Saturday, June 22, 2013


Apparently I have been pronouncing this book wrong for the last year. I have been saying IQ84 and not 1Q84. Now, an IQ of 84 is not good. Its sometimes called a dull normal. Also, it took me an equally long time to figure out that the Q is a cute homonym for the Japanese word, kyu, which means nine. Now, why am I beating myself up for this, you ask? I took Japanese in college. I do a Japanese martial art. Dammit! I am not a dull normal! But the cleverness doesn't stop there, no 1Q84 is set in 1984 and heavily references George Orwell's 1984. This thing is mega-meta. There is a lot of weird sex stuff, which is typical Murakami. The Japanese word for boobs is chichi. I think Murakami had a post-it note on his computer monitor when he wrote this, that said: "Write something every day, but first, chichi." 

In this story, Aomame is a mysterious, petite woman who can kick ass, despite being Chairman of the itty-bitty-titty-committee. Tengo, a smart, but otherwise dull normal man gets embroiled in Aomame's mystery but his part in the story involves a sixteen-year old girl with giant boobs. You should know that the sixteen-year old is a semi literate, semi mute, petite hot chick. Think a savant-sex doll. Creeped out yet? Some of the characters in 1Q84 don't even have names. They are referred to only by their haircuts: ponytail, buzz cut, bowl cut (aka "weight line") and The Rachel. Ok, I made some of those up. 

Murakami isn't for everyone. Its slipstream, which means, is this the real world or am I losing my mind?  Also, I would not read this as your first Murakami.  Its 925 pages but feels like 1125.  The plot moves slooooowly. The sex stuff is creeeeepy. But, is there anyone that writes like Murakami? And this is a translation. He is a genius.  Weird as hell, but a genius.    

Drinks:  Aomame drinks Cutty Sark at a bar while trying to get men to have sex with her. While I've never had Cutty Sark, I've always though it seemed cheap and nasty.  Unacceptable for Scotch. 
In this book, the moon is a prominent plot point, so I am suggesting a Blue Moon Cocktail:  2 oz gin, 1/2 oz lemon juice, and 1/4 ounce creme de violette. One of my favorite cocktails is a variation on this called an Aviation. Same recipe, but add 1/2 oz maraschino liqueur.  It is fantastic.  For fun, you call that one, I don't know, a Two Moon Cocktail...just for kicks. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore

People love this book. People love Cool-Whip.  I used to love Cool-Whip myself, that was until I ate real whipped cream.  Now Cool-Whip tastes like Monsanto light sweet crude to me.  I can see where one might enjoy this book in theory, but c'mon its pretty damn crappy.  Everything about this book is contrived.  The hardcover book even glows-in-the-dark.  Written in a abstract, it seems like a good idea for a book.  Whoops, the first time author used to work at Twitter and considers himself a media inventor. Uh-oh.

Our narrator Clay Jannon, (stupid name), a former designer but laid off during the Great Recession (so current--can't you relate!) works the late shift at a 24 hour San Francisco bookstore.  Oddly, this is the only 24 hour bookstore in San Francisco that does not involve porn (fiction!).  The small number of customers that come in are working from "secret stacks." These books look like nonsense, unless you are into The Bible Code.  That was a really hot book in like 1996.  It turns out its all about a secret society involving fonts. Ok, I kind of like fonts, I'll give him that. 

Robin Sloan is not a good writer.  Sorry dude, you may be a fantastic tweeter, but a novel is not a simple matter of 140 characters.  Unless you are George R.R. Martin and those characters are not so simple.  This book reads like it was sponsored by Google.  There is lot of time devoted to Google and how awesome it is!  It feels like one big ad for Google.  I DO NOT LIKE THAT. That is the last thing I want in a novel, commercials.  Unless that commercial is for something in Diagon Alley and that item is something like butterbeer. 

There are a lot of geeky things in this book.  But something doesn't feel right, in Ready Player One, you could feel the love from the geek trivia, really feel it.  I suspect Robin Sloan probably is a tech geek but there is something "fake-geek-hot-chick-with-glasses-that-don't-really-have-glass-in-them-geek" about it. Its icky.  

Drinks:  The characters drink something called the Blue Screen of Death. (Get it?!)  I have never tried it but it doesn't sound too awful. 3/4 oz. vodka and 1/2 oz tequila with several dashes of Blue Curacao liquor shaken with ice. Sounds strong, but if anyone tries it, let me know.  I will try it myself, but Blue Curacao is not something I have just sitting around.

Also, I think this would be fun to try because its set in San Francisco.  San Francisco Cocktail: 1oz sloe gin, 1 oz sweet vermouth, 1 oz. dry vermouth, dash of orange bitters, dash of aromatic bitters.  Shaken with ice, garnish with a cherry. Dang, I need some ingredients for this one too. Well, at least this blog isn't sponsored by Bacardi and I spend my whole review talking about how awesome it is.