By Ali Colluccio
I know I usually talk about comics here, but I've been a lot reading books without pictures lately. And you know what? They're all REALLY good! Like, the miss your stop on the subway because you're so wrapped up kind of good. "Best Stuff" is all about the stuff that's so great I want to tell all of my friends and random strangers about it. These stories definitely fit into that category. So I humbly present to you, dear readers, Best Stuff: The Book-Book Edition!
"Cinder" by Marissa Meyer
I don't know where to start with this book because it's SO AWESOME. A futuristic, sci-fi twist on the classic fairy tale, Cinder is the story of a teenage cyborg forced into servitude by her cruel step-mother--there's even a charming prince and an evil queen... from the moon. (Spoiler: she loses her mechanical foot fleeing from the Ball.) Cinder is snarky, fiercely independent, and an endearing curmudgeon, on top of being the best mechanic in all of New Beijing. You can't help but cheer for her the whole way through.
To an extent, you know what you're going to get from a book with that description. But Marissa Meyer is a damn good writer, with a strong sense of character and pacing. This makes Cinder a much better book than you'd initially expect. It ends on a cliff hanger, but it's tremendously satisfying and a perfect segue into the next novel in the series, Scarlet--which, if you were wondering, is equally fantastic and involves a sassy French redhead and a werewolf army... from the moon.
"Bonk" by Mary Roach
Mary Roach is fantastic; she's easily my favorite non-fiction writer. Roach started in travel writing but now writes about SCIENCE.* This actually works out really well, because her casual, concise, and often humorous writing style makes advanced scientific concepts easy to understand and fun (like Sesame Street for grown-ups, but with less singing).
Roach's book "Bonk" is about the SCIENCE of sex. She covers the topic from all angles: anatomical, physiological, biological, chemical. Roach is so dedicated to the book and her research that she and her incredibly understanding husband has sex in an MRI machine so that doctors could map their brainwaves to get a better understanding of what happens during orgasm. Bonk is completely and totally fascinating and not at all embarrassing. And I mean that sincerely.
*Please note: SCIENCE should always appear in all caps because SCIENCE.
"One Good Earl Deserves a Lover" by Sarah McLean
I like romance novels, ok? I think they're great and steamy and FUN! They also have ridiculously punny titles that entertain me way more than they probably should. Anyway. I refuse to call my romance novels guilty pleasures, because I don't feel guilty enjoying them. And why should I? Love what you love, I say. Forget what the people reading over your shoulder on the subway think.
The scientifically minded Pippa (is that the best name ever or what?!) is getting increasingly concerned with her soon-to-be wifely duties. Pippa likes to makes sure she's completely and totally understand pretty much everything ever. Girl does her homework, is what I'm saying, and that includes boning up on the ins-and-outs of procreation (all puns intended). Since she can't get a copy of Bonk at her local bookshop, Pippa goes to one of London's most scandalous gambling hells (no really; they're called hells, not halls) to ask it's infamous proprietor to be her, ehem, "research associate". Shenanigans and sexy times ensue.
Until next week, guys: love what you love.