

The Lodger

The Long Walk

Lord Grizzly

The Lost World

Lucky Jim

Magpie Murders

Maigret and the Man on the Boulevard

Making Movies

The Man Who Knew Too Much

The Martian

The Merchant of Venice

The Metamorphosis and Other Stories

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

The Moon-Spinners

The Moon’s a Balloon

The Most Dangerous Game

Mother Nature Is Trying to Kill You

A Moveable Feast

The Moving Toyshop

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

Murder in Mesopotamia

Murder in the Crooked House

My Life and Hard Times

The Mystery of the Blue Train

The Mystery of the Yellow Room

The Name of the Rose

Needful Things

The “New” New Rules

Night Film

No Easy Day

Notorious Nineteen

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Old Man and the Sea

The Omnivore’s Dilemma

One for the Books

Out on a Limb

The Oxford Murders

The Passage

People Who Eat Darkness

Plum Spooky

Plutocrats

Presumed Innocent

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion

The Psychopath Test

Pygmalion

The Redbreast

The Road to Little Dribbling

Roadwork

Rosemary’s Baby

The Round House

Sanibel Flats

The Searchers

Second Reading

The Secret Adversary

The Secret Life of Bob Hope

Sense and Sensibility

Service of All the Dead

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The Shakespeare Requirement

Shakespeare: The World as Stage

Ship of Fools

Shock Value

The Silence of the Lambs

Sizzling Sixteen

Smokin’ Seventeen

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

Someone Like You

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

Stalin

State of Wonder

Steven Spielberg: A Life in Films

Stiffed

Sting-Ray Afternoons

Takedown Twenty

The Terror of Living

A Test of Wills

The Thin Woman

Things That Matter

Third World America

Thirteen Guests

Thus Was Adonis Murdered

The Tiger in the Smoke

Time and Again

The Tin Drum

Totally MAD

Track of the Cat

True Grit

The Twelve Caesars

Ubik

Valley of the Dolls

The Voyeur’s Motel

Waiting for Godot

Welcome to the Monkey House

What the Dog Saw

The White Lioness

White Working Class

Who Goes There?

The Window at the White Cat

Winners Take All

Wolf Hall

The Woman in White

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

A Wrinkle in Time

 

Books Read 1995 – 2014

The Bookshelf

 

 

© 2010-2021 grouchyeditor.com (text only)

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Homebodies

by J.D.H.

 

Dr. Loris Limm, eminent surgeon and pillar of the community, stepped into the foyer of his house. It felt good to be home. It was drizzling outside, and the good doctor tossed his wet coat onto the back of a chair in the hallway, thoughtfully removed his shoes, and placed his laptop computer on a small, antique table. To his right, the door to the library was slightly ajar. Light from the room was filtering out into the foyer.

Dr. Limm began to open the library door, but then hesitated. A frown creased his handsome, middle-aged face.

From within the room, he could hear the smack-flutter of damp flesh on paper, and this distressed him. It reminded him of his wife, Eleanor, who had the annoying habit of licking her index finger before turning every page of whatever book she happened to be reading. A harmless enough thing, certainly, but to Dr. Limm that “wet” sound was infinitely more grating than the proverbial fingernails on a chalkboard.

And now it would seem that one of the twins — perhaps both — had picked up Eleanor’s irritating tic. But then he chastised himself, recalling that his children would never be guilty of such obnoxious behavior.

 

**

 

Dr. Limm pushed the door open and, sure enough, his children — the boy Neil and the girl Lisle (affectionately nicknamed “Pincushion” by the family) — both had their noses in books. Of Neil, Dr. Limm could see but the top of the boy’s curly brown hair, just visible above the backside of a roan-colored sofa. Neil’s book was propped against a throw pillow. Lisle he could see in her entirety as the girl lay sprawled on a shaggy rug near the fireplace. Her book was splayed upon the rug.

“Father!” Lisle cried. No such greeting came from his son, but Dr. Limm could hear a faint rustle of shifting plastic in the vicinity of the boy.

“Children,” Dr. Limm graced them with a barely perceptible smile. He did, however, lean over the sofa to ruffle his son’s unruly crown of hair. “Studies, or pleasure?”

“Studies, father,” replied the boy. “Father, what will we eat tonight?”

Dr. Limm ignored this and turned to his golden-haired daughter. “And Lisle, studies or pleasure?”

“Pleasure, father. Mother says I am ahead of Neil in my studies, and so I am waiting for him to catch up.”

“And what are you reading for pleasure?”

A Farewell to—“

“Father,” her brother cut in: “Might we have hamburger and potato salad for dinner? It’s Thursday, and—“

“Let me check with your mother,” said Dr. Limm. “Now get back to your books. I don’t want to interrupt Neil’s education, and Hemingway waits for no man.”

“Nor girl!” squealed Lisle.

Dr. Limm graced them with a second weak smile, and pulled the door shut as he moved back into the hallway.

 

**

 

A light at the end of the passage informed him that his wife of 33 years was in the kitchen. The light was blue-tinged, which indicated, not surprisingly to the doctor, the glow of a television. No studies or Hemingway for Eleanor. As Dr. Limm entered the smallish kitchen, he beheld the usual scene: Eleanor on her loveseat, feet planted on an ottoman, hand deep in a box of some-kind-of-snack, and the television tuned to some “reality TV” absurdity.

On the screen, a half-dozen Southern teens were filling the bed of a pickup truck with water from a garden hose. They had lined the truck’s bed with a large plastic sheet, and were attempting to create a Kentucky poor kids’ version of a backyard swimming pool.

“Neil is asking about a special meal again,” the doctor said, after glancing at his wife to ascertain whether she was awake or asleep. “I told him I would check with his mother.”

One of the redneck girls on TV, the doctor noted, had managed to lose her bikini top. MTV had tactfully pixilated this moral offense. Eleanor either heard nothing her husband had said, or determined that no reply was required. Her nose twitched, as though something foul-smelling had suddenly entered the room, but her eyes stayed glued to the TV.

Dr. Limm followed her gaze to the flat-screen television. Every other word out of the teenagers’ mouths was being “bleeped” by the network’s censors. Dr. Limm sighed.

 

**

 

“The children on this show are animals,” Eleanor whispered, more to herself than to her husband. “It’s obvious we made the right decision.”

Dr. Limm took a seat in a rocker and sat in silence for some minutes, observing with his wife the hedonistic behavior of the MTV kids. “They are having a wonderful time of it,” he said at last. “Give them five years, and they’ll have a wonderful time of it behind the walls of some penitentiary, or in the waiting room of some seedy abortion clinic.”

“We made,” repeated Eleanor, “the right decision. Oh, yes.”

Dr. Limm nodded his head in assent. “Discipline may be short-term pain, but it’s … it is long-term gain, I assure you.”

“You don’t have to tell me, Loris.”

“I’m sure I don’t. Those children on your television program, assuming they have parents, will wind up costing them a bundle. Parents must do what they must to maintain discipline. And to keep children safe from the wicked influences of the outer world. At least, whenever possible.

“And if that means their children must suffer some inconvenience, well.” The doctor paused to consider. “I’m not suggesting that I don’t enjoy a … respectable income, but even Neil and Lisle, at times, cost me an arm and a leg.”

Eleanor burst out of her loveseat as though the fumes she detected earlier had blossomed into a full-blown nuclear explosion. In two steps she was standing above her husband, delivering one vicious slap to his left cheek, and a follow-up blow to his right.

Dr. Loris Limm’s eyes widened in shock, but he regained his composure almost immediately. He looked down at his lap in shame. “I’m so sorry, Eleanor. I … I didn’t think. That was careless of me.”

 

**

 

The rustle of plastic against wood caused them both to look back at the kitchen entrance.

“Father,” said Neil from the doorway. “There was a joke in a book and it’s upset Lisle terribly. The joke was: Three boys come to the door of Little Johnny’s house. Johnny’s mother answers the door and one boy says, ‘Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Smith, can Little Johnny come out to play baseball?’ And the mother tells them, ‘Now boys, you know that Little Johnny has no arms nor legs.’ And the boy says, ‘That’s OK, Mrs. Smith, we just need him to be second base.’’’  

Neil paused and looked from one parent to the other. “Lisle is awfully upset.”

Dr. Limm looked down at the stump of his 32-year-old son, whose arms were amputated below the elbows and whose legs were missing below the knees. The doctor frowned when he noticed the plastic bag the boy had dragged down the hall with him. Behind the boy, Lisle, also 32 years old and similarly dislimbed, shed tears from the spot on the hallway carpet to which she had slithered.

“Neil,” Dr. Limm admonished, “Your colostomy bag is leaking. Please clean up after yourself at once.”

“Neil,” added Mrs. Limm, “Guess what? Hamburger and potato salad — tonight!”

 

THE END

 

Click here for the index of short stories.

Click here to see all of the stories.

 

© 2010-2021 grouchyeditor.com (text only)

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Better Late Than Never, or …

Too Little Too Late?

 

 

Biological weapons are scary. Who’s to say that COVID-19 isn’t just the first in a long string of viruses about to be unleashed on the world?

I certainly no longer believe anything the clownish Dr. Fauci has to say. He’s much too busy planning the Hollywood story of his life. Starring, of course, Brad Pitt. I can’t wait for the scene where Fauci lies to Congress about the U.S. funding the Wuhan lab.

 

So, yeah, China is the villain in this drama — along with our own money-grubbing elites.

 

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This organization is targeting “woke” corporations and naming names in an attempt to shame the shadowy honchos who hide behind beloved institutions like Coca Cola or Disney. That’s a good idea.

Rather than getting angry at an amorphous, untouchable corporation, go after the cowardly villains at the top. After all, aren’t we told that “corporations are people”?

 

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Seems like we are rapidly transforming from a “nation of laws” to a “nation of rules.”

Unlike laws, rules can carry the weight of law without the burden of being constitutional.

Meanwhile, actual laws can simply be ignored. Just follow the rules, pal — or else.

Thanks, Millennials.

 

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I don’t know why these scandals still come as (a little bit of) a shock to me. You’d think that by now, after reading books about celebrities like Johnny Carson and gossip sites like Crazy Days and Nights, I’d know better than to believe the Hollywood P.R. machine.

Now it’s Lucy’s turn to face the ugly music. Good grief.

 

 

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This Netflix movie from Austria is getting lukewarm reviews, but silly me, I kind of liked it. The Strange House is not particularly scary, but then it isn’t supposed to be. It’s a spooky little flick aimed at the whole family.

It’s like Stranger Things was in its first season: mildly ominous, but with a big heart.

 

The Strange House isn’t getting a whole lot of buzz. Army of the Dead, on the other hand, is getting tons of buzz.

I watched it yesterday. It was … OK. By that I mean it’s entertaining mayhem, but nothing you haven’t seen a hundred times before.

 

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by Tana French

 

What to say about the ambiguous ending when it pops up in books and movies? Some people like it, others are outraged. I happen to think that when it works, it can be brilliant. Case in point:  1974’s Black Christmas, in which the audience never finds out who the killer is. Hey, isn’t that what sometimes happens in real life? But when the ambiguous ending does not work, well … heavy sigh.

French’s debut novel gives us not one but two mysteries, one about a cold case involving some missing children, the second about a recently murdered girl. If you expect that by the end of the book you will have satisfying answers to both mysteries, well, French does provide one resolution.

Another issue:  The author’s decision to go with first-person narration by one of the protagonists, a male cop, doesn’t always pan out. It occasionally comes off like a female writer’s idea of how the straight man’s thought processes work. For example:  Reflecting on a recent romantic conquest, our man doesn’t think of the actual act; he ponders his lover’s hair, or some such thing. Nice try, but no cigar.

For the most part In the Woods is a compelling read. French is a talented writer whose prose I enjoyed, and I was never bored. Yet that ending simply feels like a cop-out.

 

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Netflix’s new series Bridgerton (above) has been getting a lot of buzz. I checked the reviews:

 

 

With the exception of the (presumably) male from The Observer, all of the reviewers are female, and they are all impressed by Bridgerton.

And they say that the “chick flick” is dead.

 

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My Christmas Wish

 

What I wished for Christmas: I wanted to be magically transported to the year 2095, so that I can read in history books about 2020, rather than live through it.

Because politics are making my head explode.

 

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No Christmas card for …

 

This guy:

 

 

I am an old white dude, and this guy seemingly wants to see me dead to “level the playing field” for underrepresented Americans. That means if I die because I was last in line for the virus vaccine, so be it.

But that’s OK, Harald, because the feeling is mutual.

 

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The problem with both Newsmax and Parler is that they aren’t very user friendly. The two conservative outlets hope to usurp Fox News and Twitter, respectively, and right now is probably the optimal time to try.

But as the saying goes, you have to spend money to make money. In other words, polish your product.

 

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This week’s cheesecake is brought to you courtesy of the year 1933:

 

 

The babe is an actress named Peggy Shannon, stripping down to her skivvies in a disaster flick called Deluge. You can find it on YouTube.

 

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Against our better judgment, we’re going to check in with Rip van Dinkle on Twitter:

 

 

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