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World According To... Parker & the Numberman Apr 18, 2014 A Friday night series where Finest City Improv invites a special guest, or guests, to tell real-life stories that FCI's best improvisers then use to create comedic sketches. This week's special guests are local hip-hop act Parker & the Numberman. 57 other events on Friday, April 18
Canvassed | Art & culture
A tale of near-death, bloody steaks and unprecedented opulence
Why the city can’t maintain enough emergency trucks
Documentary about ill-fated project leads our rundown of movies screening around town
Meet ‘Jackie,’ one of the many faces of sex-trafficking
Arts & Culture feature
What could’ve been, what could be and what’s actually happening with the embattled 2015 celebration


Home » Articles »   By Jim Ruland
Monday, March 31,2014
The Floating Library

Dark tales from two San Diego-area short-story writers

Reviews of ‘Black Cloud’ by Juliet Escoria and ‘What Happened Here’ by Bonnie ZoBell

By Jim Ruland
Juliet Escoria's stories feature young women at loose ends. They do ketamine or coke or heroin or meth. They drink too much and choose partners poorly.
Friday, March 7,2014
The Floating Library

Is ‘The King in Yellow’ the key to HBO’s ‘True Detective’?

Investigating Robert W. Chambers’ obscure collection of stories

By Jim Ruland
One of the biggest surprises to come from the first seven episodes of HBO's True Detective doesn't occur onscreen; it comes with the revelation that the wildly popular show references Robert W. Chambers' obscure short-story collection The King in Yellow.
Monday, February 17,2014
The Floating Library

William S. Burroughs at 100

‘Naked Lunch’ author’s feline fixation

By Jim Ruland
If William S. Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch, were alive today, he'd be 100 years old. I don't know why this factoid fascinates me so much. Maybe it's because when he died in 1997 at age 83, he looked 100. 
Monday, January 27,2014
The Floating Library

Remembering Sandy Hook a year later

A personal take on ‘Newtown: An American Tragedy’ by Matthew Lysiak

By Jim Ruland
Newtown: An American Tragedy is a book that takes us inside Sandy Hook Elementary and describes what happened on one terrible day.
Monday, January 6,2014
The Floating Library

Sole survivors

A review of ‘Last of the Blue and Gray: Old Men, Stolen Glory, and the Mystery That Outlived the Civil War’

By Jim Ruland
Serrano's book is filled with fascinating stories of old soldiers who are now dead and gone, dropped from thought and faded from recollection.
Monday, December 16,2013
The Floating Library

A gift guide for weirdoes

Because nothing says ‘Happy Holidays’ like books filled with heroin addicts, cross-dressers and underground art

By Jim Ruland
Jerry Stahl's written about every perversion known to man. But his latest novel, Happy Baby Mutant Pills, may be his strangest and his most personal. 
Monday, November 25,2013
The Floating Library

Two California writers confront the end

Reviews of Lucy Corin’s ‘One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses’ and Chelsea Martin’s ‘Even Though I Don’t Miss You’

By Jim Ruland
Lucy Corin is a writer whose work presents difficulties. Her newest book, One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses, from McSweeney's Books, contains three short stories and a series of 100 linked prose pieces that range in length from several pages to a single sentence. 
Monday, November 4,2013
The Floating Library

Out of the shadows and ‘Into the Light’

Kalman Aron’s incredible journey from death-camp survivor to renowned artist

By Jim Ruland
When 6-year-old Susan Beilby sat for her portrait with an Eastern European artist who could barely speak English, she couldn't have known that more than 50 years later, she'd be telling his story. That's just one of many twists that make Into the Light: The Healing Art of Kalman Aron by Susan Beilby Magee so engrossing.
Friday, October 11,2013
The Floating Library

Portrait of the artist as a young soldier

New J.D. Salinger biography brings reclusive author out of the shadows

By Jim Ruland
Salinger begins with an astonishing portrait of the artist during WWII. He was attached to Fourth Division, which suffered some of the worst casualties in the war.
Tuesday, September 24,2013
Fall Arts

Years of yearning pay off for poet Manuel Paul Lopez

Local writer to appear at San Diego City College International Book Fair

By Jim Ruland
Manuel Paul Lopez's first book, Death of a Mexican and other Poems, was published by Bear Star Press in 2006. He was able to develop the manuscript for The Yearning Feed with support from the San Diego Foundation's Creative Catalyst Fund and Mo'olelo Performing Arts Company.