Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Jet II - Betrayal, by Russell Blake

In spite of some bumpiness in Mr. Blake's writing in the previous volume, I've read the second in the "Jet" series.   No complaints this time about his writing.   It is a good action / adventure novel.

Having said that, it is guilty of the typical sins of this genre:  a seemingly invincible super-hero protagonist and complex leaps of reality.   This is so much the norm though.  

I liked this enough that I'm certain to read the next volume in the series.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan

When the opportunity arises to comment on a book that is actually breath-takingly delightful to read, I'm full of good cheer.   Mr. Sloan's novel is simply outstanding.  Okay, I'm gushing.

To describe it though, is not so simple.   A quest for great treasure, weaving a sense of history with the capabilities of modern-day technology, heroes and a villain (but not a scary one).

If you enjoy Neal Stephenson's books, you're apt to enjoy this.  (If you aren't familiar with Mr. Stephenson, start with the amazing Cryptonomicon , but if the sheer volume of that book is daunting, go with Reamde.)

Read this book.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jet, by Russell Blake

The good news is that this spy / suspense novel has an interesting plot and good character development.  The bad news is that you have to make it through some clunky opening prose.   It isn't bad, it is just that Mr. Blake feels as though he's trying a bit too hard to start.  Fortunately, he used up most of his adjectives in the first few pages, which allowed things - for the most part - to run cleanly thereafter.

There's a section late in the book that has the same stilted feel as the opening.  Or worse.  But aside from those two speed bumps, things do move well.   This is the first in a series, and my plan is to read the next volume.   So not great literature, but a good book for a cold evening, and a bargain on Kindle.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection, by A. J. Jacobs

Mr. Jacobs' books all describe his quest to achieve something; his "Year of Living Biblically" is my favorite to date.   In this book, Mr. Jacobs aspires to achieve optimal health.

It is a disappointment.

Yes, it is amusing.  It is a bit more autobiographical than his other books, occasionally leaving the core topic.   But I wanted it to be more seriously useful.   He briefly mentioned the landmark "China Study," but didn't delve at all into the body of research around vegan eating.   I'd have expected Mr. Jacobs to have referred to folks like Dr. Ornish or Dr. McDougall.   Nope.

If you can get this book at the discount table of your local bookstore (if such brick and mortar anachronisms still exist), or through a good Kindle deal, do so.