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Bookworm In Your Ear: From Two Opposite Ends Of The Literary Spectrum

Here are two of my favorite authors with their latest. Call me schiz; but the two are starkly different, and yet I enjoyed them equally, and recommend them wholeheartedly.

 

What the Hell Did I Just Read by David Wong

Admittedly, David Wong is an acquired taste; his mix of horror and science fiction overlaid by a Stoner/Slacker sensibility (or lack of any vestige of) is not everyone's cup of mind-altering tea. What the Hell is the third in the John Dies in the End series, following This Book Is Full of Spiders. So the main characters are back, David who puts himself in his novels, the aforementioned John, and Amy. Like a more bizarre and tongue in cheek version of Twilight Zone mixed with Stranger Things and full of stoner references—the ultimate illegal substance is nicknamed 'soy sauce'—and the story in this one has to do with creatures that undergo metamorphosis by inhabiting the bodies of young 'kidnapped' children. The supernatural, the creepy, and hilarious all come together in Wong's fiction.

 

Paris In the Present Tense by Mark Helprin

A writer known for his nuanced, textured writing, and acuity in presenting the psychological workings of his characters, Helprin is in fine form here with the elegant Paris In the Present Tense. His hero is a seventy four-year old cellist and music teacher. A widower, Jules Lacour, rows and runs daily along the Seine, and could be mistaken for someone twenty years younger. He falls in love instantly and often; and inhabits the gloomy side of the street (so French on all counts?); and while he contemplates death quite often, he's deeply concerned about what will happen to his married daughter and his grandson who suffers from a rare form of leukemia. When circumstances forces Jules to commit a violent act, weighty decisions are forced upon him, and the meanings of life, music, and love are defined.