I also abandoned Eat, Pray Love and The Millennium Trilogy (made it through the first two, then remembered that no one had a gun to my head.)

(Source: bookgeekconfessions, via prettybooks)

11 July 2013 ·

Book Report: Fooling Houdini

Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind

Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind by Alex Stone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t understand anyone who isn’t fascinated by magic - the act of your own brain deceiving you, the secret societies, code of conduct, storied lore, socially awkward young men - basically, it’s everything I love in one place. And the fact that I have no business and am not welcome in magic’s backrooms only makes it more alluring. In Fooling Houdini, Alex Stone does for magic what Susan Orlean did for orchids, Stefan Fatsis did for Scrabble and David Sedaris did for department store Santas.

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26 July 2012 ·

Book Report: The Hitman’s Guide to Housecleaning

The Hitman's Guide to Housecleaning

The Hitman’s Guide to Housecleaning by Hallgrímur Helgason
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Creed-loving Croatian hitman who prides himself on putting the victim first in professional killing, finds himself on the lam after a bad kill in New Jersey. He punches a stolen ticket to Reykjavik and finds himself in Iceland, a land long on daylight and short on guns. That is, his worst nightmare. Written by Iceland’s most famous contemporary writer, the author did an admirable job getting into the head of a Croatian soldier who survived a civil war. The anti-hero’s mishearing of the Icelandic language and his outsider’s perspective on this strange land set this book something apart from all of the other Nordic crime fiction on the shelves.

View all my reviews

23 June 2012 ·

Book Report: You’re Not Doing It Right

You're Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations

You’re Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations by Michael Ian Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You don’t actually know anything about Michael Ian Black, but I do because I read this book. Yes, this book is “darkly hilarious” but it’s also darkly honest and darkly heartfelt. It’s not often that you hear a man, especially a man with such a well-defined public persona, talking honestly about marriage, depression, couples counseling and why he hates his baby. So it’s quite a parlor trick when you realize in the last chapter that the whole book has been a love letter to his wife the whole time. The joke is on us (and on fat Kevin Federline).

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4 June 2012 ·

(Source: beatonna, via ljm)

21 March 2012 ·

Book Report: The Devil All The Time

The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very violent and very dark, this is not the kind of book you curl up with before bed. Pollock follows the busted citizens of a post-war no man’s land between Ohio and West Virginia. They’re all here: the preachers, the criminals, and the preacher-criminals and they’re all up to no good, or too dumb to know better. This book does for Appalachia what Cormac McCarthy’s mid-career novels did for the American West.

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18 February 2012 ·

Book Report

Skippy Dies

Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you were ever young, you probably don’t need a 660 page book (or, in my case, a 22 hour audiobook), to tell you that kids are cruel to each other. But Paul Murray does you one better here - the adults are cruel to each other, too. And the adults are failing the children left and right, and not looking back.

Skippy dies. He dies in the first few pages of the book, and then the following 600 pages unravel a mystery of sorts - trying to help you understand how Skippy dies; why Skippy dies. The first 3/4 of the audiobook, although well-performed by a full cast, was difficult to get through. Sure, Mario is a welcome comic relief and Dennis is a perfect cynic, but then there’s Carl who, quite honestly, terrified me. I already survived adolescence once (unlike Skippy), and I wasn’t sure I wanted to relive the whole thing again with this cast of bullies and villains.

But then, as I realized that the events of this story are not merely tragic, but something much, much worse, this story picked up momentum. It’s cliche to use the phrase “runaway train” but truly, this book concludes like a runaway circus train. On fire. Pulling in to a city made of straw.

Rest in peace Skippy, and do not trouble yourself with the thought that your death, like your short life, was in vain.

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21 November 2011 ·

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