Monday, October 10, 2005

Books: Julie & Julia, Lunar Park

He's gone soft! He's reading mainstream fiction again.

Actually, since i've only been blogging for a short time, nobody's ssaying that at all, but I'm sure thinking that. In the last month, the books I've read on business trips are:

  • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
  • Lunar Park, by Bret Easton Ellis
  • Bridge of Ashes by Roger Zelazny
  • Julie & Julia by Julie Powell

Note: No Amazon links here -- my wife owns a children's bookstore, and she'd kill me to link to the competition.

So 50% of my recent reading isn't genre fiction. A case can be made for Anansi Boys to be mainstream, since it is selling like it's mainstream. The Zelazny hardly counts since it's under 150 pages.

But let's examine those other two:

I picked up Lunar Park, an Advance Reading Copy of which had been sitting in the stack since the beginning of June when we brought it back from BookExpoAmerica. I picked it up for the title, not remembering who Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho, Less Than Zero) is. But Stephen King recommended it in Entertainment Weekly, and Ellis has said that he was inspired by King. And it is a horror storry in the King-ian mode, with what appears to be characters from his own books haunting him. It's a fun read, and perhaps I'd have enjoyed it more if I'd read LTZ or AS but it's a page-turner, and not too self-indulgent, I'd say, since the "self" the book describes is not the real Bret Easton Ellis. But why Lunar Park? The phrase only is mentioned in the book, what, 3 times? And those are all in reference to the book itself. I did think that he lost a bit of opportunity to speak to some of the father/son issues, especially the sort of "I'm becoming my father" dread that new parents go through. But since he isn't really a father, perhaps those things didn't occur to him. I'll ask him, if I ever get the chance (hey, it could happen at a future BookExpo).

Julie & Julia is different for me. Though I own hundreds of cookbooks, this isn't one, but it is about cooking (although not as much as her blog, linked below, is). And though she isn't a computer expert, she certainly fits in the society. She geeks out over Buffy the Vampire Slayer, considers an alternate universe where French cooking is still relevant to the US, and comes across as a cross between, say, Candace Bushnell (I've got her book on the stack too, but it's not likely to get read anytime soon) and, oh, Xeni Jardin on BoingBoing. The fact that the book is full of sex, food porn (no, not food as sex -- food as an object of desire in itself), and loads of sarcastic humor makes it worthwhile. I'm not done with it yet, but I thought I'd get this mini-review out of the way. Go read it, it's a lot of fun.

And what of the stack? Is there any SF in there at all? Sadly, not much, no big-name authors, those were read as soon as they came out (one of the hazards/benefits of owning a bookstore -- buying at wholesale). What happens to all those books, then? A lot of them get read by Sue, they're kids books for her to review for the site, and what's left gets given out at our annual holiday party. I'll let you know if you're invited, or even if it happens this year. The Remodeling Project is probably one of the next entries here.

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