August 26, 2010

The Red Pyramid ***

*** The Red Pyramid, Rick Riordan, 2010

It's unusual for me to read a book in the year it was released. I usually put off buying them to assuage my guilt for buying yet another book when there are 20+ unread books on my To Be Read shelf. I got this in the year it was published because The Woman brought it home from somewhere.

As you can note here, here, here and here, I'm a big Riordan fan, mainly of his Tres Navarre detective stories, but also of his YA novels. The Red Pyramid is basically Percy Jackson, but using Egyptian gods instead of Greek gods. But even when Riordan is doing a "second verse same as the first" gig, the writing remains top notch.

August 19, 2010

Sh*t My Dad Says ***

*** Sh*t My Dad Says, Justin Halpern, 2010

As Head Trickster, I feel compelled to mention that StupidInternetTricks.com was one of the early followers of Halpern's Twitter feed about his dad's aphorism, getting in during the first month at around follower number 219,473. He's now up to 1.5+ million followers, a #1 NYT Bestseller book (released four months ago), and an upcoming TV show on CBS staring William Shatner as the senior Halpern. Not sure how they're going to keep it authentic and within FCC guidelines at the same time.

Regarding the book, it's funny as hell and well worth the $9 at Costco. I read it in one afternoon. Lasted three times as long as a movie at the same price. Halpern senior may have a potty mouth (actually, there's no question, he definitely has a potty mouth, the book is marbled with profanity like a good steak) but is also a font of practical wisdom and human decency.

Here's an interesting site, songs the senior Halpern likes and the reasons why.

August 12, 2010

Revision & Self-Editing ***

*** Revision & Self-Editing, James Scott Bell, 2008

I've been stockpiling books on writing for a while and now I'm working through them. Bell knows about writing. Not only does he have a couple of dozen books out, but he took over Lawrence Block's column in Writer's Digest and has done three books on writing for Writer's Digest. I've already read The Art of War for Writers and am currently working on Plot & Structure.

This book is a great tool. It has two sections, self-editing and revisions. Last month I used the last chapter - The Ultimate Revision Checklist - as I worked on draft three of my current project, Endless Vacation. Very helpful.

August 5, 2010

Out Stealing Horses ***

*** Out Stealing Horses, Per Petterson, 2003

I received three novels in the mail from The Learned One for my edification. They went into the (alarmingly) growing To Be Read shelf. I started this one since it was a slim volume at 238 pages. It was on the New York Times Book Review Best 10 Books of the Year list.

It is decidedly literary, meaning very well written, heavy on character, voice and sense of place and light on plot. The Learned One said the feel was reminiscent of the Fred Books. That's quite a compliment and I'll take his word for it.

Speaking of the Fred Books, they are officially out of print, but signed copies are still available through SignedByTheAuthor.com.