Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What species of reader are you?

What Species of Reader Are You?--Infographic
Courtesy of Laura E. Kelly . (Click to view at original large size.)
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Monday, January 21, 2013

What happens when you love Robert Heinlein and Doroth Parker? John Scalzi.

John Scalzi self-professes his two top influences to be Robert Heinlein and Dorothy Parker. As soon as you read "Old Man's War," you'll see plenty of both, to excellent (and of course pretty darn funny) results. Cliched as it is, I could not put this book down. This book has an average rating of more than four stars on here and was nominated for the Hugo. It's easy to see why. I can't think of a single thing about this book I disliked. I could be more easily pleased or optimistic than the average sci-fi reader because I typically stick more to fantasy than SF. Perhaps the story of a 75-year-old going off to interstellar war is more trite than I am aware of. Some reviewers call it "Ender's Game" without the kids, but I think that description falls way short. Yes, it's military science fiction. But it's John Scalzi's first novel, and am amazing one at that. The writing, characters, pace and storyline are all spot-on. I laughed, I cried, I couldn't wait to see what happened next. I was surprised at the twist at the end. The pace is pretty fast -- there are some substantial topics Scalzi skims the surface of, but I don't fault him for it: there are four books in the series so far, with another one the way later this year. Perhaps he'll address the ethics of colonization or use of soldiers farther down the line, and perhaps not. None of that detracts from a thrilling, fun, rapid read. Thanks to "Old Man's War," I will definitely be checking out Heinlein, and more of Scalzi, in the near future. If you're interested, Scalzi keeps an equally awesome blog, here: This is my favorite post, on "Who Gets to be a Geek?"

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sandman: the Wake

"Everything changes, and nothing is truly lost." Gaiman himself sums up this last installment nicely. Five stars for the last issue, but the first few give it an overal rating of 4/5. I loved this series. It lived up to all the hype, and more. I already want to go back to "Preludes & Nocturnes" and begin again. A series you can read and over and over again, and still pick up on new nuances and references and remembered relationships. Beautifully written, wonderfully done. Leran more about the series here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Like Books? Like Free Books?

Beth Revis is giving away 50!!! FREE!!! BOOKS! If you like YA as much as I do, I don't need to explain to you why this is awesome.
Find all the details here.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Thirteen Reasons Why" by Jay Asher

Gut wrenching. This book resonated deeply, and I imagine it would with most girls -- high school and beyond.

I've read some critical reviews of this book stating that Hannah's reasons for suicide are unbelievable and petty. To me, they weren't -- perhaps because I know a half-dozen classmates who have committed suicide (while in high school, or in the 10 years since), and many of their reasons are similar. It is a snowball effect, and certainly easy to judge when you're on the outside looking in. But I completely empathize with her reasons, particularly for teens in high school. All events seem to have such magnitude and importance in high school (your friends, rumors, and crushes are the end all, be all. You can't imagine not having these people in your life, or having them not matter. Raging hormones and emotions out of control. The drama. The popular rankings and the physical rankings -- yearbook official or not -- certainly have an impact. The humiliations and awkward moments feel unforgettable).

It seems most of the criticism of this book stems from emotional reactions of people claiming the reasons aren't legit or believable -- when really, that's the whole point. Suicide is a deeply personal issue, and I can't imagine many situations where people think, "Oh yeah, that person definitely should have killed himself. Those are great reasons to die." Ridiculous.

Suicide is one of the top-leading causes of death in young people, and is a subject I wish was more frequently dealt with in accessible lit. I'm impressed with Asher's effort and execution. I love who he weaved between the different narratives, breaking it up in a unique way as reader's go between perspectives, rather than chapter-by-chapter. Great pace and an interesting voice. Highly recommend it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Walking Dead Compendium, Vol. 1

I'm wavering between 2-4 stars on this one, so settled on three. This collects the first 48 issues/8 graphic novels. I would rate the first issue 4.5, then the rest between 2-4. I love the show so much, I really wanted to like the comics more, but Kirkman's style and writing really does not have the depth of the film adaptation. There is not one strong female lead; all in all it's pretty sexist, with macho, aggressive behavior dominating. Perhaps some would argue that you have to be that way in order to survive in the zombie apocalypse, but then Kirkman should have had at least one woman not be suicidal, adulterous, or passively weak. Really ruined the whole series for me. The Compendium really ends on a cliff hanger, so a part of me wants to pick up the ninth graphic novel, but I am not convinced it's worth my time. Don't get me wrong: the plot is interesting, Rick is a very engaging main character who really grows and changes, the art is good, some of the writing is pretty good, but I had above-average standards because of the AMC series and the comics did not measure up. I would say it's above the average comic drivel but not up to the standards of the show.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

"Fledgling" by Octavia Butler

Octavia Butler has been recommended to me again and again, so I finally picked up her last book. With "Fledgling," she does not disappoint. Although Butler has reportedly said that even she didn't take "Fledgling" seriously, it follows a lot of the same themes of her more-famous sci fi works.She reminds me of Mary Doria Russell, exploring issues of race, free will, humanity and morality. Fresh, interesting re-working of the usual vampire myth. Though it has something of a "whodunit" plot, the murder-mystery elements take a back burner to the main character's development and her exploration of her identity and where she fits in with her species. Highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in fantasy, anthropology and social critique.

I really want to read "Parable of the Sower," now.