So, my summer reading extravaganza is in a mid hiatus, so I thought I would report in.
I read Peter and Max: A Fables Novel. I have always enjoyed Fables graphic novels. I am not an emo kid and I am too mainstream with my bowties and khaki chinos for Hot Topic, but I like taking things we know and subverting them to see what falls out. It is an interesting take of the Pied Piper of Hamlin, and his brother Max. The ending confrontation with the villian works exactly the way you think it will, unfortunately. So much so, I was never sure why it never came to the hero before the final scene. But the world building is just what Bill Willingham does well.
I also read The Imperial Cruise by James Bradley, who wrote Flags of our Fathers and Flyboys, was a mixed bag of historical non-fiction. It is filled with details and the author keeps trying to stick them all under a single umbrella but has no focus. The actual Imperial Cruise, which Vice President Taft and Roosevelt's daughter took, is only a launching point for the history of Teddy Roosevelt's empire building and the selling of eastern Asia to Japan. It keeps trying to tie in the Afghan and Iraqi wars to that. It is poorly organized and while I love anything about Roosevelt, even bad press, it was a bear to finish.
Next was Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. I was on a non-fiction kick. It is really interesting bit of popular science. It read like an episode of This American Life. It took some detailed scientific texts and showed the average non-neurologist the current models in brain science. The real-life examples range from 3M and masking tape to Bob Dylan. It was an entertaining meta-read about problem solving skills.
I read Best American Travel Writing 2012. I swear by the Best American series. It compiles the most interesting stories from magazines I just don't have the time to read throughout the year. Between this, BA Essays, BA Non-required Reading, BA Nature and Science, I read great non-fiction pieces about everything. There is a story about crossing Russia, from West to East, that is remarkable. If you have never tried one of the Best American series, I cannot praise it enough.
In between, I pounded out a couple of Star Trek novels for palette cleansing and cheap Trekkie thrills. A great stand alone series, if you are a fan of Trek Novels or The Original Series, is Vanguard. It just wrapped up after 7 years.
I just finished American Gods. I loved Anansi Boys. So much, I managed to get my school to adopt it for class room use a couple of years ago. I have had American Gods on my shelf for ages to read, but just got around to it. It is good. It is Neil Gaiman at his grittier, darker bits. His exploration of America is awesome and just dinged the same bone that Peter and Max did: taking something I know, mythology, and turning it inside out. I particularly loved the way the 'new gods' came to America. I thought the ending was a bit too on the nose. I expected it would turn out that way. But it is Gaiman, so I loved it.
On my horizon: My annual Hobbit/Lord of the Rings reading and A Bad Idea I Am About To Do, by Chris Gethard.