||[Apr. 29th, 2018|08:50 pm]
Strange Weather - Joe Hill
A Princess in Theory - Alyssa Cole
The Woman Who Fooled The World: Belle Gibson's Cancer Con, and the Darkness at the Heart of the Wellness Industry - Beau Donelly
The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating - Anthony Warner
You Can't Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump - Alec Baldwin
Strange Weather is a series of short novels, because Joe Hill is allergic to the word novella, I guess. The title is a bit of a misnomer because except for the last one none of the novellas really feature weather as more than background noise, but despite my disappointment not to be reading four stories about the environmental apocalypse I really fucking loved them. Snapshot is about a polaroid camera that steals people's memories and really feels like an old school Stephen King story, which I suppose makes sense with Joe Hill being King's son. Loaded is a musing on gun violence in the US; I can't tell if it's the weakest story in the collection or just the most out of place, it certainly had the weakest ending. In Aloft a guy has a skydiving accident and lands on a cloud/UFO, and there's a whole extended metaphor about unrequited love/the "friendzone" that I really dug. My favourite was Rain where rain starts falling as metal shards; I loved it both because Hill was making fun of his own tendency to write long, rambling fantasy novels (although I would have merrily read six hundred pages about a grieving butch lesbian and her cat loving MMA fighting sidekick in the world of killer rain; it actually made me want to pick up The Fireman, which I think was the one Hill was sending up in this.) I also really appreciated the post-script where Hill said he'd been writing the story during the 2016 election, and in the original draft the president had been a harried and overwhelmed, but basically competent woman, and the story had had a much happier ending.
When I delve into the romance genre I usually go for historicals (what can I say, I enjoy a good duke pun) but I branched out into contemporaries with A Princess in Theory. The setup is a lot of fun: you know those Nigerian spam emails, what if you were getting inundated with those claiming you were the lost betrothed of an African prince, and what if they were legit?
And it was a lot of fun, but it was also two books; the first was about a harried STEM student finding love in New York, and the second was a fairy tale about the heroine discovering she really was the lost princess of not!Wakanda. And both books were good, it was just that the join was pretty obvious. Also, the hero lied about his identity for a huge chunk of the story, if that's the sort of thing that bothers you, although the heroine remains mad at him about it for a satisfyingly long time.
The hero also had a dapper lesbian sidekick, whose story I will get in a side novella if at all, but that's a known bug in my relationship with a lot of romance series.
Years ago I was the worst employee ever in a shop that sold a lot of these supplements and detox teas, and I came up with Gillian's hierarchy of wellness bullshit:
-Someone who tells you that you should quite smoking, ease up on the drink, and try to get more green veggies and oily fish in your diet knows their stuff; listen to them, or don't, you being a grownup who knows your own mind.
-It was a cold and you were getting better anyway, but the placebo effect is a real thing, and echinacea isn't going to hurt you - fill your boots.
-Anyone who uses the word detox or cleanse thinks you're a mug and wants your money.
-Anyone claiming they can cure your cancer with anything other than conventional medicine should go to Hell via prison.
And I have a lasting fondness for reading debunkings of these bullshit merchants. The Woman Who Fooled the World is about an Australian woman who lied about curing the terminal brain cancer that she didn't have with diet to the tune of an Apple endorsement and a book deal. It was a story I already knew, told in a not particularly compelling or well written way. It was worth reading though for the chapter on the real Belle Gibson, a single mother who actually does have terminal brain cancer and how her life looks nothing like the airbrushed, instagram ready image Gibson used to bilk the desperate and gullible out of christ knows how much money.
I usually enjoy Anthony Warner's profanity laden takedowns of various fad diets, but if that sounds like something you might enjoy too, I recommend his Angry Chef blog so much more than the accompanying book.
You Can't Spell America Without Me. Um. Look, I like Alec Baldwin's Trump impression on SNL too, but why anyone thought it was worth stretching out into a book I do not know. And the joke about Ivanka sneakily feeding her dad anti-psychotics disguised as vitamins has not aged well.
(April Graphic Novel:
Bombshells, vol. 3: Uprising
I loved the previous Bombshells trades for both the aesthetic and All The Superheroines, but volume three was the first one where I really felt like the plot had worked for me, too. Plus there was a lot of canon Harley/Ivy which might have gone some way to earning its spot in my affections.)
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