Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Books That Deserve Longer Reviews Part 1

I never stop reading. It'd be almost as bad as ceasing to breathe.

I do, occasionally, stop reviewing, and this means there's a buildup of books that don't quite get reviewed. So, every now and again, I do short reviews, even though most of these books deserve nice, lavish, proper reviews. Also, the library's summer reading program is giving me a help with short-review writing. So--Here's a start on catching up!

Please note: the "Age level" note is "The age the publishers seem to think this book is appropriate for."

Cold Cereal and Unlucky Charms by Adam Rex, the first two books in the Cold Cereal Saga. So far, the series has a movie star, a pooka, a leprechaun, a unicat, an evil cereal company that is trying to take over the world. It has Merlin, Nimue, Titania, and a mechanical owl. It features two sets of siblings that have to stop the evil cereal company and figure out a way to bring magic back into our world without getting everyone killed or enslaved.

It's funny, crazy, unlikely, and sometimes heart-wrenching. Oh, and occasionally it's gross.

Yes, it's good. Very, very good.

I wish I knew how many books were going to be in it!

Age-Level: Middle grade, but that won't stop adults from liking it.
Genre: Fantasy

Superman Beyond: The Man of Tomorrow by J. T. Krul

I used to watch Batman: Beyond with my little brother, and I like J. T. Krul's work, so this one fell off the library bookshelf with no trouble.

It's a good continuation of the dystopian future of Batman: Beyond and a follow-up to the cartoon. Superman is older now, almost everyone he loved has died, and he has come back to Earth after attempting to take a vacation by traveling through the universe. It didn't turn out to be very restful--he's too used to saving people. Now, back on Earth, he's not sure what to do with himself. Meanwhile, and elderly Lex Luthor has planned to take Metropolis and Superman both with him when he dies. At the same time, criminals are fleeing Metropolis for Gotham, which doesn't have either Batman--Terry or Bruce Wayne--happy, so Terry heads out to see what can be done about the situation.

The strong friendship between Bruce and Clark is admirably shown, there's plenty of action, and, best of all everyone involved also has to think, not just punch, their way out of the situation.

In short, it's fine, fun summer reading. I need to see if there are sequels. Do you know, even now, after years of reading and remembering author names, I sometimes forget to look these things up?

Age-Level: Young Adult
Genre: superhero a genre? (I guess so. Bill Willingham thinks so. He must be right).

Homicide Trinity by Rex Stout (Editor's note: I originally had this as by Nero Wolfe!)

This was quite a discovery! I thought I'd read all the Wolfe novels, and two of the three stories were new to me. "Eeny Meeny Murder Mo," "Death of a Demon," and "Counterfeit for Murder" Archie is in top form here, sleuthing, griping, detecting, and developing a surprising protective streak for the cantankerous elderly Hattie in "Counterfeit for Murder." "Counterfeit for Murder" may be my new favorite in the Wolfe stories; it's not often the two take on a client who can match them in stubbornness.

Wolfe, of course, is busy taking care of his orchids, trying to avoid work, and eating wonderful meals.

Age-Level: Adult
Genre: Mystery

Dandelion Hunter: Foraging the Urban Wilderness by Rebecca Lerner

I like books on urban ecology and I'm becoming increasingly interested in "weeds," so this book was right up my alley in that regard. Lerner decides to live for a time as a forger, eating only the food she can find in the city. Her first attempt to do so for a week failed, but her second attempt, after more time spent researching, interviewing, and traveling with other foragers, was a success. I disagree with about 85% of her philosophy, but that didn't keep this from being a fascinating read. Also, the writing is good: Clear, strong, and often humorous--especially in the footnotes.

Now I want to find someone to teach me to identify weeds!

Age-Level: Adult
Genre: Non-Fiction


  1. I like the sound of Dandelion Hunter. I've become a bit of a forager myself- went out to check my favorite five mulberry trees that overhand sidewalks today hoping for one more pie and was disappointed to find that mulberry season is now over!

    1. Nice!

      I recommend it, then. I mean, I obviously like it anyway, but it's going to have a lot more value for someone who is already foraging!