Book Twentyfive: Dead Reckoning

Dead Reckoning, Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris, why can't I quit you?! I mean, boy, do these books stink. And yet I put a hold on this at the library the day I heard it announced so I got it right away. I am really starting to not respect myself.

If you are interested in the plot, just take a quick look at some of the amazon reviews, where die-hard fans rip into the plot holes and continuity problems. Now that's entertaining.

And speaking of entertaining, let me leave you with a few of my most favorite quotes:

"[Eric] changed into his own party clothes. I braided his hair so it would look neat and tied the end with a black ribbon. Eric looked like a buccaneer out on the town."

Because there's nothing sexier than a buccaneer in party clothes out on the town, right? Oh Charlaine, you are so in touch with tastes of the modern woman!

"[Bill] smiled. 'Only you would say that. I love you. I think you're beautiful and kind and good, and yet you stand up for yourself. You have a lot of understanding and compassion, but you're not a pushover. And to descend a few levels to the carnal, you have a pair of breasts that should win the Miss America Tit Competition, if there were such a thing."

Book Twentyfour: The Unnamed

The Unnamed, Joshua Ferris

It's always scary when an author's first novel is one of your all-time favorites and you go to pick up their second. But wow, have no fear with this one. While it is completely different from Then We Came to the End, it is almost equally amazing. Last night, while nearing the end, it had me sobbing in the bathtub, just from the pure truth of words that came out of a character's mouth. And the loops and turns this book takes you on are thrilling and subtle all at once.

If you are like me, you will worry over what it all means for a while. Is it some kind of allegory for the human condition? Or commentary on marriage/work/love/life/death/insert-big-deal-thing-here? I suppose I've decided, in my complete inability to make sense of it, that it really doesn't matter in the end. This is not the book I want to dissect bit-by-bit in Contemporary American Literature 101. I want to just simply enjoy it and feel for the characters and experience all the sadness, love, fear, horror and sweetness that it throws at me.

Book Twentythree: Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, David Sedaris

Call me crazy, but I'm a fan of giving writers some latitude to try new things and work outside of their usual genres. So I was totally charmed by this little trifle of a book. I found it funny, horrible, entertaining, sweetly written, and true. Sure, it's nothing like his previous memoirs and essays, but you can so clearly hear his voice in here and the morals seem quite in keeping to his past work.

Book Twentytwo: Cardboard Gods

Cardboard Gods, Josh Wilker

Good things: This book is gorgeous. The cover is lovely, the pages feel great in your hands, the reproductions of the baseball cards the start each chapter are terrific. The gimmick is catchy: Mr. Wilker uses a particular baseball card from his collection as a jumping off point to tell a story from his childhood. The stories he tells are often touching and sad or funny and silly.

Bad things: Too many run-on sentences (parentheticals [inside parentheticals]--contained by em dashes--and so on), making this a clunky read. I also wonder who this is really for. I feel like he assumes you know as much about baseball as he does, which I don't, which led me to honestly believe throughout most of the book that Bucky Dent really was killed in a freak wood chipper accident. And there are parts where he goes into deep baseball-speak, which for me translated into the Peanuts adult voice, "Wah wah wah waah wahhh, wah wah wah." But on the other hand, it seems to me that there's not really enough here about baseball itself to make it a compelling read for the serious baseball fan, since the real story is about the author and his unconventional family. You know, classic memoir stuff.

Mostly, not bad, fine for a book club pick, but not really great either.