Shelf Monkey, by Corey Redekop

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

ISBN: 1550227661

I think my friend Sophie said it best: it is good, but I won't read it again. This isn't because of bad writing, or lack of suspense or anything. This is a book's book, a bit like The Eyre Affair, a book that knows how elitist it is and revels in it. IT hits too close to home, too much like the job I have right now, dealing with people who eat up books written by women with a mental age of 13 but who have sex. Ugh.


Portugese Irregular Verbs, by Alexander McCall Smith

Thursday, November 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0676976809

Now this guy usually writes murder mysteries for 50+ women, so when I was told that this short little book was hilarious, I doubted it. But it is. It stars a grumpy old professor who worries about who has a "Von" in front of his name and whose nose is more unfortunate than his. He studies languages and is one of the silliest, most boring men in the world, and it is fantastic. I will be reading the other two in the series when I get the time (which is never, most likely).


Crooked Little Vein, by Warren Ellis

Sunday, October 21, 2007

ISBN: 978-0060723934

Apparently this is warped book week. This book is quite short, but any longer would be too much. In the vein of Incompetence, everything that can happen to him does. Everything that can go wrong, does. He gets his testicules injected with saline, half his leads die, his gf (of sorts) cheats on him... But it is a great book. It's funny, a decent look at today's society and what is wrong (or is it?) with it.


Bad Monkeys, by Matt Ruff

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

ISBN: 978-0061240416

This book is crazy. I like books with twists, but this is a bloody tornado! :) A girl kills someone, then is caught and interviewed by a doctor at the psych-prison. According to her, she is part of an organization called the Bad Monkeys who kills evil people with a thing called the NC (Natural Causes) gun.

And then it gets weird.


Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel, by Scott Adams

Sunday, October 14, 2007

ISBN: 978-0060521493

Like all Scott Adams books, it does get a little weak at the end, but it was a laugh and his knowledge of human nature is spooky.


Making Money, by Terry Pratchett

Friday, October 12, 2007

ISBN: 978-0385611015

I was so anxious for this book I literally screamed when I saw it on the basement table in receiving. I got a few strange looks. This book is very funny, very twistey, but it feels more like a direct (as in moment after) sequel to Going Postal. I don't know if that is fundamentally bad, but it made my reading extremely quick since I was totally in the story already, having read Going Postal about 6 times already. I will have to review my score once I can read it at my leisure in paperback (which is always more enjoyable and comfortable than trying to be extra careful with a hardcover book you borrowed from the bookstore you work at - which they expect to sell again afterwards (the book, not the store)).


Plague Zone: A serial novel, by David Wellington

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


I read this in two days. David Wellington writes serial novels, putting a short chapter online every monday, wednesday and friday for the duration of the novel, which are typically 60 chapters long. Now THAT is determination.

This was a nice take on the zombie genre, different than his "monster" series. The main story is about a guy who decides to go and kill the specific zombie that killed his wife (which was lovingly broadcast again and again as the official footage on tv. Brr).


Monster Planet, by David Wellington

Monday, October 8, 2007

ISBN: 978-1560258674

The final book of the trilogy brings all the characters together, which is excellent. It actually makes all the characters figure all the right things out, and makes me super happy. I found out that the whole series is available online, at . If you don't mind reading things online, get in there right now. Now.


The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch, by Terry Pratchett, Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart

Thursday, October 4, 2007

ISBN: 978-0091898243

The first book explained physics of the planets. The second explained how culture evolved, and this one discusses time travel and evolution. The basic premise is that the Discworld wizards have created Roundworld, and they try and figure out how things work inside and how to fix it. In this one they try to make sure Darwin writes the right book in order to make technology evolve (sic) properly. A chapter of science is followed by a chapter of story and humour, which keeps the pace interesting. I like reading books about science ( I loved the Science of Star Trek when I was a kid ).


Extras, by Scott Westerfield

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-1416951179

Eeek! Totally unanticipated, this is the fourth book in the Uglies "trilogy", and takes place three years after the end of Specials (as far as I can figure). It is based in a Japanese city where fame is the most important thing around. How much fame you have dictates how many credits you have. It was still a bit slow, and this guy totally likes falling from great heights too much, but still a nice addition to the series.


The Island of Dr Moreau. by HG Wells

Saturday, September 29, 2007

ISBN: um....

I read this on the recommendation of a customer, who told me she would not be responsible if I had nightmares and threw up. Um... This girl should read monster island. Anyway, I like Wells (War of the Worlds is one of my favourite classics) and this lived up to his name. Unfortunately it was extremely short and was really not as gory as I was expecting/hoping. We have vivisection and that is it, and that is really not even described. Meh.


The Zombie Survival Guide, by Max Brooks

Friday, September 28, 2007

ISBN: 071563318x

I typically keep this book by my bedside, since reading and re-reading it relaxes me. Something about being prepared, studying the land and learning which vehicle to use to escape an infested area (bicycle is always best!) just makes me happy. The book is funny and scary at the same time, entertaining and educative, and is a great companion read to World War Z.


Calculating God, by Robert J Sawyer

Monday, September 24, 2007

This is the second time I read this book, and it still makes me happy. The premise is that aliens land in Toronto to try and figure out if there are mass extinctions on earth that match theirs. Such an ocurence would prove that there is a God. It is touching and scientific and kinda scary all at once. If there is a god, I want it to be this one.


Ella Minnow Pea, by Mark Dunn

Thursday, September 20, 2007

ISBN: 978-0385722438

I read this in under 12 hours, including sleeping a night-full in there. It is very short (only 200 pages) but it is also so incredibly excellent that I woke up early to finish it (then went back to bed). This book is written in the form of letters, whose vocabulary and word usage gets more and more constricted as letters fall of the statue devoted to Nollop (the guy who wrote: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog) and they get axed from the island's vocabulary. The penalty for using these letters is eventually death. This book is hilarious and still scary, a literary 1984 if you will.


Zodiac: the eco-thriller, by Neal Stephenson

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

ISBN: 978-0802143150

I have tried to read Snow Crash three times now and cannot get beyond the first thirty pages. Something about this guy's writing style bugs the shit out of me. It distracts me and I find it hard to keep track of who is speaking. Sometimes I skip pages and don't notice. BUT! Despite this book not being my kind of writing style, I really liked it. The topic, toxic waste and how we could "solve" it is fantastic, and it really kept me interested for the whole book. It got really good by the end, but the writing style gave me a headache. For some weird reason it is classified as sci-fi, when it should be in the regular fiction, along Christopher Buckley and the like.


Lizard, by Banana Yoshimoto

Saturday, September 15, 2007

ISBN: 978-0671532765

This collection of short stories is one of the best I have ever read. Sophie from work said I should pick this author up, and she was right. The title story is especially moving, because it wraps you up, then it's over, and you never see it coming. You just feel it should keep going, but it doesn't. Crazy.


Failed Reads - September

Friday, September 14, 2007

Colony, by Rob Grant
Diary of a Madman, by Gogol
May Bird and the ever After by ...
Swimming With The Fishes by Mary Janice Davidson

The Fourth Bear, by Jasper Fforde

ISBN: 978-0340835722

This book was just as awesome as The Big Over Easy, if not better. They develop the characters a bit more and they twist and turn the story so many times that by the time you get to the last little bit, you STILL have no answers. Love how he sums up what happened to all the characters after the book in a short little blurb. The next one will be about the hare and tortoise.


The Professor's Daughter, by Joan Sfar and Emmanuel Gulbert

Monday, September 10, 2007

ISBN: 978-1596431300

This short graphic novel deals with egyptian mummies walking around and love. It is very pretty and mostly in sepia tones, and has a nice rounded feel to it. My only complaint is that is way too short, though I would not like to see it stretched for my sake.


Fat, by Rob Grant

Sunday, September 9, 2007

ISBN: 978-0575078208

I'm sorry to have to say it, but I ate this novel up. It follows the story of one girl with anorexia, one overweight, anger-driven chef and one publicity spinner in charge of making a Well Farm (fat-nazi camp), skipping to each one each chapter, and mixing up the narratives by the end. It is really excellent, a study of how being "fat" is now illegal. The book starts by talking about the fat tax that planes are charging people based on their BMI, to account for the extra fuel needed to carry extra-sized people around.


Baltimore, or the steadfast tin soldier and the vampire, by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden

Friday, September 7, 2007

ISBN: 978-0553804713

This illustrated novel is one of the scarier things I have ever read. Almost a collection of short tales, the whole thing is wound together so well that you barely ever miss a beat. It is a story about war, plague, human weakness and vampires. These vampires are original and disgusting, and there is no way you can root for them in any capacity. It is a gorgeous, 35$ book and I am seriously considering buying it. Help me resist!

6/5 and more.

The Big Over Easy, by Jasper Fforde

Sunday, September 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0340835685

Jasper Fforde is the author of The Eyre Affair (The Thursday Next novels) and this is his Nursery Crime Division novels, Staring Jack Spratt and Mary Mary. This novel had an awesome buildup, tons of twists and seriously funny characters. It follows the veins of The Eyre Affair, where the world Fforde presents is more concerned with literature than anything else (such as right and wrong). Interesting factoid: The Eyre Affair is mentioned as a fictitious book in the novel. That was a nice little wink in the right direction.

There is a second book staring these characters called The Fourth Bear. Look for it soon.


Fantasy Gone Wrong, ed. Martin Greenberg

ISGN: 978-0756403805

This is a collection of short stories that explore how WRONG fantasy can get. Stories of note include Food Fight, where a man can hear food talking, conspiring against our arteries, and Crumbs which takes knighthood and gingerbread and bops it on the head.


A Dirty Job, by Christopher Moore

Monday, August 27, 2007

ISBN: 978-0060590284

I usually like about half of Christopher Moore's books. As in, I will like half of each book and be bored to death by the other half. This is the exception. The story really pushes you through, the span is perfect, the details are pretty much all hilarious and touching at the same time... The personification of death has always been interesting to me, but this book really raises the bar. Will definitely read this again.


I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

Sunday, August 26, 2007

ISBN: 978-0312865047

They are turning this into a movie, and I don't see how it will work... It has a downer rating of about 6-7 out of ten, so they will have to change it, probably, to make it work as a blockbuster Will Smith flick. Meh. It is still a fun short story. Word of warning: the title story is followed by multiple other short stories, which I mistook for other chapters. Trying to fit them into the I Am Legend mythos completely ruined all of them for me. Do not let it happen to you!


Monster Island and Monster Nation, by David Wellington

ISBNs: 978-0307346605 and 978-1560258667

Books one and two in the series, these horror novels work more from the point of view of the zombies than anything else. You actually feel for the zombies way more than for some of the other people in the book (although his survivors tend to be quite smart and charismatic). Monster Nation is actually a prequel to Monster Island, but they definitely need to be read in the order they were published. Monster Planet is the last book in the series, and I still have to read it.

Monster Island 5/5
Monster Nation 4/5

World War Z, by Max Brooks

ISBN: 978-0307346605

One of the most awesome books I have read in my life. I have read this about 4-5 times since receiving it at christmas time. Part slasher flick, part War of the Worlds, and part Day of the Triffids, this is the perfect social commentary of our time. Through dozens of characters we can see how a world deals with the impossible, and how some people cannot deal with it at all. Funny at times, sad at others, this is the ultimate read for any sci-fi, fantasy or horror fan.


Failed Reads - August

Failed reads are books I could not get into enough to even finish. Sad but true.

The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl
- couldn't get into it at all
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
- the first person narrator annoyed me
Stray by Rachel Vincent
- put it down after the first sentence
Poppy Shakespeare by Clare Allen
- the narrator is interesting, but hard to read because of the way she speaks. I am willing to try again later, perhaps
Keeping it Real by Justina Robson
- oh please... the cyborg chick who falls in love with the elf rock star she is supposed to be protecting... ugh.
Saint Vidicon to the Rescue
- very slow but interesting... Just not interesting enough for me to finish. Saints meets hackers is an interesting mix, though.

Magic Study, by Maria V. Snyder

Thursday, August 23, 2007

ISBN: 9780373802494
Fantasy, sequel to Poison Study which was better but less dramatic. This Snyder woman really does like to have rapists in her novels, doesn't she... Yet it never happens, we only hear about the people being raped. Quite entertaining though, Valek is a totally sweetheart.


Soon I Will Be Invincible, by Austin Grossman

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

ISBN: 0375424865

Hilarious and touching at the same time, the chapters rock back and forth between the super villains and the super heroes, dealing with the tough stuff such as keeping your secret identity to getting your costume right and maybe even taking over the world a few times.


Supernaturalists, by Eoin Colfer

ISBN: 978-0786851492

This was a great teen book, with more serious themes than you sometimes see in adult fiction. Lots of torture and death, and plot twists galore. The characters are really fun too, especially the main kid who is quite brilliant.


Darkly Dreaming Dexter, by Jeff Lindsay

ISBN: 978-0307277886

IF you ever thought that serial killers were sweet, this is the book for you. Although it has quite a few lovely moments, and it kept me reading till the end, it is not quite my kind of book. Too slow to be overly violent, and too fast at the end to be satisfying. I would like to see the television series, though, just to see what they did with it.


Taken, by Edward Bloor

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

ISBN: 978-0375836367
Publish date: Oct 9th

Got a preview copy at the Random House Fall Preview, and it is the best book I have picked up from there so far. As soon as you start, you know it'll be full of twists, but then it just keeps on twisting back and forth, mixing just enough sci-fi to make you happy, with all the worries of our modern age. Best Edward Bloor book I have ever read.


Uglies, Pretties and Specials, all by Scott Westerfield

Monday, August 20, 2007

ISBNs: 978-0689865381, 978-0689865398, 978-0689865404

This series of books is based in a world where when you turn 16, you get plastic surgery to make you into a Pretty, a perfect, cookie-cutter person who does not ask questions and who does not make a fuss. The three books folow Tally Youngblood, who, thank god, makes a huge fuss and gets things moving. Great book for young girls.

5/5 for all three.

Boomsday, by Christopher Buckley

Sunday, August 19, 2007

ISBN: 978-0446579810

By the same author as Thank You For Smoking, Boomsday presents a world drowned by baby boomers (ours), where a bill is proposed: if you agree to kill yourself at 75, you get a tax break. More involved than TYFS, the book was more serious, almost, and just as funny.


My Financial Career and Other Follies, by Stephen Leacock

ISBN: 978-0771098925

Hilarious as always, this collection of Leacock lives by my bedside. From great works such as the book store study to new stuff I hadn't read before, all of Leacock's work makes me giggle and grin. Pick him up if you like short stories.


Poison Study, by Maria V. Snyder

ISBN: 978-0373802302

Excellent novel, and apparently her first. A girl gets the choice to be executed or to become a food taster. The rhythm is excellent, and by the end you like her so much you just want to take her home with you. Awesome fantasy world that is serious enough to be taken seriously (no elves!).


Image Sources

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

All images taken from, for review purposes.