Monthly Archives: February 2012

Downtown Lansing

I ended up living in the house pictured at the top of this page for five months. The place is east of the central business district, a block or so from the State Journal‘s newsroom. It wasn’t a bad place, but everyone was pretty poor and the police tended to keep the neighborhood under surveillance. The Grand River’s just a block away, and I’d wander along the waterfront park when I needed to get out of the house. Downtown’s a couple blocks the other direction, and bad as that was I could easily find a meal or a bookstore, which met my needs.

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Can He Play? edited by Jim Sandoval and Bill Nowlin: a review

I rather expected the book to begin with an overview of the place scouting occupies in the typical baseball organization, with other chapters explicitly discussing the history and development of scouting practice, the role scouting plays in player development (and perhaps some discussion of how specific organizations have employed different scouting/player development strategies), and an explication of the things scouts look for when they watch a baseball game. The book contains all of that material, at least in part, but only the “what do they look” for part has a specific discussion, and that is tucked into a rather brief chapter introduction. The other general topics can be gleaned from the book’s material, but at best there are only partial summaries.

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In Gallant Company by Alexander Kent: a review

Kent’s Richard Bolitho is sort of an alternative Horatio Nelson. He has a very similar, largely concurrent, career in the Royal Navy, working his way from midshipman to admiral over the course of twenty-some novels, fighting in different theaters from Nel but with similar results. He’s a hero to the masses in London, inspiring to his friends and subordinates, and a bit of a loose cannon (less so than Nelson, but that is pretty much a given). Bolitho, like Nelson, has a scandalous relationship with a woman, which annoys his superiors and troubles his friends. Also like Nelson, he dies in a major battle just as victory becomes certain.

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The Sons of Heaven by Kage Baker: a review

But the last half of the book is just wonderful, with Budu’s army of massive tenors and countertenors, Victor’s absolutely perfect revenge on his masters, Lewis’s escape from his fate, and all the threads converging on Catalina on The Day of Silence. There are obvious jokes, jokes that assume you read carefully, and jokes that assume you’re well-read. Gosh this is fun.

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A Town Called Immaculate by Peter Anthony: a review

I raise this question because A Town Called Immaculate is certainly worth reading. It features a dozen well-drawn characters, a conflicted setting, and a monster Christmas storm which conspire to create a family crisis. It’s a well-plotted novel which mixes strong characterization, building tension, and some surprisingly physical humor to bring everything to a boil. There are oddly-paired couples, an ex-POW, some wonderful memories, and a delightful youngster in the mix. All in all it’s a convincing and intriguing portrait of a small town’s quirks, and a family’s love. Highly recommended.

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