Thumbs up for Musings and Meditations: Reflections on Science Fiction, Science, and Other Matters by Robert Silverberg. Nonfiction/essays.
As with any book of essays, not all equally interesting; but the best far outnumbered the lesser. My copy sprouted a forest of shredded post-it notes. I read “The Death of Gallium” and “The Handprints On the Wall” aloud to unsuspecting friends; “Oh Avram, Avram, What a Wonder You Were!” sent me scurrying to order the book (The Avram Davidson Treasury) which the essay was first written to introduce; and I acquired myself some C.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. Romance.
I needed a romance for February, of course, and this one, narrated by a genetics researcher with Asperger’s-or-something-like-it, fit the bill nicely. Professor Don Tillman is thirty-nine, intelligent, fit, and has a good job…but he has trouble with women. So he decides to approach the Wife Problem scientifically. I started reading, started laughing, and then finished it in two days.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Graceling by Karen Cashore. Young adult fantasy.
One of the best works of young adult fantasy I’ve read. The plot is fairly straightforward, but what makes it great is Katsa, the main character. The single fantasy element of the universe is that certain people have Graces, which you can think of as superpowers if you like. Katsa has the killing Grace, discovered when she killed a man with her bare hands at age eight.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Wise Children by Angela Carter. Literature.
The sort of book which 99.9% of readers will find incomprehensible; the last .01% will adore. The “Wise Children” of the title are Nora and Dora Chance, twin sisters from a family of famous Shakespearean actors. The book is bawdy, hilarious, sad, gorgeous, crazy, nonlinear, wonderful. Read the following paragraph; if you laugh, read the book.… >> Read more
Thumbs way up for The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan. Children’s fantasy.
Percy Jackson – dyslexic teenage son of Poseidon – and his friends Grover the satyr and Annabeth, the daughter of Athena, have to fight the rising Titans and save Western Civilization. These books are like coke, and I don’t mean cola.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Christina Katerina & the Box by Patricia Lee Gauch, illustrated by Doris Burn. Children’s.
Oh, simply lovely. This is childhood in a book.
Best of all she liked big boxes. So she was happy indeed one sleepy summer day – when even her sometimes-friend Fats Watson was out of town – to see a truck deliver a great, tall box.
… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton. Photography.
My coworker and I spent most of a day looking at this when we were supposed to be working. It’s that kind of book. You should go look at his magnificent blog, which will give you faith in humanity.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby. Nonfiction.
I’m just going to call this one nonfiction, no subcategory, because it’s not really lit crit, despite being about books. As Hornby tells us, he will be hauled up before his cabal of vegan but bloodthirsty editors if he says anything even remotely critical of a living author. (Their possibly correct observation is that readers can find bad reviews anywhere, therefore they shall publish only positive ones in order to set themselves apart from the crowd.) Reading a book of only positive reviews sounds to me like an onerous task, because bad reviews are so much more fun than good ones, but thankfully The Polysyllabic Spree is about Hornby’s reading habits and general thoughts on literature rather than advice on what to read.… >> Read more