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{ Category Archives } Books I Read

“With all respect, sir, we aren’t Ms. de Luce.”

The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley Flavia de Luce returns in this sequel to the extraordinary The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.  Once again, the precocious tween tracks a killer through the countryside of her English town.  When a famous BBC puppeteer comes to town, everyone is excited to […]

Sheep in books

In the last six months, I read three different mysteries (loosely defined) centered on sheep. Three Bags Full – a murder mystery in which a flock of sheep tries to find out who killed their shepherd.  The author does a great job channeling the sheepish worldview, imagining what it’s like to be a constrained, fenced […]

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June 2014

My blog was on hiatus from Feb 2 – August 27, 2014.  This post was written post-facto to highlight key events. June was a relatively calm month around the Riley manse.  A few highlights: The PCA conference year is nearly at an end.  Glad to be done with that — on to other work! Enjoying […]

May 2014

My blog was on hiatus from Feb 2 – August 27, 2014.  This post was written post-facto to highlight key events. The end of the semester arrives and summer begins.  A few highlights: With the end of the semester, I’ve been able to start playing board games with the gaming group again.  Looking forward to […]

April 2014

My blog was on hiatus from Feb 2 – August 27, 2014.  This post was written post-facto to highlight key events. April was a busy month: The PCA conference happened this month.  The conference itself went very well, but the politics of the governing board were very unpleasant. Courses continue well at Columbia.  Yay my […]

Zombie, Indiana

Zombie, Indiana by Scott Kenemore When zombies start crawling out of the ground across the Hoosier state, it’s all people can do to keep society from falling apart.  Kenemore tells the story from three perspectives, following: Hank Burleson, the corrupt and myopic Governor of Indiana; James Nolan, the former star athlete / police officer who […]

March 2014

My blog was on hiatus from Feb 2 – August 27, 2014.  This post was written post-facto to highlight key events. March in Chicago.  What fun! Nothing much to report from March, except that things continue apace.  Courses go well, PCA planning for the conference goes … along, anyhow. Books I read: The Windup Girl […]

February 2014

My blog was on hiatus from Feb 2 – August 27, 2014.  This post was written post-facto to highlight key events. A chilly winter in Chicago. Preparations continue apace for the PCA/ACA 2014 conference.  It’s going to be very big. Enjoying the new Spring semester courses at CCC. Swim meets, swim meets, swim meets. Books […]

January 2014

My blog was on hiatus from Feb 2 – August 27, 2014.  This post was written post-facto to highlight key events. A cold month, but another great time teaching Zombies in Popular Media.  YAY! Books I read: Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! by Otto Penzler A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin Code Monkey Save World […]

What really sunk the titanic? Zombies. (I review Deck Z)

Deck Z: The Titanic Deck Z: The Titanic by Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon As you can tell from the cover and the title, Pauls and Solomon ask “What would happen if there had been zombies on the Titanic?” Then they answer that question.  The novel is a straight-forward, well-written adventure tale without much depth, […]

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Parallel universes, a murderous family, a battle for all of good and evil, and SCIENCE: October / November comics update

Science: Ruining Everything Since 1543 by Zach Weinersmith Weinersmith’s Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic continues to be a highlight of the webcomic world, so when he KS’d this collection of cartoons about science, I leaped on it right away.  The book collects a variety of comics, from single-panel jokes to strips to four or six-page […]

Want a novel with a Zombie dressed like Santa Claus? You got it.

I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus: A Breathers Christmas Carol by S. G. Browne Alex Winter, the undead narrator of Breathers, finds himself the object of incessant experimentation and torment at a government research facility.  He escapes and, because of his long white hair and beard, quickly dresses as Santa Claus.  The story that follows […]

Zombies of the Corn…

I just finished reading a rough draft of Scott Kenemore’s next zombie novel, Zombie, Indiana, and it’s pretty great.  I am writing my review now, but you won’t get to see it for some time (probably April). If you don’t remember his other books, Kenemore (a friend of the blog) has written a number of […]

Lock and Load: J.R. Angelella’s novel ZOMBIE

Zombie: a novel by J.R. Angelella Jeremy Barker dwells in the unhappy place often occupied by angsty narrators of young adult novels.  His dad is a traumatized Vietnam vet with whom he bonds over zombie movies and life advice (like which tie knot is the best — full windsor, by the way), but who can’t […]

Like a magic growing animal capsule of the technological apocalypse (Blueprints of the Afterlife)

Blueprints of the Afterlife by Ryan Boudinot Blueprints is a strange book, non-linear and bewildering.  It tells the story of the fall of civilization in a war between humans and robots, but also of a monstrous glacier that traveled around North America, ripping cities up wholesale, and of a secret cabal that maybe made it […]