Tuesday, November 20, 2012

More Quick Reviews

1. Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (5/5). I hate to sound over the top here, but this is the single funniest book I have ever read. Jenny Lawson, better known as "The Bloggess" online,  tells the story of her very strange life in this hilarious memoir. She grew up in a small West Texas town with a father who was an amateur taxidermist and who's idea of fun was dropping a live bobcat into a family member's lap. I read this myself and then immediately turned around and started reading it aloud to my wife when she was cooking or we were in the car going somewhere. This became dangerous at times, when she was laughing so hard she almost had to pull over. Highly recommended!

2. Redshirts by John Scalzi (3/5). Funny & interesting science fiction novel, but probably my least favorite of John Scalzi's novels so far. This one looks at the redshirt ensigns on a galactic space cruiser on an exploration cruise. They realize they are dying at a fast pace and start trying to figure out why. I laughed out loud several times, but  didn't think that the whole thing held together all that well.

3. Wonder by R.J. Palacio (5/5). Wonderful children's/young adult book about a physically deformed boy entering the 5th grade. His parents decide to enroll him in school instead of homeschooling him. The book changes narrators several time, giving a well rounded view if his life. Heartwarming and a good lesson for kids without hitting you over the head with it. This book has one of the best cover designs I have seen recently.

4. Among Others by Jo Walton (4/5).  Excellent fantasy novel about a 15 year old girl at a boarding school in England in 1979. A confrontation with her mother, who may or may not be a witch, has left her crippled and her twin sister dead. Her escape from this world are the science fiction novels that she reads, many of which I read during the same period. I really enjoyed reading this novel, but will have to go back and reread the ending at some point - I found it a bit confusing. Winner of the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

5. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (5/5). Wow! An excellent thriller with many twists and turns. One of the best thrillers I have read in a long tie. It is well crafted and filled with unforgettable characters that you never quite know how you feel about. A man comes home from work one day to find blood on the floor and his wife missing. We hear the wife's voice through her diaries, and the husband narrates his experiences as he tries to figure out what happened to her.

6. Ballgame! by Josh Lewin (3/5).  Good memoir by Josh Lewin, the TV play by play guy for the Texas Rangers for many years. An interesting look at his early career and good behind the scenes stuff on how the Texas Rangers finally became a MLB power. He and Tom Grieve made an excellent broadcasting team for the Rangers, it was a sad day when they did not re-sign him 2 years ago.