“Good readers make good writers”—or so the adage goes. Nothing makes me want to write more than reading a great book. And a lousy one will inspire me just as much: Hey, if this got published, I might have a chance!

So here’s a brief take on each of the books I’m currently devouring at a snail’s pace. (And FYI, you can now keep up with my reading list via the nifty “LibraryThing” widget on the sidebar there.)

1. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. As a retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, it’s set in rural Wisconsin with a family of dog trainers and a mute protagonist.  Pro: Well-written, by a first-time author; poetic descriptions, realistic characters.  Con: Slow-paced.

2. The Sheriff of Yrnameer. It’s Hitchhiker’s Guide meets Firefly.  Pro: Hilarious space action, witty banter, clever plot twists.  Con: Douglas Adams’ humor has already been there, done that.

3. The Traveler. It reminds me of Kill Bill and The Matrix with its characters wielding swords and trying to live “off the grid”, avoiding “the Vast Machine.”  Pro: The premise and action, strong characters.  Con: Subpar writing.

4. Red Prophet. As Book 2 in the Alvin Maker series, this one is set in an alternate version of the colonial United States—and it’s magical.  Pro: Contemporaries of Jefferson and Franklin have X-Men-like powers.  Con: Incredibly slow-paced.

5. World War Z. This is a history book, but instead of being written by historians, it’s by the folks who survived a global zombie apocalypse.  Pro: Zombie mayhem, of course.  Con: Current political situations projected into the future.

6. They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky. A true story of three Sudanese boys who survived the ethnic cleansing of their homeland.  Pro: Unaffected honesty; the boys tell their own story.  Con: None.

Bonne lecture!
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