April 18th, 2010


on dead wench lessons in the dream world

Rating guide:

**** +1, would read again
*** it was certainly better than staring at the wall for hours on end
** well, at least i'm not dumber for having read this
* this shit made me briefly consider that twilight may not be so bad after all

On to the reviews!

On Writing by Stephen King *****
The first half of this book is a mini-autobiography. If you're not into that kind of thing, you can easily skip ahead to the writing advice where King dispenses such wisdom as, "The road to hell is paved with adverbs." He ain't wrong.

Wench: A Novel by Dolen Perkins-Valdez ***
I heard about this book on a blog called something like "White Readers Meet Black Authors." The blog talked it up, and the premise was interesting -- fiction about the lives of Black women forced to be mistresses to their slave owners. The book wasn't great, though. The writing style was just the way I like it: to the point, no distracting purpley prose, but something went wrong with the plot. I felt no connection to the characters and, at the end, couldn't exactly say what the book was about.

Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen **
I'm embarrassed that I bothered. Nothing about this book made sense. The writing was horrifyingly bad. The plot was trite, boring, and unlikely. Gruen doesn't know enough about horses to be writing a horse book.

Dead City by Joe McKinney *
I only read half of this book; it was that bad. (It was also so bad I thought I should be rewarded for the half I read, so I included it in my count even though it was only 150-or-so pages.) I guess I'm spoiled from books like "World War Z" and "Cell," but I could not believe how bad this zombie book was.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork *****
I LOVED this book. It's about Marcelo, a 17-year-old wigh high-functioning Asperger's Syndrome. The summer before his senior year at his special education school, Marcelo's father decides that Marcelo needs to learn to interact and function within the "real world," so he makes Marcelo take a summer job. The book is narrated by Marcelo in the first person, so we are with him the entire way as he learns about friendship, deceit, douchebag misogynists, and girls. Since I'm not on the autistic spectrum, I do wonder how someone with Asperger's would feel about this book. To me, it felt very "true" -- I felt like I had a good idea of the way Marcelo's mind worked by the end, and I'm curious if people who actually have AS feel the same. I'd like the book a lot less if I find out it's a completely unrealistic portrayal of an AS teenager.

What Dreams May Come by Robert Richard Matheson **
I saw the movie a loooong time ago and really liked it, but the book was shit. It was basically a lot of New Age mumbo-jumbo about the "afterlife" that (despite this being a fictional book) Matheson tries to pass off as fact. The bibliography at the end really sealed the LOL deal. I was really interested in some of Matheson's other books -- specifically "I Am Legend" -- but I'm not sure I should waste my time now.

So far in 2010:
20/50 books
7041 pages

Purple Library Pleasure

Library Camps and Unconferences, by Steve Lawson
On a pragmatic level, if you want to make some kind of library-related unstructured but useful conglomeration of interested people happen, you should find this book very useful - clear and concise but with meaty details and good "go look over here" stuff. Since the author is a friend of mine, I was reading it for entirely different reasons, which were equally well-satisfied.

Pure Pleasure, by John Carey
A delightful book for the books-about-books crowd - very short pieces on what purports to be the 50 most enjoyable books of the 20th century (it's actually a little more complicated than that). My joy in these sorts of essays is always dependent on the author's style above all else, and in this case, I enjoyed myself very much indeed. And there are a few books that have moved from my "one of these days" list to being things I'm going to seek out and read very very soon. He got a few books I have read very, very wrong, IMO, but that didn't make the book less fun.

Purple and Black, by K. J. Parker
This book is 113 pages long. Short pages with lots of blank space. And it didn't transcend entertaining pointlessness until page EIGHTY-THREE. So if you have less patience than I do, I guess you shouldn't bother. But I thought the last 30 pages were extraordinarly good, and that long build-up was necessary to the story. So I was completely happy with the book. (Also, it probably helps that KJ Parker is my favorite writer of this sort of book, so even when it was just ok, I wasn't precisely unhappy - just waiting for the other shoe to drop.)
  • Current Music
    Siamese Pumpkins, "Siva"

Book 22 & 23

Book 22: The Girl who played with Fire - Stieg Larsson

Genre: Thriller

Plot: Not sure how to say this without giving away some of the previous book.

My thoughts: Un-put-down-able. Wow.

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

* ~ * ~ *

Book 23: The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - Stieg Larsson
Genre: Thriller

Plot:Not sure how to say this without giving away some of the previous book.

My thoughts: As per the previous book - WOW. I loved the trilogy and am now sad that the author died before these were published. If they existed, I would DEFINITELY read more.

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Collapse )