Working IX to V: Orgy Planners, Funeral Clowns, and Other Prized Professions of the Ancient World

Thumbs up for Working IX to V: Orgy Planners, Funeral Clowns, and Other Prized Professions of the Ancient World by Vickie Leon. History.

In clearing out a shelf of books-that-have-sat-too-long-with-bookmarkers-almost-to-the-end, I came across this. Why didn’t I finish this before? Perhaps so I’d have the pleasure of reading it now. This is a hilarious, informative and illuminating book, describing ancient Greece and Rome through the ins and outs of the jobs people had.… >> Read more

The Stars My Destination

A very big thumbs up for The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. Science fiction.

Bester wows me. He has more ideas on one page than most authors come up with for an entire book, and he uses them with bravery, surety and power. I wish I could write like him.

“It took thirty minutes to organize a Christmas party in the Four Mile Circus.

>> Read more
Made for Each Other: The Biology of the Human-Animal Bond (Merloyd Lawrence Books)

Thumbs up for Made For Each Other by Meg Daley Olmert. Science/nature.

Supposedly about the man-animal bond, at times it reads more like the author’s love affair with oxytocin. No, not the stuff Rush Limbaugh was famously hooked on (that’s OxyContin), but the “feel-good” neurochemical that is activated in social interactions both between people and people, and people and animals. The book could have been trimmed from 244 pages (not including notes) to about 100 without suffering, but it reads quickly enough, and has enough of value, that skimming through the “ra-ra oxytocin is great” repetition is tolerable.… >> Read more

The Hunger Games

Thumbs up for The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Young adult science fiction.

Invariably, when these books are mentioned in the bookstore where I work, the phrase of the day is “My son/daughter got it, but I picked it up and I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.” I hear a lot of rave reviews about books that are in fact mediocre, but I like young adult books, and since I’d never actually seen one of these in the field, so to speak, when this finally came in, I was curious.… >> Read more