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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Book Round-Up

Smart Baseball By Keith Law: How could I resist a book about baseball stats that quotes heavily from the Simpsons? Law's book about good and bad stats (or "smart" and "smrt" stats) is informative and engaging, particularly when his exasperation with certain concepts (the clutch hitter, win/loss ratio) generates some really funny writing.

Buttoned Up by Kylie Logan: This appears to be the last one in the series, although the ending suggests Logan originally intended more. In any case, it wasn't the best. Although the concept of art incorporating Vudon and buttons was quite fascinating, and Logan made a point of presenting Vudon accurately, there seemed to be no acknowledgement of the cultural appropriation issues that would absolutely have been a big deal in the real world. Also, the romantic conflict was kind of dumb.

Knit Your Own Murder by Monica Ferris: As always, Ferris's latest was super enjoyable. This particular mystery was unusual and clever, and the new characters were interesting.

Gabriel Finley and the Lord of Air and Darkness by George Hagen: A fun, fun book. The magical Brooklyn Hagen has created is a delight, and the series deserves to be as popular as the Harry Potter series.

The Map Thief by Michael Blanding: One of the perks of my job is the occasional free book. This one is about E. Forbes Smiley, a rare map dealer who shocked the book world when he got caught stealing millions in maps from libraries. Smiley ultimately decided not to cooperate with Blanding on the book, so we don't get as much insight into why he did what he did as I would have liked. And I didn't need quite so much detail about the publication of maps. But still, a good read.

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff: the first installment of a series on the 19th century adventures of a daredevil young woman, the story was fun and the art was cute but there wasn't a whole lot to it. Because the point of view is that of the Turkish Lieutenant, Delilah Dirk remains somewhat of a cipher.

Snow Falling by Jane Gloriana Villanueva*: Jane the Virgin is an absolutely delightful show, so of course when the fictional Jane's novel was published in the real world I had to buy it. Unfortunately, it wasn't nearly as delightful. It simply retells the story of the first two seasons, but set in Miami in 1902.  The novel suffers from trying to hit every plot point from the show, and would have benefited from shaking up the narrative. Or better yet, leaning into the historical setting. The characters were far too anachronistic to be credible.

*really Caridad Piñeiro.

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