Saturday, August 28, 2010

Reading Roundup


 The Edge of the Bed is Lisa Palac's memoir of growing up and becoming sexually liberated in the seventies and eighties.  Although her career as a writer, editor, publisher, and all around sexpert has the potential to be juicy and entertaining, ultimately it falls short of these expectations.  Read the full review here.

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman.  The short version: "This morning on planet Earth, there are one thousand, six hundred, and eighty-six enhanced, gifted, or otherwise superpowered persons."  Dr. Impossible--villain, evil genius, the smartest man on Earth--is one of them.  The New Champions, led by the half-alien Damsel and her ex-husband Blackwolf, are also among this elite number, and they are out to foil him.  But there's infighting, jealousy, and ennui to contend with.  Will the superpowers of good prevail?  Or will Dr. Impossible succeed in his plot to rule the world?  Does anyone even care anymore?  Told in alternating first person narratives by Dr. Impossible himself and Fatale, a cyborg who is the newest member of the Champions, Soon I Will Be Invincible is a fun, funny look a the day-to-day lives of modern superheroes.  Although it's not a great book, it is a good one, and well worth a read.

Jennifer Government by Max Barry.  The short version: In the future no one will want to pay taxes to support the government. Everyone will want all services to be privatized, and they will wear corporate logos to show their brand loyalty. In the future everyone will be a consumer and everything will be a product. In the future there will be artificially created runs on must-have products, and people will be willing to spend outrageously inflated amounts of money on such trivial items as sneakers and molded plastic dolls.  Hey. Wait a minute. That sounds suspiciously like the present.  Jennifer Government is a clever, sly, and all-too-plausible dystopia set in our near future.  Consumerism rules the world and capitalism is king.  Jennifer Government is one little person trying to make a difference in the world.  Check out the complete review here.

Stephen King blurbs that it's "un-putdownable!" and I must say I agree.  The Intruder is a creepy, atmospheric family-in-distress thriller.  The short version: Jake Schiff, a defense lawyer, his wife, Dana, a psychiatric social worker, and their teenage son are living a beautiful life--just slightly above their means--on the upper west side of New York.  It's bad enough when a homeless client fixates on Dana and begins to harass the family.  But what about the guy from the old neighborhood who wants to help...for a price?  A very effective, fast-paced read.

The Insider by Reece Hirsch.  Click for review


Yeah, I really am still working on this one.  Odd Thomas, who sees and is sometimes guided and aided--but never spoken to--by ghosts, has to save the world from nuclear annihilation.  Dean Koontz's book consists of simple, almost childlike writing and cartoonish but eminently likable (or hateable) characters, but it works.

Suzanne Collins dystopian YA novel pits kids against one another in a struggle to survive.  Just chapters into it, I'm finding it lives up to the hype.


Nothing really, really fabulous this week (except Jennifer Government, above).  I'm heading off to the final final sale at Acres of Books in Long Beach, and hope to find at least a couple of something specials.  Oh, don't worry--I'll let you know

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