Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Unnamed, by Joshua Ferris

I was so excited to get this ARC yesterday, and read it straight away. It is wildly different from Then We Came to The End, but is is hauntingly sad in that same way, and was a wonderful, if disturbing read.
Tim, a lawyer, suffers from a condition with no name- he walks and walks and walks, without direction or a plan. Doctors and neurologists and psychiatrists and so on try and try to name his problem, while his wife Jane does what she can to support him and his daughter Becka retreats further into her own sadness.
Scenes of climate change (record breaking winter cold, dying bees, seasonal disruption) lend the book an air of inevitable doom but the focus isn't on the world slowly going haywire around the family, it's about the family going quickly mad within the world.
As with Then We Came To The End, surprising gallows humor had me laughing at some incredible inappropriate moments, adding to the sensation of being caught on some demented downward spiral.
Such a good writer and such a good book. Wonderful.

The Girl Stays In The Picture, by Melissa de la Cruz

Pretty bad YA- I'm surprised, I liked Melissa de la Cruz's Blue Bloods books very much, and Fresh Off The Boat was really good too. The Au Pairs were all pretty terrible, but this one was even worse.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Finishing Touches, by Hester Browne

Silly but kind of fun book, about a woman trying to update a traditional finishing school for the 21st c. Overly complicated subplots distracted.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How I Became A Famous Novelist, by Steve Hely

Now this was pretty fantastic. Pete wants to become a writer for many reasons, but mostly to upset his ex at her wedding, so studies the market and sets out to write a commercially successful book. The best part of this was the skewering, with sample chapters, of so many of the most recognizable writers out there, and the NYT bestseller lists were hysterical. This was a lot of fun, but also a pretty decent look at what literature means to who.

The Little Stranger, by Sarah Waters

Gothic horror meets Brideshead Revisited. Creepy, but not spectacularly so.

The Wedding Girl, by Madeleine Wickham

A fast paced fluffy bit of very very very light but kind of fun reading from Madeleine Wickham/Sophie Kinsella. Fun but predictable. but thats kind of fun in its own way.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Rapture, by Liz Jensen

FANTASTIC book. Apocalyptic near future environmental disaster thriller with amazing, well-developed and memorable characters, and quite honestly, incredibly good writing. Couldn't put it down, and want to read it again.

Fearless Fourteen, by Janet Evanovich

Fun Stephanie Plum book. Jersey mayhem with all the usual characters.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

One Second After, by William Forstchen

Pretty fantastic post-apocalyptic drama. 3 EMPs knock out electrical systems over the continental US, and the story is set in a small town in North Carolina, where the residents have to adapt and then band together to defend the town from rampaging hordes of refugeses.
It was distressingly realistic, and I've read more about the actual possibility of this kind of attack, and it is kind of scary.
If you want to really freak yourself out, go to - the full report to Congress is at
Great read, pretty good book, and *very* anxiety inducing. Good times!

The Blizzard of '78, by Michael Tougas

Interesting photographs, mostly, of the blizzard. Some text. Amazing snowstorm.

101 Projects for Bottle Cutters, by Walter Fischman

Yet another wildly attractive strange hobby book from the mid-seventies. Along with the amazing array of vases, jars, ashtrays and q-tip holders that one can make out of bottles, this book included, surprisingly, detailed instructions on how to build a water pipe.

Bottle Cutting, by Michael de Forrest

Bizarrely appealing 1974 book on the craze that was sweeping the nation. Not much more to say about this one.