Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pimp My Read: The Weekly 90 Second Book Review “Deer Hunting With Jesus: Dispatches From America’s Class War” by Joe Bageant.

"Deer Hunting With Jesus: Dispatches From America’s Class War” by Joe Bageant. Non-fiction, 273 pages.
Winchester, Virginia’s native son Joe Bageant returns home after spending most of his adult life away. What results is a unique brand of reporting that shows his hometown with all its bumps, bruises, and warts showing. This book is funny, angry, irreverent, honest, scary, and insightful.
But most of all loving.
The book consists of an essential introduction and eight longish essays that are incisive and sometimes damning but Bageant never loses sight of—and reminds the reader continually—that he is one of the thems that he’s talking about: always, proudly, and forever.
The book covers Modern Serfdom, Republicans and Democrats, Double-Wide Trailers, Guns, Religion, Death, The Apocalypse, and a particularly thought-provoking essay about the infamous Lynddie England.
This is an exceptional writer at the top of his game allowing the reader to tag along on a journey of evaluation and discovery.
Please, go deer hunting with Joe and Jesus.
Rob Loughran reads and writes a lot of stuff.   Check it out at Rob's Books.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pimp My Read: The Weekly 90 Second Book Review "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"” by Rebecca Skloot, non-fiction
Rebecca Skloot did not just research and write this book. She chased and pursued it. She hunted it down with a club.
It is the beautiful result of an insistent obsession.
“Immortal Life” is informative, moving, and brilliant. The book tells the story—both scientific and personal—of He La cells.  “He La” is a cell line taken (without permission) from a poor black cancer patient, HEnrietta LAcks, by doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the early 1950s.  The cells have since been extensively cultured (it is estimated that 50 million metric tons have been grown) and utilized in labs to develop the polio vaccine, cancer and HIV medicines, and a host of other medications and procedures  The book explores and explains the medical aspects but that is less than half the story. Henrietta’s family didn’t know her cells were harvested until the 1970s. The family has never received compensation and Skloot delves into the ethics—and tragedy—of this malfeasance.
But the heartbreaking beauty of this book is the story of the author’s relationship with Henrietta Lacks’ daughter Debra. Justifiably suspicious and hostile to the white medical powers-that-be Debra slowly thaws and accepts Rebecca for what she is: a writer on a mission who wants to tell the story of Henrietta Lacks truly and honestly.
I laughed; I cried. I learned about science and life. This is a great book. Buy it, read it, gift it.
Rob Loughran reads and writes a lot of stuff.   Check it out at Rob's Books.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Pimp My Read: The Weekly 90 Second Book Review

Pimp My Read: The Weekly 90 Second Book Review
400 Things Cops Know: Street Smart Lessons From a Veteran Patrolman” by Adam Plantinga. Non-fiction, 197 pages
It’s irritating to read a book written in second-person and the publisher’s decision to print in “ragged-right” format adds to the awkwardness, but this is a funny, informative, slightly scary book. Written with self-deprecating humor and honesty “400 Things” reveals a world everyone has opinions and feelings about but, like myself, doesn’t know that much about.
The book is divided into 19 no-nonsense chapters: “27 Things Cops Know About Shots Fired”, “18 Things Cops Know About The Use of Force”, “28 Things Cops Know About Booze and Drugs”, “24 Things Cops Know About Their Coworkers”. “400 Things” consistently demonstrates integrity, compassion, and a healthy suspicion and intolerance for bureaucratic bullshit, cop shows, and firefighters.
The book is heart-rending and hilarious; informative and revealing.
As mentioned, a second-person ragged-right is jarring to read but this book’s ultimate worth is an honored place on the reference shelf next to a well-thumbed Thesaurus and Dictionary.  The information “400 Things” contains is essential, important, and laid out in an easy-enough-to-find manner.
Recommended to the casual reader and essential for the never-been-arrested writer who peoples a book with felons and cops.
Rob Loughran reads and writes a lot of stuff. Check it out at: Rob's Books.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


As the title might indicate this is an obscenity-laced little (158 page) book that is refreshing and hilarious. It’s PC to speak thus-and-so but it is also duplicitous if you are thinking or acting otherwise. Justin Halpern’s father lectures on Nuclear Medicine to oncologists at UCSD but his vocabulary, frankness and delivery at home are straight from the hardscrabble Kentucky farm he was raised on:
“Jesus Christ, one fucking Snickers bar, and you’re turning around like your asshole is on fire. Okay, outside you go. Don’t come back in until you are ready to sleep or shit.
“It’s never the right time to have children, but it’s always the right time for screwing. God’s not a dumbshit. He knows how it works.
“I don’t think that teacher likes you, so I don’t like her. You ding off more shit than a pinball, but goddammit, you’re a good kid. She can go fuck herself.”
And so on….
Inspired by Justin’s wildly popular webpage this book is more than a string of salty anecdotes. A story arc (that ends with the publication of this book) is uncovered and an honest, unorthodox, idiosyncratic but ultimately successful way of raising children is revealed. And Justin, the child and target of most of these expletive-filled lessons appreciates—as a grown-up—all the love lurking behind the obscenities.
Impressive sh*t.  
Enjoy the book.
Rob Loughran's 24th book "Walmart to Wolf House: Sonoma County Essays" is available in paperback and ebook now.