Let me tell you what I love: videos of dogs trying to talk like people.
Let me tell you what else I love: BOOKS.
OH MY GOD YOU GUYS DO I LOVE BOOKS. Bookstores are dangerous places for me –I don’t know that I have ever set foot inside a bookstore and not bought a book. I read every single night before I fall asleep because it’s usually the only time I can fit it into my day. When people ask me what my hobbies are, I tell them, “sleeping and reading.”
What I’m saying is, I love books.
So when Crown Publishing e-mailed me about being a part of their Blogging for Books program, I was super excited. See, they give you BOOKS, for FREE, in exchange for a blog post about said book.
SOLD! That is my kind of pimp talk.
I decided that if I was going to review these books on my blog, I had to pick ones that had some humor in them. So for my first book, I picked Shovel Ready, by Adam Sternbergh.. It’s about a garbageman who calls himself Spademan in the not-too-distant future who lives in New York after a dirty bomb has gone off in Times Square. And then he becomes a hit man. Here’s the rest from the jacket:
In a near-future New York City split between those wealthy enough to “tap in” to a sophisticated virtual reality and those who are left behind to fend for themselves in the ravaged streets, Spademan chose the streets.
It’s post-apocalyptic, it’s got a sci-fi edge, and it is a tightly written book. Sternbergh (the Culture editor at the New York Times Magazine) uses a lot of short sentences and considers every word, but it doesn’t feel overused — this may be partly because Shovel Ready is a quick read (I read it over the course of about five hours). And boy oh boy do I love me a book about the future after a large-scale disaster; I usually prefer zombies, but I’ll take a dirty bomb in a pinch.
Best of all, there are these hilarious sentences that just pop up and take you by surprise. Here are a couple of my favorites:
“Come nuclear winter, Hacky Sacks will prevail. A lone sack, being hackyed, on some burnt-out horizon. We’ll know civilization, and jam bands, survived.”
“Ducks, plucked and bashful, hung on hooks in a windowpane, like a warning to other outlaw ducks.”
The only downside to this book is that Sternbergh doesn’t use quotation marks when his characters are speaking. I know it’s a stylistic thing, and I’m sure someone smarter than I am can tell me why it was important, but all it did was confuse me. There were a few times when I had to go back a few lines and say, “Wait, was that a thought or did someone say that?” (see how I used quotation marks there? I enjoy them.)
But this really is a good, fun, interesting book. I’d call it a beach read, but that might make me a weirdo. Can beach reads be all murdery? Well, mine can, and this is perfect. Best of all, the ending isn’t predictable, and when you find out the WHY behind everything it’s surprising and interesting. Not every book holds me till the last page, but this one did.
So tally ho! I give it four out of five nubs.