Last week, I mentioned that I’ve read a few books recently which I think many of you will enjoy. Here they are, in no particular order, with the obligatory affiliate link so I can cash in and blow it all on hats.
- Blowing My Cover: My Life As A CIA Spy by Lindsay Moran
If you liked the underlying story in Just A Geek — that story of self-doubt, self-discovery, and (hopefully) finding the courage to do what you want to do with your life, you’re going to love this book. If you liked the behind the scenes elements of Just A Geek, you’ll also love this book. Lindasy Moran is a hell of an author, who can put the reader into exotic and mundane places with equal amounts of passionate, vivid, and totally accessible writing. She tells a brutally honest, thoughtful and hilarious tale of her short career in the CIA, from her training at the The Farm, to her assignments in the Balkans during the late 1990s. Lindsay is candid and compelling, whether she’s talking about the dual life she lived and the toll it took on her relationships with her friends and family, or the cloak and dagger stuff she did in her job. Amazon’s reviews have been unfairly freeped by people who are unhappy that she revealed some unsavory secrets about life inside the CIA, but don’t let the 3 star rating fool you. This is a great book that’s incredibly satisfying to read. I give it an A+.
- Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
Have you ever looked at a person, and immediately known you were going to be best friends? Have you ever looked at a person and immediately known that you should do whatever it takes to get the hell away from them? Have you ever wondered what goes into devloping those instincts? Blink is all about that nano-moment when our brains instantaneously process a billion little bits of information and give us an almost-always accurate first impression. This book could have been dry and boring, but Malcolm Gladwell informs and enlightens us in an easily read and entertaining book. I haven’t read The Tipping Point, but I bought it because I liked Blink so much. I give it an A.
- Just A Geek: Star Trek, Star Trek, and a Whole Bunch of Other Stuff About Star Trek by That Guy Who Played Wesley Crusher or something.
Meh. I kept waiting for all that Star Trek stuff to happen, and it never did. Where the hell was it? I mean, it was in the Star Trek section, and the cover is all "Star Trek Enterprise Star Trek Transporter Klingon Star Trek." There was, like, one chapter about working on two days of Star Trek and all this other crap about self-discovery and self-doubt and self-what-the-fuck-ever. What a bunch of crap! Where was the gossip? Where was the real secret behind the inverted isolinear optical chip refractiontational warp matrix? And what the hell is a blog? I give it an F-.
- Manstealing for Fat Girls by Michelle Embree
This book and Blowing My Cover have done more to inspire me to get off my stupid lazy ass and finish my next book than anything else in the universe. I can’t seem to sum up this story, so I’ll let Publisher’s Weekly do it for me: "Angie Neuweather, 16, has it rough: she’s fat and sort of slobby; her
mom’s horrible fiancé has just moved into their low-rent apartment; and
she’s constantly being tortured at school (the kids call her
"Lezzylard"). Spunky girlfriends help Angie weather sophomore year,
including Shelby, a spiky-haired, out-of-the-closet lesbian, and
Heather, who has just one giant breast. Angie’s a little sexually
confused herself: she’s sort of got a crush on Carrie, an anorexic
popular girl, but she also enjoys sexual fantasies that involve
penetration by a giant hairy monster. The friendship of two boys—stoner
Pike and perky Mantis—motivates her to go on a severe diet, experiment
with drugs and attend her first beer party (her mom’s so strict that
Angie isn’t even allowed to wear concealer over her zits). Eventually,
she discovers that she’s pretty, and when a rival calls her a
"manstealer," she has an epiphany."
This book isn’t for everyone, but will captivate people who enjoyed River’s Edge, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Repo Man, and SubUrbia. I give it an A-.
- Sin City Volume I and II by Frank Miller
I am so late to the party on Sin City, I’m a little ashamed. Frank Miller does for Noir with Sin City what he did for Batman with Dark Knight Returns. The link will take you to a complete collection of Sin City graphic novels, but since I’ve only read the first two, those are the ones I can heartily endorse. Volume I is essentially what became the movie, and at times could have been used as story boards, in fact. Volume II weaves in an entirely different story, with entirely different characters, into the story Volume I. Rather than give you the details of the plots, which aren’t all that important, I can tell you that the drawings are simple but striking, and the dialogue and stories are the type of gritty, anti-hero tales that Noir fans love. If you like stories about the bad guys beating the shit out of the worse guys, and the femme fatales who drive them to do it, you’ll love Sin City. Volume I gets an A, Volume II gets an A-.
Okay, that’s all for me today. If you’ve read any of these stories and would like to add your thoughts, go for it. If you’ve read any of these books and can suggest additional books based upon them, that’s good too. If we can Long Tail Lindsay or Michelle’s books, that would be superawesome.