Now that I’ve jettisoned some legal/political ballast, back to a bit more routine. Here’s some short takes on some recently consumed reading material. Longer reviews may (or may not) appear at Blogcritics.
The Art of Getting Bent, Mark Sahm — Mark is a fellow Blogcritic who was kind enough to send me a copy of his debut SF novel. Mark’s premise is that a man made plague surfacing on New Year’s 2004 wipes out most of the Earth. Science comes up with two methods of survival — buy an expensive Cypure suit that envelops the body like a second skin or undergo Animalization, injecting a drug that mixes human and animal DNA into a plague-resistant composite. Since only the rich can afford the suits and those receiving the injection take on characteristics of the animal whose DNA was used, your basically wear your class status. As I told Mark, though, I wanted to know more about the societal and political effects of his premise than the private experiences of the lead character.
Why Do Men Have Nipples?, Billy Goldberg and Mark Leyner — How could you resist the publishing sensation of the summer? A slim paperback of medical-related trivia and minutiae you can’t live without and chock full of questions like: Why do people who are stoned get the munchies? What would happen if Kramer dropped a Junior Mint into someone’s abdomen during surgery? Why does poo stink if the food doesn’t? Can you break your penis? Why do people seem more attractive when you are drunk? Nothing more really than a summer toss off.
The Irritable Male Syndrome, Jed Diamond — Although I’m not one for these pop psychology/self-help type works, I saw a magazine blurb on this book about the same time my family unanimously agreed my irritability was at peak levels. As a result, I picked it up on a whim one evening at the local Barnes & Noble. It is emblematic of the genre. It lays out some common sense information that you probably might have realized if you had just stopped and thought about it. Likewise, there’s some practical advice you might sort out on your own. Unfortunately, the piles of psychobabble overwhelm the layers of usefulness.
No two people read the same book.