Tuesday, March 1, 2011

february reading

The Imperfectionists
by: Tom Rachman

I was told to read this book by several people, but I didn't actually pick it up until I heard Rachman being interviewed on the radio. It is a wonderful book. It's about the kind of things that make up real life and yet can so often be tiresome in fiction--love affairs, regrets, embarrassments, choices, work, sex and age and death. But this novel is a collection of tiny, intense portraits that you fall into. Stories that are bigger on the inside than you might expect. Reading it puts you inside the skin of eleven other people living eleven other lives, and the illusion is incredibly satisfying,

(forthcoming: May 2011)
by: Veronica Roth

Dystopic adventure romp for teenagers. A clever, if rather unbelievable, portrait of the future. I mostly liked the characters and enjoyed the story, but found the romance tiresome. I can see it being incredibly popular though, and it would be a perfect fit for kids who like both Suzanne Collins and Tamora Pierce.

Red Glove
by: Holly Black
(forthcoming: April 2011)

I think this series is absolutely delicious. I love stories about clever, clever con men with hearts of gold, and the addition of magic makes it absurdly fun. Visual candy for the imagination. I like the nastiness that the story insists on, the way it doesn't offer absolution with bloodless crimes or simple characters. The people in this world are people who I want to spend time with because I find them fascinating, not because I'd want them for friends, and that is refreshing.

Shades of Milk and Honey
by: Mary Robinette Kowal

I love Jane Austen, so I was very dubious when my friend, Kat, sent me this book. Jane Austen with magic did not sound promising (though much more promising than Jane Austen with zombies). But this was fun. Reading it was comforting and comfortable. The story was unsurprising and satisfying, and I mean that as a compliment. It takes that almost entirely made up world that we're so familiar with from movies and BBC specials and simply elevates it to another level of fantasy.

The Bradbury Report
by: Steven Polansky

Mixed bag. There were some things that I thought were spectacularly done in this novel, and some that I thought were too easy and worn. I think it might be because it takes on that ever popular idea of human clones being brought into the world for spare parts and doesn't say anything particularly new, though it does wallow in the disturbing experience of confronting your own life to a degree that I thought was quite unflinching and bold.

by: Guy Kawasaki

I read this because I'm interviewing Kawasaki for work, and was surprised by how much I ended up enjoying it. Kawasaki offers some very good advice about communicating with people, dressed up as a book about promoting ideas and yourself successfully. It's clear, unpretentious, and almost ridiculously enthusiastic.

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