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    The Books I Read: March – April 2021

    Somebody’s Gotta Do It: Because Civilization Won’t Save Itself and Other Truths about Democracy I Learned by Winning a Lowly Local Office by Adrienne Martini I was honestly scared to read this because it talks so much about the dark times of 2016. That confident optimism (“oh, we’ll get our first woman president. No one will vote for this reality show clown who’s gone bankrupt three times.”) then shock is what provokes this book. Which is exactly why I wanted to read it. I get so frustrated reading tweet after tweet about the bad guys getting away with it, sowing discord and doubt, all to keep power and money, their…

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    The Books I Read: September – October 2018

    The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart(unfinished) It’s probably pretty good, but I did not have the patience to see it through. I like stories about child geniuses (The Great Brain, Encyclopedia Brown), but it took so damn long to get to the arc of the story–the big goal. And when it did, I was disappointed. The Big Bad’s plan seemed so juvenile and nonsensical. It was like a cheesy James Bond trope or old Doctor Who episode. I made it to 25% when I stopped, but that was a long 25 percentage points. Especially for a children’s book. That first quarter is pretty much just the process of…

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    The Books I Read: May – June 2018

    My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier It’s much less “rah-rah-America” than I thought it would be. I was expecting something like “Johnny Tremain”, but no, this is a realistic look at the Revolutionary War before people knew how it would end. It’s like the Civil War. Neighbors are on opposite sides. As many people sided with the British as the Patriots. Soldiers from both ends victimize civilians for cows or guns. Bandits raid the roads, taking advantage of the chaos in the name of “patriotism”. If you try to sell a pig to someone who might sell it to someone who might sell it…

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    The Books I Read: September – October 2013

    Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines Jim C. Hines is good at set dressing, but less so with character + plot combos. I wish I could come up with overall ideas like him, but that’s about all I wish for.  The story, like his other stories, are very linear and take all place in the immediate present with little thought to backstory or contemplation. I feel like his characters don’t drive the plot, events do. And the result is I don’t have much sense of character. No sense that this matters to the character personally, only immediately. So there’s no literary devices, no foreshadowing, no flashbacks, no Easter eggs, no moments…

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    The Books I Read: May – June 2013

    The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To by D.C. Pierson You might remember this story from the famous “Yahoo! Answers” response to someone who asked for a summary, wanting to skip the summer reading. The D.C. Pierson himself responded, saying how disappointed he was trying to avoid it because it sounded like work, when the book is much better than other classics that could pop up on such a list. (Christ, Charlie Brown got assigned War and Peace, and that was just for Christmas vacation!) But the book is everything Pierson said it was. The thing is it’s really rather… how do I put this… The title promises…

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    The Books I Read: January – February 2013

    Heights of the Depths (The Hidden Earth Chronicles #2) by Peter David This book wasn’t as excellent as the first one, but still pretty good. Maybe because it’s the second of a trilogy, always a disadvantage since it loses the excitement of an introduction or resolution and there’s more moving characters to a destination. Also, the eBook version had quite a few typography problems. The spacing would go from single to double with no transition, and the font size would change sometimes. It looked unprofessionally produced, which doesn’t match what I know of Peter David — a consummate writer-fo’-life. I hope this was just a blip. The book continues where…

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    The Books I Read: September – October 2012

    The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle My mom was surprised I’d never read it. And I saw the movie, which I loved for its campy 80’s-ness and animation that wasn’t Disney. The book follows the movie pretty damn well. It’s almost word-for-word. So much that I’m afraid my experience with the movie colored my opinion of the book. I guess it’s like when you hear the remix to a song first, then you hear the original version. But the remix was the first one you heard so you like that better. I’m sure there’s a name for that phenomenon. Anyway, I wish I could say I enjoyed it and…