My most popular book-reviews: Part II (Fall 2012)

As said yesterday, I love reviewing books on Boing Boing. A lifetime spent flogging books has addicted me to the rare pleasure of helping other people fall in love with my favorite books. This week, I'm looking at the past year's most popular book reviews and rounding them up quarter-by-quarter. Here's today's installment, Fall 2012:


Drugs: Without the Hot Air: the best book on drug policy I've read, written by David Nutt, the UK drug czar who was fired because he refused to bow to political pressure to repudiate his own research on the relative harms from illegal drugs and legal activities.

[Buy it]


David Byrne's How Music Works: The book he David Byrne born to write. I could made good case for calling this How Art Works or even How Everything Works.

[Buy it]


A Mary Blair Treasury of Golden Books: Blair's work is always fantastic, but you couldn't ask for a better showcase than her book-illustration portfolio.

[Buy it]


The Mark Inside: the best book I've read on the long con: Reading builds her book around the life story of J Frank Norfleet, a soft-spoken, thrifty Texas rancher who built his fortune up from nothing, only to lose it all to a gang of swindlers. Norfleet became obsessed with the men who'd victimized him, and became a nationally famous vigilante, crisscrossing America bent on capturing and jailing the whole gang -- and any other con-men he met along the way.

[Buy it]


Batman Earth One: rebooting the bat: Johns dispenses with some of the less plausible aspects of the Batman myth, and presents us with a Gotham that is out of control, corrupt, dark and glorious. There's a haunted house, there are serial killers, Hollywood phonies, and a mayor named Oswald Cobblepot.

[Buy it]


Legends of Zita the Space Girl: a worthy followup to the most excellent kids' science fiction graphic novel: In Legend, Zita is now a celebrity, travelling from world to world with Piper and her friends, being exhibited to gawkers who want a glimpse of the hero who saved Scriptorium. On one nameless space-station -- a worldlet every bit as weird and hilarious as the setting in book one -- Zita meets a very special admirer amidst the throng.

[Buy it]


Rapture of the Nerds: "Doctorow and Stross, two of the SF genre’s more exciting voices, team up to produce a story that is mindbendingly entertaining but almost impossible to explain….Peppered with references to pop-culture staples (The Matrix, Doctor Who, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), and drawing on concepts from hard SF, cyberpunk, and videogames, the novel is a surefire hit for genre fans, especially those familiar with the works of its coauthors. Fans of Adam Roberts' elegant, intellectually challenging SF will also be on firm ground here." -Booklist

[Buy it]


Ron English's Stickable Art Offenses: Wacky Packages meets AdBusters: an inspired collection of stickers from one of the world's most iconic sticker artists.

[Buy it]


Zita the Space Girl: delightful kids' science fiction comic that's part Vaughn Bode, part Mos Eisley Cantina: Ben Hatke's 2011 kids' science fiction graphic novel about a young girl's adventures on a distant world that she is transported to after clicking a mysterious button that she finds in the center of a meteor crater.

[Buy it]


Neal Stephenson's Some Remarks, a remarkable essay collection: Some Remarks is a new collection of mostly reprinted, mostly nonfiction. I've read nearly every word in this collection before, some of it multiple times, but nevertheless found it to be a breezy, fast, and thoroughly enjoyable read.

[Buy it]


Classic SF of the 1950s: beautiful books introduced by Gibson, Gaiman, Reed, Willis, Straub and others: great contemporary science fiction writers introduce classics of the field from the 1950s.

[Buy it]


Immortal Lycanthropes: Required reading for budding happy mutants and their grownups: You see, Myron is an immortal lycanthrope, part of an ancient mythic race of human/animal hybrids -- one for every species of mammal -- who date back to the dawn of humanity. Nothing can kill him save another immortal in animal form, and there are plenty of those around, as it turns out. They have all come out of the woodwork to attempt to kidnap/kill/rescue/brainwash/claim/manipulate him, because he appears to be the first newborn immortal lycanthrope since the dawn of history.

[Buy it]


The Coldest War: Ian Tregillis continues the Milkweed Triptych: a secret history that pitted a mad Nazi scientist who'd made a cadree of twisted, dieselpunk X-Men against the hidden warlocks of the British Isles, men who conferred with ancient, vast forces and traded the blood of innocents for the power to warp time and space.

[Buy it]


vN: a science fiction novel about robots, perverts, power and privilege: The novel is set in a medium-term future where a race of self-replicating robots ("von Neumanns" or vNs for short) have been engineered to act as servile helpmeets by an apocalyptic Christian cult that wanted to leave behind a kind of relief mission for the unbelievers and heretics who'd be left behind by the Rapture.

[Buy it]