Alphabetical Index of Other Book Reviews

The Snacking Dead

When I think zombies, I think the opposite of “yummy snacks”, but I suppose “eating brains” does suggest the munchies in some ways. The Snacking Dead by D.B. Walker is both a cookbook, focused on finger food and sandwiches (the kind of stuff I think of as “football food”), and a parody story of the zombie apocalypse. The recipes alternate with incidents in the life of Pam, a divorced woman trying to feed her two kids as the world collapses […]

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The Naturals

If you’re looking for CSI meets X-Men: First Class, the young adult thriller mystery The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is right up your alley. Cassie has an innate ability to read people, one honed by her time on the road with her faux-psychic mother. But mom’s been dead for five years, murdered by someone unknown and the body missing. When an FBI agent comes calling, Cassie joins his special project, a group of teens with similar abilities to hers […]

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The Doctor Who Franchise: American Influence, Fan Culture and the Spinoffs

Written in preparation for Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary this year, Lynnette Porter’s book The Doctor Who Franchise: American Influence, Fan Culture and the Spinoffs explores the question of how, if any, the show has become “Americanized” in its current incarnation, with specific focus on the Torchwood: Miracle Day Starz co-production (now airing on BBC America) and its lead, the “American” Captain Jack. Where the Doctor is part of the cultural fabric in the UK, here in the US, he’s a […]

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Confessions of a Hater

Caprice Crane has written several light novels for women (a genre often dismissively called “chick lit”), including Forget About It and Family Affair. I tried a couple of her previous books, and although the premises were intriguing, I didn’t care enough about the characters or what happened to finish any of them. Confessions of a Hater was different. It’s a Young Adult book, to start, with the classic plot of “geek girl finds way to be popular at a new […]

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They’ll Never Put That on the Air

I’ve always found stories of media censorship and attempted restraint interesting, because what offends people can be so arbitrary (and sometimes silly). This “oral history of taboo-breaking TV comedy” (as the subtitle has it) by Allan Neuwirth presents a collection of concerns over some of the best TV shows of all time, as told by the creators and executives involved. The opening chapter of They’ll Never Put That on the Air serves as a brief history of the sitcom, including […]

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Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature

Catchy subtitle, isn’t it? Unfortunately, the book doesn’t quite live up to two-thirds of it. It’s a great picture of the life Ruth Krauss (noted children’s book author) and Crockett Johnson (Harold and the Purple Crayon, Barnaby) had together, but the FBI bit turns out to be some files due to the couple’s politics, and the last part isn’t explained fully enough for someone not already familiar with the field. However, as the first biography of either of them, it’s […]

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I Found the Fake Geek Girl… 24 Years Ago

You’ve likely seen at least some mention of the idiotic idea of the fake geek girl, since responses have been going on around the internet since the summer. Although I thought this was merely fanboy paranoia, I just found a classic example of the type. Let me back up. I’m still unpacking the various boxes of books arising from our move in August. (When you have over a dozen bookcases and need more to hold all the volumes, it’s not […]

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Seraphina

I’ve been a fan of Rachel Hartman’s work for 15 years now. Many readers won’t remember or haven’t heard of her comic work, but in the late 1990s, she created an amazing series of minicomics called Amy Unbounded about a young woman growing up in a medieval society. (Several issues were collected as Belondweg Blossoming.) Hartman created her own historical fantasy world, and it was astounding, full of details like what the musical instruments looked like and how the industries […]

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