Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summer Book Reviews (Where I Brag About My Erudition)

Edit: forgot a book, which, when I realized it, made me drop the grade a little.

New books I read this summer:

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Charles Yu (B-): I dropped the grade from a B+ because I had forgotten I read this book this summer, which calls into question how good it really is. Yu creates a mind-bending universe with lots of little metafictional tidbits; after a while I got really irritated and shut off the part of my brain that was trying to make sense of it (Douglas Adams did all this much, much better). However, while Yu is not a great SF writer, he is a great writer: his story is really about a boy trying to reconnect with his broken family, and it's hard not to empathize with the well-drawn characters he creates.

Declare, Tim Powers (A): A really, really good mashup of spy fiction (compared to Le Carre, but the comparison I would make is a pulpy Robert Ludlum), Cold War history, and fantasy (maybe a little on the Eldritch Horror side).