Thursday, January 11, 2007

Books

Before I begin the book reviews, I'd like to tell everyone that our IP address is changing to http://www.Hansisgreat.com That's right, I paid the $10 to drop the "blogspot" from our name. The old IP will still work, for the time being, but please adjust your bookmarks accordingly. I want you to be able to find me!
Here's a couple books that are light and fun, but all have dark themes. They also feature some of the best writing out there right now, all four authors are really masters of the trade.

The rating system is based on how difficult a book is to read, not how good it is. All the books at Hansisgreat come highly recommended.

* <-----------> ** <-----------> *** <-----------> **** <----------> *****
Easy - - Pretty Easy - - Moderate - - Pretty Challenging - - Challenging

On a Pale Horse, by Piers Anthony
$7.99 at Bn.com ISBN: 0345338588
** (pretty easy)
A strange story in a creepy and exotic setting. It takes place in a future where technology has progressed as you might expect, but magic and the supernatural are also common. The hero, Zane, kills himself in the first chapter, but an accident causes him to become Death and gives him the job of collecting and judging peoples' souls. Interesting enough on its own, but then he gets into a showdown with Satan. Oddly touching at times, and the need to collect one soul after another gives it a frantic pace. Included are a dragon fight and a look inside Death's luxurious home in Purgatory. Piers Anthony has one amazing imagination, this is unlike any story about Death I've ever seen or heard of. It's part one in a series (the best part, though some of the others are good as well). A real ghoulish fun time, great for teenagers, people who read infrequently, or someone who's been reading heavy stuff looking for a break that's light but still worthy. Four stars!
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt
$13.45 at Bn.com ISBN: 0679751521
*** (moderate)
The story of a murder and trial in the sultry city of Savannah, Georgia. This is based on a true story, and is dripping with bizarre and fascinating characters, intrigue, and mystery. Jim Williams, a dainty homosexual antique dealer, shoots and kills his trashy and violent young lover. Also in the mix are an over-the-top drag queen, a debutante ball (they do that in the south), and even a voodoo witch doctor who puts a curse on the prosecuting attorney. The mystery/legal drama is interesting enough, but the setting is what sells it. By the time you're done you'll want to take a trip to Savannah. This was made into an atrociously bad movie, please don't see that! Whoever made a book this good into a movie that bad ought to be ashamed. Hollywood blows it again.
Choke, by Chuck Palahniuk
$12.55 at Bn.com ISBN: 0385720920
** (pretty easy)
Mr. Palahniuk is famous for Fight Club, among other things. The hero here fakes choking in restaurants, then finds ways of extorting money from the people who "save his life". He also has problems with sexual addiction, and a senile mother who doesn't even know who he is anymore. In other words, this book is about a f**ked up guys who has a lot of f**ked up problems. Parts where he works in a Colonial Williamsburg-type amusement park bring some laughs, and the ending is a surprise worth the trip. Fans of Fight Club (the book or the movie) are encouraged, along with opportunists who try to rip others off. If you like an anti-hero, this is the one.
Running With Scissors
, by Augusten Burroughs
$12.60 at Bn.com ISBN: 031242227X
** (pretty easy)
Apparently Burroughs' books have been popular for a while. I just read my first yesterday. I gotta say, I liked it a lot. Fans of David Sedaris will like this dude's books as well: they're funny and disturbing autobiographies of a man with a childhood that we'd now consider abusive. His emotionally unstable mother moves him as a small boy to live with her insane psychiatrist and his family. If you've ever suspected that psychology is quackery, you'll find a lot of evidence to support that claim here. Burroughs sexually services adults, eats dogfood, and skips school for months on end. Yet it's told in such a charming, light-hearted, and self-deprecating way that it's actually a funny book. Have fun!

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