Monthly Archives June 2007

The Pinball Theory of Apocalypse by Jonathan Selwood – book review

Colorful clip art silhouettes of palm trees, people, musical instruments and other random things clutter the edges of the book cover

The Pinball Theory of Apocalypse starts with the world is coming to an end. Well, at least it is according to Isabel Raven’s father, a Cal Tech physicist, who has conclusively proven exactly when the world will end.

An earthquake hits LA right in the first few pages of the book, followed by several more earthquakes. Roads are torn up, buildings are falling down, and some are sinking back into the tar that is underneath it all. Instead of doom and gloom, this book turns out to actually be a very fun read!

Isabel Raven lives in LA, and is an artist. She makes art I wish I had the creativity to make, which include dropping celebrities into famous paintings. Cher as Mona Lisa. Tom Cruise and Katy Holmes in American Gothic.

Her agent, Dahlman, is a bit crazy, and does her career more harm than good with his misguided attempts to make her famous. For example, he posts nude photos of Isabel on her website, without her knowledge or consent. He got these photos from Isabel’s mom, of all people, and they might have been taken before Isabel was quite eighteen. Doesn’t stop Dahlman.

He also appears t...

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The Confession and Silent Partner – a pair of book reviews

Photo of James McGreevey

Can you think of another instance where two people in the public eye broke up, and then both of them wrote a book about it? Neither can I. Each book is a compelling read on its own, but, if you really want to get the full “he said/ she said” effect, you need to read them one right after the other.

The main idea goes something like the following. Governor James McGreevey ended his political career with a (now at least somewhat famous) speech in which he declared himself to be “A Gay American”. At the time, he was married and he and his wife had a very young child.

He later wrote the book The Confession describing what led up to that moment. This, of course, got a lot of media attention, which led to his then wife Dina Matos McGreevey to write her book Silent Partner. Her book is a memoir of their marriage, from her point of view, and answers the question everyone has been asking since James McGreevey made that life changing speech: “Didn’t you know he was gay?”.

In the wake of Brokeback Mountain (a movi...

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Outrageous Fortune by Tim Scott – book review

A white business card appears to be pinned to a blue sky. Clouds float past.

Outrageous Fortune begins with Jonny X67′s house having been stolen while he was at work designing dreams. Not robbed, not broken into, the entire house has been taken away.

All that is left is a business card, dropped by the thieves, that says “Don’t you hate it when this happens?” and a phone number. From out of the sky drops a relentless encyclopedia saleswoman, who has jumped from an helicopter. Seems she knew he would be vulnerable at that moment, and is going for a big sale. Things get more bizarre from there.

Jonny must get his house, and his life, back from wherever it has gone. But first, he meets up with his friend, Mat, at a favorite bar of theirs called “The Most Inconvenient Bar in the World”, a name it lives up to.

Before they can sort things out, four motorcycle riders smash into the bar, trash the place, and kidnap Jonny. They want him to assassinate God for them. Jonny spends the rest of the book unraveling the mysteries about just how and why he is in this situation in the first place, while also trying to figure out a semi-supressed memory he is carrying concerning the death of a close friend.

The world this takes place in is co...

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Whispers by Dean Koontz – book review

A person covers his face with his hands

I was rather disappointed with Whispers. This book was first published in 1980, and, to me, it hasn’t aged well. Bands in bars are playing songs by Billy Joel. Police are using land lines at the scene of the crime to call in information to headquarters. A famous agent uses a phone at a posh restaurant that was brought out to him, and puts down the receiver when his client arrives.

The killer searches for an actual phone booth to make a call from, and is disappointed when all he can find is one of those phones with a small plastic screen surrounding it instead. The main character wants to know what her date thinks of the television show “Mork and Mindy”. All the clothing mentioned, as well as the way most of the settings are styled, are hopelessly stuck in time.

These small details kept jarring me out of the story, sticking out as something very wrong. The parts where the killer was chasing after the other characters, I kept thinking “Well, why doesn’t she just use her cell phone to call the police?”. Maybe I’m just not ready to think of a story taking place in the 1980′s as a “period piece” yet.

The story takes a good long time to get where it is trying ...

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