Friday, October 22, 2010

Just in Time for Halloween Part III

This one wasn’t pulled from the massive book pile, but it was on my massive holds list. Nothing like your friendly neighborhood serial killer to put you in a dark and devilish mood.

Dexter is Delicious by Jeff Lindsay

Poor Dex. He’s got a new baby daughter, a tribe of cannibals is on the loose in Downtime Miami, and he just doesn’t feel like killing anyone. Dex is now seeing himself as Dex-Daddy, not a killer driven by his Dark Passenger.

It’s hard to make horror amusing, but Lindsay does just that. While these are dark and sometimes gory books, there is a lightness and levity to them. You don’t want to admit that you like a serial killer, but since Dexter lives by the “Code of Harry” and only kills other serial killers that look like they will get away with murder, it’s kind of okay to like him.

I have never read a Dexter book; I will only listen to them. They are great on audio. There’s something about a serial killer actually speaking his inner thoughts to you that makes it creepier than reading it…

If you’re a fan of the television show know that you’ll be confused. You may want to start at the beginning of the series if you want to read them. Almost all the characters that have died in the television show are still alive!

Satisfying Curiosity

Sometimes we want to get the inside scoop on what life is like somewhere else. Sometimes it’s an exotic locale, or a politically charged area, or somewhere right around the corner that you wonder at as you drive by…

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Piper took a walk on the wild side right after college but she’s put that all behind her. But ten years later, her foray into drug trafficking rears its ugly head and Piper is off to prison.

This is an unflinching look at what Piper experiences during her time at the minimum security correctional facility in Danbury, CT. She shares her fears, her joys and her shame at what she’s putting her loving and wonderful family through. This is a glimpse into a life that thousands of women are experiencing every day.

It’s interesting to learn what these women do with their copious amounts of time and the strange prison etiquette that Piper has to learn, and learn quickly. (You can ask your bunkie how much time she has left on her sentence, but you can never ask what crime landed her in prison.) While all these women look forward to their freedom, some are more prepared then others. What do you do with no education and no family waiting to welcome you on the outside?

This book raises a lot of questions that make it an interesting book discussion book. Of course, I chose it for my non-fiction group. We’ll be meeting at 1pm on Thursday, January 13th (that’s in 2011!) at the Bridgewater Library.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Just in Time for Halloween Part II

Yet another book pulled from the massive book pile! A friend of mine was wonderful enough to wait on a long line and get me a signed copy of this one. (Thanks Cassandra!) This book proves that mad scientists can be really creepy and scary.

The Dragon Factory by Jonathan Maberry

Crazed geniuses are threatening to recreate the world we know through the wonders of genetics. Dragons live, bottled water is suspect and eugenics is a mad scientist’s evil plan.

Of course there is an Extinction Clock, and of course it’s counting backwards. Will our heroes foil the evil plot in time? (Hint: the author is currently writing book three in the series…)

Think Tom Clancy meets Michael Crichton – there is a lot of science, a lot of action and a lot of violence. I must admit I don’t know the difference between one large gun and another, but for those that do they’ll get a little added something from this read. There’s a lot of new military hardware in this book.

This is the second Joe Ledger book, but you don’t need to read Patient Zero (zombie plague!) to enjoy this one.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

When Reviews Lead You Astray…

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

Somewhere, on some blog or review site, I read that this book was hilarious. I almost stopped listening to it because, frankly, it wasn’t funny. It’s intriguing and well-crafted, but not funny. Yes, there are some periods of biting dark humor that make you chortle despite yourself, but hilarious it is not. Typically I would stop listening to something that isn’t “as promised” but it was so good I kept going, and I’m glad I did.

The book is comprised of a number of short stories. Each is a glimpse into the life of a person working at an English language international newspaper in Italy. Some stories are touching, a few are tragic, and some are just plain absurd. It’s interesting how the author interweaves these stories so you have recurring characters, but not like you would in a typical novel. The structure of the book reminded me of Olive Kitteridge. The newspaper itself is a character in the novel. As a reader we follow the newspaper from day one to the last day of publication, although not in chronological order. It’s more like building block order since one person’s story somehow relates to another, and another, and so on.

Again, if you’re looking for funny, go elsewhere. But if you’re looking for glimpses of interesting lives, you’re in for a treat.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Just in Time for Halloween Part I

I’m going to try to catch up on some of the scarier books hanging around my house in the next month to get ready for my favorite holiday.

Feed by Mira Grant

Very rarely do I read a book that I have enjoyed so much. It’s a shame that it’s going to be a hard sell, but I’m sure going to try to get you to want to read it.

This book is funny, thought-provoking, emotional and thrilling. You’re on the edge of your seat one moment, laughing the next, and getting a little teary-eyed now and then. The year is 2040 and we’ve got a first person perspective of a blogging newsgroup as they follow a presidential candidate on the campaign trail. The author does an interesting job figuring out what the future of news reporting will be – how bloggers running independent sites will be mainstream sources for breaking news.

Here’s the part that’s going to be a hard sell for some, there are zombies. There is a huge zombie problem actually. Twenty years or so in the past (or in our case, the future) the dead started to come back to life. If you’re bitten, you too become a zombie. Unlike some zombie books and movies the science behind the dead walking around is plausible and a wee bit frightening when contemplated too closely. (Yes, I’ve pondered it and gotten a little freaked out.)

If you are a fan of zombie movies you’ll get some of the references that others may miss. To test if you’re up on your cheesy horror movie references, the main character’s brother’s name is Shaun and his blog is Hail to the King. If you get these references, this book is definitely for you. If not, send me an email ( and I’ll let you in on the fun, especially if you promise to read Feed.

This is book one in the Newsflesh trilogy. Part two, Deadline, will be released in May 2011.