Thursday, November 19, 2009

Man, I Am A Crappy Blogger This Week

And so I'll give you a sneak preview of the reviews I should be writing, in reverse chronological order as I read them:

I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President by Josh Lieb -- It's published as YA (which means it's a really cheap hardcover) and it's exactly the kind of book I love: a first-person novel with a snarky, smart, very idiosyncratic voice. Oliver Watson is a genius of unspeakable evil -- though no one knows it, or that he's the 4th richest man in the world -- and he does want to be class president at Gale Sayers Middle School. It's one of those YAs that might read better as an adult, actually -- if the title makes you laugh, take a look at it.

Killing Castro by Lawrence Block -- a paperback quickie from 1961, reissued by the inimitable Hard Case Crime. It's very much of its time, but it's a fast noir-ish read, and it's a Block book most of us never suspected existed.

The Cutie by Donald E. Westlake -- one of Westlake's early serious crime thrillers under his own name; this was usually published as The Mercenaries. It's not as good as he got later, but it's a very solid piece of pulp from its era.

Replay by Ken Grimwood -- It won the World Fantasy Award back in 1988, and deserved it. If you've kicked around the SFF field at all, you probably know the premise -- a man dies of a heart attack at 43 (in 1986) and wakes up in his eighteen-year-old body (in 1961). Who wouldn't want to live again? Grimwood nearly exhausts the possibilities of his story without exhausting the reader; this is a book that says pretty much everything that can be said about its subject.

Max Perkins: Editor of Genius by A. Scott Berg -- The copy I have was originally sent to somebody as a sample of paper stock -- it's marked "40# Stone Mando Supreme 300 PPI" on the first page -- which is incredibly appropriate for this inside-baseball look at possibly the greatest book editor of the 20th century.

Fierce Pajamas: An Anthology of Humor Writing from The New Yorker edited by David Remnick and Henry Finder -- Just what it says on the tin; if you don't find New Yorker humor funny (hi, Sharyn!), stay far away. Even if you do like New Yorker humor, it's best in small doses -- I read this in dribs and drabs over the past five years, and then the second half on and off during my recent vacation. It's got all of the usual suspects doing all of the stuff you'd expect.

Finch by Jeff VanderMeer -- There is an excellent fantasy/noir hybrid novel this year, but it's this book, not China Mieville's flawed and frustrating The City and the City. Go read it.

That's what I've read so far this month; there are also eleven books from earlier that I haven't gotten to, plus another dozen on the graphic novels already-read pile (which mostly turn into ComicMix reviews). I've been too busy with day-job and real-life stuff to get to them so far -- but the long Thanksgiving weekend is coming up, and I'm now nearly caught up on work e-mail, so I may have time for other things Real Soon Now.

No comments:

Post a Comment