Posts Tagged ‘bloggers’

Don’t Call Me a Crook!: “Incredible” and “incredibly well-written”

Friday, February 18th, 2011

OK, I freely admit it: it’s been far too long since my last blog post.  I’m sorry.  Really.  And it’s not from a lack of topics.  From the November U.S. elections to the mass movements in the Mideast, things are changing quickly!  Not to make excuses, but Dissident Books’ is a one-man shop, so between getting the word out about the titles, sales, and dozens of other tasks, blogging tends to get pushed to the back burner.  But that’s not an excuse.  I promise to post more often.  Just like I promise that the check is in the mail.
You might recall in my last post I wrote how e-newsletter ForeWord This Week ran a feature on Notes on Democracy: A New Edition.  Well, this week managing editor Kimber Bilby turned her attention to Dissident Books’ other offering, Don’t Call Me a Crook!  Bilby writes that

Autobiographies & Memoirs is the biggest category in our Book of the Year Awards program. I understand why: everyone has a story to tell—even reference librarians. (Does Ruth Harrison from A Prairie Home Companion ring familiar?) The ability to tell a good story and grab the reader from page one is a gift that not everyone has. That’s what makes an award-winning memoir: it’s not only an incredible tale, but an incredibly well-written one. Cheers to those who tackle retelling their life stories in print. This week we feature a more humorous account of a con man, Bob Moore, in Don’t Call Me a Crook! published by Dissident Books.

Boy, did reading that make my day!  It’s a fact is Don’t Call Me a Crook! is both “an incredible tale” and “an incredibly well-written one.”  One blogger confessed that she read it three times.  Three times!  You know a story is gripping and a pleasure to read when someone goes through it more than once.  Check out what ForeWord has to say about Moore’s memoirs here.

Booklust returns and reviews “Don’t Call Me a Crook!”

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

You might recall my August 23 post (“Booklust takes ‘Don’t Call Me a Crook!’ on a trip”).  Well, Booklust is back, and has written a review of Bob Moore’s pickled, globetrotting and illegal memoirs.  We’re pretty stroked to see she gave it a rating of 7.5 out of 10–not bad!  Personally, we think Mr. Moore’s memoirs rate an 11 out of 10, but we have an admittedly biased opinion.  “I don’t know if there are any thoroughly unapologetic, charmingly devious con men out there in the world like him any more,” Booklust writes.  “The author embodied the spirit of the Roaring 20s, of a world thrilled to be done with WWI and happily ignoring the inevitability of WWII, a world that had not reached the Great Depression, and was riding high on waves of lawlessness and corruption on the cusp of the modern age. . . .  It’s hard to admire him, but it’s impossible to dislike him. He has a certain roguish, rakish charm.”

Booklust also comments wisely on Moore’s racism.  In the book’s third part, “Mitchell and China,” “Moore’s racism and bigotry shine through a little too much for my liking,” she remarks. “However, it made the book very real. I think now, a lot of historical fiction tends to glaze over the racial relations of the past, sidestepping the complications and possible negative reactions that those situations can create. But when you read books that were written in those eras, by people who lived them. . .  well, it’s just there. Innate. In the pores, as it were. Yes, it is hard to read, but it’s worse to ignore it, and worst to pretend it never happened, I think. Moore had opinions and he stuck by them, regardless of how narrow-minded or slippery his ideas were. I can’t help but respect a man who sticks to his guns. And when he does it in such a hilariously self-righteous and interesting manner. . . well, that just makes the going that much easier.”

We completely agree.  How often in movies and books about the past do you find whitewashing of discrimination and strife?  The good old days weren’t so good.  Like today, there was hatred and racism.  Like Booklust, we prefer reality to lies.

Booklust ends her review with an equally perceptive summary: “Don’t Call Me a Crook is a fun and interesting look at what life was like for the working class of the 1920s–unapologetic, realistic and true, it sheds light on what must have been a fascinating time to be alive.”  She’s absolutely right to stress that Don’t Call Me a Crook! is a proletarian memoir.  As The Scotsman (Edinburgh) pointed out, “Moore’s book is one of relatively few accounts looking at the Roaring Twenties from the point of view of a Scot who was, if hardly at the bottom of the social order, at least not born with a silver spoon in his gob.”  It might break the hearts of politically correct folks to read that a laboring man didn’t feel class solidarity (just the opposite: he wanted your job!), and saw the world through a sexist, racist, and greedy lens, but that’s their problem.  Again, we’ll take truth over fairy tales.

Booklust takes “Don’t Call Me a Crook!” on a trip

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Booklust takes Don’t Call Me a Crook! with her on a trip to India!  Bon voyage!

How appropriate to bring the globetrotting Bob Moore on a voyage halfway across the earth…  But should you really trust him as a traveling companion?