Thursday, 24 December 2015

Dust Cover Dust-Up 2015: Round One, Part Ten

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion vs. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

The Rosie Project came near the very end of my years-long project to read some bestselling books, around about the time that I was fed up with it, and in search of a different method to stay current. While this book wasn't as irritating as some others I'd read, it still didn't set my world on fire. And so today's first match goes to Dr. Seuss, and The Lorax, because who doesn't need some good children's lit attacks on unfettered capitalism to start one's day?

Winner: The Lorax

S.E.C.R.E.T. by L. Marie Adeline vs Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

Huh. Weird decision. Erotica that didn't really grab me vs. a children's book that didn't really grab me either. What a choice! Neither was objectionable, but neither made me excited, for bizarrely different definitions of the word. In both cases, I sort of appreciated what the author was trying to do without ever entirely buying in. I just have to shake my head at how hard it is to choose. I guess we come back to my core question - what would I want to read right now if I had the opportunity. Of the two? I guess the erotica - just barely.

Winner: S.E.C.R.E.T.

People of the Book edited by Rachel Swirsky vs. The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson

I liked many of the stories in People of the Book a great deal. It was a strong collection, albeit one with lots and lots of golem stories. But anthologies are inevitably uneven, and so it's hard to pick one to continue. Particularly when it's up against nonfiction as good as The Ghost Map. For popular history, Johnson manages to pack a lot of complexity in there, even if he meanders in the conclusions.

Winner: The Ghost Map

Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson vs. Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley

No contest. Just no, no contest. I enjoyed Seconds, but Written on the Body blew my mind. It's going to be in this battle to the end, I predict, and has a good chance of winning the whole Dust Cover Dust-Up this year. The writing is magnetic and raw and powerful, the story difficult, the's just...I still get breathless just thinking about this book. So, so amazingly good.

Wineer: Written on the Body

Interesting match-up. Two older science fiction books. Unfortunately, neither were ones I loved. There were troubling aspects to both, and I thought Heinlein ditched his most interesting innovation far too quickly. But if it comes down to readability, it's got to go to Heinlein. There are things I don't like, but his writing style is never one of them.

Winner: The Puppet Masters

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