book reviews: slacker edition

by sam on 12/5/2010

Since my last book review, I’ve read 4 books. But, between the holidays (and holiday-related travel) combined with my general weather-related ennui, I haven’t posted reviews of them. So, here’s a quick hit list of each of them. All of them were very good to excellent, but I’m already on to something new…

The War for Late NightThe War for Late Night by Bill Carter

I never read Carter’s first book about the Leno/Letterman brouhaha (and since it’s not available for my nook, won’t be for some time), but this makes me want to. A really engrossing look at the battle between Leno and Conan O’Brien, with some really neat history of the “other” late night hosts (Kimmel, Fallon), I couldn’t put it down. I have no love for Leno, and he comes off as a bit of a joke-spewing automaton, but the fact that the show, and performing stand-up is pretty much the ONLY thing he does should have clued network execs into the fact that he wasn’t just going to go gently into that goodnight once his contract was up. Not to mention the assumption that Conan would continue to be the perpetual whipping boy – willing to take whatever scraps the network gave him on the altar of “someday you’ll get to host the Tonight Show”. The person that comes off best is Fallon, who seems to have found the future of late night in DVRs and internet-friendly pieces. So much so that I’ve started DVRing his show since I read this book.

The Hunger Games (Hunger Games,  #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I’m not ashamed to say that I loved this book, in all of it’s young adult glory. There’s a reason people are obsessed with it. From it’s proto-feminist kickass heroine, Katniss, to the horror of the dystopian future in which she lives, I was engrossed from beginning to end. I would also point out that I had resisted reading this for some time, until even the non-book-reading Stephen Thompson of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, which I adore to no end, began his “Stephen reads a book” project with this. That pushed me over the edge.

Crooked Letter, Crooked LetterCrooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

There’s not a lot I can say about this book without spoiling it too badly – there are just too many secrets wrapped up in this tale of two southern men, one black and one white, one relatively successful and one a perpetual loser, who are tied together through a variety of tragic circumstances. Except that I was completely drawn in.

The Strain (The Strain Trilogy, #1)The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro

And, of course, on a completely different note…I just finished this pretty gruesome vampire tale (part one of three) set in New York City, where vampirism is a viral infection, and the vampires are pretty horrific. Closer to zombies or the monsters in I Am Legend than the mysterious sexiness of our current vampire craze. I’m still not sure I get all of the conspiracy aspects – but those probably (I hope!) get fleshed out in the next two parts of the trilogy. That being said, once the action really got started, I couldn’t put it down, and read the last 100 or so pages in one sitting last night.