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Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Annie Dillard
Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories
Karen Russell
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Claire North
Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them
Joshua Greene
The Wisdom Of The Myths: How Greek Mythology Can Change Your Life
Luc Ferry

The Cuckoo's Calling

The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith One of the better whodunnits I've read in quite some time. The murder mystery was intriguing, the characters, both sympathetic and unsympathetic, were awesome. I felt that the scene in which the detective interrogated the deceased's mother approached literary quality. Although there was one aspect of the set up for the book I would have changed due to personal preference, the book as it was written was consistent and tons of fun.

The Trolley Problem, or Would You Throw the Fat Guy Off the Bridge?: A Philosophical Conundrum

On the Run: A Mafia Childhood - Sean Flynn, Gregg Hill, Gina Hill What an engaging and fun philosophy book, and I read it just as it was published, so all the references to current events really hit home for me. My only disappointment was that the opening was so convincingly written that for a short time I thought the set-up had actually happened. Of course it's all fictitious, but it was a really cool way to explore the many facets of the trolley problem.

To Say Nothing of the Dog

To Say Nothing of the Dog - Connie Willis A fun time travel sf read. I particularly liked Willis's use of Victorian novel and early detective novel conventions to help convey a sense of the historical periods into which her characters time travel. The book keeps up a light-hearted sense of humor while never letting up until the last second on a sense of urgency. The pace and tone of the story are a little disruptive and chaotic, perfect to describe the displacement of characters thrust into different historical eras.

Among Others

Among Others - Jo Walton Although this had elements of a book I should like, I really didn't. References to F&SF books were a huge part of story, Walton's Celtic interpretation of fairies was great, the beginning and ending of the book were somewhat exciting. Unfortunately everything in between was extremely pedestrian. Chatty protagonist diary entries read more like shopping or to do lists than they did a novel. Theoretically this was a coming of age novel about a fifteen year old girl, but her attitudes and actions throughout the novel seemed more those of a middle aged woman. What exciting and interesting parts of the story there were had to do with coming of age, and they were just too incongruous with the overly mature character of the protagonist.

Life of Pi

Life of Pi - Yann Martel The story within this story was an engaging fantasy, one which left me constantly wondering what would happen next, which was described with convincing detail and internal consistency, and in which the relationship between the two main characters transcended to become something more than the sum of its parts (although the writing style was a little too self-conscious for my taste). I thought the way in which the inner story related to the outer story was a little clumsy, and the message the author was trying to express could have been handled with more finesse.


Lexicon - Max Barry Fantastic spec fiction read. Characters were good, the speculative element was well developed and concerned one of my favorite subjects, linguistics. The strongest point in this book was the artful sculpting of plotting and pacing. It's probably one of the best plotted books I've ever read. I wasn't sure who to trust or how things would turn out right up until the end.

The Philosopher's Magazine (3rd quarter 2013)

The Philosopher's Magazine (3rd quarter 2013) - Jeremy Stangroom Loved the theme of human enhancement in this issue. The articles, themselves, didn't blow me away, but they initiated some great conversations.

Snow Hunters: A Novel

Snow Hunters - Paul Yoon I loved Yoon's style of choosing just the right details to convey his story. Our experience is made of small things, like dampness on the toes of your shoes on a rainy day. There is an art to selecting just the right small things to tell a reader who a character is, what has hurt them, what their dreams are, and Yoon knows how to make those selections. Plot and dialog aren't the strong points of the book, but it was a beautiful story told like an impressionist painting, and I will always remember hearing Yoon read his own words in the audio book version.

The Twelve (Book Two of The Passage Trilogy): A Novel

The Twelve - Justin Cronin 3.5 stars for an engaging and enjoyable read. It's unavoidable to compare the second book in the series with the first, which had the advantage of introducing us to new characters and a new world. The continuation cleverly allowed readers to play with characters and settings from both time periods explored in the first novel. Time spent in the first time period moved forward with a great sense of urgency reminiscent of, though not as highly charged as in The Passage. Time spent in the second time period during The Twelve lost that sense of urgency. I felt it became more a meeting of friends, and I always had the sense that no one in the group of friends was in real danger, they'd always be pulled to safety by the author.

Farewell Summer: A Novel

Farewell Summer - Ray Bradbury A story that only Ray Bradbury could write. He captures the thrill of growing up and an awareness of the wonder of being alive, doing so by using his unique idiom of candy, carnivals, libraries, ghosts, old men, and little boys.

Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep

Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep - David K. Randall I wanted Randall to say something beyond: sleep is super important. But the message he wanted to give was just that, nothing more, and he said it fairly well. This book was very basic introduction and intended to do little more than develop an appreciation for the role sleep plays in our lives as individuals and in our society. There were some interesting facts and anecdotes, the tone of the book was very personable. The rigor of some of the studies he mentioned seemed a little dubious to me, and I found it a bit frustrating to always stay on the surface of any topic.

Overdraft: The Orion Offensive

Overdraft: The Orion Offensive - John Jackson Miller A serviceable space opera that performed competently when released in serial format. I never really connected with the story or the characters, never found myself thinking about the book when I wasn't reading it. I think that the characters' attitudes and the alien locales were just a little too cliché for the book to spark the sense that it had a life of its own.

The Paris Review: Issue 205

The Paris Review: Issue 205 - Lorin Stein I really responded to the first story and to several of the poems in this issue. Stuff I didn't respond to didn't stink, it just didn't particularly resonate with me. That's pretty much what I want out of the Paris Review- some really stellar stuff that speaks to me, and exposure to ideas and points of view I wouldn't normally encounter.

Tom Swift and His Motorcycle

Tom Swift and His Motorcycle - Victor Appleton,  Classic Fiction (Editor),  Classic Adventures (Compiler),  Created by Classic Young Readers A story with a good heart. Although it was written long ago, and reflects some outdated social attitudes and horse-drawn wagons, the plot focuses on protecting the shockingly modern-seeming value of intellectual property. The writing style contains some classic faux pas, but they didn't detract from the fun adventure, and I found them part of the antiquated charm.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel - Neil Gaiman, Neil Gaiman Really enjoyable summer vacation read. Gaiman reaches back to the joys and terrors of childhood in a delightfully nostalgic way that is perfect for adults.

The Emperor's Soul

The Emperor's Soul - Brandon Sanderson Engaging and fun novella. I was really into the system of magic and the characters, and the tension built to the climax very well.