PopCo by Scarlett Thomas (FICTION):
A friend recommended this to me and I found this a very fun read. Alice Butler is a whiz at cryptography, crosswords, and also works for one of the world’s leading toy manufacturers, PopCo, designing ‘kid’s spyware’. Having been selected for a special retreat which is actually to develop a new toy/marketing scheme for teenage girls, she quickly discovers that things are not always what they seem (to use a clichè). Hip, funny, insightful, with snappy pacing, and a few twists and turns throughout.
Codex by Lev Grossman (FICTION)
Well, I picked this up at a booksale. 😉 Edward Wozny, a banker, somehow gets involved with the Duchess and Duke of Bowery to catalog their book collection and find a particular famous medieval book, which by many is considered to be nonexistent A Viage to the Contree of the Cimmerians, by a monk, Gervase of Langford. Along the way, he meets a literature grad student, Margaret Napier, who he meets/employs/becomes involved with in the quest to find the codex. He also becomes obsessed with a computer game momus. So, how does this all fit together? Well, the book overall has a dreamy state and it’s like Edward is sleep walking through his life. The book is sort of odd coming of age story, or perhaps, more of person becoming awake. The ending is a little abrupt and feels hurried, but overall I enjoyed the book. I think the dreamy, sleepwalky quality makes the abrupt ending feel jarring, but perhaps that is the waking point. Also, I think you really need to enjoy reading about libraries and books to like this one.
Deception Point by Dan Brown (FICTION)
President Zachary Herney is up for relection and NASA has made several very public bad decisions and overspent its budget. The president has come to their aid many times, which is perfect fodder for his opponent, Senator Sedgwick Sexton, whose platform is children/education by privitizing space exploration. Into this situation, is tossed a meteor under the arctic circle which will prove the existence of extraterrestial life. The President taps Rachel Sexton, of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and Sedgwick Sexton’s daughter, to verify the data and findings. She travels to the Arctic circle where she only needs to verify that the information is correct. At this point, the story takes off. Is the meteor real or not? It is ultimately up to Rachel Sexton and another scientist affiliated with the project, oceanographer Michael Tolland, to bring the truth to the surface. Typical Dan Brown. I do think he provides enough momentum, details, and changes to keep his stories from feeling too redundant, but there is a definitely a pattern to these.
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg (FICTION)
The story of a 16 year old (Deborah’s) struggle to overcome mental illness, which causes her to create the internal mystical world of Yr, a world bound by rules and gods, with both beautiful and desolate scenary. I first read this when I was an early teenager (13ish), and I definitely appreciate it much more now. Gives an insight into the reality of mental illness through the patient’s perspective and an interesting slice of mental health treatment and diagnosis in the 1950s. Beautifully written and truly a modern classic.