Recent Reads

First of all, the Guys Read book club got together last week to discuss Flannery O’Connor’s gothic treasure trove, A Good Man is Hard to Find.  Just…wow.  I’d read the title story and at least one other before and I’d read a couple other of her stories over the years but never a whole bunch of them at once.  THAT was an experience my friends.

Before (well, during) that I read Felicia Day’s new memoir-of-sorts, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost).  I was expecting it to be in her funny, quirky voice and I was expecting to hear about her home-schooled childhood, her acting career, her unique foray into online web-videos and the creation of Geek & Sundry and probably something about video games and anxiety.  It was all that but way better and more in depth than I expected.  I hadn’t realized how hard her anxiety and depression had hit her (while she was creating some of my favorite things).  I had forgotten how the Gamer Gate douchbags had doxxed her (posted her personal information including home address and more online and threatening her).  I didn’t know she’d had stalkers IN HER HOUSE.  My goodness.  It’s quite a trip but the best part is that she’s come out with this amazing book and seems to be in a more stable place personally and professionally so that makes me happy. If you like any of her work at all, you’ll enjoy this very much.

Before that I read John Scalzi’s newest book in the Old Man’s War series, The End of All Things.  Despite the title, he says there will probably be more books later but that’s one of the great things about this series.  It was never intended as one and all of the books basically stand on their own.  Also, since it was never really intended as a series he has been free to try different things each time.  One is a straight up military space adventure, one is more a black ops type book, one is YA! The last one, The Human Division, was a series of connected “episodes” or stories that culminated in a fantastic and explosive cliff-hanger.  This one is a series of four connected novellas that continues that story and comes to a satisfying conclusion. Since I’ve enjoyed the rest of the series I got this from the library as soon as I could.  I liked it just as much, but not more, than the others.  The Human Division was an exciting departure in form and plotting.  This one was slightly less so.  I’m not complaining.  It was fun. But it dragged a slight bit in places and had more talking than action.  Scalzi’s great at the talking but six books into the series, it’s becoming more and more noticeable that many of these interplanetary aliens have the same wry, sarcastic sense of humor as, well, Scalzi.  And whenever there was a debate (and there are a lot of fun rat-a-tat-tat witty arguments) someone inevitably says, “You’re not wrong, ” or some variation on that phrase.  It was starting to bug me for some reason.  But I’m not worried!  Scalzi used to have an almost autistic need to tag every spoken bit of dialog with “s/he said.”  You barely noticed it when reading but when it was read on an audiobook?  It was horrible.  So he changed it.  Good man.

I can’t remember if I posted about Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane.  If I didn’t, it was EXCELLENT.  One of his best–and that’s saying something.  I can’t even properly describe it.  Remember that weird chapter in American Gods when Shadow is tied to that tree and has that long, weird hallucinogenic experience with the universe?  If you liked that chapter at all, you’ll really like this.  It’s better than I’m making it sound.  It’s not just trippy. It deals with childhood, memeory, family, time, loss, power, age and magic.  And it deals with them all perfectly.

Read anything good lately?