Golems from Jewish folklore have always fascinated me, with their heads full of instructions written on a life-giving scroll. A golem is both the creation myth in miniature and a way to codify magic, a sort of early computer programming where the processors are clay giants. It’s strangely comforting to imagine that human beings could control the world in such a fashion, while also terrifying to imagine the many ways it could go wrong.
Fata Morgana by Steven R. Boyett and Ken Mitchroney Published: June 13, 2017 Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc. Genre(s): Adventure, War, Science Fiction Format: Audiobook Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins I think what drew me to Fata Morgana was the promise of an old-fashioned adventure with a bit of romance: a WW2 bomber plane flies …
Joe Ide’s debut novel, IQ, won’t revolutionize the detective genre, but it does tell an entertaining story about well-drawn and complex characters. It wasn’t the most exciting crime novel I’ve ever read, but I’d be happy to follow the future exploits of Isaiah Quintabe wherever they lead.
Good Behavior is simultaneously the definitive collection of Letty Dobesh stories by Blake Crouch and no longer the definitive story of Letty herself.
These stories were originally published as three separate novellas over the course of a few years. As of 2016, they are also the basis for a TNT series starring Michelle Dockery in her first post-Downton role in an ongoing series. The stories are collected in one volume along with author commentary.
However, unlike other book adaptations, I think I might recommend watching the show *before* reading Good Behavior. These stories read a hell of a lot like the rough draft of the show, and might best be appreciated with that in mind.
George Saunders is an amazing short story author. I’d put him up there with Kelly Link, Steven Millhauser and Jorge Luis Borges in my pantheon of personal favorites. However, until Lincoln in the Bardo, Saunders had never published a novel. This seems to be a common trait among the short story authors I love; they rarely, if ever, turn their talents to novel-length works.
Daryl Gregory’s Harrison Squared is a much sillier book than its cover implies. The sinister Lovecraftian overtones suggested by the tentacles looming behind the protagonist are present, but the book’s overall tone is actually pretty goofy even though it’s about a kid trying to find his missing, possibly kidnapped mother.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is quietly devastating, but it’s also funny and strange and next door to the unreal. I absolutely loved it.
The Toast is (was?) a hilarious website (RIP) and Mallory Ortberg is one of the funniest people I’ve ever read, so when Audible put her book, Texts From Jane Eyre on sale for 99 cents, I picked it up without a moment’s hesitation.
The basic premise of Texts From Jane Eyre is that your favorite characters from classic literature have the anachronistic ability to communicate by text. Hijinks ensue.
Darla’s Story is novella that provides a bit of backstory for a character in Mike Mullin’s Ashfall trilogy. I haven’t read the trilogy, but the novella is meant to stand alone as a complete work, so I read it with that in mind.
I instantly liked the fact that this story features an Iowan farm girl as its main character. I also liked that it doesn’t take place in a far-flung dystopian future. Instead, it takes place immediately after an apocalyptic volcano eruption covers the entire US in falling ash. Midwesterners and the mid-apocalypse aren’t common tropes in YA (at least not the books I’ve read), so I was intrigued by the novelty.
Bream Gives Me Hiccups is actor Jesse Eisenberg’s debut short story collection. Although it doesn’t feel like a vanity project, it is definitely a little derivative. Eisenberg’s work is in the same wheelhouse as Woody Allen’s short fiction, and doesn’t always fare well by comparison.
I wanted to like Noggin more than I did. It has a clever premise, it’s definitely funny, and it delivers on more than one genuinely touching moment. Unfortunately, despite everything the book does right, I just wanted to wring the main character’s neck after a certain point. During one scene late in the book I actuallty grimaced in horror at his stupidity.
You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman Published: August 25th 2015 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Genre(s): Literary Fiction, Surrealism Format: Audiobook Length: 9 hrs and 17 mins You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine is a catalog of the mundane made nightmarish and surreal. Eating an orange is a visceral act …
I recently started listening to H is For Hawk by Helen MacDonald. The book is a rare experience, both because I don’t read many non-fiction books and because the author is a fantastic narrator. Her recitation is both deeply personal and carefully, perfectly enunciated in the exact sort of British accent that makes for a pleasant listening …