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
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for The Broken Teaglass by Emily Arsenault. Mystery.
I’d heard about this ages ago and was excited by the combination of the glowing review I read, plus the setting (a mystery set at a dictionary-making company, the clues being found in the word files). Sadly, when I finally acquired a copy, my expectations were disappointed.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride. Young adult fantasy.
Not going to win any awards for beauty of prose or plotting, but the likable characters and sense of humor make this an enjoyable light read. I also liked the local setting – which in itself made me laugh sometimes:
Ballard is one of those little areas in Seattle that I don’t go to unless I have a reason, and once I’m there I always wish I went more often.
… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Wondermark Vol. II: Clever Tricks To Stave Off Death by David Malki. Comics.
Comic strips made from recaptioned (and sometimes slightly mangled) Victorian woodcuts. Bizarre as hell and funny. Check ’em out at the Wondermark website.… >> 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
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, illustrated by Michael Hague. Fantasy.
People who don’t enjoy Tolkien tend not to say so out loud. Maybe we each think we’re alone in our opinion, and will be lynched by his rabid fans if they find out. I know for a fact, however, that there are a great many literate, respectable people who find Tolkien tedious.… >> Read more