That moment when your current book and current TV overlap

‘Venomous’by Christie Wilcox. Loved every second of this book.  (Here’s my review on Goodreads.)

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Book Review: ‘Up Jumps the Devil’ by Michael Poore

Up Jumps the DevilUp Jumps the Devil by Michael Poore

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The premise is straightforward: Mr. Scratch—better, and more frequently, known as the Devil—has just been shot up a bunch during a filming of his hit reality show, soooo how did he get there? Continue reading

Book Review: ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ by Jared Diamond

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human SocietiesGuns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Diamond’s approach to history: look for patterns, and apply the scientific method as much as possible, achieved here to its fullest degree with linguistics and archeological findings, and a robust side dish of evolutionary biology.

That said, I’m so biased in favor of this approach, because it’s exactly the one I like. I happen to hold a degree in biology, with a minor in Classical Civilizations and a second almost-minor in Political Science (it would have been a full minor if my school allowed classes to be counted twice for minors).

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Book Review: ‘She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth’ by Helen Castor

She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before ElizabethShe-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

It’s hard for me to tell how much is filling in the blanks and how much is lifted directly from sources without having access to them, but the footnotes suggest that Castor exhausted what was available, and given her area of expertise, I’m inclined to trust her ability to comprehensively read extant sources. It would be nice to have more archeological evidence included as a counterpoint, but she worked well with what she had, as far as I can tell. (I minored in Classics, wrong era and location!) Continue reading

Book Review: ‘The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making’ by Catherynne M. Valente

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1)The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The best thing about this book, for me, was that Valente spends a lot of time not talking down at her readers. There’s a notable amount of snark in here, and it’s nice. I know that I would’ve appreciated it as the terrible sarcastic child I was.
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Book Review: ‘Dune’ by Frank Herbert

Dune (Dune Chronicles, #1)Dune by Frank Herbert

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

‘Dune’ is a classic, which—reading this a while after it was published—can mess with the reading. A lot of the tropes explored in this book, fresh when Herbert got into them, have become pretty familiar. There is this potential layer of subversion where you have to ask, given a close reading, whether he’s really approving of the system, but it’s my firm belief that a book has to be judged on its surface as well as everything else.

So I’m not going to get into the things that were like ‘I live in 2013 and what is this’ because that’s weird and unnecessary. I mean, yeah, the whole ‘magic foreigner rescues a civilization threatened by his own fellows’ bothers me, but it is partially subverted by Paul’s constant reliance on the Fremen, not to mention that, technically, they’re not natives, either. But, you know. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘The Illustrated Man’ by Ray Bradbury

The Illustrated ManThe Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ok, so I just spent half an hour learning about the shibe meme and here is my summary of this short story collection, with all due apologies:

I know, I know. Special place in Hell. Got it. 😛

such science

many imagine

wow

space is exist

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Book Review: ‘The Ocean of Life’ by Callum Roberts

The Ocean of Life: The Fate of Man and the SeaThe Ocean of Life: The Fate of Man and the Sea by Callum Roberts

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Many people think of the oceans as a remote and incidental feature of our world. Their importance is felt in a physical sense, but people don’t realize how much we all owe to life in the sea…. Humanity is in retreat all over the world.” Continue reading

Graphic Novel Review: ‘Saga’ vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Saga, Volume 1Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved the art a bunch, and generally speaking I prefer black and white to color when there’s inks involved, so that’s saying a lot. The characters came out nice and fluid, and the roughness of the major outlines was quite appealing set against the rest. The colors are nice and vivid where appropriate, and the values are well planned. I’m curious to see what this looks like greyscale, I bet it’s great. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘Five, Six, Seven, Nate!’ by Tim Federle

Five, Six, Seven, Nate!Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(ARC version. Official release is January 2014.)

This sequel to ‘Better Nate Than Ever’ is more serious—and way more about the inner workings of theatre—than the predecessor. Nate’s no longer on the cusp of puberty, he’s actually experiencing it, and with that go certain ‘grown-up’ notions such as having a secret admirer (you’ll be happy to know he doesn’t stop being completely adorable) and, on more serious notes, things like the intense pressure of a fast-tracked Broadway production that’s a huge friggin’ gamble because it’s being directed (produced?) by a videogame dude (yay, videogames! Yes, I relate way more to the ‘normals’ Nate feels alienated from), a considerbly more serious cancer situation, and also it’s show business! with the mandatory exclamation mark. Continue reading