It's a good book, but it's not my Typee...

Thursday, March 31, 2011


I've realized I use the word "gripping" entirely too much when describing books. It's a great word and it really applies to a lot of my favorite books, but I think I need to consult the thesaurus before I write a review of Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. I'm only on page 31 and I can already tell it's going to be grippi--um...compelling.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Reasons to Be Pretty

Reasons to Be Pretty by Neil LaBute is a play full of unlikeable characters.

There are only four characters in the play and Greg, the main character, is the only bearable one. He manages to elicit neutral feelings in the reader rather than active annoyance. Greg protests throughout the entire play that the insulting remark he made about his girlfriend was meant to be a compliment. I want to believe him, but considering what a jerk his best friend and even girlfriend are, it's hard to imagine that birds of a feather aren't flocking together.

I'm sure this play would make for great theatre with the right cast, but after reading the script I was left feeling like I'd missed something. Something that might not be there after all.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dead Like You

Dead Like You (Roy Grace Series #6)Dead Like You by Peter James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fascinating, gripping mystery that keeps you guessing with every chapter. The reader is kept on pins and needles as more and more details are revealed about each of three likely suspects.

I highly recommend Dead Like You to fans of mysteries, especially the British variety.

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An odd trio

Director Howard Hawks once went on a hunting trip with actor Clark Gable and author William Faulkner.
He said of his companions: "I don't think Gable ever read a book, and I don't think Faulkner ever went to see a movie."

According to Secret Lives of Great Filmmakers by Rob Schnakenberg, later in the trip "Gable asked Faulkner who his favorite authors were, 'Thomas Mann, Willa Cather, John Dos Passos, Ernest Hemingway, and myself,' Faulkner replied, with characteristic modesty. Gable was taken aback. 'Oh, do you write, Mr. Faulkner?' he asked. 'Yeah,' retorted Faulkner. 'What do you do, Mr. Gable?"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

David Sedaris

I wonder sometimes what makes people write the things they do.

I just finished reading Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris, one of my favorite authors. In my mind, the Sedaris clan can do no wrong. David's sister, Amy, is highly entertaining in an incredibly eccentric way. David himself is the soul of dry wit.

But Squirrel is a disturbing collection of stories about anthropomorphic animals in which the moral seems to always be that every last one of us is; at best--passive-aggressively selfish to a terrifying degree; and at worst--prepared to murder, cheat and demonize everyone who gets in our way.

I was lulled by the first few stories into thinking this would just be a book about the foibles of humanity and the silly things we do. As I went along though, each story seemed to get darker and more cynical.

I'd much rather read about David Sedaris living in France and asking his local butcher, "Is thems the thoughts of cows?" while pointing to the cow brains on the counter. But I guess some people might find that just as disturbing as baby animals getting their eyes pecked out by talking birds.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Awesome quotation I found on

"There are two motives for reading a book; one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it." — Bertrand Russell

The whole reason I read Moby Dick (which more than lived up to all the hype) in the first place was so I could say I had done it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Big Wheel at the Cracker Factory

Big Wheel at the Cracker FactoryBig Wheel at the Cracker Factory by Mickey Hess

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Mickey Hess alternates between descriptions of slackerism so deep as to be tragic and truly touching scenes, like a moment of deep spiritual connection with a pet iguana. I had no idea what to expect when the book began, but by the end I was fully drawn into the quirky worldview Hess espouses.

My actual rating is more like 3 1/2 stars.

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