Thumbs up for Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Science fiction.

Years ago, I read the original short story on which this book was based, and I wasn’t all that impressed with it, given that I figured out the twist at the end far too early. But at last I was in the mood to dip into the real deal, and I’m glad I did.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Victim Prime by Robert Sheckley. Science fiction.

It seems wrong that the first word that comes to mind to describe this book is “charming,” considering that it is about a murder game in which people sign up to try to assassinate each other. Think: voluntary Hunger Games, presented as weirdly light-hearted satire. You will need a strong stomach to make it through the later chapters (the Suicide Clowns made even me a bit nauseous) but otherwise, I highly recommend it as a quick amusing read for those whose sense of humor is suitably black.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress. Science fiction.

WOW. I feel a bit insufficient to review this. If someone had described Beggars to me as “a novel dealing with legal, political, financial and ethical philosophy in the wake of bigotry against genetically-modified individuals, with a lawyer as the main character and a denouement set off by a change in the tax code” I would said, “That’s nice – you keep it.” Good thing no one told me, because Beggars is amazing.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee. Nonfiction/psychology.

‘Cause I have these friends…but don’t we all? A unputdownable look into the psychology of hoarding. Told via case histories, it’s sympathetic and in fact heartbreaking, because no one yet knows how to fully help the sufferers of this widespread disorder. Both a horrifying book, in its descriptions of the hoards, and a fascinating one, in its sensitive and wondrous examinations of the fascinating but entirely different way that hoarders process information and memory, and how they make (or don’t make) decisions.… >> Read more