I’ve had quite the stack of review copies at my house for a little while now, and it just keeps getting taller. I realized last night that the books weren’t actually going to review themselves, so I figured I might as well get around to writing about them. Finally. (Note to publishers and authors who want me to review their books: please contact me directly — my email address is on my profile — instead of mailing things to LitKicks GHQ in New York. I do not live in New York, so books mailed to me there have to be repackaged and mailed to me where I live, which just makes the whole process longer. Because then Levi mails me really heavy boxes with about 10 books in them and I pick them up off my porch and say things like “Gah.” Nobody wants that, so just send me an email before shipping off your books, okay?) Anyway, down to business.
This Guy – James Lewelling
It begins with, “It was the very next morning that this guy conceived of his evil scheme to get even with this other guy (Ned).” And it just gets better from there. Seriously, anything that starts out with an evil scheme automatically gets my attention. Darkly funny and written in deliciously frenetic prose, This Guy is an eminently readable, enjoyable book. Also it’s short (138 pages)! Also also it has drawings! This means, of course, that it’s kind of perfect.
Star Guide to Guys – Elizabeth Perkins
I thought that this was going to be some cleverly-titled chick-lit novel, but it turns out that it is actually a star guide to guys. It’s broken into three sections: All About Him – Everything you need to know about the twelve signs in men (which describes the traits of each sign in men); All About You – Your basic nature, what you need in a relationship, and how your sign goes with all twelve signs (pretty self explanatory, but it describes each sign from a female perspective and how they relate to men of each of the other signs); and On Your Own – How to be happy with him … or without him (how to be single and happy). I don’t tend to be into astrology, though when I do pay attention to it, it’s when things are charted on a more personal level, but since this book can’t be a personal reading, it’s mostly just sign-based generalizations. It’s light, entertaining reading, but for me personally, I felt like I could be getting the same sort of information out of the monthly Cosmo horoscopes. That written, I guess if you’re on the market and wondering whether a Pisces woman should seriously consider dating a Libra man, then it might be worth your time.
How It’s Done – Christine Kole MacLean
This novel from Michigan author Christine MacLean (I have to mention that she’s from Michigan, because I am also from the mitten-shaped land) is about a teenage girl, Grace, who comes from a very strict, fundamentalist family. Grace has an affair with Michael, a college professor. A young adult novel, How It’s Done is about love and growing up and what those things mean, anyway. A truly lovely book.
I actually received this book over the winter and read it pretty quickly, so I’m kind of embarrassed about how long it’s taken me to get around to mentioning it here. Looking for Alaska is categorized as a young adult novel, but it’s so smart and well-written that I think it easily transcends its genre. Author John Green’s website (linked above) says “The spirit of Holden Caulfield lives on,” but since I’ve never really been a fan of J.D. Salinger’s portrait of teen angst, I think that this is much better than that. Protagonist Miles “Pudge” Halter (who collects famous last words) is gently self-deprecating and wonderfully human and the story surrounding him, involving the beautiful Alaska Young, is just… good. I like this book a lot.