Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Scratch that itch

Title: Infected
Author: Scott Sigler

It should be noted that this was read as an "uncorrected proof" circulated to get advance reviews. Not to me, we're not that highly-regarded yet. You hear that, major publishers?? We're willing and able to review your stuff!! Just send us some free books and maybe some swag! However, there are some things that should be cleared up even before making it to the "uncorrected proof" stage.

I saw this book in a store a couple months ago, and I was very intrigued. Yes, the cover art is super-creepy, but the premise also sounded good. Reading it was a lesson in how to mistreat a promising premise. Sigler isn't quite as good as he thinks he is, but he's trying really hard.

There are two parallel story lines, and that much works really well: on the one side, you have the medical researchers and a couple government operatives working their asses off to identify and understand a mysterious new contagion that makes people go crazy, kill the people around them, and then themselves. Then they decompose at such a freakishly accelerated rate that they have yet to find a useful body of one of the victims; just puddles of goo with bones piled up in the middle. On the other side, you have "Scary" Perry Dawsey, a former college football star now working in IT who becomes infected, providing you with a first-hand view of what the victims go through. Like I said, the premise is pretty sweet.

The downside is, Sigler's execution is a little... off. I can't quite put my finger on how, but that's probably because I finished over a month ago.

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posted by reyn at 10:52 PM


More than a walk in the park

Title: A Walk in the Woods
Author: Bill Bryson

This is one of those books that nearly everyone who knows me has recommended I read at one point or another. I can see why--it's funny as hell.

It's also packed with information on the Appalachian Trail, the National Parks system, the National Forest Service, the history of the east coast, and... how not to hike the Appalachian Trail. As I was reading it, someone told me that a lot of backpackers don't like it, because most people assume that Bryson through-hiked the AT (that's what backpackers call it when you take a few month's sabbatical and hike the whole damn mess in one shot), and he didn't. But he makes it a point to remind you of that several times in the book. Yes, he says he "hiked the Appalachian Trail," but he makes it clear that he did not hike all of the Appalachian Trail.

Fine. Big deal. He still writes a hugely entertaining and informative book about the AT and the people who love it. Even if you don't agree with him, it's still a fun trip.

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posted by reyn at 10:44 PM