Books by people who make books


013) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, finished February 12

My students have been requesting a John Green parody from me for years.

This is not a John Green parody.

Props to John Green though, pulling a Stephen King and turning an ultraboring name into a major brand.

i dunno three weeks maybe more maybe less


012) Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown, finished February 5

I'm so happy for Jeffrey Brown. He deserves to get the attention these Star Wars books are bringing. I hope parents are checking out his other work.

Incidentally, this volume is charming, but the other ones are hilariouser.
about a week


011) The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell, finished January 27

I wish I could have read this book for the second time first. Like, say, Turn of the Screw, I imagine the real pleasure of this book will be in analyzing the quality of the pov's narration from the vantage point of knowing how it all turns out. But it's way too long to just read over and over again, and I'm not sure it's good enough to justify the effort. (Though, srsly, props to the author for cranking this out while simultaneouly working on her dissertation.)

We're in the 1920s. It's a Prohibition tale starring two typists at a New York police precinct, one of whom runs a speakeasy. It seems to be about the casual sociopathy bred into the very rich, but that (and other seeming "points") are undermined by the "twist" at the end. Scarequotes because, cmon, it's hardly a surprise and indeed I doubt Rindell intended it to be. The problem isn't the confusion, but that the last chapter goes beyond asking how unreliable our narrator is to undermining the novel entire. Fortunately, the poorly designated "Epilogue" does a good job of redeeming the bulk of the text from the occasional but frequent missteps in the previous chapter. Then there's another attempt to twist in the final two paragraphs.

In other words, we have a pretty darn good debut novel that worries it hasn't been trying hard enough and slips all over the ice at the close.

So if you like the sound of women during Prohibition written in a vintage voice and just the right amount of description of clothes and dancing and a weekend at Gatsby-lite's place on the sound, you're going to love this book. If not, just remember the author's name for next time.
over a week


010) The Complete Peanuts 1987-1988 by Charles M. Schulz, finished January 25

I think 1987 must be the funniest year yet. And 1988 was none to shabby either. The assault-weapons gag was certainly fresh and topical.

I also liked Garry Trudeau's humble introduction. It's certainly one of the better ones.

Upsettingly, I'm pretty sure the next volume is the one I wanted to write the intro for. Alas, I did not become famous quickly enough.
just under a month

Previously in 2014 . . . . :

Books 6 - 9
009) Heat by Mike Lupica, finished January 22
008) Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel, finished January 21
007) Impasse by Kohl Glass (story by Jason Conforto), finished January 16
006) Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan, finished January 16

Books 1 - 5
005) The Man Who Grew His Beard by Olivier Schrauwen, finished January 12
004) Pokémon Black and White, Vol. 1 by Hidenori Kusaka and Satoshi Yamamoto, finished January 10
003) Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hick, finished January 7
002) The Drop by Michael Connelly, finished January 7
001) The Rejection Collection, Vol. 2 edited by Matthew Diffee, finished January 6

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