Reviews by osbornk
Relevant Classic
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I picked up Booth Tarkington's Alice Adams on audiobook on a whim. Booth Tarkington was a familiar name but I hadn't read any of his work. Turns out, he is one of only 3 novelists to win more than one Pulitzer Prize: for Alice Adams and for the Magnificent Ambersons. Alice Adams was good but didn't transcend its era of class and gender roles as well as the Magnificent Ambersons. This book has helicopter parenting, urban sprawl, and pollution. It also describes the beginning of the auto industry. Very relevant plot and wonderful characters.
Florida Gothic
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Karen Russell conveys a vivid sense of place and personality despite going overboard with metaphors. Sometimes the writing drew me out of the narrative. And this is a maddening book to read as a parent. Although the children have true fortitude, they have been ill-prepared for life beyond their island.
Timely Satire
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Written in 2007, "Boomsday" seems even more relevant in 2011 as intergenerational debate builds in the U.S. over Social Security and Medicare benefits and European countries struggle with paying off accumulated deficits and youth unemployment. Not to imply that this is a serious or weighty book! Fast-paced and witty, this book does not belabor its points.

I didn't realize until the endnotes that this book was published by Twelve, a publishing house that only releases one book a month. Their well-edited books cover a wide range of subjects and include both fiction and non-fiction.
Hometown Movie
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Have fun spotting the Ann Arbor scenery in this movie. Most of the action takes place in the very recognizable Clarion Inn on Jackson Road. This was ultimately an uplifting movie, especially if you stick around for the insurance agency ads at the end. However, if you are easily offended by scatological humor, you will not be amused.
Post-Apocalyptic Fiction for Genre Fans
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John Birmingham's Without Warning is a dense exploration of global life after a mysterious event evaporates all human life in most of the United States. He follows several key characters, mostly Americans, as the face the global chaos that ensues with the disappearance of America as a global military superpower. Not a literary novel and not one that holds together for the skeptic (the mysterious event is not explained in the timeframe of this book). But still a fun read for fans of the post-apocalyptic genre and maybe to those who enjoy military themes. This is also the first book in a planned trilogy so perhaps the mystery will be revealed eventually. The second book was released in 2011: After America.