Thursday, April 21, 2011

Vacation Book Review

The Informationist: A Thriller
By Taylor Stevens
Crown Publishers, 2011. 307 pgs. Fiction

Vanessa Munroe is an expert at finding information. Large corporations contract her to ferret out the stuff no one else can uncover in countries few others dare to travel. Her gifts with language and observation uniquely qualify her for this work along with her terrifyingly single-minded ability to protect herself both physically and emotionally. Her newest assignment is different from those she usually takes. This time she is going to Africa to find the daughter of a powerful oil executive who, four years ago, disappeared without a trace.

This is Stevens’ debut novel and I loved it. It does seem to be setting up for a new series of books featuring Munroe and her associates but there was still a great deal of closure. So, while I look forward to more thrillers from this exciting new author, I like that I don’t feel the conclusion left me hanging. There is some rough language and violence but nothing I felt was gratuitous.

By Tina Fey
Little, Brown and Co. 2011. 277 pgs. Biography.

Tina Fey is best known for her years writing and performing on Saturday Night Live, as the star and executive producer of 30 Rock, and her imitations of Sarah Palin during the past presidential election. In her memoir she tells of growing up as an outsider, finding her love for performance, and years of work in the comedy field, which is notoriously dominated by men.

I’m going to be honest, the jacket art is hideous. It is probably the biggest obstacle to enjoying this book. It’s just creepy. But, if you can get past the “man hands”, Fey offers an entertaining journey through portions of her life. Be prepared for a bit of rough language mixed in with a great deal of sarcasm and number of laugh-out-loud observations from a very funny lady.

Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool
By Taylor Clark
Little, Brown and Co., 2011. 310 pgs. Nonfiction.

Some of us tend to break out in a cold sweat at the mere thought of experiences and situations that others embrace and even seek with enthusiasm. In Nerve, Taylor Clark outlines new discoveries being made by neuroscientists about our natural reactions to environments that cause us stress and threaten us with harm, either physical or emotional. He provides excellent examples and perfectly balances instruction with entertainment. Best of all, he’s incredibly funny and personable.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I’m not one to pick up self-help titles and was actually surprised it was categorized as such since I had selected it while searching for a good science read. But Nerve brings to the table the best of both genres. It has great stories and insights that inform and inspire which makes this a perfect choice for people looking to understand human nature and also those looking to overcome their own fears.


Mary Ann said...

Yeah, those man hands are ultra creepy.

Emily said...

I'm glad you like the Tina Fey book. I've been wanting to read hands and all.

David and Shayla said...

Okay, I didn't read your book reviews, but I love the blog after this one with all the pictures of why you love your house. You know why I love your house, because I love you! Cheesy, but true.