Monday, June 25, 2018

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 6/23/18

This week, I have books from two of the categories of "Reviewing the Mail" books -- two that actually came in the mail, and three that I bought at a newish book/record store right in my town. [1] So, then, here they are:

From the Mail:

Low Chicago is the twenty-fifth novel in the Wild Cards shared-world SF/superhero series, edited by George R.R. Martin with (credited only inside the book) Melinda Snodgrass. It's the middle book of the current triad, but it looks like that "triad" is mostly linked thematically -- this one looks to basically stand alone. Something weird happens at a high-stakes poker game among the criminal elite of Chicago, and a gaggle of super-criminals are sent into the past: probably mostly or entirely the 1920s, for obvious reasons. Writers this time out include Saladin Ahmed, Paul Cornell, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Marko Kloos, and long time series regulars John Jos. Miller and Snodgrass. I read the first dozen of so of the series, and wandered away either when the initial series died out or when it got too relentlessly dark -- with every volume featuring a body-swapping super-evil villain who tortured everyone endlessly -- but I always liked the idea and keep thinking I should try it again someday. Low Chicago is a hardcover, which went on sale June 12.

Babymouse: Tales From the Locker: Miss Communication is the second in a middle-school-themed spin-off from the regular, very popular, Babymouse series. This time, she's somewhat less of a baby, since she's in middle school. It's still be series creators Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, and still the mixture of text and comics panels familiar from the original series...and from Diary of a Wimpy Kid and a dozen other things aimed at the same audience. This time out, Babymouse desperately wants a cell phone (read: smartphone), like everyone else in school, since she's being left out without one. This is on sale July 24.

Bought in a Bookstore:

100 Bullshit Jobs...And How to Get Them is a 2006 book from Stanley Bing, a business writer not known for being overly serious. I know I read his novel Lloyd: What Happened, and I think I had or glanced at others of his books in the past. But that was far enough in the past that it was before this blog, so I have no record of it. My memory is that Bing is entertaining, and this also looks like Peak Bush Economy -- the moment when all the big swinging dicks were sure the expansion would go on forever and keep making them piles of money, which was the trigger for it all to blow to hell.

Live Nude Elf: The Sexperiments of Reverend Jen is a book I heard about somewhere and kept almost buying on Amazon. (Like, for close to a decade now, it's been rotating through my shopping cart and never making it to checkout.) "Reverend" Jen Miller was a sex columnist for some publication -- the book is from 2009, which squares with my sense that "sex columnist" is a thing that flourished briefly in the Aughts, probably for Carrie Bradshaw-related reasons -- and those columns were collected here. (Hey! Searching my archives, I find I read two I-am-a-sex-columnist! books back in the Aughts: Porn*ol*o*gy by Ayn Carrillo-Gailey and Working Stiff by Grant Stoddard.) So, when I actually saw it in person and priced at five bucks, I kinda had to actually buy it. Plus, y'know, sex is interesting and fun, both to do and to read about.

The Chuckling Whatsit is a Richard Sala graphic novel from 1997 which I owned (and wrote about here in 2006) but which I lost in the 2012 flood I try not to mention all the time.

[1] If you live anywhere near me -- you probably don't -- it's Station 1, housed in the old train station in the middle of Pompton Lakes. It's quirkier (more Chuck Palahniuk than Nora Roberts) than the typical used-book store, which I found interesting and refreshing.

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