Wednesday, November 28, 2012

CBR IV: Book 43: 20th Century Ghosts - Joe Hill

I read this short-story collection around Halloween, in order to get into the spirit of the holiday.  I'm really just not the biggest fan of the short story. I like to get into a long novel and watch character development.  Most of these were horror stories, but a few definitely weren't. 

My favorite stories were:

Pop Art - A boy makes friends with a balloon boy.  It sounds weird, but it's actually very touching.

The Black Phone - A boy is kidnapped by a serial killer and locked in a basement that has a mysterious black phone.  Even though it is disconnected, it sometimes rings.

The Cape - Takes the idea of a little boy playing superhero with his favorite blanket and gives it a sinister twist.

Voluntary Committal - The longest of the stories, it was very original and unsettling.

All in all these stories were good.  I think that I just prefer to read one story a day so I have time to digest it, rather than reading several of them back-to-back.

4/5 Stars

CBR IV: Book 42: Redshirts - John Scalzi

*Audiobook Review*

Yet another great recommendation from anther Cannonballer.  This book was right up my alley.  I am a huge Star Trek nerd, mostly Next Generation.  This is a loving spoof in the vein of Galaxy Quest.  I laughed my ass off when I read the title of this book.

I listened to this book about 2 months ago, so I'm a little fuzzy on the details.  A bunch of brand-new ensigns have just been assigned to the USS Intrepid, the flagship of the Universal Union.  The reason for all of the new crew members is that low-ranking ensigns tend to die on away missions.  Like a lot.  More than all of the other ships in the fleet combined.  Understandably, this makes the crew a little nervous.

This is a great meta analysis of not only Star Trek, but entertainment in general.  Why do we need so many secondary characters to die in order for a scene to have the proper dramatic impact?  I loved this book, and I am recommending it to nerds everywhere.

5/5 Stars

Monday, November 12, 2012

CBR IV: Book 41: Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

*Audiobook Review*

Holy shitsnacks was this book crazy!  I was hardcore addicted to this book.  I haven't been sucked into a mystery in quite a while, and it was awesome.  This is definitely a book where you need to know as little about it as possible to really enjoy it.  I kept screaming at acquaintances to read this book so I would have somebody to discuss it with.  This book is dark and deeply disturbing.

Nick and Amy Dunne move to a small town in Missouri after both losing their writing jobs in New York.  On their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy disappears.  There are signs of a struggle, and the mounting evidence points to Nick.  The chapters in the book alternate between Nick's perspective starting the day of Amy's disappearance, and Amy's diary.  I really can't discuss any more without giving away major plot twists, but this book is crack.  It's addicting, and dark, and it makes you a little crazy.

4/5 Stars

CBR IV: Book 40: Super Freakonomics - Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

Product Details

*Audiobook Review*

I listened to this book so long ago that I don't really remember much of it.  If you loved Freakonomics, then you will love Super Freakonomics.  Read this if you love the Freakonomics Podcast.  I love this kind of pop-sciencey stuff, especially in Audio form.  It is great to listen to while doing the dishes or folding the laundry.

Once again Levitt and Dubner use economics to ask intriguing questions.  How effective are car seats?  Is it more effective for a prostitute to have a pimp or not?  Is drunk walking really safer than drunk driving?  The authors manage to make economics interesting, and these books are highly entertaining.

3/5 Stars

Saturday, November 10, 2012

CBR IV: Book 39: The Tales of Beedle the Bard - J.K. Rowling

I didn't know that this book existed until I saw a few reviews of it on the Cannonball Read blog.  Thanks again Cannonball!  This is the book Dumbledore leaves Hermione in the beginning of the book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  It is a collection of fairy tales, similar to the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson, except they were written for Wizard children.  There are 5 stories, and each one has an afterword written by Albus Dumbledore.  Each of the stories is designed to teach a lesson, so maybe these are more like Aesop's Fables than the Brothers Grimm.

This was a cute collection.  J.K. Rowling did the interior illustrations herself, and this book was used to raise money for the charity she co-founded, The Children's High Level Group.  This is a great addition to the Harry Potter universe.

4/5 Stars