Sunday, June 04, 2017

Birthday Loot

I had a birthday celebration yesterday, because that's what happens when you get another year older. (At least, when there are family around you who want to celebrate that getting-older, which not everyone has, and I realize and appreciate that.)

Since my family knows me, many of the presents were books. (I also got an umbrella and an electric-screwdriver set, because middle-aged men get useful gifts, damn it.) And, since I list books here, these are they:

Universal Harvester, the second novel by John Darnielle, lead singer and often only member of the excellent band The Mountain Goats. (In related news, I also got the new Mountain Goats record, Goths.) This looks to more of a horror novel than his excellent first novel, Wolf in White Van, but it's similarly set in the recent past (late '90s) and against a media landscape now radically altered (a VHS-rental store).

How The Hell Did This Happen?, P.J. O'Rourke's look at the 2016 election. I'm not sure exactly when he wrote it, so I'm not holding out much hope that he'll admit that he and people like him bear a lot of responsibility for Trump. But O'Rourke is at his best when things are both weird and horrible, which certainly describes now.

For Want of a Nail, Robert Sobel's unique alternate history masterpiece about the long-running conflict between the Commonwealth of North America and the United States of Mexico. (Some years back, I posted what would have been my blurb for the SFBC in the counterfactual world in which we were able to offer that book.)

And Roughneck, the new graphic novel from Jeff Lemire. I may have played up his depressing-ness a bit too much when talking about it with the family after opening the wrapping paper -- assuming it is possible to overplay Lemire's depressing-ness. (Or if "depressing-ness" is anything like a word to begin with.)

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