Monday, October 14, 2013

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some readers have compared this book to Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye", presumably due to a common tendency to digress; yet where I found the former digressions distracting and annoying, the latter are awash with insightful, wry humor. There is no great mystery within, I spotted whodunnit after the first few chapters, but the doggedly determined narrative voice exudes a compelling charm to a degree such that I nearly finished the book in one sitting. Despite some superficial problems—e.g. prime numbered chapters—it's easy to like this book and in the end I'm happy to have met Christopher Boone.

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas

Redshirts: A Novel with Three CodasRedshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It didn't surprise me that I liked this book—it came to my attention through Patrick Rothfuss' high praise and the publisher's blurb piqued my interest. What surprised me was how much I liked it. I breezed through it in a couple days, often laughing but I'll cop to shedding a tear at the end. Given the subject matter, Wil Wheaton may seem like an obvious choice for the narration, but he's bloody brilliant in this—from the hilarious alien gargle-speak in chapter two, through the moving bit in the third coda, and all points between.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fabulous Weekend

A Thirtieth birthday is often marked as an extra-special occasion, a strange rite of passage where the now ill fitting cloak of latter adolescence is doffed in favor of the thin mantle of adult respectability. My thirtieth birthday arrived in October 2000, and I decided to host a kind of symposium; I invited a handful of my most intellectually gifted friends to come, drink, and make a presentation—plans to take over the world were my suggestion but anything would be accepted so long as it was interesting. Far and away the winning presentation was given by David M. Ewalt. In a stunning example of a non-ohmic resistor, David dimmed the room lights and connected the wires of an electric cord to either end of a pickle, then inserted the plug end into a wall outlet. In the two or three seconds before the fuse blew, that pickle lit up with an eerie glow. All present will ever recall the man we then dubbed The Pickle King.

Last week The Pickle King published his debut novel, Of Dice and Men

Of Dice and Men by David M. Ewalt

Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who Play ItOf Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who Play It by David M. Ewalt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pairing his reporter's sensibility with a passionate, nerdy zeal, David M. Ewalt weaves the nappy threads of D&D's history, his own soul-baring journey of geek-enlightenment, and compelling in-game narratives into what must surely be the Bayeux Tapestry of Dungeons & Dragons…

Friday, July 26, 2013

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

ElantrisElantris by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this book, I found the characters likeable but somewhat static, and the dialog has a lot of yelping but is otherwise believable. There are a number of sub-plot stubs left unexplored, perhaps as possible starting points for other tales set in the same world. The main plots move at a comfortable pace and I especially liked the richly detailed glyph magic as presented; though the resolution to the plot-moving magical mystery left me wondering why it had been left unsolved for ten years. I'm encouraged to read more Sanderson, hopefully this is not his best work.

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Monday, July 1, 2013

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American GodsAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It's a traveling panoply of old gods and other roadside attractions. Comparisons to Stephen King's "The Stand" are not entirely amiss as it tends to drag until the body count picks up. Gaiman writes superbly as a keen participant-observer of American culture, though in the case of "American Gods" it feels as if his vantage is a long, long way off. Not entirely without interest, the characters are numerous and evocative of little; like familiar faces on a commuter's train, they may hold our interest for a spell, but we never get to truly know them. Add a star if you like road trips, two if you like them so well that you don't mind when they go nowhere particular.

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Android App Roundup

There are many great apps for android devices, unfortunately some are more difficult to find than others. Below is a quick roundup of a few recommended apps…