Monday, June 16, 2008

"Holidays on Ice" by David Sedaris

Sedaris is one of those authors that I'm always being told I should read. He's supposed to be funny, very intelligent sort of humor, etc. With his new book having been released, I decided to bow to the peer pressure and try one of his books.

My opinion? He is funny - if you have a very dry sense of humor. This is not your everyday sort of comedy. It's not Blue Collar comedy. It's not slapstick work, either. You need a sense for satire to read Sedaris. So while I enjoyed it, I'm not sure I'd recommend him to everyone I know.

The most accessible of the six stories is the first, "SantaLand Diaries". It details the author's brief stint as an elf in Santa Land at a mall. This was probably my favorite piece, most likely because I've worked retail at Christmas. No, not as an elf, although my lack of stature would probably make me a shoo-in for the gig. Sedaris paints a picture that is pretty much the modern version of the Santa scene in "A Christmas Story" - if the scene was told from Old St. Nick's point of view.

The other pieces aren't less humorous, just not quite as overtly funny. And again, you have to be able to discern the hint of satire and such; some may read the other pieces and believe them to be autobiographical works as well, which they clearly are not. My other favorite in the book is "Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol", a hilarious look at Christmas pageants from a "reviewer" of such shows.

If you like very intelligent, dry humor, I'd definitely suggest David Sedaris. If you prefer more overt comedy, try someone else.

Friday, June 6, 2008

"From Dead to Worse" by Charlaine Harris

It's interesting to hit Amazon and see the disparity of reviews on this book! Most either seemed to love it or hate it, and for pretty much the same reason: this is not an action-oriented Sookie novel. It's more of a wrapping-up-storyline Sookie book, and there's a lot of Sookie fans out there who aren't happy about it. Me? I really enjoyed it, probably because I get tired of hanging plot-lines after a while. I don't need them all resolved (that would pretty much be the end of the series, right?) but I do like to have a bit of closure along the way. This book does just that, although not always to the best of Harris's abilities.

Sookie is back in Bon Temps, her hometown, working at Merlot's bar with her boss, Sam. Things are pretty quiet after the chaos of the vampire summit in Rhodes, not to mention Hurricane Katrina (smart of Harris to get that addressed - hard to do, too). The only thing that's really bothering our favorite barmaid is her missing boyfriend, Quinn the weretiger. He hasn't called Sookie since the summit; she's not sure if she should be worried or furious. Bill, her former boyfriend, makes it clear that he's willing to step back into the picture, if she'll have him. Oh, and there's about to be a werewolf war...

So what does the book wrap up? Most importantly, the Quinn issue. I will agree with several Amazon reviewers and say that it didn't seem as well-done as it could have been. This installment also resolves the werewolf war within this book, which I found highly refreshing. Too many times there's an element like this introduced in a series and you have to read 3, 4, or even 5 books more to find out what happens. If you've been keeping up with Sookie's series, you'll also be happy to know that the Bob-the-cat issue is also resolved. Yay! And....drumroll please.... Eric remembers his time with Sookie. We all knew it was coming, but isn't it nice not to have to wait forever?

All in all, I was very happy with this book. No, it wasn't all-out action like the last book, but that's OK. Things in Sookie's life needed resolved to some degree, and Harris does it in this book. The best thing of all? The end of the book; we're introduced to a new character, a distant family member of Sookie's, one who I predict will be very dear to her indeed!