The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

Needless to say, I was attracted to this book because of my own philosophy of Voluntary Simplicity.

Less is more.

Cait was quite a normal person. In debt, like normal people. Her life cluttered with possessions she never used, like normal people.

How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store

When Cait Flanders was in her early 20s, she found herself $23,000 in consumer debt. In order to turn her life around — and get out of debt — she set out on a mission to address some of the root causes of her over-consumption.

Flanders’ memoir, The Year of Less, documents how through a self-imposed shopping ban, cutting back on eating out and drinking and de-cluttering her life, she rediscovered happiness, health and financial security.

In her own words, Flanders explains how she changed her life and wrote The Year of Less. …




Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Fleishman Is In Trouble is a hit novel published June 2019. Some are calling it the book of the summer.

Rave reviews all round.

I made it about a quarter of the way through before giving up.

The sales pitch is that she’s a modern, female version of Philip Roth or John Updike. That could be true. It’s well written. Smart.

But for me the book comes on too strong. A “Tinder-age Portnoy’s Complaint“.

Guardian review – Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner review – smart, funny story of love and sex


Even This I Get to Experience – Norman Lear

The Simpson’s writer — Mike Reiss — recommended Norman’s Lear’s autobiography. And it’s excellent.

Norman Lear’s career is legendary: All in the Family; The Jeffersons; Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Over 100 TV shows.

He collaborated with Rob Reiner on Stand By Me and The Princess Bride.

Surprisingly, the character Lear identifies closest with Maude.

Archie Bunker was based on Lear’s father. 

Maude was a social activist, as was Lear.

Lear fought Nixon, Jerry Falwell and the Religious Right, the Tea Party.

Lear is a proud American buying a copy of the United States Declaration of Independence—for $8.1 million. Then touring it across the nation to celebrate Democracy.

The autobiography was published 2014 when Lear was age-92.

One of the first TV celebrities, Lear knew and hung-out with almost everybody. I enjoyed hearing the inside story of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, for example. Lewis was a jerk.


Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Brotherhood of the Rose by David Morrell

The beginning of this acclaimed 1983 book is compelling.

It’s the story of Saul (Jew) and Chris (Catholic), two orphans from Philadelphia, who grow up like stepbrothers.

Trained from a young age to be CIA spies and assassins, Raumulas and Remus (code names) are expertly defined characters with a great back story.

It’s well written. I’d like to recommend this book. … On the other hand, I found the ending quite weak.


A cheesy made-for-TV movie was released in 1989. The book is much better.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Mortalis Series:

The Brotherhood of the Rose, 1983
The Fraternity of the Stone, 1985
The League of Night and Fog, 1987

Springfield Confidential by Mike Reiss

Ron loaned me a hard copy of Mike Reiss‘ 2018 book on his years working on The Simpsons. He was one of the first writers when the show started in 1989.

Hilarious. I recommend it.

I stopped watching The Simpsons back when every episode was controversial. They made fun of everyone and everything.

But I’m still a big fan. My Facebook avatar is Lugash, Lisa Simpson’s Gymnastics coach.

Ten years in … Family Guy launched.

Peter Griffin was fatter and dumber. Family Guy mocked topics sacrosanct to The Simpsons.

Surprisingly, many on The Simpsons writing team were offended.



Hard Luck Hank – book 7

No books make me laugh more or harder than the Hard Luck Hank series.

In this one Hank is getting married. To an out-of-work actress.

She’s a Damakan. As a species they are capable of “broadcast empathy.” Their acting skills are so powerful they are able to make people believe their portrayals are literally happening—even over remote transmission.

This book mocks actors and a whole lot more.

I was happy to buy and download the audio version of …

Hard Luck Hank: Dumber Than Dead (2018)

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

Lapena channels her inner Agatha Christie in her 2018 novel.

It’s what Christie would call a ‘locked room mystery’. Lapena was inspired by the Victorian farmhouse north of Cobourg, Ontario, that she and her husband are restoring

Winter in the Catskills. A storm knocks out the power and closes roads. NO internet nor mobile phone service. No generator in the rustic lodge.

The first evening, Dana Hart tumbles down the grand staircase to her death. It seems to be an accident, but David Paley’s lawyerly instincts lead him to suspect murder.

When more guests begin to die in suspicious ways, panic spreads.

An excellent read. I recommend it.


related = In the world of Shari Lapena, everyone has a secret