Audiobooks aren’t something I listen to with great frequency. Although the Joplin Public Library has a large collection of them, available in a variety of formats — cassette, compact disc, MP3 and now Playaway — I usually only check them out when I need something to keep me company on a long drive. (Which can be dangerous. When I listened to David Sedaris read his collection “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim,” I laughed so hard that I nearly drove off the road.)
I tend to shy away from listening to books by my favorite authors until I’ve read them first. I prefer to be affected by the writer’s words on the page and my own imagination before I’m swayed by an actor’s interpretation. However, my busy schedule recently led me to pick up Andrew Vachss’ latest novel, “Terminal,” on compact disc.
Vachss, an attorney who exclusively represents children and teens, is highly regarded for both his writing and his dedication to protecting young people from victimization. Although he has written short stories, poetry, articles, essays and even graphic novels, he is perhaps best known for his crime novels featuring a protagonist simply named Burke, an ex-con turned investigator who works outside the system; the cases Burke accepts and the ways in which he resolves them are definitely not in keeping with mainstream society’s laws or morals.
In “Terminal,” the 17th Burke novel, this anti-hero takes on a case that brings him into contact with white supremacists, an extensive Israeli spy network and wealthy men who’d prefer to keep their past deeds buried. Literally.
Vachss’ writing has a hard-boiled beauty to it, often laced with dark humor and bitterness. Here Burke describes a bartender: “His eyes showed signs of life — I guessed somewhere around geranium level.” The novel’s urban setting gets the same treatment: “The Bowery station on the J line is what happens to a neighborhood once politicians realize the people who live there don’t vote. Caveman paintings lined the dingy walls. Like all artists who can’t afford new canvas, the taggers just painted over the ones they already had. The structural columns were so encrusted with layer after layer of graffiti that they were an inch thicker than when they started.”
- Globe Life
Head for heritage: Through years of devotion to community, title of 'Mr. Carl Junction' earned
He worked for and later owned the town's weekly newspaper, the Standard, for more than 30 years; retired as the Jasper County deputy assessor in 2004; is president of the Carl Junction cemetery board and serves as the high school alumni association's corresponding secretary.
Phyllis Seesengood: Gardner's seventh in series among her best thrillers
"Fear Nothing," the seventh novel in the D.D. Warren series, may be Lisa Gardner's best psychological thriller yet.
Ryan Richardson: Dog remembers summer toads aren't chew toys
Over the next month, I became fascinated with their well-being. As far as I could tell, none of my other neighbors had the fortune of having these little guys pay them a visit.
Frankie Meyer: USGS launches powerful map tool
The site, historicalmaps .arcgis.com/usgs, will be a tremendous help to family history researchers. The maps are free, downloadable and printable. Best of all, they include the quadrangle maps that researchers used to pay for.
Frankie Meyer: Genealogy website upgrades its microfilm ordering process
Have you recently used the website familysearch.org? I recently learned that the site has vastly improved its system allowing researchers to order microfilm copies of items listed on the site.
Ryan Richardson: Collars, leashes can help dogs learn control
I take my dog out to the biking and walking trails in Joplin on a regular basis. I'm kind of a big guy, so the exercise is great for me gets my dog out into nature a bit more. Even though it has been pretty hot lately, I still make it a point to get out there three times a week if possible.
Women's league offers practice, social opportunities for gun owners
The objective for some is to improve their skills for target or competitive shooting, the league's website says. Others, while wanting to improve their skills, also are interested in aspects of self-defense.
Cari Rerat: Gratton's series a great transition to Gaiman
In "The Lost Sun," the first book of "The United States of Asgard" by Tessa Gratton, Soren Bearskin is a berserker. He has an innate internal fire, a battle rage that he constantly tries to squelch with self-discipline, exercise, and meditation.
Frankie Meyer: List of historic sites offers plenty of research leads
In 1966, our federal government established the National Historic Preservation Act that set up the National Register of Historic Places.
Achievements (July 20)
The following people were recognized in the Joplin Globe for the following achievements.
- More Globe Life Headlines
- Head for heritage: Through years of devotion to community, title of 'Mr. Carl Junction' earned