Lynne Rae Perkins: As Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth

Wow. There are so many things I love about this book. There’s careful prose like this: Ry’s grandfather, Lloyd, took his first cup of coffee out onto the screened porch, sat down on a glider, and waited in the dark for the birds to start chirping. Between him and the sun, there was a thinContinue reading “Lynne Rae Perkins: As Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth”

Diana Peterfreund: Ascendant

This sequel to Rampant is not the sort of book to make a lot of concessions. The opening scene, in which narrator/hereditary-unicorn-slayer Astrid Llewellyn matter-of-factly harvests her dead prey, serves as a litmus test for Peterfreund’s dark, historically informed take on unicorn legends. I imagine that more than a few gentle souls will decide toContinue reading “Diana Peterfreund: Ascendant”

Philip Plait: Death from the Skies!

Death from the Skies!‘s nine chapters all follow the same pattern: a brief, moderately sensationalized depiction of an astronomical disaster followed by a somewhat more sober discussion of the event, with an emphasis on how likely and/or subject to mitigation it is. The book more-or-less progresses from near-term potential events (like a meteor collision) toContinue reading “Philip Plait: Death from the Skies!”

Joyce Linehan & Joe Pernice: Pernice to Me

I’m probably over-thinking my reaction to this book. Joe Pernice, if you don’t know the name, has one of the most honeyed voices in all of indie rock and a heaping helping of songwriting skill, displayed for the past several years/records in his band Pernice Brothers. Joyce Linehan is Pernice’s partner in Ashmont Records. ThisContinue reading “Joyce Linehan & Joe Pernice: Pernice to Me”

D.C. Pierson: The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To

Here are a few of the things I love about The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To: When Pierson’s characters talk about bands, the made up names, e.g., The Boy Who Cried Sparrow, sound so believable I had to use Google to make sure they weren’t real. This book has the most realisticContinue reading “D.C. Pierson: The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To”

Daniel Pinkwater: The Neddiad

While I was reading it, The Neddiad reminded forcefully of two other authors’ works in a specific, if somewhat slanted way. The obvious one was Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, because Neddie Wentworthstein’s narrative voice struck me as similarly authentic and adolescent. The other eluded me for a while, but I finallyContinue reading “Daniel Pinkwater: The Neddiad”

Eric Puchner: Music Through the Floor

I usually prefer not to read a single-author short story collection straight through, but to intersperse it with other reading. Even with very good authors, I find that reading too many short stories back-to-back emphasizes repeating themes and devices. I find it often blunts the impact of individual stories. Puchner’s Music Through the Floor isContinue reading “Eric Puchner: Music Through the Floor”

Dexter Palmer: The Dream of Perpetual Motion

Dexter Palmer’s The Dream of Perpetual Motion initially sounds like a steam-punk science fiction novel: it’s set in an alternate twentieth century peopled with clockwork men and flying cars, brooded over by a vast obsidian tower, a sinister airship, and the master of both, the undeniably brilliant and almost certainly mad scientist-cum-magician, Prospero Taligent. ButContinue reading “Dexter Palmer: The Dream of Perpetual Motion”

Diana Peterfreund: Rites of Spring (Break): An Ivy League Novel

Rites of Spring Break is another frothy cocktail in Peterfreund’s Ivy League series, following Secret Society Girl and Under the Rose, and mixed up according to the same recipe which is roughly: 1 part coming-of-age novel (protracted) 1 part feminist subtext 1 part formalized presentation (every chapter has an “I Confess…” header; text incorporates orderedContinue reading “Diana Peterfreund: Rites of Spring (Break): An Ivy League Novel”

Diana Peterfreund: Rampant

Rampant is a unicorn novel for people who hate unicorns — or at least the fluffy depiction of unicorns in current popular culture. Peterfreund sets out to reclaim the dignity of the unicorn by returning to the legendary roots of one-horned critters, and weaves multi-cultural variants on the theme into a unicorn hierarchy. Since Peterfreund’sContinue reading “Diana Peterfreund: Rampant”