Books in review, January 2016

The end of January/beginning of February was just chaos around these parts, which means I’m using my homework late pass on this one. But you’re just along for the ride and I’m the one actually doing stuff here, so you’ll be fine. Anyway, 3 books to review today:

(Updated in 2020 to reflect my refined genre classifications.)

Gulp, Mary Roach

A journey through the digestive system from, to put it delicately, in to out, with hilarious and gross detours along the way. I’m pretty inured to the less palatable portions of the GI tract, so I didn’t find it particularly off-putting, and mostly I was just fascinated by how competitive eaters manage to cram all that food in there (their poor distended stomachs empty slower than the rest of ours) and how companies taste-test cat food (trained human volunteers).

Format: nonfiction. Genre: medicine/anatomy. Rating: 3/3.

Redshirts, John Scalzi

Did you like Galaxy Quest? Are you looking to recapture the feeling you had while watching it for the first time? GO READ REDSHIRTS. You thought it was meta, then the second half of the book happens.

Format: novel. Traditional genre: science fiction. Setting: science fiction. Story genre: specfic, commentary, high concept. Rating: 3/3.

Nimona, Noelle Stevenson.

Shapeshifter and villainous sidekick-wannabe Nimona joins forces with the chief baddie Ballister Blackheart in an anachronistic stew of a fantasy realm to defeat his former bestie, now the king’s champion. Nimona turns into a shark, Blackheart isn’t black of heart after all, anachronism prevails, and I’ll leave you to find out what happens to the champion WHEN YOU READ THIS BOOK.

Format: graphic novel. Traditional genre: fantasy. Setting: science fantasy. Story genre: specfic, commentary, character study. Rating: 3.5/3. I’ve decided, at this moment right now, to institute a new system where books get a bonus half point on their rating if I cry when I read them. Sorry, nonfiction. I just really wanted to give Nimona better than 3/3.

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