A little behind, so better catch up as I hit the summer reading season.

No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach – Anthony Bourdain.
I’m working through a number of shows I have stockpiled on the DVR, watching the Royals most nights, and still trying to read. But I do attempt to squeeze in an Anthony Bourdain show on Netflix about once a week. I’m a big fan, and have been for years. I’ve come to appreciate his shows even more over the past two years as I’ve taken up photography. His shows, in their various forms, are all wonderfully shot. If the unthinkable happened and I was totally uninterested in either the place he was visiting or the production choices Bourdain and his team made, I would still watch just for the amazing visuals.

This is a collection of photos taken during the earliest years of his No Reservations show. They are complimented by brief essays that provide a behind-the-scenes view into how each episode was put together. A quick, enjoyable read,

LaRose – Louise Erdich.
I loved Erdich’s The Round House so was really excited to read her most recent novel, which collected a whole mess of awards and accolades last year.

As with Round House, this story takes place on and near an Indian reservation in the Dakotas. An accidental shooting results in an Indian family returning to “the old ways” and sending their youngest son, Larose, to live with their neighbors to take the place of his friend who died. That’s a pretty wild concept to build a book on.

As much as I wanted to, I just did not enjoy this book nearly as much as The Round House. And, honestly, I can’t figure out why. The core story is fantastic, and as with so many books about different cultures living near each other, much of it boils down to how we find our identity, how the mixture of cultures affects each one’s traditional ways, and what the differences between people mean over time. There are some mind-numbingly chilling sections, as the story veers right up against more bloodshed and death before pulling back. And Erdich’s style is kind of a classic, western style that is as spare as can be.

But, man, something just didn’t click for me here. Which is a disappointment since it obviously affected so many other readers much more deeply than it did me.

The Wrong Kind of Blood – Declan Hughes.
Back around St. Patrick’s Day I came across a list of some of the best, recent, Irish noir novels. I jotted a few down and this was my first effort.

Ed Loy is a private investigator in LA who returns to his native Dublin to bury his mother. After the funeral, he drinks late into the night with a woman he grew up with. Drinks become more, and soon he is hired to help locate her husband, a land developer who has disappeared. Loy gets sucked into a deep mystery that goes back to his father’s disappearance 30 years earlier and eventually unmasks a massive ring of corruption, murder, and disguised identities. It’s full of whiskey, double-crosses, murder, buried bodies, and generations of lies.

It was damn good.