We have a house full of guests this week. My brother-in-law and his family from Boston are staying with us. So far that has meant lots of pool and play time as we’ve dodged the daily thunderstorms.
It’s also C’s first real week of summer after wrapping summer school up last week.
In a few hours I’m going to go do the final walk-through at my in-law’s new home, which they will move into in about a week.
With visitors around that likely means a quiet week here on the blog. For now, here are some more books I’ve read recently.
The Janes – Louisa Luna
Luna’s second Alice Vega novel was a fine sequel to her first. This time Vega and her partner Max Caplan have been brought in by the San Diego police to investigate the deaths of two young immigrant girls. They discover a sex trafficking ring that is getting protection from high levels of both local and federal law enforcement. Unravelling exactly who is responsible and why is a violent and satisfying process.
Solo: A James Bond Novel – William Boyd
I found this on a list of good espionage reads, identified as the rare modern Bond story that is worth reading.
That reviewer’s expectations must be very low because I found this to be rather boring, lacking any of the glamour and coolness that Ian Fleming’s original stories were built on.
This story takes Bond back to his heyday, in the late ‘60s. He is sent to a fictional African nation that is splitting into civil war with the task of taking out the breakaway republic’s leader to end the war and stabilize western access to the country’s oil. Good premise, and still feels relevant today.
The story never lives up to that potential. Nothing that was cool about Fleming’s original Bond novels is present here. It’s as if when stripping out some of the problematic elements of those original stories Boyd also removed the charm, elegance, mystery, and fun that made those stories compelling.
There is never much intrigue about where the story is headed. It lacks either a realistic espionage or goofy-fantasy base, instead getting stuck somewhere in the middle, and suffers greatly for it.
At least it was a quick read.
Glory Days: The Summer of 1984 and the 90 Days That Changed Sports and Culture Forever – L. Jon Wertheim
This was my birthday present to myself, something that was right down the center of my interests. Built around Michael Jordan and the 1984 US men’s Olympic basketball team, Wertheim explores how a series of events and developments in the summer of ’84 dramatically changed the sports and entertainment world in ways we are still feeling.
Jordan creating the model for how NBA superstars were marketed, especially through his relationship with Nike. Michael Jackson and the Jacksons’ Victory tour setting both a new standard for live music spectacle and sending waves out into the wider world that, eventually, helped to create the New England Patriots dynasty. Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe changing what it meant to be a tennis star, and Martina completely upending what was expected of female athletes. The first Celtics-Lakers NBA Finals matchup of the ‘80s being a key moment in the NBA’s recovery from the disastrous 1970s. Wayne Gretzky winning his first Stanley Cup and changing how the American sports public viewed hockey.
It’s full of great stuff – some stories I knew, other details were new to me – about my favorite pop culture year. It should be no surprise that I raced through in in less that two days.