JB’s Best of the Last Decade


These sorts of lists are really pointless. I look at the lists from others – lists of books, lists of movies, lists of albums or songs – and I rarely agree with them. Hell, in the Rolling Stone‘s lists I don’t even know who most of the singers are – but then I’m now in my 60s and never was very hip…

But they are a way to look back on what you read and to see what stood up to time. Books that may’ve been on my Best of the Year some time ago don’t hold up to others that were also on one of the lists.

Then, too, it is often impossible to tease out one title from ten years of a favorite author’s books. So I’ll cheat and include some authors whose title really stands in for the entire decade’s worth of books.

And then it is also the case that favorite authors don’t appear on the list because the book of theirs that you really loved was before 2010. That’s the case with Winslow, O’Connell, Estleman, Kerr, Lehane, and Ellroy for instance.

In typing this out I noticed a gap in the center of the decade where no books are listed. That could’ve been an effect of our battles to save the shop and how that colored my enjoyment of what I was reading, and that I did a lot of re-reading of old favorites for comfort.

So, by year published:IMG_1187

2011: Urban Waite, Terror of Living

2011: Peter Spiegelman, Thick as Thieves

2011: Craig Johnson, Hell is Empty

2012: Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

2012: Jess Walter, Beautiful Ruins

2013: James Lee Burke, Light of the World (would’ve been the perfect end to the series)

2013: Roger Hobbs, Ghost Man

2019: John Connolly, A Book of Bones (but, really, each book is just a chapter of a greater story)

2019: Mike Lawson, House Arrest (stands in for a consistent decade of great works)

Then a few non-fiction titles –

2011: Bill James, True Crime: Reflections on the Celebration of Violence

2015: Rinker Buck, The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey

2019: Adam Higginbotham, Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster

Last thought – I don’t have a Best Book of the Decade. Guess I don’t think like that any more!


Downtown Continues to Empty

Downtown Seattle Barnes & Noble

store to close Saturday

“The Barnes & Noble bookstore in downtown Seattle’s Pacific Place shopping center is closing this weekend. A sign inside the store announces: ‘This Barnes & Noble is closing on Jan. 18. Thank you for your patronage over the past 22 years.’”

This is the second Barnes & Noble location in Seattle to close within the past 12 months: The West Seattle store, in the Westwood Village shopping center, shut down in January 2019. The once-mighty Barnes & Noble chain has struggled nationally in the age of Amazon; in the past decade, it has closed more than 150 stores. Its University Village location closed in 2011. Barnes & Noble was acquired by Elliott Management, a hedge fund, last summer.

The closure leaves downtown Seattle without a general bookstore.

A Barnes & Noble spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

Barnes & Noble continues to operate a handful of stores in the area, including at Northgate Mall, near Westfield Southcenter mall, and in Bellevue, Issaquah, Woodinville and Lynnwood.”

An abrupt announcement – just  two days warning. If this continues, if more B&N stores close, watch for major contractions in publishing, as we saw when Borders closed its stores.

Well, it was fun while it lasted…

Jack Reacher series author Lee Child ‘quits and lets brother step in’


“The author of the Jack Reacher series of novels is retiring and handing over the writing duties to his brother, according to a report.

Lee Child said he has been searching for a way to kill off the title character, portrayed on film by Tom Cruise, for years but has ultimately decided his fans deserve to see him live on in books which will now be written by Andrew Grant.

But Child, who was born James Grant, has reportedly set out a condition for his brother: he too must change his surname to Child.

“For years I thought about different ways of killing Reacher off. First of all, I thought he would go out in a blaze of bullets, something like the end of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It would take an army to bring him down [but] Reacher had to have an afterlife after I was done,” Child told the Times.

Grant is an established author in his own right. “It’s not as if I twisted his arm into doing it. And he didn’t twist mine either. It just happened. It feels like a natural development. My brother is a good writer. Now he has a hero,” Child said.

He added: “Readers don’t need to know about me or whoever writes the books. They only really care about Reacher. And I know he’s now in safe hands.”

Child has sold more than 100m books since embarking on a career as a novelist relatively late in life at 40. Jack Reacher has been turned into a film and is also reportedly being made into a series for Amazon’s Prime service.

According to the Times’ report, the cover of the next Reacher novel – in a series which is published by an imprint of Random Penguin House – will read: “Lee Child with Andrew Child”, in what has been interpreted as a possible sign of the publishing company’s nerves.”

We were told years ago by a prominent Reacher Creature that Lee/James knew exactly how he was going to kill Reacher to end the series. Guess it is too difficult to kill a cash cow.

The Child brothers now join the ranks of the Pattersons, the Cusslers, the Evanoviches, the Parkers, and all the authors whose books are written by committee, or buy a ghost.

Reacher deserves better.

Reacher deserves his blaze of glory.