Books that will soon go to the used book store unless someone wants to adopt them:
Ed Regis, Who Got Einstein's Office? (see my February 3 post for details)
Terry Gross, All I Did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians, and Artists. This is a really interesting read -- interviews from NPR's "Fresh Air" with people ranging from Johnny Cash to John Updike.
Leslie Brody, Irrepressible: The Life and Times of Jessica Mitford. Not very well written, but the Mitford girls are so fascinating that I kept reading; also, lots of details on the Communist party in America in the 1950s. (Walt Kelly had it right about Simple Joe Malarkey -- I'm sure there were people who wanted to overthrow the U.S. government, but HUAC was way out of line.)
Jefferson Bass, The Bone Thief. The 5th (I think) Body Farm book. Good quick read, local color; the plot is on the flimsy side, but who cares?
Mary Karr, The Liars' Club. Exceedingly gritty -- the woman had a perfectly ghastly childhood, worse than Jeannette Walls (if you've read The Glass Castle) -- but I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. She's a good writer, but it's pretty horrendous.
Lynn Harris, Death by Chick Lit. No idea where this came from (maybe Laura passed it along?); moderately amusing mystery about a young woman whose friends/acquaintances get book deals but then wind up dead.
Lauren Weisberger, The Devil Wears Prada. Picked up at the second-hand store in the first place; I read the whole thing wondering why in the WORLD anyone with even a vestige of a backbone would allow herself to be treated the way the protagonist is treated.
The first three are hardcover, the last three are paperbacks, if that matters. I'm happy to ship via USPS Media Mail.
These are beautifully written, and like the Lord of the Rings, there's obviously an enourmous world it only shows a part of. And they're told mostly in first person by the hero, as though he's setting the record strait about what really happened.
The excerpt from book 1 available online should make it easy to tell if you're interested or not (personally, I couldn't read it fast enough, and I suspect book 3 will be FAR too long in arriving.)
A particularly entertaining tidbit:
And then there was Abenthy, my first real teacher. He taught me more than all the others set end to end. If not for him, I would never have become the man I am today.
I ask that you not hold it against him. He meant well.
The premise: In an alternate-universe 19th century London, Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage fight crime and have thrilling adventures with the help of their working, steampunkish Difference Engine.
The comics are all quite hilarious and painstakingly researched (with liberties taken for the whole crime-fighting thing, of course). There are four main stories at the moment. All of them have been completed, but there may be a new story posted at some point.
"Who Got Einstein's Office?" Ed Regis, 1986. The descriptions of the most advanced computers of the day are, shall we say, quaint, and the author's writing style is slightly annoying, but there are lots of interesting details about the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton. A nice nerdy read, especially for a physics groupie.
"The Sherlockian," Graham Moore, 2010. Good idea, appallingly executed. The writing is ghastly, and the author did not do his homework -- in the first chapter, he says that a Victorian shilling was worth five pence, and he is completely clueless about the British class system or the women's suffrage movement of Doyle's time. I finished it but do NOT recommend it.
"The Bell at Sealey Head," Patricia McKillip, 2009. A terrific read -- well-written fantasy, one of those books that's nominally for "young adults" but rewarding for the rest of us as well. It makes me think of Elizabeth Goudge's "The Little White Horse" -- not the story per se, but the connection between the everyday and the magical.
Next in the stack: The "parasol protectorate" books that Laura mentioned.