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review 2017-06-02 22:06
The Assistants - Camille Perri  
The Assistants - Camille Perri

I opened the package, and the Spouse asked what it was. "I think it's the new Microserfs". He looked blankly back at me. "Generation X?" More blank. "Devil Wears Prada?" Oh, well. He's an excellent cook, among other sterling qualities.

***

I enjoyed the book enormously. It was funny, it was zippy, it was mild-mannered and self-effacing, and inoffensive. The way Tina develops strength and self-confidence felt right. It would make a good film, not unlike The Devil Wears Prada.

But I wanted more. I wanted a little rage, some self-righteousness, some recognition that this horrible dilemma of college debt and poorly paid jobs isn't acceptable and that something needs to happen to help everyone in the same boat, not just a lucky few. It was too mild for my socialist leanings, too tentative, unwilling to name the sexist elephant in the room, and somehow oblivious to the fact that the depressed minimum wage, the lack of affordable housing, and the insane cost of higher education are all issues that have been successfully remedied in other times and countries. I wanted anger, and I wouldn't have minded a call to arms.

And also, two issues that snapped me out of the book within a page of each other: in a book so modest and coy about sex, making reference to any specific penis is a shocker. But as a metaphor it just didn't work at all. But even more jarring was a comment about a character in college having read to many James Lee Burke novels. Said character would have graduated from college twenty five years before James Lee Burke was published. The twenty century is not lost in the mists of time. Someone should have checked.

goodreads giveaway

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review 2017-05-05 18:18
Mockingbird (Del Rey Impact) - Walter Tevis  
Mockingbird (Del Rey Impact) - Walter Tevis

The sexism, it burns.

Not a great book. There's the intellectual smugness, a feeling that the vast majority of humanity is Just Not Worth It. Although the author is able to imagine technologic breakthroughs, he can't conceive of a single piece of art worth the name arising in two hundred years, and everything else is just crap. Mostly plastic crap. There are good drugs, and pot is ubiquitous as the smoke of choice, but there isn't a single new good thing for hundreds of years except the thought buses. Hell, he can't even go so far as to imagine women wearing pants. The smartest human surviving is a woman, but she doesn't get an active role, she's just the passive love interest.

Nonetheless, he did have some very nice things to say about reading, so not entirely worthless.

Library copy

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review 2017-04-09 14:19
The Secret Subway - Shana Corey, Red Nose Studio
The Secret Subway - Red Nose Studio,Shana Corey

Forgotten engineering, steampunk pneumatic tubes, political machinations: I love stories of grand efforts that get overlooked by history, and trains, so this would be a winner. But then, the art: the puppets, the sets, the costumes! And excellent back matter! Sadly my local library, like many, wraps the dust jacket in a milar/paper cover which is then taped down, so I couldn't enjoy the bonus material on the art, but I get it's really cool. I'm only sorry it isn't also a short film, because that would be awesome!

 

Library copy.

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review 2017-02-08 21:13
She Is Not Invisible - Marcus Sedgwick
She Is Not Invisible - Marcus Sedgwick

Way to go, Sedgewick. Seriously, well done. Taut, suspenseful, good characterization...just a fabulous book.

Library copy

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review 2017-01-23 20:00
Hamilton: The Revolution - Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter
Hamilton: The Revolution - Jeremy McCarter,Lin-Manuel Miranda

 Rather the Annotated Hamilton, in form, with the libretto to one side of each page, and extensive sidenotes on the other, pointing out puns and allusions (so many of both). There are also lovely photos, and a lot of information about how the show came together, with cast and music and costuming and stage design and direction. And there's a lot, too about the art of playwriting, and what kind of song needs to go where, and what one needs to share with the audience when. Very cool, and not only to fans of the show.


Library copy

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