Finished: 03/25/20

Grade: A

After a global economic collapse, a small group of tourists escape war-torn Ecuador on a cruise ship and become stranded on the Galapagos islands. Millions of years later their descendants are the only remaining human beings on the planet, having evolved into seal like creatures with short life spans and tiny brains.

In this novel, Vonnegut asks: "What's so great about civilization anyway? Wouldn't we all be better off as animals?" And then he tells us: "Yes. Yes, we would."

Vonnegut was never particularly subtle but the later he got in his career the more prescriptive he became.

Finished: 02/21/20

Grade: B+

After the Bolshevik revolution, Count Alexander Illyich Rostov returns to Russia and is placed on house arrest in the Metropol Hotel. We follow his life through the next 3 decades as he gets into hijinks around the hotel, and adapts to the constantly shifting political environment beyond.

This was a comfortable book. I was never racing home to read the next chapter, but I was always happy to have it on a long train ride or in a waiting room. Enjoyable but not very spicy.

Finished: 01/20/20

Grade: A

The work of Daniel Clowes was very important to me in my younger years. His specific brand of depressed artsy machismo struck a chord in my angsty teenage soul.

In his latest book, Patience (a tightly wound sci-fi detective story about a man who goes back in time to solve his wife's murder and maybe get some prevenge on her killer) Clowes' signature mood serves to make a bonkers sci-fi storyline down-to-earth and believable.

The protagonist of Patience isn't Captain Kirk, or Iron Man. He's just a regular schmo who gets caught up in a little slice of something bigger. He's not trying to save the world, just one person he really loves.