Monthly Archive: August 2015

Aug 31 2015

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I gained an incredible amount of depth and nuance from re-reading this book as a minority member of American society with African-American friends and neighbors and co-workers, with firsthand experience now of their culture and struggles, as opposed to my first encounter with To Kill A Mockingbird when I was a 13 year-old member of …

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Aug 28 2015

Pack Of Strays by Dana Cameron

After the verve and uniqueness of the first book, this installment of the Fangborn series was a definite let down. Too much happens to Zoe too quickly, with only the sketchiest of explanations: whereas the globe-trotting of Seven Kinds Of Hell felt exotic and fast-paced, everything that happens here just feels rushed and jumbled. While …

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Aug 26 2015

Raising Demons by Shirley Jackson

Raising Demons is perfect. There are two other books I can think of that I regularly describe as perfect – Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint and Bertolt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera — and now I have a third. It is possible that if I took out my jeweller’s loupe, I could find an imperfection, an infelicitous word here, …

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Aug 24 2015

The Annihilation Score by Charles Stross

Charles Stross’ Laundry series began as an unholy mashup of H.P. Lovecraft, The Office, and spy thrillers, told through the eyes of an initially low-level functionary. Bob, as you know, is Bob Howard, a systems administrator who stumbles onto the secret congruencies between higher math and applied magic. Paraphrasing Clarke’s Third Law, in the world …

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Aug 23 2015

Lila by Marilynne Robinson

It is so very difficult for me to review Marilynne Robinson’s works, because I always feel like my own prose is inadequate to describing hers. I cried a lot reading Lila, because I understand what it feels like to fall in love with someone even when you don’t trust love or people or existence, when …

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Aug 21 2015

In The Woods by Tana French

There was a lot I enjoyed about this book, but I had two very large problems with it, both to do with Rob Ryan. The first is fairly spoilertastic, and less to do with his character than with what I felt was a strange choice on the part of the author. Essentially, you never find …

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Aug 18 2015

Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho

I was initially resistant towards reading this book. If it was bad, I would feel a certain kind of “malu,” the nearly indescribable shade of embarrassment Malaysians feel when one of their own commits a faux pas, akin but not quite the same as the East Asian concept of losing “face.” And if it was …

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Aug 16 2015

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

This was over 400 pages, really? It was a total breeze to go through: entertaining without sacrificing meaning, hilarious and suspenseful by turn. I was completely in love with Madeline throughout, even tho she and I differ in one important respect: she adores conflict, but I too often find myself dragged unwillingly into it. I …

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Aug 15 2015

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

I wasn’t inclined to like the novel itself, but the really cool interactive app made this worthwhile for me. I loved the film posters and publicity photos I uncovered that way (and that creepy diary!) tho the audio clips were more hit and miss. If I never have to encounter the tedious and whiny Love …

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Aug 11 2015

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Deeply moral and achingly romantic, this is a book about a woman inadvertently reaching into the past to try to fix problems in her marriage to a man she desperately loves. Rainbow Rowell is a terrific writer of dialog and characters, and though Landline felt a bit shallow in places (by which I don’t mean …

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