Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Sons of Anarchy, Season One:
This series about a gun-running motorcycle club is good but unrelentingly grim. It sometimes plays out like The Sopranos in a different context, and is heavy on violence and power plays with only muted comedy. The weakest part of the show are the "lessons learned" narrations read from a book at the end of almost every episode. Regardless, it's a promising start for a series, and the second season continues to improve. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B-

The Racketeer by John Grisham:
This book rigidly adheres to the Grisham template for law-related page-turners, but adds nothing new to the mix. If you're on a beach vacation, you will continue reading to see how it all turns out, but all of his books from the 20th century are much better.

Final Grade: C-

Sycamore Row: A Jake Brigance Novel by John Grisham:
Although billed as a sequel to Grisham's first and most acclaimed book, A Time to Kill, it's less a sequel and more a new story that happens to be set in the same world. This one held my interest throughout and the characterizations felt much deeper -- however, that's probably a placebo effect from the fact that the characters are mostly familiar faces from a book I've read several times. It's one of his stronger books since The Brethren.

Final Grade: B

Live from Chicago by Hannibal Burress:
There are definitely some funny jokes on this album, but the delivery occasionally needs some polish -- the hazards of taping a live album. I enjoyed it more the second time, when I could make out more words amidst the mumbling.

Final Grade: B-

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