Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012: A Year in Books

  1. Breathers: A Zombie Lament by S. G. Browne
  2. Best Sex Writing 2012: The State of Today's Sexual Culture edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, selected & introduced by Susie Bright
  3. American Vampire by Scoot Snyder & Stephen King (writers), with Rafael Albuquerque (artist)
  4. X-Men: Magneto Testament by Greg Pak (writer) & Carmine  Di Giandomenico (artist)
  5. Zap: A Play by Paul Fleischman
  6. Binky Under Pressure by Ashley Spires
  7. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
  8. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  9. Boudoir Books by Summer Ellis
  10. Doofus and Valiant by English Teacher X
  11. Crack in the Glass by Jonathan Carter
  12. The Darkness by Tony Cusumano
  13. How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
  14. Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol
  15. The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine by Peter Straub
  16. Star Wars: Red Harvest by Joe Schreiber
  17. Zombie in the Library by Michael Dahl 
  18. Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires
  19. Binky to the Rescue by Ashley Spires
  20. Adam Canfield of the Slash by Michael Winerip
  21. G.I. Joe: Hearts & Minds by Max Brooks (writer) & Howard Chaykin and Antonio Fuso (artists)
  22. Batman: Long Shadows by Judd Winick (writer) & Mark Bagley and Ed Benes (artists)
  23. Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson
  24. The Boy Who Cried Ninja by Alex Latimer
  25. I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll
  26. The Breast by Philip Roth
  27. Kick-Ass by Mark Millar (writer) and John Romita, Jr. (artist)
  28. Kick-Ass 2 by Mark Millar (writer) and John Romita, Jr. (artist)
  29. Glue by Irvine Welsh
  30. Savages by Don Winslow
  31. The Good Lion adapted by Don Brown
  32. The Last Children's Book by Jesse Garza
  33. Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield
  34. Cuffed by Alison Tyler, Sommer Marsden, and Sophia Valenti
  35. The Visible Man by Chuck Klosterman
  36. American Gangbang: A Love Story by Sam Benjamin
  37. Migrant by Maxine Trottier
  38. Magritte's Marvelous Hat by D.B. Johnson
  39. Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen
  40. Flanimals Pop-Up by Ricky Gervais
  41. Mortality by Christopher Hitchens
  42. "Let's Get a Pup!" Said Kate by Bob Graham
  43. Chick 'n' Pug by Jennifer Sattler
  44. What Pete Ate from A-Z by Maira Kalman
  45. Tied Up & Twisted by Alison Tyler
  46. Wolf at the Back Door by Marilyn More
  47. Fifty Shades of Red Riding Hood by R.R. Hood
  48. Batman: The Black Mirror by Scott Snyder (writer), Jock and Francesco Francavilla (artists)
  49. Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns (writer) and Gary Frank (artist)
  50. The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
  51. Batman: Eye of the Beholder by Tony S. Daniel (writer & artist), & Steve Scott, et al.
  52. Explorer: The Mystery Boxes edited by Kazu Kibuishi
  53. The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks by Max Brooks (writer) and Ibraim Roberson (artist)
  54. Zom-B by Darren Shan

Monday, December 17, 2012

Zom-B by Darren Shan

Having read a part of Darren Shan's Cirque Du Freak series in the past, all I have to say about Zom-B is...HOLY SHIT! I know, it's a bit much, but seriously. HOLY SHIT!

I'm not going to stand here and state it's the best zombie book I've ever read–it's not even the best YA book I've read–but I will state that if you actually want to venture into reading it, you will probably not expect the twist toward the end–even though, it's pretty much obvious throughout the book after you find out.

Shan writes about two sorts of zombies–the Hollywood type and the metaphorical ones. Zombies are alive–or undead?–and students in London are skeptical. B's family thinks it's all charades, some sort of big publicity stunt. But B has to deal with more than just zombies. Dad is a total racist, whose influence is seen heavily in B's vocabulary and actions. B doesn't mean to be racist, it's just beginning to be difficult to see where the act ends and the truth begins. And while B knows that being racist is wrong and that seeing Mom beaten whenever she crosses Dad makes life unbearable, B doesn't budge. Instead, acceptance is granted and going with the flow is so much easier. And safer.

Now there's little I can praise the book for. It's hammered pretty quickly that racism is the key plot, and a lot is left unanswered. Like what's the point of B's nightmare? Whose that man at the beginning who's also an associate of B's racist dad, and what does he have to do with the zombies? And who will be the narrator for the second book? And will I even bother to read the second book?

Giving credit where credit is due, I stuck to my word and saw this short (yet long) book to the end. Though, I can't imagine wanting to read more. I've accepted the ending. I've accepted a lot of things. But yeah.

Zom-B is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble (to be linked later), as well as, for Nook (to be linked later) and Kindle. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Let's Talk About... The Walking Dead, Season 3


So unless you've been living under a rock, or just have no sense of entertainment, you have to agree that The Walking Dead is one of the best shows on television. And that's even despite the fact that the comic series is horrendous (okay, that's just my opinion, some of you might actually like the redundancy of Robert Kirkman's writing). And since it's already two days since the mid-season finale aired (so, if you haven't watched that, you may want to avoid this post due to possible spoilers that will more likely ruin your experience).

At the end of season two, the rest of the motley crew of zombie apocalypse survivors learn the terrible truth (and we finally got to understand the series title)–they are the walking dead, not the zombies. It doesn't matter how you die, as long as your brain is intact, you will come back. Rick not only drops that bomb, he admits that he killed Shane for the group–though I suspect he was just talking to Lori at that moment–and states that their party is no longer a democracy, but a–dare I say it?–Rick-ocracy.

Season three opens some months later, with the remainder of the group doing what they can to make it into the next day. Lori is full-blown pregnant, Carl is forced to grow up–no more get back in the house, Carl--and the men seem to be sporting some awesome facial hair–though somehow Daryl and Rick keep it at a bare minimum, and that goes for their hair, too. Andrea and Michonne are on their own–unless you include her two zombie pets–and everyone thinks that the former is dead (so it doesn't make them assholes).

Because I'm pressed for time, and you attention, I won't get into the entire series. So let's just dissect the finale and talk about a few things I'm glad about this season. The latter first. I'm happy that Lori's finally gone, and I'm also happy she had a more respective death than what happened in the comic. I'm also happy that Judith gets to live for a little bit longer (that's assuming that the show runners really want to keep a baby in the series). Carl's metamorphosis from the little shit (sorry for the lack of a better word) to the man he  is in this season is something to smile upon. The introduction of the prisoners actually goes a lot better than it did in the comic, though that will become redundant if I keep comparing the series to the comic. I like how we see the Governor's descent to pure insanity, starting with the asshole stage. And, of course, Michonne's now in the series, and how can you not like that?

Now, for the former. Season three has been a whirl wind of events. We lost a lot of good people this season. But I get the feeling that the show runners only like having one black male character in the series. T-Dogg died during the season, and Oscar–one of the prisoners–took his spot as token black guy. He was killed off before the end of the finale, the same episode that Tyreese is introduced. And Morgan? Well, he wasn't ever going to be a main black character. He only appeared in one episode--though it's rumored he will return to the cast in the next half. The Governor betraying Merle is something I anticipated since I saw the look in Merle's eye when he wasn't allowed to go searching for Daryl. Pitting the two brothers against each other was also an inevitable move–if not the Governor, Rick would surely have pushed for it. Shane appearing at the end–well, Rick thought it was Shane–shows us that Rick is becoming emotionally compromised, just as the Governor is becoming the true monster we all knew he was. Andrea not trusting Michonne (though letting her go) has pretty much sealed the deal that I can't stand her and want walkers to rip her apart. The man had his zombie daughter locked up in a room full of zombie heads, how can she not see what he really is?! Michonne realizing that she needs the team more than they need her–emotionally, anyway–shows there is some humanity inside her computeristic personality. And I'm sure there's going to be some business with Axel next half season, so that's something to keep an eye out for.

The mid-season finale's cliff hanger wasn't as exciting as I anticipated–season two's mid-finale ended with a zombified Sophia emerging from the barn, though we all knew in our hearts she was there all along. So what do we have to look forward to next season? More Tyreese, that's for sure. And the possibility that we finally learn what happened to Morgan and Duane. And Merle's redemption and Andrea's inevitable fate of being Lilly Caul or dying brutally at the hands of the Governor and/or walkers. That's about it. We'll just have to wait and see.

The Walking Dead returns to AMC on February 10th. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks by Max Brooks

With the World War Z adaptation poster and trailer release, I thought I'd celebrate by reading this book. Okay, fine, I'll admit this just happened to be in our department this morning for reasons unknown. I just happened to find it and check it out today. And I devoured it in one sitting. Which isn't saying much considering it's such a thin graphic novel.

Still, for something so thin, it packs quite the punch. Max Brooks has a way with words, and Ibriam Roberson's art is reminiscent of the Tales of the Black Freighter comic-within-a-comic found within the pages of Watchmen. For those just entering the Zombie literary scene, it's quite a useful tool. For those of us who have been among the hordes for years, it's a nifty run down of Zombie history, namely Solanum's history. 

Found within the covers are twelve tales ranging from 60,000 BC to AD 1992. Using historical twists and turns in zombie favor, Max Brooks presents us the perfect companion to his survival guide and World War Z

You can pick up the Recorded Attacks at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. It is also available for Nook. In the meanwhile, here's the trailer for World War Z, starring Brad Pitt.


Explorer: The Mystery Boxes edited by Kazu Kibuishi

The other day, someone on Tumblr shared the Emily Carroll graphic story, "His Face All Red." If you haven't read, I urge you to check it out. I shared the story with my coworkers, and they loved it. So yesterday, I see this book as I'm shelving the graphic novels and put it aside. I looked through it when we first got it in June, but I didn't give it much attention because of the Summer Program. I cracked it open and scanned the first few pages, realizing the art looked familiar. This was Emily Carroll's story, her art. "Under the Floorboards" follows the tale of a girl who takes advantage of a wax figure's kindness. When it is not returned, the doll becomes enraged. Dark. Unsettling, but it's no "His Face All Red," I can tell you that much. Intrigued, I continued onward.

The collection tells tales about boxes. Some contain good things, others bad. Some of the stories are lighthearted, while others take a darker tone. Still, it's appropriate for kids.

In "Spring Cleaning," Oliver discovers a box within his messy closet. A valuable box, indeed, that wizards are after. "The Keeper's Treasure," follows a young man as he uncovers a treasure and a new friend who has never stepped foot outside into the world. "The Butter Thief" reminds us that it's better to keep our word than to be dishonorable, whereas, "The Solider's Daughter" tells us to seek solace rather than vengeance. "Whatzit" is a humorous tale that reminds us curiosity, while great for our development, can bring us some trouble. And Kazu Kibuishi's "The Escape Option," reminds us that we cannot escape our fates.

Explorer: The Mystery Boxes is highly entertaining, and provides a vast amount of morals in such a short book. A must read for children and their parents.

You can pick up a copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Batman: Eye of the Beholder by Tony S. Daniel

What can I say? It falls short. Then again, being divorced from the comic book world for so long tends to leave a guy straggling behind. Playing catch up is hardly any fun. Tony S. Daniel brings us a story that I gave half my attention to. Compared to the other Dick-Grayson-as-Batman tales I've read lately, this one didn't capture my attention all that much. Maybe it's because Bruce Wayne makes an appearance and then vanishes. Or it's the Lazarus pits. Or the fact I never read up on how Bruce died and was brought back. Or maybe it's just that I didn't care for the story - though I did like Enigma, The Riddler's "daughter." And Two-Face making an appearance in the second book. I don't know. There are just holes in the story that I blame on my separation.

Outside of my sorta liking the story, I will admit that the art is decent, though at times it feels less gritty that it should. I don't know. Maybe it's just me.

Anyway, you can pick up a copy of Batman: Eye of the Beholder at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Until next time, happy huntin'.

Kobo Wifi eReader

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

There isn't a single person in this world that hasn't heard about the heroic deeds of Prince Charming. But were you aware that there is more than one? There is no need to fret, Christopher Healy has collected four of the most popular Princes Charming and set them off on an adventure of a life time.

There's Frederic, Cinderella's prince, who doesn't take any risk. Gustav, Rapunzel's prince, yearns for his parents' approval and wishes to rid himself of the reputation that has followed him since his heroic deed. Liam, Sleeping Beauty's prince, who realizes that, despite the praise he receives for his good deeds, the people of his kingdom are rotten to the core. And lastly, Duncan, Snow White's prince, who is...um...interesting. Together, these four princes set off to rescue Cinderella (just called Ella) from the evil witch, Zaubera (the name give to the antagonist in the Rapunzel tale). But things aren't always as they seem, because even though the princes mean well, they're not all that the songs make them out to be. 

Christopher Healy has a gift with words. Very few writers making their debuts these days do. Like most of the juvenile fiction I pick up, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom appeared on my shelving cart one morning so I sat down and took a peek. Just the prologue alone had me in stitches:
Prince Charming is afraid of old ladies. Didn't know that did you?
Don't worry. There's a lot you don't know about Prince Charming: Prince Charming has no idea how to use a sword; Prince Charming has no patience for dwarfs; Prince Charming has an irrational hatred of capes.
Some of you may not even realize that there's more than on Prince Charming. And that none of them are actually named Charming. No one is. Charming isn't a name; it's an adjective.
And you're hooked right? No? Trust me, you will be.

Healy brings to life characters we've known since childhood, giving them personalities that jump off the page. (Take that, Disney!) Never did we think that the prince who awakes Snow White is absentminded and childlike. Nor did we peg Rapunzel's prince as a brute who refuses to show any emotion for another being. And it's just not the princes that new personalities were given, take Briar Rose - a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty - how many of use figured she was a - well, since this is a children's book, I'll refrain from colorful language - very mean-spirited female?

And his voice, much like his characters, leap off the page. It's fast-paced, jam packed with humor and action - a fun read for adults and children. So if you're looking for the next big series, I'm putting my money on Christopher Healy's Hero's Guide.

You may purchase The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. It is also available for your Kindle and Nook. Until next time, keep on huntin'.
 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns

Quite a few people seem to hate reboots. Had it not been for Frank Miller's Year One, I might not have even fallen into the comic book world. At least, not respect the Dark Knight as much as I do. So when there's a reboot on a popular character's history, I'm all ears. While Geoff Johns's re-imagining of the mythos doesn't compare to Miller's, or Kane's for that matter, we shouldn't discredit it automatically. Instead, we should embrace it. This isn't the ruining of a character, this is introducing him to another generation of comic book goers.

What stays the same? Batman is still born into the darkness by the murders of his parents. He is still motivated to save the streets of Gotham in the end. And Alfred is still his guardian, friend, and snarky conscience.

The difference is, we have Alfred, not as a butler, but, as an old war acquaintance of Thomas Wayne. Speaking of which, Thomas Wayne is running for mayor of Gotham when he and his wife were killed. Of course, it is believed that the Mayor is responsible for this murder. Who is the mayor, you ask? Oswald Cobblepot. James Gordon is introduced as a broken man. Not crooked, just defeated by the ways of Gotham – his wife was killed in an auto accident which he believes was fixed. Harvey Bullock is a former Hollywood detective celebrity who acts as Gordon's conscience, motivating the defeated man to stand his ground against the scum.

Christopher Nolan started something with his Dark Knight trilogy – that much is clear. The realism  of this brave new Gotham fills the page in Gary Frank's art. And the life Geoff Johns breathes into familiar characters proves that this new take should stick around. And shame on those of you who say that this is a bastardized version of a beloved icon. Most of you aren't old enough to fully appreciate Bob Kane's work to begin with. The fact that Batman has evolved so much in his time in the comic book universe is proof of that. This isn't our Batman. It wasn't meant to be our Batman.

You can pick up Batman: Earth One at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Until next time, keep on huntin'.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Batman: The Black Mirror by Scott Synder

It'd be a lie if I said there was some skepticism on my part about Dick Grayson picking up the cowl. And whatever I did feel at first was exterminated. There is no doubt, Dick Grayson makes one hell of a Dark Knight, despite the differences in performance – even The Joker seems a little down in the dumps about it.

What Scott Synder does with this story arc is absolutely jaw-dropping. The reality vision of The Dark Knight Saga brought to life by Chris Nolan is entwined with our favorite comic book aspects. Dick Grayson learns that Gotham isn't the city of his childhood. It isn't even the city he knew a few months ago. And as Jim Gordon suggests, there's something dark about the city, something evil running through its veins that just make the people living within it bad. Enter James Gordon, son of the commissioner, whose shady past still haunts him. Whenever James is around, bad things happen to good people. And while Barbara Gordon isn't convinced that her step-brother has turned a new leaf, both Dick and Jim are giving the guy the benefit of the doubt. Besides, there's no time to focus on just one person when there is a slew of new villains walking the streets. And not to mention everyone's favorite clown breaks free from Arkham. But can this new Batman connect the pieces before all those he loves pays the price?

As I said, Scott Synder creates a new world for Batman. A world where the criminals match Dick Grayson's version. As for the artists, creating a depraved world isn't easy. But both Jock and Francesco Francavilla did awesome jobs.

You can pick up Batman: The Black Mirror at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fifty Shades of Red Riding Hood by R. R. Hood

I'm sure the fact is exhausted – I really loathed Fifty Shades of Grey. It's terrible writing that managed to slip by publishers and fool good readers into thinking this is what erotica really is – shitty fan-fiction romance of an even shittier story. That said, I'm also incredibly tired of Fifty Shades parodies and spin-offs. That was until I stumbled across Fifty Shades of Red Riding Hood.

I took the liberty of highlighting several lines and passages I loved, which I've posted on Chapin City Blues.

Little Red Riding Hood isn't so little anymore, but she's still being stalked by a wolf while romancing the woodcutter. But there's something about the way this wolf treats her. Something about the way he carries himself. Whatever it is, her inner goddess craves it. Only one question, is Red Riding Hood willing to go along with what Mr. Wolf has in mind?

It's incredible how the author mimics the terrible writing style of E.L. James and never betrays it. Inner goddess, jeez, or something, constant references to her virginity, flood the pages of this short story parody. The only problem I had with the book was the after note about abusive relationships, as if condemning the sexual relationship found in Fifty Shades of Grey.

Fifty Shades of Red Riding Hood is available for $0.99 on Amazon

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wolf at the Backdoor by Marilyn More

I know what you're thinking, how could this not be a good story? Just look at the title - Wolf at the Back Door: An erotic tale of Anal Excitement. Notice the lack of capitalization in erotic tale. No. No, gentle reader. That's not important. What's important is the writer's ability to tell it. Yes. And let's just see some of those Shakespearean lines, shall we (to be linked shortly). As usual, to appease the advertisers, I've taken the liberty to censor the image.

As to not give too much away, let me summarize the story. A woman learns her husband is having an affair, so she answers a personal ad. There isn't too much character development - her sex life pretty much goes from bang bang bang to leave me the fuck alone, woman! There isn't any build up to the sex either, unless you consider pornographic cliches as build up (but that's pretty much like saying hugs and kisses are considered foreplay - I'm sorry to break the news, Ann Romney).

I will give Marilyn More some credit though; it takes brass balls to pull off what she did. I mean, giving us zingers like "'Oh my GOD, yes, fuck my ass baby!'" shows some initiative, and confesses that she has her own porn stash.

Wolf at the Back Door is only $0.99 on Amazon. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

First Cool Day of the Season Book Finds


Considering that I went to bed at four-in-the-morning the night before, I was quite chipper when I awoke to the sound Ruby Gloom. "It's a nice day," Jyg exclaimed. "We're taking Shaun out. Are you awake?" Even though my mind was rested, this still didn't make sense. So I managed a 'hu' and she filled me on how autumn finally arrived. That explained why my a/c wasn't working.

We headed out to IHOP, but so did the rest of the city. We settled for DQ instead. Hey, if we couldn't have pancakes, the least we could do was get Blizzards. Shaun fell asleep before we got to the park, so we detoured to the Dollar Tree. That's where I found Point Omega by Don DeLillo and Michael Caine's The Elephant to Hollywood. Both were just a dollar each. However, we did walk out the store with $57 dollars worth of Halloween decorations.

Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tied Up & Twisted by Alison Tyler

Dear Alison Tyler

Several times I have riddled this blog with declarations of love, and the fear of being redundant is settling in. Your latest piece published under Harlequin Spice banner(?) has set my infatuation with you in stone.

As you stated in your blog, you poured a lot of your own fantasies into this work. That alone was all the motivation I needed to click purchase on Amazon.

There's no need to rehash the book – you wrote it; it's not as if I'm writing a review in the form of a letter to you. Oh wait. Never mind.

The book is swelling (is that a good word?) with emotion (you'll have to read it to see what sort of emotion I'm talking about here). Hadley is someone to fall in love with immediately. A former domme turned sub who still carries a few traits of her old life seeks out an older gentlemen (used loosely), while her former sub still pines after her. Everything is wrapped neatly, but I don't expect anything less from you.

Your writing is captivating. I have to set aside some time, otherwise there'll be trouble. I get lost in your words that I find it easy to ignore "bottom" which irked me in another erotic piece. Yet, I loved Frost's use of it. How can you make such an innocent, elementary word sound so enticing? Your writing always reminds me of the words of famous film critic, Roger Ebert – "No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough." Rest assured, Ms. Tyler (can I call you Ms. Tyler?), your writing always leaves me wanting more.

SINcerely,

E.P.

P.S. You (other reader, not Alison Tyler) can purchase Tied up & Twisted for your Kindle or Nook. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Three More Children's Books

If I haven't mentioned it before, I'm going to do so now. Part of my job at the library is to find books for the children's librarian so she could read during story hour. This Friday's story hour is a dog theme, so my mission today was finding dog-themed books. I had the pleasure of reading some of these. Keep in mind, however, that I am a cat person. I did my best in removing that bias from my mind as I read the books.

Amazon//BN
"Let's Get a Pup!" Said Kate by Bob Graham

I never read anything by Bob Graham before. Fact is, half the children's books we carry are by authors of which I've never heard. So when I selected "Let's Get a Pup!" Said Kate, my first thought was, "Is that a lesbian couple and their daughter? How progressive." I was wrong about that assumption, I think.

Still, the book is cute and the illustrations are adorable. And once again, I'm put in the place where I know I should give you some sort of feedback as to why I like this book, but I don't want to give too much away. I swear to you, I'll get better at reviewing children's books. I promise.

Amazon//BN
Chick 'n' Pug by Jennifer Sattler

I'm sure we've all been there at one point. Where we're the younger sibling and we adore the older sibling, and believe there is nothing our big brother/sister cannot do. The situation might be different for some of you - only children may have an older cousin, or we imagined our parents this way; same goes for the oldest sibling - but the message is clear. Those we hold up to hero standards can do no wrong. So it is when Chick gets to meet his hero, Pug. Only this pug is nothing like the one he idolizes. Instead, this pug would rather nap.

Once again, a cute story presented to you with minimum review. I'll tell you this, however, Jennifer Sattler has a knack for children's books. Which is probably why she writes them. I started reading Pig Kahuna afterwards, but didn't finish. I'll pick it up tomorrow when I have more free time (which I won't, but one can imagine, right?).

Amazon//BN
What Pete Ate from A-Z by Maira Kalman

I worry about this dog's bowel movements. Especially when that accordion slinkys out. Spoiler alert much? No, it's at the very beginning, so no surprise endings here.

However, Pete is the hypothetical dog that gives me reason not to own one. The dog's a walking garbage disposal. Your kids will probably love him. Hopefully, more than Walter.

These books are all available on Amazon and Barnes an Noble. Their respective links are featured in the caption. Until next time, keep on huntin'!




Alibris

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mortality by Christopher Hitchens

"Time after time, Christopher has the last word," writes Carol Blue, Christopher Hitchens' widow, in her afterword for his book. 104 pages of powerful words from Hitchens and two people who knew him best, that's my description of Mortality – a book composed of, what I'm assuming is, his final essays, written while enduring treatment for esophageal cancer. 

Maybe it's my fascination with death that kept me turning the pages. I knew the end of the story – sorta. Or most likely, it's the way Hitchens wrote. Like so many people can state, Hitchens wrote in a way that makes you feel "as though he was writing to you and to you alone." His writing stays strong, he never falters. A non-believer until the end, amused by his detractors.

Each essay reads like a lecture. I was never "blessed" to hear the man in person, and now the only way to hear his voice is via the Internet. But these words are powerful. They're beautiful. Intelligent. Even cancer could not snuff him completely. Because even though his life has ended, his influence still grows. And if he hasn't won you over yet, this book will.

Mortality is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. For Kindle and Nook. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Prometheus (2012)

Purchase Prometheus on
BluRay, BluRay 3D and DVD
First of all, you have to walk into this film with a blank slate. If you walk in with Alien running through your mind, you're probably going to hate it. Because, after all, we were promised a prequel to the 1979 Ridley Scott film. And that's the second caveat – Prometheus is in no way a prequel to Alien. It's a film that takes place in the Alien universe, but acts as a stand alone (though, if you must really dissect this, you can say it's a prequel to a prequel).

The film – I expect a lot of hate for this (as if anyone reads this blog, am I right, my two followers?) – is reminiscent of another science fiction flick. Well, two. The first, of course is Alien, which this movie alludes to. There are creatures present and there is the whole waking up process that made me miss Sigourney Weaver. There is the android – robot? – crew member. The list can go on, but I'll stop there. The second film is 2001: A Space Odyssey. Not following? I'll explain why. In 2001, HAL becomes a little self-aware that leads to a whole bunch of betrayal. While David is no HAL, I get the same vibe from him. Had HAL been given some limbs to work with and alien DNA, I'm sure similar experiments on the crew members aboard his ship would have taken place. Hell, HAL might have played dirtier tricks. But whatever, that's not the point.

The point is that Prometheus, while disappointing in the lines of not being a prequel to Alien, is still a decent film. And if you're one of those people who are looking for twists and turns and – umm – a film riddled with violence from bad ass aliens, you should probably sit this one out. Though, I'm telling you, the ending is worth the whole sit.

Prometheus is available on October 11. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Flanimals Pop-Up by Ricky Gervais

Atheist parents rejoice? Maybe, but it's only a small jab at believers in this book. The rest of the time it's just all around fun book. And what else did you expect from Ricky Gervais? So what if his dry humor (humour?) is lost upon Americans? As an American who finds this man hilarious, you all should just sit everything out. Quote me on that, if you'd like.

So what is a Flanimal? The grotesque creatures that are part of the unknown world. And perhaps it's better that way because these creatures are ugly. Written as a field guy for the unknown, this pop-up edition is nothing but page-after-page of fun. So much so, you might want to keep this one for yourself. Read it while the kids go to bed. Go ahead, have fun.

I discovered this book today because we have it as a professional book in our department. Most of our pop-up books are professional because kids have the habit of destroying our beautiful toys, which is okay. Sometimes. It was the first thing I read this morning and I'm glad that I did, because tomorrow I plan to order it for my Shaun. Hopefully, he'll love it as much as I did.

You can purchase Flanimal Pop-Up at Amazon (only $6.89!!!) or Barnes and Noble (used starting at $.01). Until next time, keep on huntin'.

And while you're at it, check out these other goodies by Ricky Gervais:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen

Sometime ago, I was introduced to Tess Gerritsen's novels. Jane Rizzoli piqued my interest. Later, Maura Isles left me head over heels with the Queen of the Dead. It wasn't an easy journey. Tess Gerritsen's history of writing romance novels featured heavily in the first few novels, and, at times, it overshadowed the main plot.

The tenth novel in the Rizzoli & Isles series hit shelves last Tuesday, and I received my copy in the mail Thursday. I drove right into it, using my Labor Day weekend to devour all 338 pages of it. I entered the book still feeling the buzz from the previous novel, but I left feeling hungry still. Is it just me or has Gerritsen lost her "edge?"

Some will argue that she never had an edge, but I don't let the naysayers deter me from enjoying a book - unless, like Fifty Shades of Grey, it's godawful. I'm not ashamed that I like the series. Not even ashamed that I own all the novels in it. But the books felt too quick. And the ongoing insult of her very intelligent characters still stabs at me. How is that Jane Rizzoli is well respected, yet she always finds herself on the wrong side of the suspects blade in the end? Sure, one or two books might not have her falling victim, but Maura does. It gets knackering, you know?



Friday, August 31, 2012

"Last to Die", Two Children's Books, and More Buys






So, I might an addict. I can't just say no to books, you know? Especially when they're free. But more on that later.

I received the latest Tess Gerritsen novel in the mail yesterday – I pre-ordered it back in March while I was testing out Amazon Prime. I cracked it open and start right away. However, I'm run ragged these days. So I haven't gotten too far into it. I had to read some passages twice because I kept dozing off. Not a commentary on Gerritsen's writing, by the way.

As I have mentioned in the past, my work now involves me reading books in the department. Most of the time I select my reads from the 3rd through 5th grade shelves because their lengthier. However, because I do have an infant son, I'm drawn more and more toward the easy shelf.

In Maxine Trottier’s Migrant, we learn what’s like to be a migrant worker through the eyes of a young girl named Anna. Trottier relates migrant families to a flock of birds, comforts them with a kitten’s warmth, and compares their temporary housing to a jack rabbit’s burrow. The illustrations by Isabelle Arsenault bring Anna’s imagination to life – her transformation to a jack rabbit to comparing the voices of her fellow migrants to crickets before she is whisked away by one upon its back. As a child whose mother traveled across the state and country for work while she was growing up, this book echoes her memories. It’s beautifully written and wonderfully illustrated that all readers will fall in love with it immediately.


Exposure to art is equally important to a child’s development as reading. In his book, Magritte’s Marvelous Hat, D.B. Johnson infuses the joys of art and reading. Not only does Johnson name his character after René Magritte, his illustrations are riddled with references to the Belgian painter’s work. Interaction is also a must, so Johnson added in a few “clear” pages containing images that create new illustrations when they are turned. Johnson created a so much more than just a story about a dog painter and his marvelous hat, one that both parent and child can enjoy.

Of the two books, it's difficult to say which exactly is my favorite. They're both equally beautiful in their own right. So before I attempt some sort of compare and contrast of apples and oranges, I'll continue on to the next and former topic.

My addiction of book has reached an all new high. We have a new librarian – who is amazingly awesome – and she seems a bit miffed with the mess of donations we have in the back. It was a get rid of everything sale. Tons of things were placed in the back to recycling – all textbooks I have little to no interest in. Here's what I've made out with this time:

Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble; for Kindle and Nook. You can pick up Magritte's Marvelous Hat on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. You can pick up a copy of Migrant at Barnes & Noble or Amazon. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Snapshot #6

From The Writers Handbook edited by A.S. Burack
Dustin M. Sekula Memorial Library - my place of employment - has done something terrible to me. And by terrible, I mean f**king wonderful! And by wonderful, I mean a 25-cent book sale. No. That's not some cosmic typo. All books are actually 25 cents a piece. That's four for a dollar. Doesn't matter if it's a hardback, a trade paperback, or a mass market paperback. And all the trashy romance novels were at 10 cents yesterday.

Now you're probably wondering how a guy like me got to be so lucky. Well, it started Saturday when the Friends of the Library had their book sale. It was fairly inexpensive. Because I'm such an awesome fella - mostly because I work there - I got my books for $10, despite the fact that I had more than in books. Because not all books were sold - and we have a huge surplus of donated books we have no use for - it was decided Monday to start dropping the price. Lucky, hu? 

Here's what I have as of today:
  1. The Hot Kid
  2. 52 Pick Up
  3. Mr. Paradise
  4. Unknown Man #89 by Elmore Leonard
  5. Airframe
  6. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
  7. The Hobbit
  8. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
  9. Dead Until Dark
  10. Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
  11. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  12. Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie
  13. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
  14. The Humanoids by Jack Williamson
  15. The Inquisition by Edward Burman
  16. 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology 2nd Edition edited by Samuel Cohen
  17. Summerland by Michael Chabon
  18. Nobody Move by Denis Johnson
  19. Dianetics: The Original Thesis by L. Ron Hubbard
  20. 9/11 Report by Thomas H. Kean, Chair and Lee H. Hamilton, Vice Chair w/reporting and anaylsis by The New York Times
  21. Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverley Cleary
  22. Nightingale's Lament by Simon R. Green
  23. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  24. American Gangster by Max Allan Collins
  25. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
  26. A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
  27. Grendel by John Gardner
  28. A Short Guide to Writing about Literature 10th edition edited by Sylvan Barnet and William E. Cain
  29. The Alienist by Caleb Carr
  30. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  31. Oxford by Paul Streitz
  32. Deathbell by Guy Smith
  33. Bone: The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith
  34. The Professor of Desire by Philip Roth
  35. The MacMillan Reader 3rd Edition edited by Judith Nadell, John Langan, and Linda McMeniman
  36. Futurelove: Science Fiction Triad edited by Roger Elwood(?)
  37. The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
  38. The Writer's Handbook edited by A.S. Burack
  39. Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense 5th edition edited by Laurence Perrine
As you can see, I have a lust for books. I'm a book slut, and I take that without shame. While my loved ones might not understand my need for books, I know in my heart there are more like me out there. I have a love for knowledge. There are books excluded from here, of course. Books I purchased for others or books I've loaned to others shortly after I bought them. They'll find their way to this page soon enough.

Well, I'm off to read something from an anthology. Which one? I don't know. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

American Gangbang: A Love Story by Sam Benjamin

Sam Benjamin's memoir, American Gangbang: A Love Story, reads like a tour de force of braggery. It's a laugh in the face that he got to live the life several men can only fantasize about. Not only did he get to work with big-breasted porn stars, he got to sleep with them, too. Sort of. Maybe not always in the ways he imagined, but that's more than most men can say, am I right? Still, this confession - can I even call it that? - depicts the darker moments and corners of the adult industry.

The story starts off from Sam packing up and heading west, finding himself in Santa Cruz with an art degree and not a single idea what to do with his life. So one day he buys porn, and decides that he's out to revolutionize the sex world as we know it. His meager beginnings include recording masturbation videos of himself while he gets off with a banana peel to recording a piss video with a man who cannot get an erection without drinking the urine of some makeshift dominatrix. Later, he's on the receiving end of a dildo in a bisexual porn flick. Then he's working for an interracial website dedicated to gangbangs. And that's where his career sets off.

He introduces us to an array of colorful characters and porn stars - names we may recognize, and others we'll wind up Google searching. There's Willie Timberlake, a bipolar ginger from Oakland whose inability to hold down a job destines him to become Sam's porn sidekick. White Liz, Sam's doomed love interest, who works within the porn industry without ever taking off her clothing. And those are the only people worth talking about, sorta.

There are several things that I find annoying(?) with this memoir. Small things that probably don't mean anything, and shouldn't deter a curious reader from reading it. For instance, there are times in the book when Sam Benjamin is adamant that he's done with pornography, but continues to pick up the camera. It's almost feels as if the reader's supposed to pat him on the back and whisper, "There, there. You deeply troubled pornographer. It's not your fault that porn's so degrading to the women you hire. You're only doing what you're told."

The dialogue also comes into question. Most of it feels scripted. Granted that Sam is working on memory, and I'm sure most things are paraphrased, it still robs from the story. In some instances, he'll drop a random one-liner as if he was working on a sitcom script in the process.

However, the book - despite it's bragging - does give the reader a glimpse of the so-called glamour of the porn industry. From the horrendous Honey back story to the poor broke Czech woman who is, figuratively and possibly literally, ripped in half during a sex scene. The way he handles his story - with the exception of the unnecessary epilogue - acts more a cautionary tale than the clueless Jenna Jameson's memoir.

So if you're looking for a pornographic memoir on the subject, pick up the book. It's worth the time taken to read it. You can pick up a copy at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and it's available for Kindle and Nook, respectively. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

More Porn Memoirs @ Amazon

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Visible Man by Chuck Klosterman

As much as I love Chuck Klosterman's writing, I have to say his nonfiction is my preference. Killing Yourself to Live is on my top ten nonfiction books, but it's a short list. Still Downtown Owl was worth the sit through. But what about his latest novel, The Visible Man? What sort of world does he take us to? Something worth reading, or something worth waiting for.

Unlike former two books mentioned, I didn't learn about The Visible Man until I saw it at Barnes & Noble's new-in-paperback table. After much debate - there wasn't any - I opted to purchase the copy because I love Klosterman - I'm sure it's the bearded face.

Victoria Vick, a therapist from Austin, is contacted by a memorable man, one who would change her life forever. Convinced that the outlandish stories he conveys over the telephone are delusions created by a lonely man, she asks to meet him in person. When he proves that his delusions are anything, but she's thrust into a world of adventure. But even though she knows what he's capable of doing, how much is truth and how much fiction? And how far is she willing to take their relationship?

I need to be honest, I'm on the fence about this novel. At times, the flow is great. Other times, I'm forced to re-read paragraphs because they just put me into the motions. Nothing was absorbed. Klosterman creates an unlikable character with Y___, but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to dislike our narrator, Victoria. Much like Downtown Owl, I'm disappointed with the ending.

Oh well, you can pick up your copy at Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and is available for Kindle and Nook. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Couple of Things.

If you noticed a different name at the bottom of the posts, rest assured that it's still me. I just added my "professional" e-mail because it's easier this way than to have to switch accounts on my phone. Now that I managed this segue, I now have a much smarter phone than my BlackBerry. I upgraded to the Samsung Galaxy S III. It's pretty bad ass. So book hunts (when I go on book hunts) can be updated live!!!!

And as if to make my day, the ever awesome Alison Tyler mentioned me(!!!) in a tweet and linked my blog on hers!!! SWOON!!! Damnit, Ennui! Get a hold of yourself. You don't want to act a fool in front of her. You'll ruin your chances.

Snapshot #4

From the pages of Ruby Redfort by Lauren Child.