needs more demons?

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Entries from Jul 2010

Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

27 Jul 2010 · No Comments

The key to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo appears almost at the end:
Berger thought that the book was the best thing Blomkvist had ever written. It was uneven stylistically, and in places the writing was actually rather poor — there had been no time for any fine polishing — but the book was animated [...]

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Tags: g-title · l-author · thriller

Stephen R. Braun: Buzz – The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine

21 Jul 2010 · No Comments

Braun’s lucid, entertaining, and informative book is evenly split between discussion of two molecules, ethyl alcohol and caffeine, and how they behave in the human body (particularly the brain). Despite its subtitle, it’s much longer on “science” than on “lore,” but Braun doesn’t assume any particular background in organic or neuro-chemistry; Buzz is readily accessible [...]

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Tags: b-author · b-title · science

Joyce Linehan & Joe Pernice: Pernice to Me

20 Jul 2010 · No Comments

I’m probably over-thinking my reaction to this book.
Joe Pernice, if you don’t know the name, has one of the most honeyed voices in all of indie rock and a heaping helping of songwriting skill, displayed for the past several years/records in his band Pernice Brothers. Joyce Linehan is Pernice’s partner in Ashmont Records. This book [...]

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Tags: autobiography · business · l-author · p-author · p-title · rock

John Darnielle: Black Sabbath – Master of Reality

15 Jul 2010 · No Comments

Darnielle’s entry on Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality in the 33 1/3 series of books about albums uses the device of a teenager’s diary entries to explore the record. (There’s nothing that specifically identifies the diarist as the kid in The Mountain Goats song “Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton,” but it sure sounds [...]

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Tags: b-title · d-author · fiction · rock

MaryJanice Davidson: Undead and Unwed

13 Jul 2010 · No Comments

What I liked best about Undead and Unwed is that neither Davidson nor her heroine take the proceedings too seriously. Betsy reacts to joining the ranks of the undead with sass and irreverence not totally dissimilar to Buffy’s response to learning that she is “The Slayer.” In fact, I almost wonder if that might [...]

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Tags: d-author · romance · u-title

Holly Black: The Poison Eaters & Other Stories

08 Jul 2010 · No Comments

The Poison Eaters & Other Stories was my introduction to Holly Black’s writing, and leaves me definitely looking forward to more. It’s just what you might express from a Small Beer Press’s more-or-less young adult imprint; it features vampires and other eminently marketable creatures of the night, but Black’s careful, evocative prose is more literary [...]

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Tags: b-author · fantasy · p-title · young adult

Kimberly Raye: Dead End Dating

07 Jul 2010 · No Comments

Dead End Dating’s premise seemed promising, if fluffy, at the outset: a young woman with no romantic life of her own starts at dating service. The twist is that she and most her clients are vampires (although it’s not much of a twist). I thought an Emma-ish comedy-of-manners, 21st-century-ized and fanged-up, sounded kinda fun.
Unfortunately, there’s [...]

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Tags: d-title · r-author · romance

Chelsea Handler: Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang

07 Jul 2010 · No Comments

Here are some of the page-count inflating techniques on display in Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang:

half-page half-tone snapshots
a purported multi-page e-mail* thread between Handler and her siblings
a purported multi-page letter of complaint from a tenant of her father’s rental property
whining (in multiple chapters) about the need to write another “stupid book.”

Otherwise it was sometimes amusing and [...]

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Tags: autobiography · c-title · h-author

Jennifer Egan: The Keep

05 Jul 2010 · No Comments

The Keep had me enthralled within the first handful of pages, and held me that way throughout; I devoured it in a single day, almost literally in a single sitting. It’s a tricky book to discuss without giving the wrong things away, but within the first chapter the reader has clues that the relationship between [...]

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Tags: e-author · k-title · suspense

Ann Aguirre: Grimspace

05 Jul 2010 · No Comments

Grimspace is a fast-moving space opera that melds an impressive array of tropes and plot devices — the emotionally damaged protagonist, the corrupt interstellar megacorporation, the incrementally revealed backstory, and a plethora of captures, escapes, and firefights among others — into a surprisingly cohesive whole. The overall vibe, with a small crew of misfits on [...]

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Tags: a-author · g-title · science fiction