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« November, 2008 »
Tell Me Where It Hurts

Is it weird to have a predilection for veteriniarian non-fiction? This is one of those “Hi, I’m a vet, let me tell you about my day” books and as those books go, it’s pretty good. The author works at a veterinary hospital in the Boston area and tells the tale of one long day at work. This is a little strange because, as he admits, he basically makes up a day by smooshing a bunch of stories into one 24 hour period. My guess is that his usual days on the job may be a little more prosaic. This day is full of complicated medical diagnoses, surgery judgment calls and a lot of interactions with animals (mainly dogs but there are a few cays and one turtle) and their owners. Trout is British which may explain a bit of his wisecracking style which I found a little off-putting but not too terrible. The book is filled with anecdotes about the veterinary profession which were just about as interesting as the animal stories themselves.

The Eight

I picked this up in an airport because I was desparate not to have nothing to read on the plane and this wasn’t a self-help book. The blurb said it was a “feminist version of the DaVinci code” or something and I was not totally psyched about that but it turned out to be a fun airplane read. It sort of IS like the Dan Brown books -- it’s a historical romp with a big-scale mystery driving the action - but most of the main characters are women. And they’re not women in some like super-feminist matriarchy, they’re just female characters. There are a lot of male characters too, they’re just not primary. And it’s about chess but instead of it being a totally cerebral novel with a bunch of chess in-jokes, the chess in this book is mostly understandable to someone who has at least played the game once or twice. As a random airport book this was a pleasant surprise. I’ll probably pick up Neville’s next book when I see it.

Firebirds Soaring

Another terrific Firebird collection by my friend Sharyn November. This collection of young adult fantasy short stories serves as both a great collection of pieces but also an introduction to many great authors working in YA today. The stories range from super-short almost-poems to long stories that operate on their own as well as chapters or sequels to existing works. Each story has a lead illustration that is a neat addition to this already-rich compilation of stories. Sharyn is a stickler for details and this book is well-chosen and well-edited. Another must-read for fans of YA fantasy.