Wednesday, August 31, 2011


While I get  my breath back after hearing the estimate to replace the pool bladder (bladder... that's what they call the plastic part of an above ground pool... obviously I'm twelve today because the word makes me giggle even as the number makes me wilt),which was irreparably damaged in Sunday's storm, let's talk about books.

I finished Lev Grossman's The Magicians. You might remember that I didn't love this book. I didn't love it even more as I continued on. In fact, the only reason that I finished reading it was to see if #1 the characters ever stopped whining, even for a moment, and #2 the plot ever made a lick of sense. The answer is no on both counts. A lot of people really loved this book. I didn't.

On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoyed Steve Brewer's The Big Wink. Set in and around California's legal marijuana dispensaries, this caper novel barrels out at the starting gate, and never lets up. The characters
 are extremely well drawn, and the writing is excellent. It's only available via Kindle (and maybe other eReader formats), but my guess is that it'll end up on the big screen eventually. My only quibble is that the ending came rather suddenly, but I just hope that means that a sequel is in progress. Side Note: I listened to much of this book as I worked out on the treadmill, via the Kindle's text-to-speech function. The TTS is not really a substitute for a human reader, though it's not bad. There are quirks though, it cannot distinguish between live (to live) and live (something done live), minute is always 60 seconds, never something very small, and it thinks that maury-who-wanna , a term that came up rather frequently in this novel, is a word.
George R. R. Martin's Dreamsongs Volume II is a companion to Volume I. It's filled with more short stories, novelettes, and autobiographical essays. I really enjoyed the Wild Card story, and now need to read the others (something like 17 books full of them, by assorted writers), and The Hedge Knight, which is a prequel to the Song of Fire and Ice books (A Game of Thrones). The rest were mostly okay, though some of the longer fiction pieces were a slog. I want more more more of The Hedge Knight however. I think those characters are part of a graphic novel series now. (Evidently, there are sequels in print form too, spoilers abound in that link).

Tarzan himself, is not the beast in question in The Beasts of Tarzan, but we're constantly reminded what an primitive hunk of manliness he is. All women want him, and all men want to be him, and Tarzan, the big lunk, is not even dimly aware of either fact. This volume starts off at a run, with Tarzan and Jane's infant son Jack (not Boy- we can thank the movies for that) kidnapped, and Tarzan and Jane on separate quests to find him. It's a rip-roaring adventure, as silly and entertaining as all the rest. There are a couple of continuity errors in the plot, but we won't let them get in between Lord Greystoke and his Lady.

Laura Lippman's The Most Dangerous thing is another in a long line of wonderful books written by a master of the craft. I'm not going to rehash the plot (it's being reviewed everywhere), I'm just going to recommend that you go out and read it.

Oh yeah, and I finished proofing the files of my own book, The Hotel South Dakota. It's the 3rd Tory Bauer Mystery, set during Delphi High School's homecoming celebration. The cover is almost finished, so I suspect it'll be available via Kindle (and other platforms) in a couple of weeks. This is the book where I think I hit my stride as a writer- I didn't want to change any of it as I read, which is a first.  I'm excited that it will be available again. And as with the other Tory Bauer titles, the cover art will be available on any number of items from CafePress.

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