No Happy Nonsense

All Posts Filed Under: Reviews




May 4th, 2023


The Peter Principle / Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull




Having worked for roughly 10 years inside of a cubicle farm of pain, (and then a call-center purgatory)((and then finally an open floor-plan hellzone)) The Peter Principle had this sort of mythic quality to it, as if admitting to knowing the words of this hallowed spellbook was high treason and ...
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Aor 28th, 2023


Finch / Jeff VanderMeer




Finchy, Finchy, Finchy...where do we even begin? ...
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Apr 4th, 2023


Shriek: An Afterword / Jeff VanderMeer




Janice Shriek, once a successful gallery owner in the city of Ambergris, is now a washed-up tour guide, struggling to make ends meet as her world around her is slowly, attritionally consumed. Janice decides to write an afterword to her brother Duncan's infamous The Hoegbotton Guide to the Early ...
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Mar 23rd, 2023


Ella Minnow Pea / Mark Dunn




The narrative takes place on the island of Nollop, named after Kevin Nollop, the creator of the infamous pangram "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." The citizens eschew modern technology and prefers to write letters to one another as the main form of communication. The book is epistolary ...
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Mar 4th, 2023


The World of Edward Gorey / Clifford Ross & Karen Wilkin




There isn't much to talk about here ...
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Feb 28th, 2023


The Orchard Keeper / Cormac McCarthy




I had trouble reading this one, tbh. It's a small, quiet story set after the first world war (i think?) in this little small ass town in the south. Marion Sylder is a bootlegger (transit) who kills a dude who he gave a ride to one night, for presumably being annoying af. Sylder dumps the body into a ...
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Feb 22nd, 2023


The Women Could Fly / Megan Giddings




Josephine "Jo" Thomas has spent the past 14 years in a state of mild disarray as she was forced to grow up motherless. Said mother disappeared without a trace one night, throwing Jo's life and her father's life into a shit heap that they made best-do with. ...
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Feb 19th, 2023


The Hero of This Book / Elizabeth McCracken




Elizabeth McCracken, or maybe just "the narrator" who is a fictional being, and also an author, goes to London after the death of her mother to grieve and reminisce and whatnot. The book is a series of vignettes recalling crazy times with her and her mother, and also her father, and other things ...
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Feb 18th, 2023


The Vegetarian / Han Kang (T: Deborah Smith)




Yeong-hye has a dream, and decides to stop eating meat. Her husband, who sees her as entirely ordinary in every way, cannot make sense of this. Her family likewise does not understand. At a family dinner everyone goes crazy, her father hits her across the face and then forcibly shoves a lump of meat ...
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Feb 16th, 2023


Ways of Being / James Bridle




A giant computer/mechanical wonder, with pipes and tubes powered with fluid currents could model the economy of the United Kingdom. ...
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Feb 10th, 2023


How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe / Charles Yu




Charles Yu is a time machine repairman living in a science fictional reality. He's depressed, choosing to live inside his own time machine which is stalled out in the present-indefinite time setting, allowing himself to exist in a sort of non-time as compared to everyone else around him. This creates ...
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Feb 8th, 2023


Road to Nowhere / Paris Marx




Marx takes a good, long look at not only the history of automobiles and automobility, but focuses in on how big, sweeping changes instituted by governments and then by the private sector have shaped our society to a car-focused landscape, ultimately for the worse. ...
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Feb 6th, 2023


Fantastic Numbers and Where to Find Them / Antonio Padilla




This book felt dense as fuck, like a head-sized black hole, which coincidentally is the only head-sized object with enough data storage to fully comprehend Graham's Number, according to the book. ...
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Feb 2nd, 2023


The Doloriad / Missouri Williams




There has been some kind of apocalyptic climate event; the sky is white, the waters are poisoned, humanity seems to have been snuffed out. But the Matriarch survived. So did her brother. They are in the midst of repopulating the Earth. Their brood, now three generations, are animals. ...
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Jan 31st, 2023


Year of The Buffalo / Aaron Burch




This book is indie as hell, I saw this keep getting blurbed by a bunch of small/micro press twitter peeps I followed and just said fuck it and bought the book. ...
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Jan 27th, 2023


Ducks: Two Years In The Oil Sands / Kate Beaton




Kate Beaton is a comic artist who created a long running webseries called Hark! A Vagrant but I had never heard of her or her work previously. Ducks was all over the internet as not only one of the best graphic novels of 2022, but just one of the best books outright. That's an easy sell for me ...
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Jan 26th, 2023


The Mountain In The Sea / Ray Nayler




Nayler's debut novel comes out swinging with thoughts on consciousness, how will artificial intelligence be received in the future, why everyone fighting for something has some kind of reason to do so, the brutality of the capitalist world, and protecting what you can however you can. ...
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Jan 24th, 2023


The Once and Future Sex / Eleanor Janega




The book showcases how women in the Medieval age were actually treated/how they lived their lives. The popular notion that women are now "in the workplace" more than they were ever before is wrong, a notion conceived from recency bias that the march of progress must mean today is the best time to ...
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Jan 20th, 2023


Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow / Gabrielle Zevin




Sadie Green and Sam Masur are like 12 years old each when they meet in the hospital; Sam has been in a horrific accident which killed his mother and mangled the shit outta his foot, Sadie's sister has leukemia. Sadie goes to the play room to play some Nintendo, and her and Sam hit it off. ...
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Jan 18th, 2023


Guru Marathon / Sri Chinmoy




Something between a photography book and a collection of sermons, this book really underwhelmed me, especially at the $60 price tag. Sri Chinmoy, currently deceased, was a meditating, running-is-religious marathoning fool type, the guru as it were, and made himself known for being an old dude who ...
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Jan 17th, 2023


I Fear My Pain Interests You / Stephanie LaCava




Margot Highsmith is an aspiring actress (or just, actress?) and the daughter of two infamous musicians, her mother and father. Dad was a punk rocker, mom was in the band with dad before breaking off to do her own thing. Mom and Dad are split up. Josephine, Margot's grandma, is her agent. Margot is ...
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Jan 15th, 2023


Matrix / Lauren Groff




Marie is sent to live at an abbey full of nuns. Exiled without being exiled, she is a somewhat highborn woman (her mother was raped and had her) that is in love with the Queen, but is unrequited. It seems the Queen thinks of her mostly as something to play with during idle moments. Marie's mother ...
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Jan 10th, 2023


Being Eaten By Myself


I've been thinking about productivity, leisure, life, meaning (or lackof), hobbies, fulfillment, purpose, and whatever other "big" words that hold some sort of intrinsic, if indefinable meaning in our lives on a day to day, or week to week, or month to month basis lately. I realized that very few of ...
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Jan 10th, 2023


The Book Eaters / Sunyi Dean




This is a review of The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean. ...
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Jan 4th, 2023


Stella Maris / Cormac McCarthy




This is a review of Stella Maris by Cormac McCarthy. ...
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Jan 3rd, 2023


A Wizard of Earthsea / Ursula K. Le Guin




This is a review of A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin. ...
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Dec 3rd, 2022


No Logo / Naomi Klein




This is a review of No Logo by Naomi Klein. ...
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Nov 16th, 2022


The Passenger / Cormac McCarthy




This is a review of The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy. ...
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Sep 9th, 2022


All About Me! / Mel Brooks




Mel Brooks, babbbaayyyyy. ...
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Aug 15th, 2022


Inventing the Future / Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams




This book tackles the major problem that "the left" has faced for a long time, but most noticeably since the turn of the millennium, that is the tendency towards what the authors call "folk politicals." This is the small scale, "local", "organic" type of movement that rejects hegemonic structure as ...
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Apr 14th, 2022


The Ministry For The Future / Kim Stanley Robinson




While technically science fiction in the sense that "here's a story about sciency things that aren't happening in the world today," TMftF reads more as "this is not only possible, but realistic. Necessary. Mandatory." The science is based in current capabilities and expands outward from there, green ...
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Feb 9th, 2022


Norse Mythology / Neil Gaiman




Aside from a very cursory knowledge of Odin, Thor and Loki based entirely on the Marvel adaptations of the characters, I basically know nothing about Norse (or Greek/Roman) mythology. A lot of it is super weird, which I dig. Like Thor has two giant goats who pull his chariot, and if he's hungry and ...
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Feb 4th, 2022


McSweeney's Quarterly Concern No. 65: Plundered / Various Authors




McSweeney's 65: Plundered features works dealing with the lasting legacy of colonial violence in the Americas. McSweeney's is always kind of hit or miss, there's usually one sort of showstopper issue per year, which without question was issue 64, The Audio Issue, so this was more of a "regular" issue ...
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Jan 29th, 2022


The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story / Nikole Hannah-Jones




I had never really understood or been exposed to the vast, total system of racism that has tried to keep black people in America down for the past 400 years. It was always sort of gone over in school as "yes this very bad thing that happened, but then MLK peacefully protested and it's all better now ...
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Jan 17th, 2022


Braiding Sweetgrass / Robin Wall Kimmerer




It's a series of essays about Indigenous culture both modern and historical, about living in reciprocity with the Earth, about what being a good mother means, about how to teach kids that the Earth can provide everything we need, about how to clean a pond. ...
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Jan 11th, 2022


Charles Addams: A Cartoonist's Life / Linda H. Davis




So, Addams had a suit of armor and antique crossbows in his house, created the original big titty goth gf in Morticia and then married two women who basically looked exactly like her, raced Italian sports cars, and was considered one of, if not the most important cartoonist at The New Yorker ever. ...
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