April's Bookshelf

So the end of April and beginning of May were REALLY busy (to no one's surprise--end of semester at all three schools I'm connected to).  But things have slowed down and I figured I'd update everyone with the latest reads.  Unfortunately, many of the reads were part of my reviewing gigs so I only have 2 to talk about this month.  But don't worry, next month will be a doozy of reviews!

The Anthology at the End of the Universe: Leading Science Fiction Authors on Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Glenn Yeffeth

Book cover to The Anthology at the End of the Universe
I've had this book on my "to read" shelf probably since it came out or shortly thereafter.  I'm a dedicated Douglas Adams fan and therefore, this collection was a must-have.  And I finally go around to reading it and while I can't say it's a "must read"--it certainly is enjoyable enough that it lead me to re-listen to all of the Hitchhiker's Guide books recently to celebrate and remind myself of the works.  Like any good anthology of essays, not all are going to be winners with every reader.  We all come to Hitchhiker's Guide differently.  There are some that I enjoyed and there were others that I found less engaging.  Some authors tried a bit too hard to write in the style of Douglas Adams and it felt derivative, but others were able to sew together such a mixture of facts and thoughts that they enhanced my love of Adams that much more.  Overall, it's a fun read but definitely one that is stranded a bit in time in the sense that I think if they did a collection today, it would be a much different anthology--not just because the technology has changed (no more digital watches; smartphones for everyone and primordial babel fish with each smartphone), but so too has the influence of Adams changed.  When I look at the smarter sci-fi stories and writers out there (John Scalzi, Catherine Valente) out there and the ones that use comedy, I'm inclined to think that Adams is certainly prevalent today.  

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

Murakami is a fascinating writer and this is the second or third book of his that I've read.  There's an odd rhythm to his stories that is both coherent within the world of the story and strange when one tries to explain it to others.  The Strange Library fits perfectly within his canon.  The story follows a boy as he discovers the dark and odd depths of his local library after trying to find a piece of information.  He is led into the bowels of the library and imprisoned, forced to complete entire memorization of tax accounts of the ancient world.  However, he is not alone as he has two companions, whom he doesn't entirely trust that may be able to help him escape.  But even if he escapes, is he ever really free from such a strange ordeal?  It reminds me of Kafka and The Metamorphosis in that while these things are strange, they remain largely normal within the realm of the story.  This is a short novel (really, a short story) but it is accompanied by illustrations that flesh out a bit more of what one catches in the story.  If you go in for the odd and curious, this will satiate your appetite.  


  • The Anthology at the End of the Universe: Leading Science Fiction Authors on Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Glenn Yeffeth
  • The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
  • Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner


  • Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves
  • The Gift of the Gab: How Eloquence Works by David Crystal
  • The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor
  • How to Think Like a Cat by St├ęphane Garnier 
  • Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper
  • You, Your Child, and School: Navigate Your Way to the Best Education by Ken Robinson
  • Rethinking School: How to Take Charge of Your Child's Education by Susan Wise Bauer


  • The Goddamned, Vol. 1: Before the Flood by Jason Aaron
  • Invincible, Vol. 25: The End of All Things, Part Two by Robert  Kirkman
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: One Girl in All the World (Season 11, #2) by Christos Gage

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What have been some of your most recent reads of late?  What book do you find yourself recommending to everyone?  What author(s) can't you get enough of?

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