Funny in Farsi is a memoir by a woman who grew up in both Iran and the United States. Her family moved to the United States in 1972, when Firoozeh Dumas was seven years old. Neither she or her mother spoke any English, although her father had some experience with the country from graduate school. After two years, they moved back to Iran, but later returned to the United States. More family members followed until almost all of the family was living in California. Funny in Farsi is a collection of antecedents and stories about Firoozeh Dumas’s life and family.
Redshirts is a comedic science fiction novel that riffs off the premise of the disposable “redshirt” characters from TV shows such as Star Trek. Ensign Andrew Dahl has just joined the crew of the starship Intrepid, and he’s noticed that something strange is going on. Every Away Mission involves fatalities… but a certain subset of officers will always survive while a low ranking crew member dies. The Intrepid‘s crew have thus developed an elaborate system of avoiding these officers and the Away Missions at all costs. Then Dahl finds out something that offers him and his friends a chance of survival…
The Eye of Zoltar is the third book in Jasper Fforde’s YA series the Chronicles of Kazam. I had only the vaguest memories of what happened in the first two books, but luckily the plot of The Eye of Zoltar was mostly self contained and it wasn’t too much of a problem. Like all of Fforde’s work, The Eye of Zoltar was hilarious.
Jennifer Strange is a sixteen-year old orphan living in the Ununited Kingdoms and indentured to a magical service company named Kazam. The plot begins when The Mighty Shandar announces that Jennifer saving the last two dragons threw a wrench in his contracted agreement to kill off all the dragons. Either she brings him the Eye of Zoltar, a lost and legendary magic gemstone, or he kills the dragons. With no choice but to agree, Jennifer sets off on a search* which heads into the dangerous Cambrian Empire.
Laughing Without an Accent by Firoozeh Dumas. ★★★★
Laughing Without an Accent is a collection of memoirs by Firoozeh Dumas, a woman who moved from Iran to America before the revolution. The book is by turns funny, serious, and inspirational.
“. . . to deny someone an education is not just a crime but a sin, because you are denying that person the opportunity to realize who he or she is meant to be.”
The stories are conversational in tone and vary from Dumas’s childhood recollections of life in Iran to attending school in the United States to her experiences as a mother. Reading the first chapter, I discovered that she’d published a prior set of memoirs which had been very successful in Iran, despite an entire chapter being censored. Laughing Without an Accent stands on it’s own, but I do really want to get a hold of her first book, Funny in Farsi.
I did find Unaccompanied Minor amusing, but I think it had a lot of problems in terms of pace and plotting.
Unaccompanied Minor is a short, YA adventure novel about a fourteen year old girl who comes from a long legacy of airline employees. When her mom’s in a psychiatric hospital and someone tries to kidnap her from her stepfather’s apartment, fourteen year old April Manning survives by living in airport lounges and passing as a flight attendant. Then, she happens to be on a plan when it gets unexpectedly hijacked by the same people who tried to kidnap her earlier. She has to save the day with the help of a wounded police officer, another unaccompanied minor, his service dog, and a 67 year old flight attendant named Flo.
Unseen Academicals is the thirty-seventh book in the Discworld series, and not one I’d recommend starting with. While Unseen Academicals does stand alone, it contains a plethora of references to other books in the series, possibly the most self referential of any Discworld novels. Thus, I would suggest starting with Guards! Guards!, The Wee Free Men, Monstrous Regiment, or Going Postal instead.
On the surface, Unseen Academicals is about sports. Ponder Stibbons, the new Master of Tradition of the Unseen University, has discovered that over eighty percent of the university’s food budget is covered by a bequest that stipulates they put forth a football (or soccer, if you’re American) team at least once every twenty years. Time is run out, and for the sake of the cheese cart, the wizards must play football. Continue reading →
Making Money is the thirty-sixth book in the Discworld series and the second following Moist von Lipwig. While you could plausibly read Making Money with no prior Discworld experience, I’d suggest having read the first book about Moist, Going Postal, first.
The Ankh-Morpork banking system is hidebound and not up to snuff for Vetinari’s plans for the city. Solution? Put Moist von Lipwig, former conman turned city employee in charge of the Royal Mint.
“‘Look, banking is supposed to be dull! Numbers, pensions, a job for life!’
‘For life possibly, but apparently not for long,’ said Vetinari, clearly enjoying this.”