Currently Reading: Syrup
There are certain authors that I just wish would keep writing and writing, putting out new books as fast as I can read them. Maxx (or Max depending on the book) Barry is one of them. Every time I pick up one of his novels, I know I am in for a wild ride filled with witty dialogue, ridiculous situations and more twists and turns than your small intestine. Ironically enough, this was Barry's first novel and obviously I am reading them out of order. No worries though because this one is worth a look presently as the movie is out now.
Syrup follows a young marketing grad as he attempts to make his way into the lucrative world of soda by scheming with a domineering partner know as Six. Apparently the man can be beaten, he will just take a few licks to your own hide along the way. Fast paced and laugh out loud hilarious, Syrup will definitely whet your appetite for zany, off the wall literature.
Another author whose books I just can't put down is John Scalzi. Prior to reading Syrup, I furiously turned the pages of The Human Division, the latest in a series of books taking place in the universe first imagined in Scalzi's Old Man's War. I love returning to familiar places and meeting up with familiar people, especially when it isn't in the same series of books. These stories have a much higher impact because less time needs to be wasted on the preliminary details, and more words can be devoted to growing the characters and helping them navigate through incredible situations
The Human Division takes readers forward in time a bit so they can see the results of the final actions in the Old Man's War series. Needless to say, I was hooked from page one. The style Scalzi chooses to present his plot line is reminiscent of a series of short stories. The action all revolves around "the B-Team", a haphazardly amassed group of individuals including a testy ambassador and a cynical soldier. This team is repeated put into situations where the outcome is far from positive however, due to some ingenius thinking and oh so fortunate twists, they generally come out (relatively) unscathed. One thing that sets Scalzi apart from many other science fiction authors is that he can't be pegged into one of the typical sci-fi holes like hard science or space opera. Real physics and abstract calculus both play large roles in all of his work, but clever banter and amusing situations surround all those factual descriptions, giving readers a taste of reality wrapped up in a pretty bow. For example, this fun little exchange happens on page 402:
"You mean, how did I come to that conclusion despite the fact that I'm this mission's mushroom," Harry said.
Schmidt frowned. "I don't know what that means," he said.
"It means that you keep me in the dark and feed me shit." Harry said.
"Ah," Schmidt said. "Sorry."
See! How can you not love this guy? Anyways, this one is short and sweet. The moral of the story is, there are a few authors out there who need to clone themselves so they can keep me happy and reading. Of course, I am aware of the fact that there are also authors who really ought to stop now while they're ahead. I'll leave those for you to determine yourselves.