22 Following

Raging Biblioholism

The Big Reap

The Big Reap - Chris F. Holm Looking back, I almost regret being so vaguely snooty about the first book in this series. Holm has grown into the series and as a result deserves notice as one of the most exceptional writers working in the genre today. His faculty with language - presenting beautiful, thought-provoking digressions & conversations on MAJOR philosophical & religious issues... then hitting you with a hilarious smartass remark from Sam - is matched only by his evident joy in putting this story on the page. Even when it veers towards the outrageous or the predictable, you don't really care, simply because you're having as much fun as he is. You don't want to read this one without having read the first two (despite my potential recommendation to read this first, because it's so much fun) - but once you do read that, you'll get to this one in no time and be left gasping for more. It's just damn good stuff.More at RB (and some shade thrown at [b:Life After Life|15790842|Life After Life|Kate Atkinson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1358173808s/15790842.jpg|21443207], just because): http://wp.me/pGVzJ-JV

Vampires in the Lemon Grove

Vampires in the Lemon Grove - With expansion/experimentation comes some inevitable reach-exceeds-grasp moments - and there are definitely a few moments in this collection that make the stories not fail but just not quite soar to such heights as Ms. Russell's first collection achieved. But I also am so thrilled by the playground of imagination that any Karen Russell story - short or long - provides for a reader and fans will not be disappointed. Nor will, I should say, readers who were disappointed by Ms. Russell's earlier work(s): this is an opportunity to try again, you readers - I hope you'll indulge, as I think you'll be rewarded.The stories here are more varied, more mature, and sometimes quite a bit more challenging than any work we've seen from Ms. Russell yet. Even when they don't work (as I felt "The New Veterans" didn't), there's still something marvelous to be pulled from each of them.More at RB: http://wp.me/pGVzJ-JR


Tampa - Alissa Nutting I walked away numb, to be honest. Celeste's sexual rapaciousness definitely provides some intense reading - and Nutting does a far better job at capturing sex than most authors (I sure hope Harper does something like "hey housewives, you think Fifty Shades was hot?") could ever hope to do. But what are we, as readers, supposed to take away / think about with this book? The sexy sex-times - or the fact that our main character is a sociopathic, pedophilic sex addict? Celeste Price, while as bad as they come, just isn't bad enough to be memorable.But boy oh boy does this book get you a little (uncomfortably, at times) hot under the collar. I'll be interested in seeing how people at large feel about this one once it hits shelves next month.More at RB: http://wp.me/sGVzJ-tampa

Night Film

Night Film - Marisha Pessl My imagination feels enriched and nourished after reading this book.It is so rare anymore that a reader can walk into a book knowing nothing about the contents - and part of this book's greatest pleasures came from exactly that. I encourage you to simply take my word that this book is an absolute delight, one that simultaneously wants to be immediately devoured and approached with lingering restraint. I cannot remember the last time I wanted so desperately to know more and all the while make sure I soaked up every single drop of one page before moving onto the next. I am tempted to pick it up again, right now, and start once more from the top. It is harrowingly intelligent and vividly realized - just close your eyes and leap in.It is sovereign, deadly, and perfect.Much more on the rave side (and my very damnedest at limited spoilers) at RB: http://wp.me/pGVzJ-JI

Mansfield Park: (Classics hardcover)

Mansfield Park - Jane Austen Really more of a 2.5 but I'm gonna skew low on this because I just...Fanny Price. She feels so incredibly un-Austenian, as a main character, and beyond that I just sort of found her irritating. She's a wet blanket on any sort of fun anyone wants to have and seeing as she does NOTHING throughout the novel - seriously, she has no agency whatsoever - I just found myself not caring one whit about anything that happened to her or by extension the supporting characters. I could, were I still in college, write you one hell of a paper (even only having read 3 - ehhhh 3.5 - Austen novels) about how Fanny and by extension this book represents an anomaly in Austen's work and what that might mean... but I'm not in college anymore and so I can just safely shelve this book and say good riddance. Here's hoping this is the low water mark for Austen 2013.More (if you care) at RB: http://wp.me/pGVzJ-JE
When Did You See Her Last? (All The Wrong Questions, #2) - Lemony Snicket Leaps and bounds of improvement upon the first book of the new series, thrusting the reader forward into the next adventure and building up a whirlwind of mystery and intrigue surrounding... well... pretty much everything, I guess. What's going on with Kit? Why does everyone want that Bombinating Beast statue? Who IS Hangfire? Will that invisible ink ever work? I don't know if these are the right questions or the wrong questions... but I can tell you one that I absolutely know to be a "right" question: how long do I have to wait for the next book?Much more (no spoilers, but a picture of Mr. Snicket's representative's signature in my copy) at RB: http://wp.me/pGVzJ-Jr

Point Doom

Point Doom - Dan Fante I usually don't like to ask this question but sometimes a book makes me wonder: why this story? "Point Doom" doesn't feel much different from any number of other middle-of-the-road crime/mystery novels when it comes to plot or characters - in fact, other than the few utterly shocking descriptions of violence, I couldn't really find anything to distinguish it at all. That's not to say that it's bad, not really - it's just that it's not really worth your time.More at RB: http://wp.me/pGVzJ-Jo

Beautiful Ruins

Beautiful Ruins - Jess Walter More of a 3.5 - a solid 3.5, actually, just not enough to say 4 here - but we do what we can.I enjoyed this book but I also felt it to be a bit slight - like a good rom-com that you see on a date, maybe buy on DVD for stay-at-home date-nights... but that doesn't really change much about your life. Walter is a talented writer, turning some beautiful and some funny phrases... but ultimately, I didn't get much more than a lovely sunny summer read out of this. Seeing as it has been in the 90s of late, though, that feels just about right. I wouldn't've traded it in this moment for anything - so just time your read properly and you'll drift away like a boat on the water off Porto Vergogna.More at RB: http://wp.me/pGVzJ-Je


Phantom: A Harry Hole Novel (9) - Jo Nesbø Another strong, dynamic entry from Mr. Nesbø - taking a bit of a turn from where it seemed we were headed, post-[b:The Leopard|6891433|The Leopard (Harry Hole, #8)|Jo Nesbø|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1359872182s/6891433.jpg|7112263], and instead allowing Harry to've recovered a bit. He's a changed man, sort of, our Mr. Hole... and so its only right that the challenge he faces is a bit of a change as well. The plot is simple but twisting and there seems to be a larger sense of scope at work here that we're only partially understanding at the moment. I know Harry comes back this fall (can't wait to see how...) and I look forward, quite eagerly, to both that new adventure and to the republished adventures finding their way onto shelves over the next 18 months...More at RB: http://wp.me/pGVzJ-J9

Transmetropolitan TP Vol 06 Gouge Away New Ed (Transmetropolitan - Revised)

Transmetropolitan, Vol. 6: Gouge Away - Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson, Rodney Ramos Ahhh yes, another excellent entry from Mr. Ellis. I was, I admit, a bit concerned at first that I'd become desensitized to the maniac glory that is this series... but he proved me wrong soon enough. Indeed, the character development continues to excel, the story continues to engage, and above all I still believe in the truth. If you aren't reading this series (even if you aren't a fan of graphic novels/comix) you might be a worse human being for it. So sez Spider.More at RB: http://wp.me/pGVzJ-J4

The Virgin Suicides: Reissued

The Virgin Suicides: Reissued - Jeffrey Eugenides (Really more of a 4.5)This book is both an elegy and a warning. It cherishes, idolizes in a way, the simpler times - when things were complex and confusing because we were still learning and not because the world is just a screwed up place... but it also serves as a prime example of why it's dangerous to linger on the past. The boys, having collected evidence - photos, items, interviews - in their pursuit of answers, have grown into men at this point and the world has moved on... but they haven't. They're still stuck, curious and confused, by these strange girls - and by the past in general. The book is, somewhat by nature, a bit oblique and while that serves to be slightly frustrating by the end, it's also a beautiful and accomplished debut in its ability to capture so many intangibles so beautifully. If you haven't read it (and I don't know how it has taken me so damn long), then you should give yourself a summer day or two and knock it out. You won't regret it.More at RB: http://wp.me/pGVzJ-IZ

Sorry Please Thank You: Stories

Sorry Please Thank You: Stories - Charles Yu This is a really great entry point, I think, for Yu's work. Reading [b:How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe|9902193|How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe|Charles Yu|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320537641s/9902193.jpg|10491121] was a terrific intro and it established his (apparently) dominant themes on a large canvas - but it was complex and hard to grapple with at times, and I'm a sci-fi nerd. This book provides the reader with an opportunity to taste Yu's writing, to experience that cloudy melancholy, and tease the complex metafictional pyrotechnics that are on greater display in the novel. It's also a quick read - one perfectly suited to a rainy solitary Sunday.More at RB: http://wp.me/pGVzJ-Ir

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now - Douglas Rushkoff (I've just pulled the last paragraph of my blog review - the only thing I'll add is to say that this is absolutely required reading for anyone with any tech device at all in their lives. Let's halt the present shock before it cripples us all.)Although I did find a few flaws in some of Rushkoff’s arguments and while he occasionally is guilty of dressing up his thoughts a little too ostentatiously, it doesn’t really matter when the thoughts are so important. I want to recommend this book to everyone I know, non-fiction or fiction readers. It’s that important – mostly because of the fact that it doesn’t provide the answers yet. It shows the challenges we’re facing and the issues ahead… and leaves them for our consideration, setting the stage for (hopefully) further thought and engagement and potentially even some solutions. I’ll tell you what: I’m going to log off of this computer, go to the movies, go to dinner, and not look at my phone again tonight. At least, that’s my goal. Will I succeed? Don’t know. But I’m actively going to try – because I’d rather spend the time with my companion this evening than with anyone or anything that might buzz in my pocket. I hope that, either from this review or this book or even something else entirely, that you will also find some time to turn off and check out – it’ll all be here when you get back.Much, much more at RB: http://wp.me/pGVzJ-In

The House of Journalists: A Novel

The House of Journalists: A Novel - Tim Finch This is not a book for everyone. It is almost le Carré-ian at times, in the best possible way. It moves at its own pace, often coolly and calmly and without much seeming “purpose” – but for those interested in politics, in oppression, in yet another angle of our increasingly globalized world… this is a golden debut. It reminded me of how much I loved my poli sci classes in college and how proud I am to maintain even the slightest interest in that part of our world. I look forward to whatever comes next from Mr. Finch – and I hope that this book garners some level of acclaim, if only to shed light on the very real and very thorny problems of helping those whose stories have been silenced.Much more, I hope as considered as this book deserves, at RB: http://wp.me/pGVzJ-Ij

Trail of the Spellmans: Document #5

Trail of the Spellmans - Lisa Lutz While the primary Spellman Investigations mysteries are a bit less-than-crucial, the first Spellman book after a few years away feels tighter and more developmental than perhaps any that has come before. The whole family is undergoing serious growing-up type changes and it makes for an immensely compelling read. Combine that with Lutz's consistently hilarious writing and you've got a fantastic entry in a wonderful series. If you aren't familiar with the Spellmans, you should be.More at RB: http://wp.me/pGVzJ-If


Familiar - J. Robert Lennon A smooth and swift read, dealing in a sort of [a:Scarlett Thomas|53597|Scarlett Thomas|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1244060683p2/53597.jpg] way with alternate universes and the butterfly effect. But it all feels very "Detatched Indie Fantastic" (as I'm hereby naming the subgenre) and as a result I felt sort of cold and a little empty-sad at the end of it. Not because of anything that happened in the novel but because of the novel itself. The short length makes it tolerable and the writing really is terrific - but I sometimes wish that there was a bit more zest and life in these stories. Otherwise, I worry that we're all becoming too sad in a not-sad-but-just-glum way.More at RB: http://wp.me/sGVzJ-familiar