Finished: 9/25/21

Grade: B+

This Chinese sci-fi epic is one part hard boiled thriller, one part alien apocalypse, and one part treatise on the philosophy of physics.

I started reading this book once before, read about 100 pages, got a little bored and gave up on it. Then everyone I know (my dad and my friend David) told me that it was amazing and that I should give it another shot. So I picked it up again, and honestly I stand by my original conclusion.

It starts with a bang and develops quickly, but in the middle things spread a little thin. The sci-fi concepts are exciting, but some of them feel added on, and there is a lot of explaining.

When the action is happening this book is exciting and fun, but I think, too often, it gets lost in it’s own heady sci-fi sauce.

Or maybe I’m just too dumb for this book. HECK. That could be it.

Finished: 9/1/21

Grade: B+

This is one of a series of Very Short Introductions

published by Oxford University Press. I love these lil books and have read a few of them, namely: Home, Madness, Dada and Surrealism, and Ritual (which was probably my favorite).

In this particular Very Short Introduction, Darryl Jones takes us through a catalogue of horror archetypes, from Monsters, to Body Horror, to Horror and Science. He does his best, in the short page count, to catalogue the significant tales throughout history, but the focus of the essay is heavily colored by the man writing it. The book is called: A Brief Introduction To Horror, but a better title would be: A Brief Introduction To Horror In The Western World

One funny byproduct of this narrow focus is that Jones kept referencing this British horror writer: M. R. James. He was bringing the guy up all the time, next to names like Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe and I was like “who is this M. R. James guy? I never heard of him! Why does he keep talking about this guy?” Then I read the back flap of the book and saw that Darryl Jones is writing a biography of M.R. James. So there you go!

That being said, the prose was light and fun and there were a lot of interesting ideas in there. I’ll probably never watch half of the movies referenced in this book because I’m a big baby, but I’ll certainly read the Wikipedia plot synopses with a fresh understanding.

Finished: 8/22/21

Grade: A

In this charming coffee table book, arthouse filmmaker Isabella Rossellini tells us about her coop of heritage breed chickens.

A mix of photographs, line drawings, and short paragraphs, this book is like a zine with extremely high production value. Like if a punk zine grew up, got a good job doing graphic design and decided to buy a house and settle down.

It’s cute and fun, and I genuinely learned a lot about chickens! Big ups to my friend Will for gifting me this bad boy!