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Seriously, Read a Book!

Thoughts on books, often interpreted through the high-brow prism of cartoon (read: Archer) references. Wait! I had something for this...

Currently reading

The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Notetaking
Mike Rohde
The Antidote
Oliver Burkeman
The Kind Worth Killing
Peter Swanson
Data Points: Visualization That Means Something
Nathan Yau
James Buchanan
Jean H. Baker, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

Blackbirds (Miriam Black #1)

Blackbirds - Chuck Wendig

The Rules of Engagement:


I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to the genres of science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, horror, thrillers and the like and am (despite a lackluster attempt at googling it) decidedly unclear on the differences among the supernatural, preternatural, paranormal and ultranatural (if that's even a thing). The point of my rambling about this, is that what I do like is worlds in which abilities that are beyond the "normal" are subject to certain rules (I guess I'm a bit like Annie Wilkes in that capacity). Chuck Wendig's world of Miriam Black, thus far, seems to have done just that. 


For our anti-heroine (another word I use without fully understanding) Miriam, the briefest of skin-on-skin contact allows/forces her to see how a person will die. She gets to know when (down to the minute) and how, but is not privy to the location (outside of clues she can glean from context).

You know how many people you bump into on the subway during summer? Everybody in short-sleeves? It's all elbows, Paul. Death and elbows. 

If ever a girl had a good excuse to be a bit of a nihilistic misanthrope, it's Miriam because, unlike Bill Murray's ability to catch the kid falling from the tree or step over puddles in Groundhog Day, Miriam can't prevent these things from happening.  


My Musings: 


I readily admit that it's all the things "wrong" with Miriam that make me think she's so gosh darn swell. Her acerbic inner monologue and callous disregard for others are understandable (hey, deterministic philosophers weren't always buckets of sunshine either), and are downright funny to read.

I want an orange soda. And I want vodka to mix into the orange soda. And, while we're at it, I'd also like to stop being able to see how people are going to bite it. Oh, and a pony. I definitely want a goddamn pony.

I definitely enjoy Chuck Wendig's style which, though not especially elegant, is well-paced and laden with dry humor. There were occasional similes that felt a bit amateur hour (plays out...again and again like a YouTube video set to repeat), but he more than makes up for it 80% of the time.


Also, there's a good bit of gore. Like, the kind of gore that if the picture below leaves you feeling squeamish and not wondering why you never see this kind of thing at the grocery store, you might not enjoy. 


Severed Foot Gore Galore


All in all, Miriam is my kind of girl, and I foresee keeping up with her exploits and more Chuck Wendig in my future.