Monday, June 15, 2020

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 6/13/20

I had a birthday at the beginning of this month -- not a big milestone, just another step deeper into middle-age -- which meant there had to be a small celebration and a few presents to open. Since I am middle-aged, I've hit the point where I buy my own presents and let The Wife wrap them, which is oddly one of the most efficient ways to handle it. (Though not particularly surprising, obviously.)

Among those presents were these three books. They were both bought by me for me and given to me by someone else, which must be some kind of Schrodinger thingy, right?

Knickers in a Twist is a alphabetical compendium of British slang from 2006 by Jonathan Bernstein, who is himself Scottish but had been living for some time in Los Angeles at that point. (I have no idea where he lives know, or even if he lives now, and frankly the question is moot.) Obvious language changes and evolves, so there will be plenty of Internet or otherwise new terms that won't be in this book, but half the point of a book of words is to see whether you agree with the definitions for the words you do know, so that's not a big deal.

Early Riser is, I think, Jasper Fforde's latest novel, and his first for adults in a few years. I believe it is actually a standalone -- though I still have hopes his last "standalone," 2009's Shades of Grey, will lead to the sequels it promised at the time. As usual for Fforde, it's in the fantastic sector of literature without being part of any established genre: it's vaguely SF, set in a world (or at least a nation; Fforde is often British enough that the rest of the world is essentially superfluous) where the vast majority of the population hibernate through the winter each year. Our hero, though, is one of the few awake in the cold, dealing with various problems.

And last was Flaming Carrot Comics: Omnibus 1 by Bob Burden. I used to have a complete run of the comics -- well, not the super-rare appearances in Visions, and I'm not sure if I had the oversized one-shot from the late '70s -- before my 2011 flood, and it's sad to think there haven't been any new Bob Burden comics since then. The series was collected into trade paperbacks once, about twenty years ago, but I'm not sure if everything was included then, and I never managed to get all of those. This one is bigger than the old ones -- 400 pages -- but oddly collects issues 1,2, 4-11 and 25-27 -- which implies at least one more for the stuff in the middle and probably one for the later comics. I'm not enough of an optimist to assume I'll ever see either of those, but I grabbed this one.

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