The perfect gift for everyone who has ever cursed Windows. A not insignificant market.

SECRETS OF THE WHOLLY GRILL

A SATIRE ABOUT SOFTWARE, BARBECUE, AND CRAVINGS

A huge and bullying software vendor branches into food technology, bringing shrink-wrapped user agreements and techno-menace to outdoor cooking.

The Wholly Grill is just the first of many odious puns foisted on helpless end-users by ThinkSoft, a giant Silicon Valley firm bearing more than casual resemblance to a certain real-life Redmond, Washington, corporation in a mostly amusing sendup of software’s darker side. Flooding the mails with sirloin tips sealed in Saran Wrap like so many CDs, ThinkSoft hopes to hook a barbecue-loving America on a seamless system of hardware and software that includes laser-fired, Internet controlled grills and special crystal-embedded roasts and sausages. The catch? Well, there are many, but the first is most familiar to anyone who has ever dabbled in computing. Just clawing at the he plastic to get your hands on the CD, or—in this case—the brisket, binds the user to an ironclad agreement that he will not even think of using the old Weber Kettle or anything but ThinkSoft’s own sauce on anything but ThinkSoft meat. But, of course, fat, lonely, bachelor and credit-card victim Lenny Milton, when he can’t get his brand-new Wholly Grill to make the modem connection and fire up the lasers, reaches for the charcoal and very quickly incurs the mighty wrath of ThinkSoft. He would be squashed like a bug were it not for the interest of Edwin G. Ostermyer, the quintessence of West Coast Geraldo–savvy legal maneuvering, Ostermyer’s blue-blooded but action craving young assistant Will Swanson, and ravishing technical industry reporter Persi Valentino. While Persi, invisible in janitorial uniform, scopes out ThinkSoft’s HQ, Will frantically works the legal angles, and Edwin works on many levels on his expert witness, a sexy psychiatrist. The action ratchets up when Lenny’s beloved Chihuahua is blinded in a barbecue catastrophe for which ThinkSoft must surely, surely accept culpability. On the way to the climax, there will be an important appearance by Saint Tostada, a mythic force in the South Bay long before Larry Ellison arrived.

The perfect gift for everyone who has ever cursed Windows. A not insignificant market.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7867-0965-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2001

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ANIMAL FARM

A FAIRY STORY

A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1946

ISBN: 0452277507

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1946

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Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

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ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE

Doerr presents us with two intricate stories, both of which take place during World War II; late in the novel, inevitably, they intersect.

In August 1944, Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a blind 16-year-old living in the walled port city of Saint-Malo in Brittany and hoping to escape the effects of Allied bombing. D-Day took place two months earlier, and Cherbourg, Caen and Rennes have already been liberated. She’s taken refuge in this city with her great-uncle Etienne, at first a fairly frightening figure to her. Marie-Laure’s father was a locksmith and craftsman who made scale models of cities that Marie-Laure studied so she could travel around on her own. He also crafted clever and intricate boxes, within which treasures could be hidden. Parallel to the story of Marie-Laure we meet Werner and Jutta Pfennig, a brother and sister, both orphans who have been raised in the Children’s House outside Essen, in Germany. Through flashbacks we learn that Werner had been a curious and bright child who developed an obsession with radio transmitters and receivers, both in their infancies during this period. Eventually, Werner goes to a select technical school and then, at 18, into the Wehrmacht, where his technical aptitudes are recognized and he’s put on a team trying to track down illegal radio transmissions. Etienne and Marie-Laure are responsible for some of these transmissions, but Werner is intrigued since what she’s broadcasting is innocent—she shares her passion for Jules Verne by reading aloud 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A further subplot involves Marie-Laure’s father’s having hidden a valuable diamond, one being tracked down by Reinhold von Rumpel, a relentless German sergeant-major.

Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4658-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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