Well, it’s Monday and that can only mean one thing….
Here’s what I’ve read since last week:
WWW: Watch by Robert J. Sawyer
I hit the library jackpot last week with three books I’ve been looking forward to coming in at the same time. However, it was the new Sawyer novel that grabbed my attention first. It’s the middle installment of a new trilogy and if you haven’t read WWW: Wake, you’re going to be pretty confused. The first book put the pieces in place and the second book begins to move them together toward the final installment. I’ll have to say that the book doesn’t suffer from middle book syndrome with a lot of treading water as we set a few events in motion for the final leg of the journey. The story concerns an emerging artificial intelligence on the World Wide Web and its unique relationship with Catlin Decker and her family. Sawyer juggles several different plot threads as they effectively come together, building up to the novel’s final few pages that end on a cliffhanger. No one is in danger but there are still a lot of things left to resolve and it should make it difficult to wait a year to find out how it all plays out.
Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi
In the preface, Scalzi talks about his being his “tester” novel–the one he wrote to see if he could do it. It’s the story of an alien race that decides to come to Earth after intercepting our broadcast signals. They’ve decided not to invade but instead hire a Hollywood talent agent to help them make their big debut. There’s just one small problem–the aliens are gelatinous and smell pretty foul.
The story takes off from there, alternating between the alien (whose name is Joshua) trying to find a way to live among humanity and Scalzi’s narrator taking funny shots at various Hollywood celebrities and films. The tone is very much like his “The Android’s Dream” at times with a more Pratchett-like tone to some of the segments. Thankfully, unlike a lot of imitators, Sclazi can pull off being witty without it feeling forced or overstaying its welcome. Had I not known this was a first novel for Scalzi, I might not have necessarily guessed.
Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles
Ellie and Josh are two teenagers who have a one-night stand in the back of Josh’s van. The novel starts off in the awkward moments after their coupling and explores their reaction to events as well as that of two close friends. Told from the first-person perspective of each character, the story switches points of view, allowing us inside the heads of each character and offering a fascinating, compelling and (at times) frightening look at what it’s like to grow up today.
Of course, Ellie ends up pregnant after a mishap with the birth control and the story begins to examine the impact of that on all the players involved. By going inside the minds of the various characters, we get an interesting view and Jo Knowles captures a lot of the angst and uncertainty of being a teenager without being over the top or overly angsty about it. The novel does look at the decisions made and their impact on each of the characters in an honest, refreshing way.
What I’m Reading Now:
The Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer
Still reading it since the other three books vied for and won my attention. I know, I know…I’m terribly unfaithful to my books.
Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
Reading it for a book group and honestly, not loving it. I love the Miles space opera stories, but Bujold’s fantasy just doesn’t grab me. Every time I try to read it, I get frustrated by it. I may have to give up on this one again and throw in the towel
Heat Wave by Richard Castle
Audio book. I like “Castle” and am intrigued by how the novel is referenced on the show. It’s one of those that makes for a good audio read…it’s brain candy while doing other things.
What I Plan to Read:
Well, I ordered the novel version of “Iron Man 2” today and a new “Star Trek” book is coming out. I’ve also got the new Connie Willis book just calling to me and then there’s that new Elizabeth George novel I mentioned last week…