highlights

Thumbs up for Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin. Horror.

I don’t read horror, generally, but I came across a copy of this with the coolest cover and…I’m shallow. Also, I am rather fond of the name “Rosemary” as it’s the name of one of my heroines. And maybe there’s something in the name, because I can fully believe that my Rosemary, if laid up during pregnancy, would also (as does R.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee. Science fiction.

If you love Leckie’s Ancillary Justice books, you should read Lee’s Machineries of Empire trilogy. But don’t read Revenant Gun until you’ve read the first two books; it will make zero sense. To be honest, I have read the first two and while I (mostly) always understood what was going on in Revenant Gun, I sometimes had no idea why.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Molecules: The Elements and the Architecture of Everything by Theodore Gray. Science.

I thought this would be pretty, and potentially informative. I didn’t think it would be hilarious. Enjoy it yourself, leave it on your coffee table for your friends, and give it to every kid you know.

The base of conventional nail polish is a nitrocellulose lacquer dissolved in acetone.

>> Read more

Thumbs up for The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. Literature.

A young man–worldly and introspective relative to the society in which he lives, but that’s not saying much–is engaged to be married to just the right girl. Then her cousin, who is actually worldly, shows up from Europe…. Sometimes I think reading classic literature is hardly different from reading fantasy or science fiction.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Taking the Medicine: A Short History of Medicine’s Beautiful Idea, and Our Difficulty Swallowing It by Druin Burch. History.

If the history of medicine, in the specific sense of “things we take to feel better”–from opium to thalidomide, penicillin to aspirin–sounds at all interesting to you, read this book. That won’t apply to most of you, of course.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language by Eva Hoffman. Memoir.

A magnificent book. Ironically and wonderfully – since it’s about Hoffman’s struggle to express herself, and find her identity, in English – Lost in Translation is more gorgeously and elegantly written than most books by native speakers. There were so many passages I wanted to copy out.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for The Fox’s Tower and Other Stories by Yoon Ha Lee. Science fiction and fantasy short stories.

I’ve raved about Lee’s work here before and will do so again. If you’re not ready to commit to his bizarre and wonderful trilogy about starship warfare based around calendars, try The Fox’s Tower. Most of the stories are at most a page or two, poetic and strange and warm.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Paperbacks from Hell: the Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction by Grady Hendrix. Literary history.

When I requested an advance reader’s copy of this from the publisher, my expectations were low. It might have been a boring catalog of authors and publishers. Or it might have centered around mocking old horror paperback cover art, while being light on historical detail.… >> Read more