Julie Kenner, Carpe Demon. Last month I bought another book by Julie Kenner, The Givenchy Code. Which, ultimately, turned out not to be very good. It tried to blend a chick-lit romance with a thriller, but it wasn't particularly satisfying as either. So, strike one for Julie Kenner. But I went ahead and picked up Carpe Demon anyway, just because the premise—basically, what if Buffy retired and became a soccer mom?—appealed to me.
Shinji Saijyo, Iron Wok Jan vol. 4. I read through the first volume of this manga series a few months ago, and really liked its goofy energy, so I read volumes two and three at (shh!) Borders, and got caught up in the story, so I've decided to continue reading it. But my bookstore doesn't carry it, so I have to special order it, which sort of obligates me to buy it. I could continue reading it at Borders, but that seems wrong somehow.
David Mansour, From Abba to Zoom. This claims to be a "pop culture encyclopedia of the late 20th century," but as an encyclopedia it's deficient. For one thing, there are no cross-references. For example, there's an entry about CHiPs, and individual entries for Jon and Ponch, but the latter two don't refer you to the former, nor vice versa. Also, it alphabetizes fictional characters by their first names; I'd much rather see all proper names, real or fictional, alphabetized by last name. (But it's inconsistent; Arthur Fonzarelli is under F for Fonzie, but Ponch is under F for Francis, which of course was Ponch's real name.)
And there are some baffling omissions. For example, there's no entry for Nirvana. Kurt Cobain has an entry, and there's a brief entry about grunge music in general, both of which mention Nirvana, but there's no entry for the band itself. He found room for virtually every comic character ever published by Harvey, including Mayda Munny, Nightmare (Casper's pet horse), even Princess Charma, but not for what was perhaps (in a commercial sense, at least) the most influential band of the 1990s. How does David Mansour sleep at night? (And just because I know my audience: Buffy Summers has an entry, but the show doesn't.)
Then there are the mistakes, which, to be fair, I've only found one of so far (he mistakes the Bear Family from Highlights for Children magazine with the Berenstain Bears), but I'm sure there are plenty of others. Whoops, here's another one; it says the movie Jurassic Park spawned three sequels, when in fact it spawned only two.
Hmm, I think I've just talked myself into returning this one.