Thursday, March 11, 2004
utopia by douglas prestonnifty thriller, not a utopian/dystopian novel. somewhat predictable, in that the good guys win (duh, it's a thriller) but has some very very good twists along the way (again, duh, it's a thriller). not as smart as the stuff he writes with lincoln child, just as child's stand alone stuff isn't, but still a good book.
worthing saga by orson scott cardthis is some heady stuff about human nature, joy, pain, religion, and the meaning of life. like most of his stuff. but unlike most of his stuff in that the people involved are much more complex, the supernatural elements are much closer to home, and it has a huge sence of history. it rocks. this is one i'm definately going to reread, so check it out.
scarecrow by matt reileya quicker paced and less predictable than average thriller with a millitary bent. a worldwide bounty hunt with nearly 20 mil on each head. a brillient marine corporal and his "evil twin" of a gaurdian angel. a fieldday of fun for your average conspiracy nut. and an author willing to kill off main charactors. way cool. for once, no one is safe....which makes the read much more intersting. i never skip ahead to the end of thrillers and read the last few pages like i do in some other books......mostly b/c i know how it's going to turn out anyway. this time i was definatly tempted. read it, but maybe wait for paperback. it's too quick a read to be worth full price.
and i'm not reviewing davinci code b/c everyone and their mother's uncle has already, but it does rock, and is worth reading, as is angels and demons, it's prequil. his other book, digital fortress, is also a good solit thriller but lacks the religious undertones and is therefore a fun ride but much less meaty. davinci and angles both really make you think, tho. check them out.
Friday, February 20, 2004
tummy trilogyi've been on a bit of a culinary memoir tear, lately, aparently. as evidenced anyway by this three in one book of "america fried" "alice, let's eat" and "third helpings". very interesting read. this guy is a champion of local quisine, the type often written off as inelegant by the people lucky enough to live in the area.....like real pan fried chicken. smoked mutton. country ham. he's not one to eat at the ubiqutious fancy fake french place, or to suffer chicken a la king made with mushroom soup......my kind of eater i must say. unfortunately it was writen around 1970 so i doubt that any of the restauraunts listed still exist. so except for the longing this book inspires for now non existant food i loved this book
snobbery, the american versioni'm not done with this yet but i'll review it now as i'm not sure i'll finish it. starts very promicingly but it doesn't really pan out. or maybe i'm just too much of an intelectual snob. worth picking up at a bookstore but don't buy it unless you have more patience than i do.
galactic pot-healer phillip k dickthis book rocked in so many ways and on so many levels it defys description. if you've ever felt useless, hopeless, ineffectual, alone......read this. it's a nifty perspective. and if you haven't, read it anyway, it also rocks purely as a story.
Monday, February 02, 2004
it must have been something i atea culinary memoir that is definately worth reading. everything from the mythic turdurken (a chicken in a goose in a turkey, with 4 stuffings) to the perfect tomatoe (grown at a largish but still family farm in california) is covered therein. including a stopover in how to cook people food for your dog. good stuff, literally, especially the recipies. this author has also written "feeding a yen", which rocks (and not just b/c it mentions beef on weck). if you have ever been accused of being a chowhound, read this book.
shadow puppets by orson scott cardthe sequal to "shadow of the hedgemon", itself sequal to "ender's shadow" itself a parallel novel to "ender's game". this whole series rocks, as does the other related trillogy which starts with "speaker for the dead". this is a re-read for me, and definately worth it. not as philosophical as some of his other work, but still above the level of most stupid scifi thrillers (stuipd=braincandy with lots of plot holes, not bad.). interesting gambit of an answer for why are we here, but mostly just a good thrill ride. read the others in the series first or you'll be lost, but it's definately a fun book.
Salt, a world historythis took me awhile to get through, which isn't a bad thing, most non fiction does if it truely interests me. it starts in ancient egypt, greece, and rome and goes through the industrial revolution right up to now. this salt centric view of history is interesting indeed. i know i learned that ghandi's first protest in india was over salt, but it never really made sence to me before now. also the whole french salt tax as a pol tax but not really because it was extremely unevenly applied as part of the french revolution bit. wowy. you learn something new every day. although the fact that the eqyptians treated mumification so similarly to how they preserved meat was something i could have done without learning, perhaps.....
a treasury of american scandalsmore history, on a bit of a history kick i guess. this one is much more of a breasy fun read, tho, less weight to it. less startling observations. but fun to read, made me laugh at least 4 times, and definately interesting. the short chapters make it an ideal bathroom book, or something to pick up put down and pick up again. give it a look next time you're book shopping, at the very least read the lesser know presidents section
Saturday, January 24, 2004
the wood wifeso i picked this up because charles de lint had a blurb on the cover and he's one of my favorite authors. sometimes this habit backfires, b/c people like stephen king blurb everything. but since mr de lint rarely blurbs things this seemed like a safe bet. and it was more than safe. it was a compelling modern fairy tale, not only a good magical story, but compelling in a heres some cool things to ponder way as well as a heres a new possibility for looking at the world around you way. about how sometimes although change is what scares us most it really is what we need but also about the idea of universal unchanging truths that just look different from time to time. it gets a little odd about american indian spiritual stuff, teh spirial path bit is oversimplified, but what modern fantacy doesn't? it's a neat book, and the obligatory romance isn't too over played or overdescribed. check it out.
Friday, January 23, 2004
beyond heaven's river by greg bearabout a man misplaced in space and time, picked up by a race so far beyond us as to use us as playthings from wwII japan. placed in a bubble on their world galaxys away and allowed to relive much of japan's history, while his life is extended by centuries and he is also "let to read" about the current state of things in his native land. eventually they abandon him, seemingly without reason or trace. fought over by rival factions vieing for "his" planet's supposed wealth and eventually won by the woman he in turn wins....it's about him and his search for answers, for some meaning in it all, for the kami who chose to do this to him. interesting psychodrama set umong spaceships and fantastic technology, with (of course) greg bear's favorite sub drama of humanitys' tendency to attempt self destruction woven in. a very good, very worthwhile read.
simulcrum by phillip k dickpicture this - the us government has been taken over. running it is the perpetual first lady, nicole, and her husband. but nicole died years ago and has been replaced, twice now, by an actress. and her husband, a new one elected every so often by the people, is and android. the government has really been taken over by a shadowy counsil of 6 that even "nicole" hasn't met. one with access to time travel. one that brings a prominent member of the third rich to visit so that they can offer him a deal.....almost enough to make you want to run to the nearest looney luke jalopie jungle and escape (emigrate) to mars. especially if you're a psychic pianist who has a neanderthal for a son and is convinced that your body oder could kill people if they get within 10 feet of you. or a salesperson for a small android factory who has recently taken up with your little brother's ex wife of one day and doesn't know yet that your firm was just hired to make the next president. twisted, and paranoid, as ever phillip k dick gives us yet another nightmare glance into the possible future.
Sunday, January 11, 2004
lord of the ringsjust re-read the trilogy, and i have to say, it gets better with re-reading. and it rocked in the first place, so that's saying a lot. if you've never read them, please don't let the page count discourage you. and if you have, pick them up again sometime. this is the grandfather of all epic fantacy series, literally, and if you think seeing the movie was enough you're wrong. read these books.
wolves of calla, dark tower 5the fifth book in stephen king's central series. it took way too long comming, but is definately worth the wait. there's some real character development here for everyone, not just roland for once, as well as some actual movement forward towards the dark tower. there are a few cliche moments, but they gloss over nicely, and overall it's got mroe than enough surprises. as ever this series is a neat cross over between fantacy and horror. good stuff.
Saturday, April 19, 2003
birthday of the world and other stories
by ursula k leguin. i'm relaizing more and more why i'm drawn to her writing. she writes sci fi ethnographies. it's unreal how much they resemble anthropological work. the detail, the confusion of the researcher who is at once outside of and within the studied culture, the "obsession" with the sex lives of the informants...it is really a striking similarity. read her. she rocks.
Tuesday, March 04, 2003
queen bees and wannabes
restarting this habit now.....
just broke out of a "stupid thriller" kick and i couldn't have picked a better book to do it with. it's an interesting book in that it tries to be a lot of things and actually doesn't do badly at most of them. it's a manual for parents dealing with a teenaged girl. it's a hey you're not alone type book for grown women. it's a serious study on the social lives of girls. and it's actually still a good read. *grin*
Thursday, April 18, 2002
bad men do what good men dreami've found a new favorite criminalitics author. sorry mr douglas you have been replaces. this forensic psychologist looks into when and how the line between fantacy and reality gets blurred to the point where people do terrible things. everything from date rape, to necrophilia, to serial sexual murder is included in his scathing trip into the human psyche. he's an acedemic writer, very dense stuff, but still readable. and he has ironically "silly" subtitles ie the one for the serial killers chapter is "your life for their orgasm" creepy. gets under your skin a bit more that way i think. he also spend his final, and perhaps most chilling chapter, looking at it inside out, at why good men (and women) don't commit the evil acts they dream. it's definately a thought provoking book.
killing monstersabout why videogame, tv, and comic book violence is anything but harmful to children. ditto roughousing and toy guns. about how depriving children of rageful fantacies, making their fantacys into something real enough to be feared, is dangerous. how children act out such fantacys to see what power feels like, not to see what killing feels like. read the book, he says it better than i do, but the man has a point.....
Wednesday, April 10, 2002
the dark tower series stephen kingso the whole series isn't written yet...but the first 4 books are. i just spent the week reareading them and it was a very enjoyable week. it's hard to review this b/c i don't want to give anything away or just string together a bunch of differnt words for great - which they are by the way. epicly great. they are central to all of his work, and if you are going to read much of him you should include these. wondering where randal flag was before he hit our where/when? or what the kid at the end of insomnia is drawing a tower for? or what exactly could make a building take on malignant life? or why roses always have a strange weight when king writes of the? or what a gunslinger is? then read these. the fifth is comming out this year (and it looks to be a 900 page doorstopper of a book) so you should have just enough time to finish these first. it's fantacy and horror all at once and it's scope is giagantic. it encompases all of his other work as well as several other universes (even our much beloved oz......) and i promice you'll never look at charlie the choo- choo the same way again. a must read, seriously.
Saturday, March 30, 2002
amazonia james rollinsthis is his fourth book, following subteranian, excavation, and deep fathom. it may be his best - we'll see how the next one stacks up. he writes real charactors - three dimentional people with depth and spark - in completely unrealistic situations. his pace, once it gets started, is mile a minute. thank-god-the-100-foot-long-mutated-caimen-only-ate-half-our-party-oh-shit-where-did-all-those-huge-blad-jaguares-come-from-what-the-fuck-who's-shooting-at-us. and he's not afraid to kill his charactors, even the almost main ones, so there's less dias ex machina than in most books of this type. this one is particularly good because the idea behind it all is an interesting one. the whole lost tribe of the amazon thing, and before you remind me that it's been done before i'll let you know it's never been done quite this way. it's a fiction book, so the science involved isn't as tight as it would be comming from a scifi author, but the holes in it aren't large ones. if you're in the mood for an adventure book this one is definately one to read.
Friday, March 29, 2002
everything's eventual stephen kingso i'm on a stephen king kick. this is a great collection, a mix of real screamers and literay horror, with some other neat stuff in between. and rolland of gilliad has returned for those of you following the tower. he meets the little sisters of eluria.....and wolves of calla, all 900 pages of it, should be out soon. i can't wait. well i can becaue i have to, but i am so reading it the moment it hits my store, damn the street date. if it doesn't read teh back room it doesn't matter if i open the box, so there. anyway.......like i was saying, there weren't any bad stories in this collection, which is an oddity for any short story collection i must say. there are a few not quite scary ones, but no bombs. and if you imagine the first story as a screen play through the eyes of the corpse i promice you will not be disapointed. it's an expensive book tho, you may want to buy it while it's still a best seller, you so don't want to wait a year for the paperback.
Monday, March 25, 2002
diary of ellen rimbauer by dr joyce reardonbefore mr. king took public credit for this one the staff at my bookstore had this shelved under new age with the ghost stories and under biography just in case it was true. it's horror of this haunting of hill house varity (the first one silly, not the scholck that they redid it into). it pulls you in with it's first person perspective and then pushes you away a bit with the intrusions of the "editer" of the diary. it's a twisted tale that leaves you wondering exactly who is the bad guy here right up to the end. worth reading, although i might not buy the hardcover.
psyclone greg bearand it's not the same story again. well it is, kind of, but not quite. as always mr. bear is apocolyptic, but this is a wholy differnt kind of apoclypse here. it reads more like a horror story than sci-fi, which is an interesting twist i must say. but it leaves you with something to think about other than what that thing under the bed might be, which is more than i can say for your average horror story. sci-fi, for me, means a book should leave me an idea to play with when i'm done reading. horror, for me, means a book keeps me up all night after i'm done reading it. this was one of those rare books that kept me up all night and gave me ideas to ponder the next day, not bad for an out of print paperback.
Tuesday, March 12, 2002
waiting the true confessions of a waitressvery funny book. she's been a waitress for almost longer than i've been alive. she tells the story of her years as a waitress which just happens to be the story of her life in very tightly written prose. you'll never look at your waitress the same way again, i promice.
bone walker gear et aljumped the shark. that cool but not too distracting tension between the dusty and maureen...consmated. and not even a sex scene to read either. catskin and browser, no reason for tension to be there anymore either, if you get my drift. one of the reasons i loved the first two books so much is that the almost but not quite aspect to these two relationships gave some nice tension to it all without being too distracting from the meat and bones (pun intended) of the stories. but in this one, arguably with the most stuff going on story wise, the authors have decided to make the romance bit a main player. i'm sorry but i though serial murder was a little more intersting. oh well, the first two almost make up for this, and you probably won't mind as much as i did when the tension breaks.
Saturday, March 09, 2002