Book Review – Lexicon

TITLE: Lexicon
AUTHOR: Max Barry
FORMAT: Hardback
PUBLISHED: 2013

 

Poets.  No, not the type that string words together into iambic pentameter.  Worse.  These poets understand words and language in ways that laypeople do not.  They can talk to somebody for ten minutes and understand what their segment is and know what words need said to end them entirely.

Wil Parke is a man on the run, and he doesn’t know why.  He’s got total amnesia.  Hell, he isn’t even sure that Wil Parke is his real name.  Oh, and a poet has gone rogue and wants him dead.  So two men kidnap him from the airport and spend much of the book just trying to keep his sorry ass alive.

The book flips between two story lines – one starts with Emily Ruff, who is recruited in California and becomes a poet.  The other story line centers around Wil.  Who is he, how can they keep him alive, and why does somebody want him?

The two stories come together in two places about as different as they can be – Broken Hill, Australia, and Washington, DC.   I know I’m not doing a good job explaining this, but really, I don’t want to give things away too much, and I’m not smart enough anyway. Max Barry was a friggin’ genius with this story.

I loved the background about the poets and that setup, and a lot of the information they were sharing about words is true. So it made the book extra realistic.

That said, I saw how the two stories were going to come together about halfway to when they did.  I didn’t mind, and I still enjoyed the book, but I could see how that might upset some readers a little bit.  Still, I thought the book was strong enough that it didn’t matter.

Max Barry is good about making you care about his characters, so even though you’re expecting xyz, you still want to see how it plays out.

Very happy with this one.  I give it 5/5.

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review – 101 Two Letter Words

TITLE: 101 Two Letter Words
AUTHOR: Stephin Merritt
ILLUSTRATOR: Roz Chast
FORMAT: Hardback
PUBLISHED: 2014

Okay. I have to say that as a writer, this book caught my eye immediately. (Also because I have 98% of the two letter words in Words With Friends and can’t figure out which 2% I am missing)

The book is arranged pretty simply. There’s a two-letter word, an image, and a little four line rhyming poem that utilizes the word somehow. It starts with AA (which is apparently a jagged kind of lava) and ends with ZA, which we all know is apparently an acceptable abbreviation for pizza, but nobody ever ever ever says it.

The rhymes are cute and the illustrations are simple but sweet.

-insert heavy sigh here-

So here’s my issue. Since everything is cutesy little rhymes, nothing seemed to stick much in my head as I looked it over. I mean, I liked the book and someday I might end up with a copy on my bookshelf, but I queston the book’s actual usefulness. No real help on pronunciation, so we can guess and mostly be right but on a few of these it’d help.

In the end, I’m going to give this book a 4/5. It’s the type of book you’d give as a silly gift or pick up at the library, but I don’t see a lot of people rushing out to buy it as reference material.

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