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« February, 2014 »

Reckless   book icon  
by Andrew Gross (2011)

read: 21 February 2014
rating: [+]
category: fiction

This is either the third or the fourth book in the Ty Hauck series of thrillers. I enjoyed this one as much or more than the previous ones. Lots of back and forth about what is really happening, a principled main character (though he does seem to sort of run through relationships which is maybe getting old) and a lot of intrigue without a lot of torture or other super unpleasantness, though there is a somewhat high body count.

You   book icon  
by Austin Grossman (2013)

read: 20 February 2014
rating: [0]
category: fiction

Looks like a lot of people have mixed feelings about this book. I picked it up because I’d really loved Soon I Will Be Invincible but this book was a mess. Neat enough premise... takes place in the same suburban Boston area I grew up in, about when I grew up, characters are nerds and they start a gaming company. However, there is way too much “And then the wizard casts a spell and then you find a magic amulet in the knot in the tree and ...” sort of exposition about the games themselves and neither the games nor the characters are interesting enough and the story doesn’t cohere.

There are a lot of weird perspective shifts and some of the characters in the game sort of come to life (maybe? I never was quite sure I knew what was going on with them) and so there are maybe four levels of reality: current day, the past, inside the game and then whatever the reality is where the characters from the game come to life. Oh and there are dreams. All in all too confusing to dig through and didn’t really wrap up in a way that I found enjoyable or interesting. Not my thing.

Blasphemy   book icon  
by Sherman Alexie (2012)

read: 17 February 2014
rating: [+]
categories: collection, fiction

This book was on the NEW table at my library. It had one of those “what did you think?” cards in the back of it and one of the other patrons from my library had written “A little oversexed...” in the back. I’m not totally sure I agree but there are a lot of stories of love, loss, romance and a few other things. I’ve read most of Alexie’s other works, though not recently, and some of these stirred my memory but most were either new or seemed new to me. And they’re SO great.

Alexie has a way of writing about Native American issues (he’s from the Spokane nation) without seeming pedantic or, more importantly, prescriptive. Like, his characters are Native but the point of a lot of the stories is that they’ve got the full range of winners and losers and no-shows and everything else. You get this even more by reading 15-20 stories with differing characters than I have by reading his pieces with the same characters all the way through. Really enjoyed this. Not oversexed.

Prisoners of the Sun   book icon  
by Herge (1975)

read: 17 February 2014
rating: [+]
categories: graphic novel, ya

This was the follow-up to The Seven Crystal Balls. I’d never read Tintin before and this was a gift from a young friend and I dove into the first book and he graciously sent me the second. I liked it. Don’t really know from Tintin. My favorite character is the dog. These are very “of a time” meaning they’re basically racist, for the most part, and are not really that thoughtful about cultural differences and there are barely any women in these stories. Given the context, I enjoyed this as much as I could. Nice drawings. Fun dog.

Q & A   book icon  
by Vikas Swarup (2005)

read: 8 February 2014
rating: [+]
category: fiction

For whatever reason I picked up this book thinking it was non-fiction. It’s the original book that became the really popular movie (that I also haven’t seen) Slumdog Millionaire. It’s tough going. Living in the slums is a really rough life with a lot of abuse and random terrible things happening. The narrative structure here is a kid from the slums who manages to get on the quiz show Who Wants to be a Billionaire

The Phantom Tollbooth   book icon  
by Norton Juster (2000)

read: 5 February 2014
rating: [+]
categories: fiction, ya

Friends could not believe I had never read this. I finally lay down one chilly evening and plowed through it. Super fun! Wordplay and great illustrations and a neat little story about how not to be bored. Super enjoyable, sort of glad I waited so long.

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen   book icon  
by Lucy Knisley (2013)

read: 4 February 2014
rating: [+]
categories: graphic novel, non-fiction

A great fun book about growing up foodie. I enjoyed Lucy’s tales of her childhood and travels and her formative food experiences. Some neat recipes, some neat stories, all wonderfully illustrated in a fun slim volume that gave me an enjoyable evening’s read.

Soon I will Be Invincible   book icon  
by Austin Grossman (2007)

read: 3 February 2014
rating: [+]
category: fiction

Was looking for some good fiction to read and had just finished Ready Player One and this was in the thrift store bargain shelf and my friend the librarian said I’d like it. She was totally right. General premise: superheroes are just like us and super villains are as well. They have hopes and reams and make mistakes and whatnot. This book is about a superhero and a supervillain (in alternating first person chapters) and a few months of their back and forth as the villain tries to take over the world. Very good read, went by quickly, lots of good laughs and callbacks to various superhero stories of your childhood.

Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story   book icon  
by Peter Bagge (2013)

read: 3 February 2014
rating: [+]
category: graphic novel

I am so pleased that Bagge took the time to research and write this great story about the real life of Margaret Sanger. Not only is her story important and basically the story of birth control access in the world today, but Sanger was also a complicated woman and Bagge did the research and seemed to want to specifically address a lot of the critiques that other coverage--positive and negative--has attracted. So you see him specifically covering things like her talk before a KKK audience or the death of her daughter, or her many romantic dalliances with various men and you get a fuller picture of Sanger the woman, not just Sanger the icon or Sanger the nurse or Sanger the wife. A large section at the end has Bagge going page by page through much of the 75 page book giving citations for what he knew about the events that he portrayed and how he decided what to show and what not to. A great read for fans of Bagge or Sanger.

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