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Monthly Archives: October 2009

Richard Dawkins: The Ancestor’s Tale

I’m going to list a lot of quibbles soon, so let me start by saying that this book was awesome. It looks at evolution by starting with humans and working backward in time to the beginning of life, paying special attention to the points at which other branches join the tree (moving backwards in time, […]

Frank Zappa: The Läther Years

This is an interesting transitional period. The last incarnation of the Mothers of Invention (profiled in my last post) had faded away, and Zappa had just fired his manager and entered a long legal battle with him, moving to Warner Brothers in the process. Zoot Allures (1976) was made largely solo, and is very straightforward […]

Joe Abercrombie: Best Served Cold

This is one of those books I appreciated a little more after finishing it and reading other people’s takes on it. Last year I read Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy, which I thought was generally awesome; it aimed to turn the conventions of epic fantasy on their head, and actually did. I know some people who […]

Edward Whittemore: Quin’s Shanghai Circus

I discovered Edward Whittemore when his Jerusalem Quartet was republished a few years back and Jeff VanderMeer (author of the awesome City of Saints and Madmen) gushed over it. I got around three-quarters of the way through that series, and found it simultaneously really interesting and hard to read through. Quin’s Shanghai Circus, which was […]

Chip Kidd: The Cheese Monkeys

This was a weird one. Chip Kidd is a superb book designer; he might be a little overexposed by now, but there was a time when whenever I picked up a book and thought the design was awesome, half the time it was by him. So this is his first novel, and it is, unsurprisingly, […]