Friday, April 24, 2009

B is for Beer by Tom Robbins

I just finished this book today, and it was pretty funny. There is this little girl named Gracie, and she is very curious about beer. So she asks her mom about it. Her mom tells her to go ask her dad. She proceeds to ask her dad, but being the asshole he is, he isn't really paying attention to her, so her very nice Uncle Moe tells her all about it.
Gracie is only 5 years old, almost 6, so she does what all kids do: She repeats what she is told about beer to her Sunday school class, getting herself thrown out of class by her puritanical teacher. After a number of bad things happen to Gracie, she finds out for herself what beer does to you, then meets the Beer Fairy, who tells Gracie the secrets and mysteries of the beverage that addicts and gratifies so many adults all over the world.
This is definitely a cute book, with lots of witty little bits about beer and human behavior. I'd recommend it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Needless to say, I loved this book. This is a story about a baby who survives a murder attempt on his life when he is only a baby. Unfortunately, his family is not so lucky. The baby crawls away to safety, oblivious to what has happened, and finds his way to a graveyard nearby. Fate, or Chance, or something, smiles on him then, and he is adopted by two of the ghosts in the graveyard, Mister and Mistress Owens. He is also given Freedom of the Graveyard, which gives him privileges that none but the ghosts themselves have there. He is cared for, loved, and educated by all of the inhabitants of the graveyard, including his guardian, Silas, who is neither living, nor dead, but comes and goes as he pleases; at least, he did before the baby showed up. The baby is named Nobody Owens by the ghosts, and lives his life much like his literary predecessor, Mowgli, from The Jungle Book.
Neil Gaiman consistently delivers amazingly written stories for people of all ages. Every time I pick up one of his novels I expect great characters, well delivered stories, and great imagery. This one was no different. I got to see Bod, short for Nobody, grow up, learn to read from gravestones, develop friendships, and become a person that I admire. He is brave, smart, has a voracious thirst for knowledge. He is always kind, helps others with their problems. And most importantly, he has a love of life that is unextinguishable. This love is what guides him in all the right directions, and saves his life. This book is one I would read to my kids in a heart beat if I had kids. Talk about a book with morals; this is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Go read it!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

#18 Fool by Christopher Moore

I finally finished this book after starting it about three weeks ago. The problem was not the book, the problem was that I had some personal stuff get in the way of me finishing this a week and a half ago, but I won't get into that here. Suffice it to say that I finally did get around to finishing it, and I liked it.
The language the Moore uses in his novels is always quite entertaining, one of my favorite phrases of his being "Fuckstockings!" or alternately "Fucksocks!" just because that is a really, really good expletive that I might have to start using on a regular basis. I noticed, this being my second book by Moore, that he likes to have certain lines that he uses throughout an entire novel. One of those in Fool was "Perfect fucking French," which I thought was an excellent use of alliteration, and I always love good usage of alliteration, mostly because it makes a sentence flow so nicely.
He includes an end note in this novel that I actually read before I had finished reading the book. I looked back to see how many pages I had left, and saw the end note. I read the first sentence and decided to read on, as it seemed there might be some funny and useful information in there that I'd want to see: boy was I right!! He talks about the history of the real Leir that I hadn't ever heard before, and he talked about using lines from a lot of different plays, and chastising a reviewer for a comment on an awkward passage of his, that Moore himself took from Thoreau; I just thought it was really funny, but its not really relevant to this review.
All in all I really did like this novel. The twists were great, and unexpected. The language was excellent, and even elegant at times. And I can honestly say that it did not make me want to go back and reread King Lear. I am content to say that I appreciated the funny, and don't need to fact check. I would definitely recommend this, but a word of caution: Moore really likes to have somewhat gratuitous shagging and cursing and the occasional gory moment, so this is not for the faint of constitution. Enjoy