The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

December 29, 2008

Author: Michael Chabon
Copyright: 1988
Publisher: Harper

Started: 12/29/08
Completed: 1/3/09

This is Michael Chabon’s first novel. He started writing it between college and grad school and eventually submitted it as his master’s thesis. His adviser sent it on to a literary agent and a career was born. I am glad for that. I started reading Chabon some years ago and I have never regretted starting one of his novels. This is a coming of age story about a young man leaving college and finding his place in the world. According to wikipedia, a film based on this novel is due to be released in 2009.

Holidays on Ice

December 26, 2008

Author: David Sedaris
Copyright: 1997
Publisher: Little Brown

Started: 12/25/08
Completed: 12/29/08

Karen gave me this book for Christmas. It’s a collection of short stories, anchored by the famous tales of Sedaris’ work as a santa’s elf at Macy’s in New York City. I first heard these tales when Sedaris’ was a guest commentator on NPR and I’ve been a fan ever since. The story is a new classic and Sedaris is a very funny fellow.

The Peshawar Lancers

December 16, 2008

Author: S. M. Stirling
Copyright: 2002
Publisher: ROC

Started: 12/16/08
Completed: 12/25/08

My brother Matt loaned me this book. It is an alternative-history novel based on the premise that a natural disaster in the latter half of the 19th Century interrupted history. The novel is set in a 21st century that is still using steam-based technology. It is a good adventure story and an interesting sorta-science-fiction story.

Empire of Ivory

December 11, 2008

Author: Naomi Novik
Copyright: 2007
Publisher: Ballantine Books

Started: 12/11/08
Completed: 12/16/08

This is the fourth in the Tremeraire series that I have been reading the last few months. Reading this will catch me up on the whole series; a long story about fighting dragoons in the service of the English during the Napoleanic wars. Very good book.

Good Omens

December 4, 2008

Author: Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
Copyright: 1990
Publisher: Harper

Started: 12/4/08
Completed: 12/11/08

Pratchett and Gaiman are two of my favorite authors. I have read this book before, but when I ran across a new paperback edition in the bookstore I decided to revisit. This is silly fantasy, with an English absurdism sensability. It is an “end of times” novel, but the angels and demons are not quite what you would expect.