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2nd quarter books read - The inexplicable charisma of the rival [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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2nd quarter books read [Jul. 15th, 2011|01:38 am]
Just me.
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 Non Fiction

1) My Year of Flops: The A.V. Club Presents One Man's Journey Deep into the Heart of Cinematic Failure by Nathan Rabin and A.V. Club
A spin off from the beloved (by me, at least) Onion feature. Not too many films I hadn't heard of, but for the most part I agree with his assessments, and he's very funny. Plus anyone who writes "I think everyone in the world should see 'The Apple'" and sorta means it is my kinda critic. Recommend: yes

2)You're A Horrible Person, but I like You: The Believer Book of Advice
Famous McSweeney's type celebrities answer fake advice questions. Good for bathrrom reading but ultimately fluffy and not all that funny. Recommend: meh.

3) I'm Down: A Memoir by Mishna Wolff (audio)
Funny memoir of growing up "black" in Seattle's Rainier Valley despite having two white parents. Great glimpse of growing up poor and culturally confused in the 80s. Read by the author, who does a serviceable job and funny impressions of her dad. Recommend: yes

4) Bossypants by Tina Fey (audio)
Funny at the time but unmemorable a few months later. Half autobiography and half comedy bits. Recommend: meh.

5) The Best American Crime Reporting, 2008
I love this series. Collection of magazine pieces from the types of magazines I used to read at the dentist's: GQ, Vanity Fair, Esquire, etc.

6) Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell (audio)
History of Hawaii, read by the author. Audio has weird multi voice cast of men and women reading single lines from missionary diaries in between Vowell's narration, which was sorta distracting and not really necessary. Book overall was interesting; you'll know if it's the kind of thing you'll like if you've read her before. Recommend: yes

7) What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio
Coffee table book showing people from around the world and a day's worth of food. I liked their "material world" photos of people with all their material goods but I think their concepts are played out. Recommend: no

8) Who Hates Whom: Well-Armed Fanatics, Intractable Conflicts, and Various Things Blowing Up A Woefully Incomplete Guide by Bob Harris
2007 title wrapping up all the regional conflicts you wish you knew more about. Each country/region is discussed for about 7 pages and snarky but concise. good bathroom reading as well. Recommend: yes

9) The Best American Crime Reporting, 2007
See #5. good stuff.

Fiction
1) Black Hole by Charles Burns
Graphic novel about teenagers spreading an STD that gives them extra mouths and/or other deformities that they try to hide from others. Creepy but great. Will scare you away from sex for a few days after finishing it.

2) All Together Dead (Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 7) by Charlaine Harris
no comment.

3) Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead
autobiographical (I think) fiction about upper middle class black kids summering in the Hamptons in the 80s. I read this after "I'm Down" which was a nice contrast. Recommend: yes

4) From Dead to Worse (Sookie Stackhouse Book 8) (audio) by Charlaine Harris
5) Dead and Gone (Sookie Stackhouse Book 9) (audio) by Charlaine Harris
6) Dead in the Family (#10) by Charlaine Harris (audio)
7) Dead Reckoning (#11) by Charlaine Harris (audio)

Now I'm caught up on this series. Spoiler Alert: By book 11 she's been with Eric for way longer than she ever was with Bill. which is fine by me.

8) For the Win by Cory Doctorow (audio)
Ugh. Barely finished this. I liked "little brother" okay and I liked the concept of this one (Chinese gold farmers spark a revolution) but this had more "fail" than "win". Too long, and diverges into didactic discussions of pyramid schemes, labor theory that don't move the plot along. Additionally, the author fails to make his point about worker exploitation: gold farming in China is probably a better job than 90% of other unskilled/factory labor, and the Indian boss seems reasonable until the author suddenly tells us that he is evil and must be stopped. The whole idea that a gamers union would fly in the third world (unless workers were chained to a pc and not allowed bathroom breaks or were regularly beaten or something like that) didn't work for me. Not gonna read anything else by this guy.

Currently reading: Jonathan Franzen's Freedom. on disc 8 of 19, but it moves fairly quickly. I like it so far but it hits a little close to home since I'm the same age as the lead character.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: erikred
2011-07-15 03:55 pm (UTC)
Am reading (and highly recommend) Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief series. YA and short, well-written and compelling; I actually stayed up way too late last night finishing off The King of Attolia.

Also, while we're on YA, Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan series is similarly brief without being unduly so, and the world he's created is a fascinating thing to observe. As far as steampunk alternatives go, I so much preferred this to Cherie Priest's plodding, predictable, and bland Boneshaker.
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[User Picture]From: holyoutlaw
2011-07-15 04:41 pm (UTC)
Wholeheartedly agree with you on Leviathan v. Boneshaker.
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[User Picture]From: erikred
2011-07-15 04:57 pm (UTC)

And while I'm slamming the hip

For the Win by Cory Doctorow (audio)
Ugh. Barely finished this.


I felt much the same way about "Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town." I _like_ Magical Realism, I'm an avowed oh-gosh-wow technophile, and I actually dig discussions about the whole DIY-information-wants-to-be-free scene, but Doctorow left me unhappy and frustrated. Fail.
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[User Picture]From: petdance
2011-07-18 03:00 am (UTC)
A $10/year print subscription to Esquire is easily the best reading value going today.
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