Sep 27, 2012 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Seth Grahame-Smith Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

My girlfriend is a Jane Austen purist; she took one look at the first line of Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and groaned and swore never to read it. In fact, it’s become a contentious issue between us: I found the book dumb and mildly diverting, but she considers it blasphemy and covers her ears whenever I mention it. And I don’t blame her for doing so. The implication is that Pride and Prejudice is only readable when mixed with cartoonish violence, that the addition of stupid only enhances what’s already a nearly-perfect novel. Read more »

Sep 26, 2012 - Book Reviews    No Comments

David Foster Wallace Infinite Jest

By most accounts, David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest should be damned-near unreadable. The book, including its footnotes, is over a thousand pages long. Flip through it and you’ll find blocks of text, densely-spaced, and paragraphs stretching for pages. It’s written in a variety of styles and has no singular narrator or, even after two hundred pages, a unified plotline. What is Infinite Jest really about? Tennis? Drug addicts? Terrorism? Television? (I know: it’s about all these things, but none of it really coalesces. Yet.) It’s certainly unconventional and (understandably) infuriating. Read more »

Sep 25, 2012 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Brian Evenson’s – The Open Curtain

I had high hopes for Brian Evenson’s The Open Curtain. I’d heard good things about it, and was intrigued by its violent storyline, revolving around a Mormon teenager who comes across newspaper articles chronicling a vicious murder. It’s a horror novel and, having grown up with countless horror novels, I still like to revisit the genre from time. So the book stayed in the back of my mind for a few years, until I finally picked it up several months ago. Read more »

Sep 23, 2012 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Nicholson Baker presents Human Smoke

I take issue with how Nicholson Baker presents Human Smoke–very little of the book is shown in context, and he oversimplifies the start and duration of World War II, focusing on the violence and atrocities committed by the participants and often reducing the war to a series of bombing raids where Germany attacked legitimate military targets during daylight hours, while Great Britain targeted civilian populations at night, but like so many others have pointed out, Baker is not a historian, and his book shouldn’t be taken as pure history. Read more »