Category Archives: books

All the Books Show: Episode 96 – More Sexy New Books

And with this post, I am now caught up with my podcast. So, be sure to check back every Friday for the newest episode! Or, you know, subscribe and track it yourself. Don’t become one of those “vanishing adults” politicians are going on about.

We talk Sexy New Books, because what’s sexier than a new book? Nothing. Unless that book comes with more books. Like an ebook bundle. I got the entire Wheel of Time series in one digital packet. That’s sexy.

33226621I always feel bad when we’re not won over by these new books we talk about, but I think there’s an audience for surfers turned skateboarders. If you like these titles that we don’t care for, let us know. My Future Ex-Girlfriend sounded fun, but who cares about romance between 8th graders? I do think I should have given The Wanderers a fair shake, as it strikes me as a book that gets better as it moves along. That’s the curse of a sixty minute podcast, though!

And Nic is reading Flamingo Island, so some parties won out.

You can follow us on Soundcloud, Youtube or iTunes and even Twitter! I’m sure there’s another, cool platform I’m forgetting but you can follow us on that too!

See you next week, podcats!

All the Books Show: Episode 95 – Lookalikes

This episode we talk the Bailey’s Prize, discuss the Mummy and chat more about Woman in Cabin 10. We add another title to our Lonely Hearts Book Club, but I might have been annoying during that segment.

I reviewed The Mummy on the blog, but at least you get a second opinion from Nic. And I have started the Woman in Cabin 10 but my wife reviewed it on her site, so check that out.

890509Our Lonely Hearts Book this episode was by Kate Wilhelm, winner of the Hugo Award. Huysman’s Pets, to be specific. It might be a great book. But, when I get an idea as potent as a Chris Farley movie that never was, how am I to be expected to focus on anything else. Farley was hilarious, hampered by not-fantastic films. My movie would have out-shown them all.

If you’re mad about my lack of interest in Wilhelm’s pet mystery, let me know. Keep in mind, I will be reading her work in the future, as I continue my way through Hugo winners. Let’s just hope Tommy Boy isn’t on TV at that time.

You can follow us on Soundcloud, Youtube or iTunes and even Twitter! I’m sure there’s another, cool platform I’m forgetting but you can follow us on that too!

See you next week, podcats!

I Miss Rereading My Favorite Books

I haven’t reread a book in a long time.

images252fslides252f1953-1st-editionBack when I was a kid, I would reread my favorites all the time. When it comes to the Animorphs, I gave each book multiple reads, picking different ones throughout the series or just reading the whole sage from the first book all over again.

After high school, when I got back to reading after a long break, I reread some of my favorites. Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, White Fang and Call of the Wild, to name a few. But as college rolled along, followed by adult life and a consistent job, I started having less time for everything, including reading.

Not only that, but my eyes began to open and I started seeing all the books I hadn’t read. The Hugo Awards, The Nebula Awards, long running series I had never heard of, new favorite authors who publish work every year, the sometimes informative New York Times Bestsellers list. All of these books taking up space in my schedule.

One of the biggest developments is my current job. Working as the Head of Youth Services, I have to try and read young adult books on a regular basis. Plus, the occasional book club for kids or adults. Even after being done with school, required reading is still a thing in my life.

18lvtf4jur8dkjpgSo where does that leave my favorites? Gone are the days of being bored and picking up Jurassic Park for the tenth time. White Fang sits on my shelf as a memorial. It’s both sad and encouraging that I don’t have time to reread.

One one hand, I miss my favorites. They take me to their specific worlds and characters that I fell in love with in the first place. They also connect me to real time and places, reminding me of the first time I read each book. They’re time capsules equal to a great album, whose songs are forever etched in my mind with events.

But it’s also feels great to know that I’m reading so much new fiction that I don’t have time for what I’ve already read. I’m more well-read than I was when I was younger because I branched out. I let Jurassic Park lead me to Michael Crichton’s other books. And, I’ve found new favorites. Books like Salem’s Lot and A Canticle for Leibowitz are now right alongside I Am Legend.

world_war_z_book_coverBut I still want to reread them again. I’d hate to think I’ve read World War Z for the last time. But how to I fit them all in to my life again? I reread The Outsiders for an 8th grade book club I ran, but that can only take me so far. Sometimes, I think I should just dedicate a month for my favorites. Reread April or November, or something like that.

Would that cause me to miss out on the new and possibly great books released those months? Is it worth it? Should I hope to read a great old age and reread then? Tomorrow is promised to no one so should I just start today until I have to read something new? It’s a dilemma and one that I’ve been thinking about for a while now. I don’t know how other people do it. With limited time in the day, with so much other things vying for my attention, it seems like a fool’s dream.

If someone was forcing me to reread my favorites right now, I’d probably pick Jurassic Park, World War Z, Dune and the White Fang/Call of the Wild combo. So, you know, please force me to do so. You’d be doing me a favor.

All the Books Show: Episode 94 -Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom

Look, I tried to read it phonetically. I see my mistake now. I’m sorry.

Lots of book news, some review and then we dive back into the Guardian’s list for the 100 Best Non-Fiction Books.

awakenings-2-1We talk Double Helix, North, Awakenings, The Female Eunuch and Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom, all of which sound interesting. Some of which sound like a song. Awakenings sounds like a sci-fi book but it’s real!

We also talk more about The Woman in Cabin 10. Nic just started reading it and I have to for a book club, so the adventure begins…AGAIN!

You can follow us on Soundcloud, Youtube or iTunes and even Twitter! I’m sure there’s another, cool platform I’m forgetting but you can follow us on that too!

See you next week, podcats!

All the Books Show: Episode 93 – Wonder Woman

One more week and we’re right on schedule!

This episode we talk about the history of Wonder Woman, her comics and media representations. It’s a geeky episode, but Wonder Woman is cool so it’s all good!

ww1chiangI really did end up loving the Brian Azzarello run of Wonder Woman comics. It started off rocky and the weirdness of all it put me off. I think the problem was, when it was released, it was so different than the other stories being published in the New 52 and I was looking for anything to make sense during that terrible time. But the second volume really won me over and now I think it’s one of the best series they’ve done and my favorite run of the character. You just have to read it like a Vertigo title, or an Elseworld story.

Did we leave your favorite Wonder Woman story out? Favorite episode of the old Justice League cartoon? Let me know!

You can follow us on Soundcloud, Youtube or iTunes and even Twitter! I’m sure there’s another, cool platform I’m forgetting but you can follow us on that too!

See you next week, podcats!

All the Books Show: Episode 92 – Dragon Teeth

This episode we talk about Michael Crichton’s newest posthumous release, Dragon Teeth. We also talk about your other favorite Crichton posthumous releases, Micro and Pirate Latitudes. And then things get away from us as we imagine the Lizard sharing clothes with the Hulk.

Needless to say, I find more reasons to talk about Jurassic Park. And if anyone thinks that the Timeline movie is better than The Lost World: Jurassic Park, let me know because I will physically fight you outside the location of your choice.

dragonteeth-cover-liveI reviewed Dragon Teeth here on the blog, so if you want something a little more detailed, check it out. A quick summary is that I enjoyed having a new Crichton book, but it’s not a fantastic story. If I had to rate the books released after Crichton’s death, I would pick Micro, Dragon Teeth and then Pirate Latitudes. And Micro seems a little unfair because it was actually intended to be released. I’ll read anything they find on Crichton’s computer, but I don’t think we need to any more.

You can follow us on Soundcloud, Youtube or iTunes and even Twitter! I’m sure there’s another, cool platform I’m forgetting but you can follow us on that too!

See you next week, podcats!

All the Books Show: Episode 91 – A Podcast About Podcasts!

So close to be up to date with these posts. So. Close.

We take a break from the nonstop news of books to talk about podcasts. Mainly, some of our favorites that we would recommend. Really, I should do a solo post about my favorite podcasts, because I love them and I’ve been listening to them longer then you. Also, we only mention three each and I never feel like I can describe anything well on mic.

the_weekly_planet_jpeg

For reference, the three I mention are The Weekly Planet, The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith and Revolutions. Nic’s are Something About the Beatles, How Did This Get Made? and Spacepod. Tell me some of your favorites! Or don’t! Keep your life a secret if you want! But, those with closed doors will always be investing in new locks. And locks ain’t cheap.

You can follow us on Soundcloud, Youtube or iTunes and even Twitter! I’m sure there’s another, cool platform I’m forgetting but you can follow us on that too!

See you next week, podcats!

Book Review – Exit West

51ma6eymr0l-_sx330_bo1204203200_Exit West by Mohsin Hamid is a strange read and one that I’m not sure worked, at least for me. Scanning through Goodreads, there’s a lot people in love with this book and I think I might be in the minority. To be fair, I always have a hard time with poetry.

Yes, I know this book isn’t told in poetry. But, with it’s long form, run-on sentences it has a lilting way about it. After a while, I got used to the rhythm, but it also means I drifted in and out of the actual story.

The story is about two people, stuck in their city of war, looking for a way out. At first, it seems like finding each other might be enough, but the escalating violence of their home forces their hands. The first half of the book, with our two protagonists meeting and getting to know each other, is the strongest. Not just in characterization, but also in the way the violence and horrors of the city are explained, almost nonchalantly. Characters who are introduced or are a very small part are killed off, sometimes weeks after we meet them and it’s always because the city they live in is out of their hands. This is where the book, as message about accepting refugees feels most effective. Stepping into the shoes, if even for a moment, of someone living in fear and danger, who has to just “accept” the war raging around them, is jarring. When a certain character, who is very important to our protagonists, is killed, it’s not while doing something important or meaningful. They’re killed by stray bullets, doing something mundane as searching a glove compartment for a lost earring.

The second half, however, lost my interest. The story seems to lose focus, mainly in terms of plotting. The characters lose a lot of initiative once they escape their city only to find themselves stuck in a new, temporary home. I will admit, it does show the impact of what refugee life can do to a relationship, even one with people who need each other to survive. Maybe that was the point, testing the reader’s patience along with the characters’. Both of us keep waiting for the situation to change, either for better or worse, and when nothing happens, we start acting nasty to each other.

The book ends on a bittersweet note that falls in line with the rest of the book. Well told, interesting, but fluid and not as focused as I like. The characters, like the book, drift away and, for me at least, I was ready for the book to simply call it a day.

As I tried to point out, this book didn’t work a hundred percent of the time for me. Moments reminded me of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, but where that book had its hooks in me and never let go, Exit West had me and then threw me back into the water. The run-on sentence-paragraphs, while a style that can work in parts, gets tired as the book goes one, with paragraphs feeling exhausting by the end.

I would suggest this book though, as its a great example of book forcing us to step into shoes we wouldn’t want to wear. As a glimpse into a life most of us can’t and, hopefully, will never have to relate to, it’s effective. As a narrative, not so much.

All the Books Show: Episode 90 – The 90s. Best Decade Ever?

So close to being up to date with these podcast posts, I can taste it. It taste like latent victory and that’s A-Okay in my book!

Now, to answer that very rhetorical question in the title. Yes, they were the best. Power Rangers, Animorphs, Super Nintendo, Jurassic Park, Sugar Ray, ect. So, lets get in our time machine and see what was super cool back then. What was rad.

captainplanet3-thumb-620x459-27478For a refrence point, I was 4-13, during the 90s.

Oh, did you like the 80s? Too bad. They stink. Everyone knows it but they can’t admit it because they invested so much in them. The 90s were where it was at.

Unless life was terrible for you in the 90s. That would affect your feelings, yeah.

You can follow us on Soundcloud, Youtube or iTunes and even Twitter! I’m sure there’s another, cool platform I’m forgetting but you can follow us on that too!

See you next week, podcats!

All the Books Show: Episode 89 – Dreams Are Not Enough

Lonely Hearts Book Club! And it sounds like a James Bond movie that never happened!

51j27q2bmr8l-_sx323_bo1204203200_We do talk the Edgar Awards, but again, I don’t love mysteries. I also don’t love books getting left behind. And that’s why we talk about a book in our collection that hasn’t checked out in decades. Sure, it’s not a book I would read. But maybe you would! Maybe you like those kinds of books! Maybe you don’t even know you like them because you’ve never tried. How can you know you don’t like it if you’ve never tried it! If you don’t eat your meat, how can you have any pudding?!

Don’t look at me, I’ve tried those sensual mystery books. I know myself.

You can follow us on Soundcloud, Youtube or iTunes and even Twitter! I’m sure there’s another, cool platform I’m forgetting but you can follow us on that too!

See you next week, podcats!