Matt’s Weekly Reads, August 27, 2022


The Kaiju Preservation Society, John Scalzi (2022)

When I finished this new release, I felt like I needed to take a run around the block to settle down a bit. That’s how energizing and fun it is. The book opens in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, with our hero Jamie losing his marketing job and having to turn to gig work delivering food to support himself and his out-of-work roommates. But his life takes a dramatic turn when he delivers food to an old  college acquaintance, who ends up recruiting him to a mysterious non-profit in the animal conservation sector called the KPS. As it turns out, KPS stands for the Kaiju Preservation Society, and the animals they protect are massive, dragon-like creatures from an alternate Earth. Adventure, mystery, and of course a crisis Jamie and his new friends must try to fix, ensue. This was fun, clever, witty, and just a great and entertaining ride all around. It’s not the kind of book that will change lives, but it certainly doesn’t need to be. It’s just a very fun story well-told and that is a very wonderful thing. My only slight quibble is that the witty banter, great as it is, can be a bit much at times. But overall, it’s hard to imagine this doing what it’s trying to do any better. If you’re looking for a bookish comp, think something in between Jurassic Park and The Space between Worlds.

Read this if you’re interested in:

  • Speculative Fiction
  • Science Fiction
  • Supervillainy of the Superrich
  • Pandemic Literature
  • Japanese Pop Culture
  • Monsters
  • Witty Banter

My Rating, 10/10

Weekly Roundup

  • A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson (1998), 7.5/10: In the close to quarter century since its publication, this book’s reputation has taken on a life of its own. And so, I suppose it’s not surprising that I found myself not at all sure what to expect from it and at the same time a bit disappointed by what I did find. What it is is a well-written, gentle memoir about his failed attempt at hiking the entirety of the Appalachian Trail one Summer with an old friend, interspersed with some rather random discussions of the history, geography, ecology, industry, and people of places along the Trail. I wish there had been a stronger through-narrative, or a tighter focus for the non-memoir pieces, but it was a good read nonetheless. (Appalachian Trail, Travel, Nature, Americana, Memoir)
  • The All of It, Jeannette Haien (1986), 9/10: After a long-time parishioner confesses a shocking secret on his deathbed, a rural Irish priest has a conversation with the woman who had passed as the man’s wife for decades, and is left with a lot to think about. This is a short, quiet book about story and the problems with seeing only what we want to see. (Ireland, Hard Lives, Rural Stories, Narrative)
  • A Seditious Affair, K.J. Charles (2015), 8/10: This second book in the Society of Gentlemen series straddles the plot of A Fashionable Indulgence, following the star-crossed affair between Home Office official Dominic and radical reformer Silas, in the lead up to and aftermath of the Cato Street Conspiracy trial. As with the first book, K.J. Charles has excelled at doing Regency era romance while shining the spotlight on the period’s impossibly fraught politics. (LGBTQ2S+, historical romance, social issues, Regency)
  • The Purpose Path, Nicholas Pearce (2019), 8/10: This is a solid introduction on the intersections of Christian spirituality, vocation, and career. The book is filled with case studies and examples, so if that’s how you like to learn, this will be a good book for you. (Christianity, Spirituality, Vocation, Business, Coaching, Career)
  • The Dragon’s Bride, Katee Robert (2022), 6/10: The thing about the sub-genre known as supernatural romance is that it plays with our ideas of what it means to be a monster. It’s an interesting idea, but once the point is made, it needs to have something more to undergird the story. Unfortunately for me this story about a woman who makes a deal with a demon to escape an abusive relationship and finds herself married to a good and honourable (but very kinky) dragon-man lacked that something more. (Supernatural Romance, Intimate Partner Violence, Psychological Abuse, Honorable Dragons)
  • Rewild Yourself, Simon Barnes (2018), 7.5/10: This book offers twenty-three different ways we can be intentional about increasing our exposure to nature. While I loved the general approach, its content was more limited for me since it is very much targeted to readers living on the island of Great Britain. (Nature, Birds and Animals, Contemporary Life)
  • The Layover, Lacie Waldon (2021), 7/10: This contemporary enemies-to-lovers romance about flight attendants — she about to give up her career for a man and he bearing the brunt of office gossip — who get together over a layover in Belize, is as non-descript a romance as you can get. Nothing objectionable, but also nothing to set it apart from the thousands of other contemporary romances out there. Perfectly fine fun for a Summer afternoon. (Romance, Flight Attendant Life, Belize)
  • A Universe from Nothing, Lawrence M. Krauss (2012), 7.5/10: I came to this book wanting to refresh my memory on scientific cosmology, and while that was all wonderfully discussed in an accessible way (well, as accessible as quantum physics and astrophysics can be), there was a lot of condescending anti-religious sentiment that seemed completely unnecessary and irrelevant. The science is beautiful; let it stand on its own rather than needing to attack the silliest and most superficial sorts of theism! (Science, Physics, Cosmology, Origins, New Atheists)
  • In Deeper Waters, F.T. Lukens (2021), 7/10: This queer YA fantasy romance didn’t really hit the mark for me. I enjoyed all of the characters and loved the fantasy world Lukens created, but other than a sort of love-at-first-sight young-love sort of deal, I didn’t really buy the relationship at the heart of the story and that I was supposed to be invested in. It was charming and delightful, but ultimately I want to care about the romance in a romance novel and this just didn’t do it for me. (LGBTQ2S+, Romance, Fantasy, Adventure, Magic, Merfolk)

One response to “Matt’s Weekly Reads, August 27, 2022”

  1. […] Rewild Yourself, Simon Barnes (2018), 7.5/10: See my review of this book on learning to appreciate nature in my August 27 weekly recap. […]


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