Category Archives: Books

Short Book Reviews 3

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I don’t think it will make the curriculum next year. [I actually kind of like this book. But it’s hard to like Henry.]

whip hand

Can’t believe I didn’t review this one on Goodreads.  I gave it 5 stars. It’s an amazing dark hard boiled crime story with an equally amazing cover. And I believe is legally available for free out there somewhere.


Another good one with no review from me. Sad but hopeful story about a couple kids. I’d recommend it. You could knock it out in a day.

bull hunter

A fun western adventure story. Also available legally free out there.


I think Goodreads may be losing my reviews. Or i could be losing my mind. Or both could be true. Anyway, another fun crime story that takes place just down the road.  I’d read more by this guy.

Short Book Reviews 2


Koontz is a long time favorite with my students, so I finally read one. Creepy like King, but not so dark (or boring). I enjoyed it and will probably read another.


A fun 19th century story about a man with many secrets. Would especially appeal to history or magic enthusiasts.

lil bro

This was a fun story. It’s a page turner. And it made me more and more paranoid about big brother. It was a bit preachy sometimes. I had hopped to teach it this year, but I think it may be a bit too sexy for my district. I’ll check out more of Doctorow though.


The idea was fun, but the first story was so clunky that I was worried I’d misspent my 2 bucks. But they got better, and the last one, Blood & Tacos was great obnoxious fun.


Just too long with little going on. Took me forever to finish this.

An Object of Beauty

an object

I agree with Edmole. (“Throughout this book I felt guilty, as I did not enjoy this book on any level, but I love Steve Martin on many levels.”) I read this book because Steve, you know my pal Steve, wrote it. I’m not that interested in the subject mater, but I learned some things and it was a nice little story I guess. Come summer I’ll listen to Born Standing Up again.

Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction

crime fiction

Here’s’ about 20 crime stories written or published from the 1950’s through the 1980’s. The stories range from deep and dark to short and sweet, well, sweet for a crime story.  At one point I had to take a break from the book as one of the stories was really dark. Twisted dark. Hopeless.  When I picked it back up again, I read the first line of the next story. “At twenty-five minutes past midnight on 51st Street, the wind-chill factor was so sharp it could carve you a new asshole.” That story was dark to, but not hopeless, and by one of the best short story writers around, Harlan Ellison. There were several stories here that I enjoyed.  I have a soft spot for the hard boiled detective. There was I time when I read all the Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler I could get my hands on.  Heck, I wanted to be Hammett: writer, Pinkerton agent, bad-ass. So those stories were good.  I liked “Soft Monkey,” Ellison’s story with the great opening line.  I liked “This World, Then the Fireworks,” the story that influenced me to give the book a rest.  I told myself I’d read that story again just to be sure it was a creepy as it seemed (the depravity in that one was subtle). I even liked the over-the-top story of the men forced to fight to the death in a pit by crazy snake-handling Appalachian hillbillies. (Not so subtle that one.)

One thing I would do differently next time I come across a book of short stories in my to-read pile is not read it straight through. That doesn’t give me enough time to digest the gems or forget the dogs, and they get a bit mixed in my head. Instead I’ll make it my Monday night treat (or whatever day), something to be savored and enjoyed rather than hurried through like a novel.



I didn’t know anything about this book other than it was by Sigler (I’d listened to a podcast of another of his books) and in the horror section. It started out as police procedural, then I thought it was going to be a werewolf book, and then it kept surprising me. Great characters. Great original premise. Over the top in its gruesomeness? Maybe, but again, it was in the horror section. Good fun, great page turner. Sigler can definitely write a book that you want to keep reading.

Short Book Reviews #1

I feel bad using up a whole blog post for my little one line reviews from Goodreads.  So I present a few of them.  That makes me feel a little less bad.

Doctor Who II Volume 2: When Worlds Collide


How is it that the comics make more sense than the TV series.

Cory Doctorow’s Futuristic Tales Of The Here And Now


Mixed bag. Enjoyed some of the stories and art, and others not so much.

Night of the Crabs


Kind of a silly pulp kick this summer.



Silly fun.

Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life


Listening to Steve read it to you is the way to go.

By the Light of the Moon

light of the moon

I’d finally had enough students tell me how great Dean Koontz was, that when I found a couple of his novels at a library sale, I picked them up. Koontz writes thrillers, not a genre I’m that familiar with. I’ve read a couple by King. Or at least I’ve started a couple. Pet Semetary I couldn’t finish; it was just that nothing was happening, and two-thirds of the way through, I gave up. I also started It, but didn’t get but several pages in. I found that as I have kids, I didn’t enjoy reading about bad stuff happening to kids. So to be fair, my King experience is limited. I’ve read three of Koontz’s novels. What I like about Koontz is that while he does thrust us into a world of darkness, there is someone there for us to root for, there is light in the dark world. And his protagonists, in my limited experience, are people who have to screw their courage to the sticking place and face all sorts of evil in order to help out someone else, someone they may not even know. I like a protagonist who does the right thing when it’s the difficult thing to do almost as much as I like real people who do the right thing when it’s the difficult thing to do. Ok, I like real people more.

By  the Light of the Moon kept me on my toes as I never knew where it was going to go next. It went from government conspiracy to pseudo science/supernatural thriller to superhero story and then back around the horn. I finally quit trying to guess what was going to happen and just held on for the ride.  The characters here are flawed, but with a good heart.  By the end of the novel I found myself wanting to spend more time with them.  I wonder if Koontz has written other books with these characters.  It seems there is a lot more to explore with them. I’ll keep my eye out at the library book sales.

Pure Drivel

Pure Drivel by Steve Martin


I love Steve Martin.  I used to secretly listen to Get Small and Wild and Crazy Guy in 6th grade social studies.  I think I own all his albums on vinyl.  I’ve seen all his movies, except maybe Pennies from Heaven. I’ve read his books.  In particular I’ve listened to his book Born Standing Up four times, and I’ll probably listen to it again this summer.  Pure Drivel, unfortunately, didn’t do much for me. There were some pieces here that I read out loud to my family that resulted in real laughs, especially “Dear Amanda,” and “Sledgehammer.” But most of it was just ok.  I can’t resist. Pure Drivel: mostly drivel.  Sorry.

The Walking Dead vol. 1

Some (most) of these short book reviews are from Goodreads from days gone by.  When I post an old one (like this one), I’ll try to include the date that I originally read the book or posted the review.

November, 2012


A good start to what I anticipate will be a fun (?) series. We’ve enjoyed the first 2 seasons of the tv show, so I have somewhat high expectations for the comic.