Mary Roach (2013)
I first read Mary Roach’s work when I came across her first book, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. Since then, she’s written a number of non-fiction, research based books and Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal continues to live up to her tried and true style of putting herself out there, essentially skinning herself for us, the reader, and relating it back with humor and tact. Let me explain.
Gulp is about the digestive system, from start (mouth) to finish (guts, and then you can guess). She goes in deep, smelling and tasting what we cringe to even read about, such as cat food in its many flavors, to interviewing Elvis’ doctor and an examination of his little known “mega colon.”
Roach chooses a topic, researches it, and pulls out the most interesting parts; in essence, she does the dirty work for us, while keeping the gross-out factor classy.
Every House is Haunted
Ian Rogers (2012)
Pun not necessarily intended, each story leaves you feeling haunted. At the end of each tale, Rogers leaves you in want of each one to be a full novel because the characters and stories are so intriguing. He takes the essence out of a full length novel and gives you just the exciting parts through the short story format. Highly recommended to anyone who likes quirky short stories with a bit of an edge, and fans of Neil Gaiman.
The Last Girlfriend on Earth
Simon Rich (2013)
Saturday Night Live writer and son of New York Times columnist Frank Rich, Simon Rich writes witty, extremely amusing and poignant stories. I’ve never read a story where someone can make the life from the point of view of a condom seem poetic.
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (1990)
I am a huge fan of reading a book, watching the movie, and comparing the two. I find that when people ask, which is better, the film or the novel, it is an impossibility to offer a straight forward answer because they are two completely different mediums. One is visual, and the other is cognitive. You can’t watch a movie and know a character’s internal monologue, nor can you recreate the soundtrack of a film that gives a movie its energy.
Jurassic Park as a book, when compared to the film, makes more sense, and the characters possess a lot more integrity. Though as far as comparison goes, you can compare the lightness of the content; the book is a beach read as much as the movie is an entertaining film without any real depth.
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (2013)
Joe Hill’s (son of Stephen King-hey, I’m sure it’ll help sell more books) fourth book and third novel has proven him to be one of the contemporary horror writing greats. Though not in a strict Bram Stoker sense, NOS4A2 is about a Nosferatu of sorts who drives a bad-ass car and loves Christmas.
Joe Hill (compared to the likes of Steve Martin) writes surprisingly well from a female point of view and resists the all too popular urge to write about sex from a woman’s point of view though really coming from a supposing man’s point of view.