Review: Virgil Wander

Despite some dark themes, Virgil Wander (digital galley, Grove Atlantic) is a remarkably humorous, feel-good novel. Virgil, the title character, is the owner of a one-screen movie theater in a struggling Lake Superior town who is dealing with the mental after effects of a serious, and spectacular, car accident.

The town of Greenstone is inhabited by several offbeat, yet agreeable characters who help Virgil as he gets back on his feet. But Greenstone is also a town plagued by tragedy, and central to the story is the mystery of a missing minor league baseball player, a friend of Virgils.

This strangely appealing novel is author Leif Enger’s first in ten years, since his well received Peace Like a River. The story if full of midwestern nostalgia and wonderful subplots, such as a vengeful quest for a giant fish and the towns compulsive attraction to an out-of-town kite flyer. It would be hard to ask for more out of a book.

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Friday afternoon coffee reads

A regular roundup of interesting stories to enjoy with your Friday morning afternoon coffee.

  1. Haruki Murakami’s new novel declared ‘indecent’ by Hong Kong censors.
  2. Why are there so many suckers? A neuropsychologist explains.
  3. Every law is violent.
  4. Audience member steps in to save performance of La Boheme at Royal Opera House.
  5. Five grammar mistakes even the best writers make.
  6. Reflecting on 9 years living in China.
  7. Billy Joel may never write another song.
  8. The 50 highest-paid musicians.
  9. Stephen King is going through a cinematic renaissance, thanks to directors who grew up as fans.
  10. Mel Brooks at 92.

Friday morning coffee reads

A regular roundup of interesting stories to enjoy with your Friday morning coffee.

  1. The industrial era ended, and so will the digital era.
  2. What I learned as a honeymoon planner for billionaires.
  3. What’s holding Mexico’s economy back.
  4. Should we hide the locations of Earth’s greatest trees?
  5. Wealth and education have made Ireland a better place.
  6. Is Barnes & Noble too big to Fail?
  7. Supreme Court’s ruling on taxes might affect art dealers nationwide.

Friday morning coffee reads

A regular roundup of interesting stories to enjoy with your Friday morning coffee.

  1. Live Nation rigged an entire concert to measure the biometrics of music fans.
  2. The trouble with Johnny Depp.
  3. Shrines, gardens, 7-Elevens: A Japan journal.
  4. Thousands of Swedes are inserting microchips into themselves – here’s why.
  5. Can Silicon Valley disrupt how we construct buildings?
  6. Exploring the digital ruins of Second Life.
  7. Technology in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  8. The uncertain fate of the much-loved puffin.
  9. Where have America’s truck drivers gone?
  10. Spite buildings: When human grudges get architectural.
  11. Bad .Men at .Work. Please don’t .Click.
  12. The physicists watched a clock tick for 14 years straight.

Friday morning coffee reads

A regular roundup of interesting stories to enjoy with your Friday morning coffee.

  1. Virtual reality so good Disney should just buy the whole company.
  2. The politicization of everything.
  3. The “Simpsons” jokes that never quite made it (and a few that barely did).
  4. Behind the scenes at Tokyo’s lost and found center.
  5. A few words to the graduates from David Sedaris.
  6. EU copyright proposal has free speech advocates worried.
  7. Netflix is hiring everybody in and out of Hollywood to make more TV shows than any network ever has. And it already knows which ones you’ll like. Related: How Netflix is trying to make sure its shows don’t get lost.
  8. An extensive investigation of the Grenfell Tower fire.
  9. Does musical paralysis set in at 28?
  10. A list of everything Anthony Bourdain hated.
  11. The wounds of the drone warrior.

Friday morning coffee reads

A regular roundup of interesting stories from the week to enjoy wit your morning coffee.

  1. Ex-clown is hard to hide on a resumé.
  2. Should we stop looking for intelligent life?
  3. Anger over tourists swarming hot spots sparks backlash.
  4. How I caused California’s housing crisis.
  5. The major mobile providers — AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon — are selling your location information.
  6. How the Internet killed the critic.
  7. A bank glitch gave a down-on-his-luck Australian man access to unlimited funds. Then he did exactly what you think he did with it.
  8. Ethiopia is now Africa’s fastest growing economy.
  9. The trouble with hating Ernest Hemingway.

Friday morning coffee reads

A regular roundup of interesting stories from the week to enjoy with your morning coffee.

  1. The all-American bank heist.
  2. Why the dancing makes ‘This Is America’ so uncomfortable to watch.
  3. Apple’s Jonathan Ive talks watches for the very first time.
  4. Eight years after it finished, why is Lost being reappraised?

If you’re looking for a good book, David Itzkoff’s compassionate biography of Robin Williams —  titled simply Robin — was released Tuesday. Here’s a review.

Friday morning coffee reads

A regular roundup of interesting stories from the week to enjoy with your morning coffee.

  1. A criminal gang used a drone swarm to harass an FBI raid.
  2. An oral history  of Johnny Cash’s At Folsom Prison at 50.
  3. The gambler who cracked the horse-racing code. Related: The man who cracked the lottery and author delays book about poker due to huge wins.
  4. The physics of doing the laundry.
  5. It’s official: Tut’s Tomb has no hidden chambers after all.
  6. Meet the man who spent the last 20 years as a full-time resident of Royal Caribbean cruise ships (video).
  7. Why barns are red.
  8. A thermodynamic answer to why birds migrate.
  9. American Airlines flight attendants rent out their seniority for $200.
  10. Ian McEwan “dubious” about schools studying his books, after he helped son with essay and got a C+

If you’re looking for a good book to read, I recommend The Sun Does Shine, the autobiography of Anthony Ray Hinton who was sent to Alabama’s death row in 1985 for two murders he didn’t commit. It’s an extraordinary story of rising above hate and stoically serving as an inspiration for others. Here’s my full review.

Robin Williams movies on streaming services

Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society.

I’m currently reading Dave Itzkoff’s revealing biography of Robin Williams, which will be released on May 15. It’s a compelling book and I’ll post a full review soon. Reading about the talented comedian made me want to rewatch some of his films. Below is a list Williams movies currently available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu streaming services. Of course many others are available for rental, but this list covers what’s included in the plans most people have.

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Friday morning coffee reads

A regular roundup of interesting stories from the week. If you’re in need of a good book, check out my latest very short reviews of books.

  1. The return of the brick-and-mortar store.
  2. Is Marvel Killing the Movies?
  3. Fake books on Amazon could be used for money laundering.
  4. The gamification of retail.
  5. Pirate radio stations explode on YouTube.
  6. The next  big tech leap that will free us from our phones won’t be here anytime soon.

Friday morning coffee reads

Here is a regular roundup of interesting stories from the week.

  1. A landslide of classic art is about to enter the public domain.
  2. There is an arms race in artificial intelligence.
  3. The most serious environmental problem is indoor air pollution from burning dirty fuels like wood and dung.
  4. The rise of Russia’s neo-Nazi football hooligans.
  5. Southwest 1380: Think about the flight attendants.
  6. A farewell to free journalism.

Friday morning coffee reads

A weekly compendium of interesting articles. Grind, brew, sip and enjoy.

  1. Inside the booming black market for Spotify playlists.
  2. Why disco should be taken seriously.
  3. A video trip through 1911 New York City. The playback speed is corrected and that makes the video come alive.
  4. What you get with a $150,000 vacation package.
  5. Is British English Conquering America, or Vice Versa?
  6. The fate of the $100 laptop.
  7. Disney is building a Netflix rival.
  8. An extra wine of glass a day will shorten your life by 30 minutes. Related: Did drinking give me breast cancer?
  9. Dog rescuers, flush with donations, buy animals from the breeders they scorn.
  10. Jamie Livingston’s one Polaroid a day project is now a book.