BY SEAN CLARK

[In this feature, we highlight a handful of the best book reviews appearing over the weekend in major newspapers.]

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The Master Blaster, by P. F. Kluge. Reviewed by Janet Maslin (New York Times).

When I hear “Master Blaster” the two things I think of are a midget riding a giant, and an NES game with better music than game play. This book has absolutely nothing to do with either of those things. Instead, The Master Blaster is a novel about a U.S. commonwealth in decline, Saipan, in a series of Pacific islands formerly exploited for cheap labor where what could be considered American-made products we churned out. Despite serious subject matter and a somewhat politicized plot, the novel sounds pretty funny; there appears to be no small amount of irony employed by the author. Maslin certainly seems enamored.

Find it on Goodreads.

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The Half-Made World, by Felix Gilman. Reviewed by Bryce Dayton (My Awful Reviews).

You can probably just read the first paragraph of this review and make a decision about whether you’d want to dedicate a few subway rides to this book. He also works “sad panda” into his evaluation. Thumbs up (seriously, I’d rather read a review like Dayton’s than anything the Chicago Tribune has ran in months).

Find it on Goodreads.

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The Great Animal Orchestra, by Bernie Krause. Reviewed by Paul Mitchinsin (Washington Post).

Krause is a doctor in bio-acoustics who “lugs his recording equipment around the globe, seeking to capture the vanishing soundscapes of our rapidly changing Earth.” He sounds like a bit of a nutter, but in the good way. I’ve got a real hard on for nature documentaries, especially more recondite ones like Microcosmos and Sunrise Earth, so I’m all for a read on the Earth’s bio-rhythms and humanity, even with our music, is messing with that. He very well could come across as an aging hippie on a soap box, but I’m intrigued enough to learn for myself if that’s true.

Find it on Goodreads.

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Quickly: Funny and smart, 6 Things Rich People Need to Stop Saying; this history of neighbours looks interesting; and The Stranger Within Sarah Stein is a YA book that tackles “divorce, Sept. 11, homelessness and the Holocaust.”

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Bonus Book Trailer: No trailer for you! It’s been a while since I came across a good book trailer that wasn’t at least a year old. I think people finally realized that book trailers are kinda stupid. So I’m retiring this segment from my WBBRs rather than scrounging for material or picking on fifth graders. If I actually do come across a good book trailer (probably won’t), I’ll share it as a true bonus.

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