Inner Workings: LaserWriter II by Tamara Shopsin

LaserWriter

Tamara Shopsin’s debut novel, LaserWriter II, is slim and largely plotless, and yet somehow manages to be charming and totally compelling.

It’s a very quick read, but it has stuck in my mind in the weeks since I finished it.

LaserWriter II is a coming-of-age story about Claire, a young woman who gets a job at Tekserve, a famous (now long-closed) Apple repair shop in New York City in the 90s. She starts in intake and then moves up the ranks into repair technician. Along the way, she discovers that she is really good at repairing obscure and discontinued printers.

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Truth is a Mystery: Magic for Liars

Magic for Liars has a very cool cover, but I think it led me astray. I was expecting something a bit more dynamic based on that design and the book’s excellent title, but the resulting story was only competent and a bit unexciting. I did like the book well enough, and would definitely be game for reading work by Sarah Gailey – I’ve seen raves for just about everything they’ve ever written – but maybe I’d prefer the ones about carnivorous hippos?

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Color of Life: In by Will McPhail

I think I experienced a bit of synesthesia while reading In by Will McPhail.

The book is largely done in sketch-like black and white, the characters little more than outlines on a white background, except for moments when Nick, the main character, experiences real human connection. As soon as he makes that connection, the pages burst into fully painted, dynamic scenes, and I oftentimes felt like I could hear the sounds of crashing waves or the swell of some imaginary film score in my head. It made the whole thing quite extraordinary.

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Not Much There: Fangs by Sarah Anderson

Sarah Anderson is best known for her Sarah’s Scribbles web comics, where a big-eyed, spiky-haired version of herself deals with introversion, anxiety, and the vagaries of modern life in a humorous, relatable way. Those strips are the exact sort of thing that people love to share on social media.

When I heard about her new book, Fangs, I was intrigued because it sounded so different from her oftentimes silly work in Sarah’s Scribbles.

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Turtles and Cats in the City at Night: The Intergalactic Interloper by Delas Heras

A turtle and cat make friends.

When I read about Delas Heras’ debut, The Intergalactic Interloper, it sounded like a perfect change of pace from the world outside.

It’s a short book, humorous if not laugh-out-loud funny, and charming in a gentle, nostalgic way.

The action begins in the distant past of New York City 1995, a place and time that feels comforting purely because it is a quarter of a century and thousands of miles away from where I am right now.

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Relatable Urchins: Nancy by Olivia Jaimes

Sluggo is Lit

I’ve never read any of the classic Nancy comics, but her look is iconic. I feel like I could identify a Nancy comic from across the room by the shape of Nancy’s head alone. The fact that those comics were ubiquitous enough to become iconic but passé enough that I’d never read any of them is a fascinating contradiction.

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More Than Wordsmiths: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

Foundryside cover detail

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.

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