Monthly Archives: August 2012

That was a lot of dicing. #rolleda20


That was a lot of dicing. #rolleda20
Hudson
♥ 1 mythicgriffon

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Yes, this soup calls for three pounds of #asparagus.


Yes, this soup calls for three pounds of #asparagus.
Hudson
♥ 1 cookiecat57

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New #buckyballs = lopsided soccer ball.


New #buckyballs = lopsided soccer ball.
Hudson
♥ 4 cookiecat57 capnasty_ lkmar fersureelise
BBN Technologies

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Am I crazy, or is the woman on this pamphlet on that fake Onion morning show?


Am I crazy, or is the woman on this pamphlet on that fake Onion morning show?
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♥ 0
Cambridge Veterinary Care

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I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President

I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President
I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President by Josh Lieb

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book I received for Christmas three years ago and hadn’t yet read (hi mom!). The ego and attitude of the narrator initially turned me off, so I went in with kinda low expectations, but with an Aaron Sorkin joke on page four, and some great explicit and implicit Ray Bradbury references, Lieb had me hooked on this simple concept: the lowest-on-the-totem-pole kid in the entire middle school is not at all who he seems.

One thing I really appreciated was the narrative style – I think talking to Andrle about reading and writing has made me more aware of the distinctions. I believe this would be considered “first-person conversational”, because we are listening entirely to the main character’s thoughts as events unfold, his knowledge of events is limited to personal experience (i.e. we are surprised with him), but he regularly breaks the fourth wall to involve the reader in his thoughts about his family and classmates, using constructions such as “Remind me to…”. The narrator is also explicitly aware that we are reading this in a book, referring to pages, images, and chapters as he lays out what story is to come.

Lieb also used two interesting formatting tricks – first, there were visual aids (consisting mostly of oddly photoshopped composite images of events that were being described to or by the main character), and second, there was interesting use of chapter boundaries to pace the narrative, such as very short chapters used to indicate emotional state.

The narrator has a lot of interests that I suspect are more reflective of the author’s tastes (e.g., music) than a realistic middle school boy. This is by no means the most unrealistic thing in the story, so you just have to run with it. As an aside, it helps to have a familiarity with several elements of the James Bond canon, although probably the stuff that gets mocked in Austin Powers is sufficient.

The Bradbury references I mentioned earlier are the only spoilery part of this review. In the early chapters, the students are discussing Fahrenheit 451┬áin class. Shortly after that, the narrator describes how he’s been fully sentient since before birth. This immediately made me think of the short story “The Small Assassin”, about an infant who apparently causes the accidental deaths of its parents. For a more recent pop culture reference, think Stewie from The Family Guy.

Overall, a funny, quick read that made me chuckle more than once. It has a lot of cliches, but that’s okay… they’ll make you smile. A fair number of nerdy references on top of it all.

Posted in Book Reviews Tagged with: , , ,

Our @DarcyFish is glad he’s home.


Our @DarcyFish is glad he’s home.
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♥ 2 mrsbeingboston capnasty_

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Hard to tell at this distance, but that’s a V-22 Osprey taxiing.


Hard to tell at this distance, but that’s a V-22 Osprey taxiing.
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♥ 0
Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ)

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Sunset behind the Olympics over Elliott Bay.


Sunset behind the Olympics over Elliott Bay.
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♥ 2 capnasty_ gcarradine
Anthony’s HomePort Shilshole Bay

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Riding the #monorail to the Space Needle.


Riding the #monorail to the Space Needle.
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♥ 3 kml4185 beingboston capnasty_

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Mt. Rainier behind Seattle.


Mt. Rainier behind Seattle.
Sutro
♥ 5 ffynee kml4185 capnasty_ bossmansakky clafount
Space Needle: Observation Deck

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Nicolas Ward

Software engineer in Natural Language Processing research by day; gamer, reader, and aspiring UltraNurd by night. Husband to Andrle
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