Barry Lyga : The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl

Lyga’s descriptions of what it’s like to be an unpopular, un-sporty, picked-on high school sophomore match so many specific details of my own memories that it’s uncanny. Big ugly bruises on the arm where punches land every day? Check. Lurid homicidal revenge fantasies? Check. Narrator Donnie has an escape hatch, though: he’s secretly working onContinue reading “Barry Lyga : The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl”

Madeleine L’Engle : A Swiftly Tilting Planet

I was sorely disappointed by A Swiftly Tilting Planet when I first read it; I’m pretty sure I only read it once before. It may be worth mentioning that I first encountered this novel when my head was full of Tolkein and Star Wars — and it’s not exactly crammed with action-adventure teenage boy appeal.Continue reading “Madeleine L’Engle : A Swiftly Tilting Planet”

Madeleine L’Engle : A Wind in the Door

As a kid, I distinctly remember thinking that A Wind in the Door was even better than A Wrinkle in Time. I think this was mostly because of Proginoskes, an unusual and seriously awesome character. But it’s not possible for me to sustain my former opinion of the novels’ relative merit this time around. TheContinue reading “Madeleine L’Engle : A Wind in the Door”

Madeleine L’Engle : A Wrinkle in Time

Rebecca Steadman’s When You Reach Me impelled me to renew my affaire de coeur with A Wrinkle in Time. I read things with a different sort of eye than I did when I was, y’know, twelve, and some things stood out for me this time that didn’t before. Yowza, one of my all-time favorite novelsContinue reading “Madeleine L’Engle : A Wrinkle in Time”

Steven Levy: In the Plex

Not long ago I was struck by just how unprecedentedly dependent I am on Google technologies: they power my phone and my e-book reader; they support the bulk of my browsing and email. My wife and I used Google docs and maps extensively in buying our home and planning our wedding. I use Google’s calendarContinue reading “Steven Levy: In the Plex”

Janna Levin : How the Universe Got Its Spots

How the Universe Got Its Spots is either the most unusual science book I’ve ever read, or the most science-oriented memoir. I was delighted by both aspects. Levin, a no-nonsense, for-real, theoretical cosmologist grapples with, among other things, the shape of the universe, her acknowledgedly irrational preference for it to be finite, and a relationshipContinue reading “Janna Levin : How the Universe Got Its Spots”

M. J. Locke : Up Against It

In Up Against It a 25th-century asteroid-based community is beset by a confluence of disasters: a critical resource hemorrhaging accident, a takeover threat by the Martian mob, a rogue artificial intelligence in the asteroid’s systems — the list goes on. It explores both the fragility of human life in a hostile environment, and life’s pluckContinue reading “M. J. Locke : Up Against It”

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

This was my first exposure to either Cohn or Levithan, aside from seeing the film version Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (without, I’m ashamed to say, even knowing it was based on a novel). But it’s their third collaboration, in which the authors write alternating chapters, “without planning anything out beforehand. That’s the way theyContinue reading “Rachel Cohn and David Levithan: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares”

Beard, Donihe, Duza, et al: The Bizarro Starter Kit (Orange)

I hoped The Bizarro Starter Kit would help me figure out if I’d like bizarro fiction, a genre self-defined by a loose collective of writers with a shared love of cult/trash cinema. It didn’t. The Bizarro Starter Kit makes the case that there’s too much going on for me to dismiss it, and too muchContinue reading “Beard, Donihe, Duza, et al: The Bizarro Starter Kit (Orange)”

Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The key to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo appears almost at the end: Berger thought that the book was the best thing Blomkvist had ever written. It was uneven stylistically, and in places the writing was actually rather poor — there had been no time for any fine polishing — but the book wasContinue reading “Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”