American Gods by
Film Noir Fantasy. A road trip across the imagination. Shadow, a recently
released convict, is drawn into the orbit of Mr. Wednesday, who is a con-man,
a grifter and a very old god. There is a war brewing between old and new
American gods and Shadow has his part to play.
A dream. A vision. A tour
de force. I love Neil Gaiman. I want his library. I love to read his books.
His work deals in mythic arcs and mythic archtypes. And yet is funny, sad,
This book is no exception.
Shadow is a great character. Quiet with miles of surface beneath the still
waters. He does what's right. What has to be done. Is a hero.
The gods are an incredible
cast of rogues and thieves. Crotchety old men and beautiful women. Because
that's how gods are. And there are a lot of them. Entire ranges of mythos.
And one must not forget one
of the main characters. America. A landscape of strange road side rests
and wonderful cities. I guess it takes an outsider (Gaiman is British)
to get a glimpse of America. I love the idea that in other countries people
build temples on sacred spots. Here we put the world's biggest ball of
twine. Because this is a big vast new place. Even when its old.
For anyone who wants to read
fantasy with a brain.
Darklord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones
Fantasy. A fantasy world is decimated by roaming bands of tourists from
our world. But the oracles promise that if the mild mannered Wizard Derk
is named Dark Lord for this year's tours, everything will change. Trust
me. It does.
This book manages to be a
fun light hearted romp, but still have some serious underlying issues.
Taking charge of your own life. Finding out who you are. Developing your
own abilities. Coming to know your own family.
But really, it's a very funny
book. The Wizard Derk is basically an engineer who does magic. At the meeting
where everyone is explaining his responsibilities, he drifts off and contemplates
the next magical creature that he will create. Then there are his children.
The human ones and the griffin children that he created from cat, bird,
and he and his wife's DNA.
And then there are his other
creations. A supporting cast of flying pigs, flying horses, carnivorous
sheep, invisible cats, intelligent geese, etc.
Although, it's a very thick
book, you don't notice it. The pace is fast and adventurous. We constantly
discover new things. When I got to the end, I was both surprised and impressed
at how Diana resolved the clues that she had scattered throughout the book.
An excellent read for a hot
by T.E. Lawrence aka Airman Ross
Autobio. Lawrence/Ross chronicles his enlistment in the RAF in the 1920s.
It's a shame that Lawrence
only wrote the two books. Seven Pillars of Wisdom is a tour de force
of adventure and emotion. The Mint is equally good, although in
a different way.
Less introspective. Less
adventure (well, there's no war on). No camels (I should hope not in Southern
England). No desert (see previous). And yet, Lawrence had this incredible
gift for getting the reader into his head.
The Mint is Lawrence's
attempt to chronicle how the military takes recruits as raw material and
mints them into something shiny and new. It is a very successful attempt.
It also serves as a kind
of bookend to Seven Pillars, in which Lawrence fell apart from internal
stresses. The Mint is about how Lawrence recreates himself into
something whole again. Makes himself into a part of a community that serves
something greater. Not as the great man leading the charge, but as one
of the cogs and wheels that make the whole thing go.
If you're in the mood for
an interesting and intelligent book, take a look.
by Janet Evanovich
Mystery. Stephanie Plum, Jersey girl and bounty hunter, needs to bring
in a little old mob man but he keeps eluding her grasp. Her spacey friends
disappear and she's caught between a rock (vice cop and boyfriend, Joe
Morelli) and a hard place (fellow bounty hunter and man of mystery, Ranger)
on the home front. Wisecracks, motorcycles, and mud wrestling are only
I absolutely love the Stephanie
Plum books. I read the first one on a Friday and by the following Thursday,
I had bought and read all seven in the series. Seven Up is the latest and
Stephanie is at her best.
She never meant to be a bounty
hunter, but when she get laid off from her job as a lingerie buyer, her
only option is to take a job with her cousin's bail bond service. She's
not a very good bounty hunter. She's afraid of her gun and has to call
for help taking down the serious bad guys, but she's got plenty of spunk,
a keen fashion sense, and amazing luck. She reminds me a lot of Amanda
on Scarecrow and Mrs. King only more sassy.
In this her seventh adventure,
Stephanie is looking for Eddie DeChooch, a little old man who's retired
from the mob, but got caught keeping his hand in by smuggling cigarettes.
Now he's jumped bail and making Steph look like an idiot for not being
able to catch one little old guy. In the meantime, her stoner friends have
disappeared and she's not the only one looking for them.
On the romance front, she
and Joe Morelli are finely engaged, but it's not all smooth sailing. Especially
since Ranger, her enigmatic fellow bounty hunter, has started expressing
his interest. Ranger may be drop dead sexy, but she knows next to nothing
It all makes for a great
mystery with some moments that are side-splitting funny (including any
scene with her grandmother), some that are scary, and some that sizzle.
I'd recommend the whole series to any one who likes mysteries and kick