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Month in review

Reviews:
Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Babies on the Go by Linda Ashman
The Balloon Boy of San Francisco by Dorothy Kupcha Leland
Bandits of the Trace by Albert E. Cowdrey
The Book That Eats People by John Perry and Mark Fearing
Buffalo Before Breakfast (Magic Tree House #18) by Mary Pope Osborne
The Clue of the Tapping Heels by Carolyn Keene
Coraline by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell
Crogan's Vengeance by Chris Schweizer
Do Not Open This Book! by Michaela Muntean
Dragon's Teeth by Alex Irvine
Keys to the City by Joel Kostman
Guy Time by Sarah Weeks
Immaculate Deception by Courtney J. Webb
Is There a Monster Over There? by Sally O Lee
Jeremy Draws a Monster by Peter McCarty
Letters to Rosy by C. Ellene Bartlett
The Man Who Lost His Head by Claire Huchet Bishop
Mummies in the Morning (Magic Tree House #3) by Mary Pope Osborne
My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath
Out of Time by John Marsden
Promotion Denied by Joseph W. Hoffler
Scary Party by Sue Hendra
Scat by Carl Hiaasen
The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis
Shadows on the Walls of the Cave by Kate Wilhelm
Shriek: An Afterword by Jeff VanderMeer
Swim to Me by Betsy Carter
Tigers at Twilight (Magic Tree House #19) by Mary Pope Osborne
The Travesties by Giselle Renarde
War, Women and the News by Catherine Gourley
The Wing on a Flea by Ed Emberley

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for Shrief: An Afterword

Shriek: An Afterword cover art (Link goes to Powells)Shriek: An Afterword: 04/14/10

The strange cover with an old manual typewriter covered with white mushrooms caught my eye at the library. After weeks of ignoring the book I gave in a checked out Shriek: An Afterword by Jeff VanderMeer. It's the story of Janice and Duncan Shriek and their unusual adult lives after being left emotionally adrift after the unexpected death of their father and their mother's mental breakdown.

It's written in the style of the serious bits of Moby Dick by Herman Melville. It is further confused by Duncan's edited in commentary [which always comes in square brackets like this and is very hard on the eyes]. What it lacks are the humorous sections and illustrations that go with Moby Dick. If you don't have a copy of Moby Dick with illustrations, find a copy!

The next big strike against the book for me is the setting: Ambergris. It's apparently the second book set in this unfortunately named town, the first being City of Saints and Madmen. I have not read the first book so I can't say if it helps one understand the setting. I can tell you that the name only made me think of the scene where the whale vomits on Kif in "Three Hundred Big Boys" (Futurama Season 5, episode 11). Which brings us back to Moby Dick who was after all a sperm whale (source of ambergris).

Shriek ended up being a "did not finish" book for me. I really wanted to like it. I really wanted to finish it but I just couldn't. I wanted to know more about Duncan's story but not with him butting in as editorial asides. Better options would have been: the book written in Duncan's voice without his sister, alternating chapters so both characters could tell their stories, or two separate stories that work together bound up like Tim Roux's Blue Food Revolution (review coming).

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