I really enjoyed the many “Star Wars: references and a guest appearance from my favorite feature of Milwaukee airport. Also thought the family drama and not-always-graceful coping with grief provided a nice and grounding contrast to the smutty bits.
This book was recommended to me as really uproarious, which I thought oversold it; It was a one-guffaw read for me. It’s a series of pseudo-autobiographical essays, recounted with some verve, but with not a lot to distinguish them from other amusing pseudo-autobiographical essays about mildly dysfunctional upbringings and somewhat stressful employment and dating experiences.Continue reading “Mary Jo Pehl: Employee of the Month and Other Big Deals”
I wanted to love this book, and perhaps I didn’t because my expectations were too high. It’s published by an arm of McSweeney’s, and it features steampunk trappings, secret societies, cloak and dagger intrigue, a wide subversive streak, strong female characters, and subtle, but deliberate, I think, allusions to Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Becky, andContinue reading “S. S. Taylor: The Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man’s Canyon”
About a quarter of the way through Evil Genius I was pretty sure I had it sussed: a dark parody of the Harry Potter series. By then titular genius Cadel Piggott, who by early adolescence is well down the path leading to an eventual Antisocial Personality Disorder diagnosis, has been packed off to the AxisContinue reading “Catherine Jinks: Evil Genius”
The nine stories in Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned are full of vivid, acute descriptions, like: I had a studio apartment in the West Village, which people were impressed by until they came up for a look. The place was the architectural equivalent of a biscuit dough remnant, a two-hundred-square-foot waste shape of crannies and recessesContinue reading “Wells Tower: Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned”
I enjoyed reading Endless Blue, but it requires more than the usual amount of willing suspension-of-belief and tolerance for sloppy editing. The premise is fun: there’s a sort of “Sargasso Sea” of space where ships get marooned when warp jumps go awry, and aliens mingle more freely than in the “normal” universe. Four centuries orContinue reading “Wen Spencer: Endless Blue”
If I were dictator of the world, everybody who wanted to form a band to play in front of people would be legally required to watch Standing in the Shadows of Motown first, and everyone who wanted to sign a record deal would be required to read Everything I’m Cracked Up to Be. In myContinue reading “Jennifer Trynin: Everything I’m Cracked Up to Be”