Yes, I am Literate

I can’t believe the last time I gave book recommendations was all the way in October. I have been reading, lots actually (not just The Watchmen), and I think all of it is just mashed up in my brain. I continually have a book that I lug around and open every time I have a chance. They are good books for the most part and a couple of them are just a little hard to explain. So let me give you a short review for each one.

JPod – Douglas Coupland

Douglas Coupland is a hit and miss author for me. I have tried to read about 6 or his books and only managed to finish two of them, Eleanor Rigby and this one.

JPod is a strange story about Ethan Jarlewski’s messed up life. He works for a big video game design company and works in a pod were his co-worker’s names all start with J, hence JPod. I am not sure how to describe this book because it goes all over the place and so much happens that it is hard to explain and make sound interesting in this short space. There is pot growing, imprisonment in China, murder, people smuggling, and game design. Crazy stuff.

The story is also broken up by the interjection of some serious geekery like finding the incorrect number in the first 10000 numbers in pi. And they are all printed in the book and I don’t know which one is the answer so don’t ask. There are also some strange things like writing letters to Ronald McDonald that are just wrong, hilarious but still wrong.

I liked this book a lot. It is random, strange, really funny, and a quick read.

Lullabies for Little Criminals – Heather O’Neill

This book took me a long time to read. Not because it was badly written or because it was boring but because it was so sad. It really pulled at my heart when I read this book. At some parts I would only read about 2 to 3 pages at a time cuz it would just get to me.

It’s a book about Baby, that’s her real name. The name her teenaged parents gave her when she was born. She is 12 about to turn 13 and her life is going to go all over the place in the next year. Her mother died soon after she was born and she has been raised by her heroin addicted father. She finds her nomadic life and her emotional child like father encompassing and fascinating. But Baby isn’t a baby anymore and she starts to make her own choices.

The book is written from Baby’s perspective in the future after all of this is over. It is written in such an optimistic tone that you know things are going to be ok but some of the decisions she makes and what happens to her you just want to reach out and hug her.

It is a really well written book and emotional.

It’s Superman – Tom De Haven

Everybody knows who Superman is but very few people know how he became super. It is not just his powers that make people love him but the person that he strives to be. But where does he get it from? Well this is what this book is all about. This is what the show Smallville should have been, not Dawson’s Creek with super powers.

The book takes place during the depression, the original era where Superman got his start. You meet a young Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, and Clark Kent. They are all ambitious and ready for the world. They are given more dimension and you get into the characters mind space. There are also a couple of new characters thrown in there to flesh out the story. A couple of changes have been made to the story like where his suit comes from, how Clark met Lois, and how smart Lex really is but nothing too drastic to make a fan complain.

De Haven does an amazing job with this book. He brings out the feel of the late 1920’s and 1930’s vividly. Even though most of the characters are ones we have know for a long time he adds to them and his new characters are whole and complete. Superman doesn’t appear until very late in the book so don’t expect him to leap tall buildings in a single bound from the get go. De Haven makes this more than a book about a superhero, he makes it about a person that just happens to have super powers.
Feet of Clay – Terry Pratchett

I actually didn’t finish this book but I read about 3/4s of it. I stopped reading it because it just got kinda boring and I wanted to read The Watchmen before the movie came out. I had read 3 Pratchett books before that thoroughly entertained but this one fell short about half way through.

This one started interesting with a couple of murders and a poisoning that the Night Watch had to solve. They go on to talk about golems, dwarves, and trolls and trying to figure out who was behind all of this. There is the usual Pratchett humour sprinkled into this Discworld mystery but it just wasn’t grabbing hold. It started off great but it just kind off went down hill from there. It was easy to give up even though I was far into the story because I just didn’t care. The characters he introduced were different but they weren’t particularly interesting and there was no real depth to them for me to care what happened to them.

I guess if you are really into the whole Discworld Series you would dig this book but if you are like me, a passive reader of the series, I would say skip it.

They Call Me Mad Dog – Erika Lopez

I bought this book at a sale. It was on a 4 for $10 table and my friend picked 2 and I picked 2. I already had 1 book in my hands and I didn’t really see anything that interested me. I did a shameful thing and picked this book solely based on its cover. It was colourful and kind of random looking so I guessed it would be fun. I have to say I picked well.

It was far from what I expected. It was about an angry lesbian name Tomato Rodriguez whose girlfriend cheated on her and gave her crabs. And then she decides that she is going to get revenge by just pestering her and then ups the ante. So stuff happens, which I can’t give away, and she ends up being charged with murder.

This book is pure pulp. It is vulgar, intense, and manic with pictures. It is a great read but not for people who are easily offended by frank descriptions of sexual acts or course language. It even made me say “Eww” at some points.

So that is the total of my literary exploits for the last little while. I have to say now looking at it my book choices they have been varied. I am currently reading The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore so I should be doing a review of that in the future.


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