Review: The Art of Fielding: A Novel

The Art of Fielding: A Novel
The Art of Fielding: A Novel by Chad Harbach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I plow through the last 120+ pages of a 500+ page novel in one night, I guess that means I liked it. I was a bit slow in getting through the first 400 though, mainly because I could see the train wreck coming, and I didn’t want it to come, to turn these characters’ lives upside down. But inevitably, things happen. Unfortunately for this group (but fortunately for the reader), they keep on happening in interesting ways. Sure, one could quibble over the way the author chose to resolve a major plot point as it came to a head, but ultimately, I thought it actually worked pretty well. Plus, he gets the baseball parts right. Extra points for that.

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Review: A History of the World in 6 Glasses

A History of the World in 6 Glasses
A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I cruised through this one fairly quickly. I felt like Standage could have written individual books about each drink he talked about, but I was grateful that he didn’t. There were times when I thought he just kind of let his thoughts trail off at the end of the chapter, but then I got excited as he started up on a new drink. Very interesting and obviously well researched.

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Review: The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto

The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto
The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto by Bernard DeVoto
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fantastic book, if you have a sense of humor about it. Obviously, DeVoto takes shots at all sorts of targets, and you can argue whether he hits the mark or not. But to me, I was laughing all the way through. Funniest book I’ve read in a while. Just don’t take it too seriously, and you’ll be fine. Except for his recommendations on how to make a proper martini. That’s serious as a heart attack.

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Review: Swamplandia!

Swamplandia!
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It took a little while to get into this book, but once I really sat down and got into it, I really bought in to the characters and felt for them. The novel really drives toward a particular scene that you know is coming, but hope against all hope it doesn’t, but when it does, it hits you all that much harder.
Karen Russell does a masterful job of setting scenes and describing them in a real, but somehow mystical way. The writing truly is superlative. Definitely a new favorite.

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Review: Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This could have been a snoozer, but Joshua Foer actually takes an interesting historical look at memory, doesn’t delve into too much silliness about Google replacing our memory, and even makes memory competitions sound more interesting than they deserve to be. Fun read for non-fiction.

Review: 1Q84

1Q84
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It took me a while to get through this one, it’s just long. And yet, it’s still Murakami at his most simple and spare. Some people might complain about the lack of resolution for the supernatural elements of the story, or the sometimes clunky language, but the most important thing was to resolve Tengo and Aomame’s stories, which I ultimately thought he did quite well.