In August I did something I rarely do these days: I read a book I didn’t like. Between Goodreads, friends’ recommendations, and just having a very good sense of what I enjoy, I rarely start a book I’m not pretty certain I’m going to like. Which is good, because I hate to DNF (short for “Did Not Finish”) a book. I did finish this one, but I wish I hadn’t taken the time. Still, it was a great month for reading, with some quiet days and extra free time and a couple of long commutes and travel times meaning I read eight (!) books in August. And the others ranged from good to an absolutely incredible new favourite. Here they are:
There’s a video on Youtube of BJ Novak telling the story of “Wikipedia Brown and the Case of the Missing Bicycle.” It’s pretty grainy and the sound quality isn’t that great… and I’ve watched it enough times that when I reached the story in Novak’s first story collection, One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, I could hear his voice in my head and could probably have recited the story nearly by heart myself.
Maybe that’s a sign I’ve followed BJ Novak’s career too closely, along with the fact that I recognised a few of the collection’s shorter “stories” as originally being from his Twitter account, but ever since I started watching The Office and Ryan Howard became one of my favourite characters on the show even in his most hate-able moments (that blond hair), I’ve been a big fan. So in fairness, this is a pretty biased review, as I already knew his sense of humour and writing style was in my wheelhouse.
Regardless, I loved this book, and stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish reading it. Every time I thought “I’ll stop after this story, save the rest for the next day,” I found myself reading another. Some were longer, while others were only a few lines (for example, “The Literalist’s Love Poem”: Roses are rose. Violets are violet. I love you.). The thing that I found most engaging about the collection was the tone.
I don’t know much about the Liga Mx. I follow the English Premier League and the Spanish Liga, and I’ve even started watching a bit of Bundesliga recently (although I’ve yet to find a broadcast with English commentary so the only words I can pick up are things like “Dortmund” and “das fitness coach”), so I hardly have time to watch yet another league anyway, although I sometimes catch a match on Univisión while I’m at the gym. I know a few key words and names in Mexican football, Hérculez Gómez and Chivas and Chicarito and the Azteca, but comparatively, I’m in the dark. Before reading Robert Andrew Powell’s gripping book, This Love is Not for Cowards: Salvation and Soccer in Ciudad Juárez, I had certainly never heard of Los Indios de Ciudad Juárez.
Before I begin this review, I’d like to take a moment and say that I’m sick of reviews referring to The Casual Vacancy as J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults. While the Harry Potter books certainly originated as a series for children, the themes, particularly in the last three books, are appropriate for those who grew up with the series (I was in elementary school when the first book was released, and high school when Deathly Hallows came out), as well as younger readers and, yes, adults. However, I am alright with reviewers describing The Casual Vacancy as Rowling’s first book marketed toward adults because I do think that’s true—and I don’t think I would advise it be read by anyone under the age of twelve or so, due to the amount of profanity and sexual content (and violence, but then again, Deathly Hallows).
*I am so, so tempted to give it a straight-up 5/5 stars, but I feel like I’m just being biased due to my undying love of Batman (my entire Facebook bio for the past five years has simply read “I’m Batman.”). I reserve the right to adjust up (or down, I suppose) upon subsequent viewings.
Last week the final film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy was released. Obviously, the main topic of conversation since then has been the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, which is understandable and appropriate. However, upon seeing the film again this morning I still have a lot of feelings, so without further ado here is my entirely biased opinion on the amazing finale to an amazing group of films about my favourite superhero.
It’s no secret that I’m a big Stephen King fan. It’s even less of a secret that I’m a big Dark Tower fan, given that I have the Sigil of Eld tattooed on my wrist (although I suppose one would also have to be a big Dark Tower fan to recognize it as such). Therefore, I was excited when I heard that King would be releasing a new Dark Tower novel this year, if “excited” is a strong enough term. I was even more excited when I found out it was to be set between the fourth and fifth novels (Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla), an excellent place for a little more information about Mid-World and Roland Deschain’s ka-tet.