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mkunruh

mkunruh

Currently reading

Bobcat and Other Stories
Rebecca Lee
Progress: 107/207 pages
The Great Cat Massacre: And Other Episodes in French Cultural History
Robert Darnton
Duncan the Wonder Dog
Adam Hines
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler Sobbed at the end. I never do that anymore. This one got into my system and is going to stick for awhile. I should probably review it but I need time to think about it first.
The Gods of Gotham - Lyndsay Faye It's really a three star book, but I enjoyed listening to it more than I was irritated by the cliches. Plus she writes good dialogue, and who wouldn't want to be on the ground floor with the first New York police detective.
Luminarium - Alex Shakar

(Sometime in July) I'm doing everything I can to avoid reading this book. I sort of want to know what happens with George and with the Mira experiment but not enough to keep reading. It's an odd book.

08/11/13 -- I ditched it, added it to my discard list and carried on; but I kept thinking about it and wondering what he was going to do with it all, so I picked it up again and finished it.

Mike, a reviewer I follow sum's up much of my frustration with the book when he points out that the narrative is "sometimes (maybe a few too many times) bogged down by the weight of sweeping thematic concerns which put a drag on forward motion" and I'd go with "few too many times." Enough already. But, there is much that is interesting and smart and committed to make it worth the time. And there is a "dinner" scene between Fred and Holly and Vartan near the end of the book that is really quite oddly spectacular. In fact, Holly and Vartan, with the Reiki and the magic tricks, and their crappy apartment were some of the strongest writing in the novel.

If I were going to make up an odd shelf -- self, self-immolation and 9/11 -- I'd put it there with James Hynes book Next, but Luminarium is a kinder book and Fred although as self-involved as Kevin Quinn has better reasons.

When the Killing's Done - T.C. Boyle This was not my favorite Boyle. It is really well thought out, and his descriptions of Channel Islands is really very good, but I didn't buy it. Both Alma and David LeJoy (interesting that Alma's last name isn't as resonate) felt like straw dogs. He always has an agenda, but he usually gives his characters more space -- more maybe he likes them better? Anyways, the opening scene with Alma's grandmother was spectacular, and I loved the sheep ranch bit with Rita but most of the time I was reading to finish it.
Dead Men's Boots - Mike Carey This one was a slog. I enjoyed Carey's first one but this one was all genre formula and very little of anything else.
Freedom - Jonathan Franzen I really hate the star system for these kinds of books.

I'm not sure how to review this book. It's not the great American novel, but I see the potential. Franzen is no slouch but the novel suffered from too much observation (if astute) and not enough edge. It's like Franzen can recognize the issues but is to close to comment on them effectively (usefully?). I recognized myself and my generation but was neither affirmed (not a bad thing) or challenged.
Angelmaker - Nick Harkaway woot! This really fun.

It stayed pretty fun, but I hate backstory (especially extended backstory), so that was a bummer. But Harkaway writes well, and I like his point of view. I'm not unhappy I read it. As per usual, my 15 year old thought it rocked -- "Awesome and Horrific. All at the same time."
Vicious Circle - Mike Carey It was o.k. I laughed a couple of times and I mostly wasn't bored. I'll read another.
The Brothers K - David James Duncan 3.5 really with a crap load of reservations, but there was lots to like about this novel so I'm bumping it up rather than down. Give me a week and I could change my mind.
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore - Robin Sloan I was too old for this book. Plus that much Google love has to be unhealthy. But it was sweet and my 14 year old loved it.
The Sunne in Splendour - Sharon Kay Penman I've been avoiding this book. I shouldn't have because it is freaking compulsive. I'll see you all in about 900 pages . . .
Song of Time - Ian R. MacLeod 3.5 stars. I listened to this novel and loved the narrator and much of the novel but he goes to big (environmental destruction, disaster, politics, culture, body farms) and then can't quite pull it together in the end. His narrative frame didn't work. Although the tone was really consistent and it was a great listen. I'd happily recommend it to others.
Treasure Island!!! - Sara Levine It was fun rooting against her: horrible, horrible woman that she was. Lars don't do it!! Watch out Rena! Adrianna tell her nothing!
The Devil You Know - Mike Carey The mystery was boring, but the book was still fun and I liked Felix.
Butchers Hill - Laura Lippman I'm working through the entire series, and this one is the strongest. I'd give it 3.5 stars if possible.
Rising from the Plains - John McPhee I read this as we travelled up from Scottsdale through Flagstaff, by the Grand Canyon (we did stop to gawk), through Monument Valley and the Valley of the Gods, over the pass at Butte as it snowed (roads to Yellowstone were closed because of snow), and I finished it today as we drove around the edges of the Black Hills (Theodore Roosevelt National Park). A perfect read for a rather glorious car trip.