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books read 4th quarter2013 - The inexplicable charisma of the rival [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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books read 4th quarter2013 [Feb. 4th, 2014|11:40 pm]
Just me.
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Non Fiction

Headhunters on My Doorstep: A True Treasure Island Ghost Story  (2013) by J. Maarten Troost
Supposed to be about retracing Robert Louis Stevenston's South pacific travels and life in Samoa, but turns out to be more about the author's recovery from alcoholism. Disappointing, especially since I liked his first two books. Read “Getting stoned with Savages” or “the Sex Lives of Cannibals” instead.

Zoo Station: The Story of Christiane F. (2013) by Christiane F
New translation of famous German teen heroin memoir from the early 80's, later made into a film with David Bowie music. Grim but an interesting read. The author is still alive, though in various states of sobriety.

Tell Them to Get Lost: Travels with Lonely Planet's First Guide Book (2011) by Brian Thacker
Travel writer takes 2010 SE Asia trip using LP's 1975 “SE Asia on a shoestring” guide. Bought this on a whim right before going to Singapore and Malaysia -fun to see how things have (and haven't changed). Amusing but ultimately forgettable. Makes me never want to go to Kuta Bali, though.

fiction

The Golem and the Jinni (2013) by Helene Wecker
Historical fiction about a female golem separated from her master trying to make sense of immigrant-laden NYC in the early 1900's. Nice portrayal of the Jewish and Arab neighborhoods of the time. I enjoyed, would recommend to anyone who likes fantasy with an element of history.

Murder below Montparnasse (2013) by Cara Black
Did not like this. Series mystery about Paris female detective, written by an American Francophile. Maybe the earlier ones are better but I thought this was hackneyed and trite.

Alif the Unseen (2012) by G. Willow Wilson
Somehow I managed to read TWO books this quarter with Djinn/Jinni characters, and this is the other one. Young hacker in unnamed modern Arab State with hyper-vigilant security invents an AI that multiple factions want to intercept. Not only a good story, will give you some insight into how Islam is lived day-to-day by average non-militant folks. Like "for the Win", except much, much better.

Carter Beats the Devil (2001) by Glen David Gold
Historical fiction about stage magicians in the age of Houdini and Prohibition. Loved it! Apparently a first novel, which makes it all the more impressive. Great read for all you Penn and Teller/ Ricky Jay fans.
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