Friday, January 12, 2018
Ninefox Gambit, and I’m glad I did. It took me fifty or more pages to get comfortable with the vocabulary and in trying to understand the world Lee was creating. Protagonist Kel Cheris is an unconventional math whiz warrior working for an entity called the hexarchate and is sent to a star fortress to quell a heretical rebellion that’s using an unconventional calendar. Cheris teams up with a disgraced general named Shuos Jedao and carries out a complicated mission that ends with a cliffhanger to set up the second book in the series. If any of this appeals to you, leap right in. While I started reading this novel I was skeptical and ready to give up after a few dozen pages. I pushed through and now look forward to the rest of the trilogy. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Ninefox Gambit from amazon.com.
Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales. James wrote with great skill, and in each of these stories, she explores criminality and evil with precision. I savored each of these stories, separating them by a day or two to prolong the experience. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Sleep No More from amazon.com.
What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism. Often sentimental in tone, Rather reminds readers of what makes us strong. Any reader looking for a primer on good citizenship can look to this book for hope and guidance. Despite all the expressed concerns about divisions in American society, Rather expresses optimism that we continue to share common values and our patriotism can draw us together. Rating: Three-star (It’s ok) Click here to purchase What Unites Us from amazon.com.
Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose, because the author, former Vice President Joe Biden, is a familiar figure. Those readers who finish the book are likely to feel that they spent this reading time in a fruitful way, coming away with a deeper understanding of character, courage, family and the optimism that leads us to hope. Joe Biden is one of the most genuine and authentic individuals in public life, and his emotions appear unvarnished on every page of this book about the last year in the life of his son, Beau, who died of brain cancer. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Promise Me Dad from amazon.com.
Her Body and Other Parties, but read it. If you’re a man, Machado considers us a different species, and she may well be right. If you’re a woman, Machado articulates a variety of topics relating to women that will either resonate or clash with your views and experiences. If you enjoy finely written prose, Machado provides that in every story. If you are comfortable with post-modern literature, Machado’s experiments here will interest you. I added this book to my reading list because it was a National Book Award finalist. Having read it, I understand why. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Her Body and Other Parties from amazon.com.
Thursday, January 4, 2018
Righteous. As expected, there’s progress in IQ’s personal and professional life and an interesting case that leads IQ and Dodson from East Long Beach to Las Vegas. The gangsters are well developed in this installment, and fans of Ide’s debut novel are those readers most likely to enjoy this installment as we look forward to the next. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Righteous from amazon.com.
Racing the Devil. Slow and steady exposition takes the action from a promise made by English officers to meet again if they survive World War I to accidents and murder back home in England. As Inspector Rutledge delves into the complex case, secrets are revealed and the truth is uncovered. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Racing the Devil from amazon.com.
Turtles All the Way Down. Protagonist Aza Holmes is a finely drawn character with OCD. The friendships and resilience that are presented in this novel will resonate with many young readers. While Green tugged at my heartstrings in his earlier writing, this time out I found the sentiments fell a bit flat. Rating: Three-star (It’s ok) Click here to purchase Turtles All the Way Down from amazon.com.
Strange Weather. Each of the four stories in this book is imaginative, and provides the kind of spine tingling sensation that horror readers enjoy. Like the four seasons, these novellas are different but part of a whole. Each is tightly written and the compact form seemed to me to intensify the story. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Strange Weather from amazon.com.
The Ghosts of Galway, by Ken Bruen. Having failed suicide and needing cash, Jack takes on a job as a security guard. His boss tempts him into tracking down a heretical book, and Jack yields to the temptation. What stirs Jack in this outing is the pleasure of revenge against all forms of ghosts, and the violence that follows seems to stimulate Jack back to life. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase The Ghosts of Galway from amazon.com.
Fresh Complaint. Eight of the stories have been published before, so may be familiar to some readers. Fans of Eugenides’ novels will recognize both prose style and characters in these stories, along with a mix of humor and quirky behavior. The characters in these stories are often unsettled in their lives as they balk at adjusting to change. Many characters are looking for something beyond the horizon, and Eugenides leads them and us to that other place with great skill. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Fresh Complaint from amazon.com.
Montaigne in Barn Boots: An Amateur Ambles Through Philosophy. Humor in one sentence leads to poignancy in the next, and on to wisdom in the following paragraph. The mundane becomes meaningful when reflected upon by a good writer with great skill, and that describes Perry to a tee. Philosophy is a worthy pursuit and in this effort it is carried out close to the ground and not in the clouds. Readers looking for a chance to smile, nod and reflect will find plenty of reasons to do each of those while reading this book. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Montaigne in Barn Boots from amazon.com.
The Quantum Spy, by Washington Post journalist David Ignatius offers fans of espionage novels great reading pleasure. Both China and the United States are funding research into superfast computers that will break any code quickly. The US program has a mole and the CIA is investigating that problem while playing a multilayered game with the Chinese. Like the best spy novels, this one contains high doses of ambiguity and uncertainty, focused on what loyalty means and the fluidity of truth in the world of espionage. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase The Quantum Spy from amazon.com.
You Can’t Spell America Without Me. I found some humor in this book, but realized pretty quickly than I am entertained better by this impersonation in small doses. Taking it all in at once was less entertaining and more overwhelming. Readers who can pace themselves can avoid such overdosing. Rating: Three-star (It’s ok) Click here to purchase You Can’t Spell America Without Me from amazon.com.
Going into Town. Chast grew up in Brooklyn, blossomed after moving to Manhattan, and accepted parenthood after moving to the suburbs. This book began as a guide to New York City for her daughter. As expected, the book is funny and sweet. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Going Into Town from amazon.com.