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Entries from Dec 2010

David Foster Wallace: Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

28 Dec 2010 · No Comments

A number of themes recur throughout the stories in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. Grappling with chronic depression is one. The impossibility of ever really knowing what another person thinks is another, along with the tangentially related question of how and why people can treat other people as less than completely human.
I frequently found this [...]

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Tags: b-title · fiction · w-author

Tim Gunn (with Ada Calhoun): Gunn’s Golden Rules

23 Dec 2010 · No Comments

I’m probably waaay over thinking my reaction to Gunn’s Golden Rules. I was entertained and amused, even a little bit edified. But it still strikes me as an odd, even inconsistent book.
Presumably the draw for most fans of Project Runway’s congenial but incisive mentor figure Tim Gunn (certainly for me) is the promise of some [...]

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Tags: c-author · g-author · g-title

Philip Plait: Death from the Skies!

21 Dec 2010 · No Comments

Death from the Skies!’s nine chapters all follow the same pattern: a brief, moderately sensationalized depiction of an astronomical disaster followed by a somewhat more sober discussion of the event, with an emphasis on how likely and/or subject to mitigation it is. The book more-or-less progresses from near-term potential events (like a meteor collision) to [...]

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Tags: d-title · p-author · science

Laurie Notaro: Spooky Little Girl

20 Dec 2010 · No Comments

I found Spooky Little Girl frustrating. It’s not that it’s bad, exactly, but I feel like there’s a much stronger and sharper book stuck inside it. It offers a nifty reversal on a traditional ghost story plot driver: instead of the living figuring out why they are being haunted, Lucy has to figure out why [...]

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Tags: fantasy · n-author · s-title

Favorite books of 2010

16 Dec 2010 · No Comments

A dozen, in alphabetical order by author:

Doug Dorst: The Surf Guru
Impressive array of short stories

Jennifer Egan: The Keep
Intricately plotted, multi-layered, atmospheric, and satisfying suspense tale

Steve Hely: How I Became a Famous Novelist
Wicked clever literary satire

Joe Hill: Horns
Inventive horror/dark fantasy with strong, compelling characters

Catherine Jinks: Evil Genius
Twisty and startlingly suspenseful young adult novel. Also really liked [...]

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Tags: 2010 · lists

Seth Greenland: Shining City

16 Dec 2010 · No Comments

I think the marketing of Shining City does it a mild disservice — it’s positioned as a story in which a more-or-less normal guy inherits a small business from his estranged brother that is not what it at first seems. Really, it’s a story about a more-or-less normal guy whose life is repeatedly jostled out [...]

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Tags: fiction · g-author · s-title

Mark Haskell Smith: Moist

07 Dec 2010 · No Comments

Smith’s racy, fast-moving crime novel is a little difficult to pigeonhole. The characters take their internal lives and external situations too seriously for broad comedy — even a scene, for instance, in which a straight character accidentally pulls up a gay porn web site just as a police detective enters to question him is more [...]

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Tags: fiction · m-title · s-author

Emily Cheney Neville: It’s Like This, Cat

06 Dec 2010 · No Comments

Given that at one point I was consciously trying to read all the Newbery award winning books and that I have always considered prominent feline presences in literature a draw, I’m really not sure how I missed reading It’s Like This, Cat until now, but’s an omission I’m happy to have rectified.
Neville doesn’t compromise the [...]

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Tags: i-title · n-author · young adult