Thursday, June 3, 2010

Just a few books I read over the holiday :)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
By Seth Grahame-Smith
Grand Central Pub., 2010. 336 pgs. Fiction

As if Abraham Lincoln didn’t have enough stress in his life, what with preserving the union and emancipating the slaves, Grahame-Smith also has him saving the nation from vampires. Abe is first introduced to this dark world of death when he learns that his mother’s terminal illness was caused by his father’s dealings with the undead. He vows to avenge her murder and begins a quest to rid the entire country of all vampires.

This was so much better than Pride and Prejudice and Zombies! The picture of a tall, thoughtful Abe Lincoln wielding a fierce ax as he slaughters the walking dead is surprisingly believable…as far as stories of vampire hunters can be believable. Historic facts are represented as Lincoln struggles with depression and suicide each time he is devastated by the deaths of those nearest to him. If you are looking for an entertaining and light horror read with little language or sensuality but a whole lot of blood and guts, this book may be perfect for you.

Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History
By Scott Andrew Selby & Greg Campbell
Union Square Press, 2010. 319 pgs. Nonfiction.

Is there such a thing as a perfect crime? Probably not, but a group of jewel thieves from Turin came pretty close when they robbed the vault of a building in Antwerp’s Diamond District. They got away with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of diamonds, cash, and jewelry without anyone being aware of their visit to the vault until a security guard opened the building for business the following Monday morning. Some of those involved were apprehended and sentenced to jail time but there are still aspects of the job that baffle investigating officials.

As a fan of heist movies and novels, I didn’t think this true narration was exactly gripping. It was fascinating though. The patience the thieves had over the two years of planning for the theft and then their nerve in actually pulling it off was truly amazing. On the other side of the crime, the authors also describe the actions of victims and law enforcement officers as they face the crime’s aftermath. This is an entertaining true crime story, without the violence that genre often contains.

Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders
By Neil Gaiman
William Morrow, 2006. 360 pgs. Fantasy.

This is a collection of short stories and poems, including a novella featuring Shadow from American Gods. The introduction includes a short explanation for each story telling why it was written, where it was originally published, and any awards it won. Gaiman’s stories contain the dark humor that usually accompanies his work. Fans will enjoy these little morsels, but those not familiar with his other works may find them a bit random.

I listened to a production of this book read by the author, which I’m convinced is the best way to enjoy all things Gaiman. His skills as a writer are enhanced by his narrating abilities. I did not love every story, but I really enjoyed most and I usually dislike reading short stories. A couple of the stories were a little gritty and definitely for a mature audience.


Mary Ann said...

Three books in one weekend! Now you get an awesome bag from the library, right? Yay!

Emily said...

Your reading skills amaze me. I read about 12 pages in my book over the weekend. But do you know how many Oprah episodes I got caught up on? Yeah, too many.

Stacey said...

Just a few books . . . I love it!