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Three Books

These are not reviews — more like reading notes.

Title: Gods Behaving Badly
Author: Marie Phillips
Published: 2007

When I heard of this book, featuring the gods of ancient Greece living in modern day London, I knew I had to read it, mainly because Persephone has a key role.

Promising premise. Alas, I just wasn’t feeling Ms. Phillips’ take on the concept. It’s mighty silly, and I was hoping for something slightly more serious. I have to agree with a reviewer on GoodReads, this is “Fluff with a capital F.” Possibly a good beach book, especially if vacationing in the Greek isles. But like American Gods, this novel treads in a realm where I have my own fictive imaginings, and nothing I read in this regard seems to please me. I suppose I need to shut up and write my own novel.

Title: Wizards
Author: Gardner R. Dozois (Editor)
Published: 2007

This is an anthology of stories aimed at the young adult market, on the theme of wizards. I was a little disappointed that the notion of wizards was not more broadly conceived. Most of the interpretations seemed to fit into the traditional European folk archetype. There’s a story here by Gene Wolfe, who is surely a great author, but I found his contribution underwhelming.

Title: Escape from Earth
Author: Gardner R. Dozois (Editor)
Published: 2006

Another young adult anthology, edited by the same folks, only with a broad theme of travel in space. (I don’t ordinarily read “young adult” fiction, nor was I aware of how well-defined this category has become, but these two books were selected by my club.) Of the two I thought this one was superior. The stories are longer, fewer, and better. They are written in frank imitation of the old science fiction “juveniles” by authors such as Heinlein. As such, they’re fun, but definitely aimed at the adolescent reader.

Published inBooks & Reading


  1. Hey, Ed B. I’m not sure what you’re saying about American Gods. I just picked up a copy of it last week … should I read it, then? Or not? –Vince

  2. Vince: Read it! American Gods is well-written. I just have some highly idiosyncratic philosophical issues with Gaiman’s approach. But if you like Gaiman or if you’re interested in the “gods among us” theme, it’s pretty much a must-read.

  3. Bart, if you’re all about young adult, Greek mythology-inspired fiction, you have to read the “Percy Jackson” series. I think there are three or four now. By the time little P. is in middle school I’m sure there will be a satisfactory dozen or so!

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