Page turners

BOOKS ISSUE: Short reviews of great books and comics

Katie Longue's RÖK is a comic featuring Loki and other Norse gods.


By Dan West (Self-published, 184 pp., $13)

You may not recognize his name, but one particular title on San Francisco filmmaker-turned-author Dan West's résumé may ring a bell: Monsturd, 2003's unforgettably gross, ultra-low-budget horror epic about a sewer-dwelling killer made of poop. A decade later, West has written two books that also dwell at the intersection of horror, comedy, and gleeful bad taste. The first, 2011's Homemade Embalming Fluid, contains short stories, fake diary entries, and an array of bizarre lists, including one that imparts phony fun facts (did you know J.D. Salinger played a Storm Trooper in 1977's Star Wars?) His latest, The House That Dripped Gore, spoofs The Haunting of Hill House and H.P. Lovecraft with a mix of reverence and full-steam-ahead insanity, aided by a hefty sprinkling of surreal tangents, dirty jokes, and obscure pop-culture references. You'll laugh! You'll cringe! You'll wonder exactly what a "farting Ouija board" might sound like! (Cheryl Eddy)



By Michael Anthony, Dorothy Kalins, and Danny Meyer (Clarkson Potter, 352 pp., $50)

The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook takes you on a restaurant tour, beginning with Danny Meyer's initial conception of opening this New York establishment, continuing past the chief steward and his wheelbarrow of fresh spring produce from the Greenmarket, around the harvest table where the floral designer pairs yellowsprays of sunflowers with splayed summer squash, into the kitchen during the staff's family meal, past the pastry station where Nancy Olson creates her autumn peanut butter semifreddo, and ending at the dining table with a winter dish of guinea hen prepared by James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Anthony. "Cooking shouldn't be a spectator sport," according to Anthony. "If you visit Gramercy Tavern and you like the dishes that we're cooking, you can certainly easily find those ingredients at home" (for a full interview with the chef, visit By the time you've read through this serious and seriously exquisite cookbook, you've spent a whole year eating inside the Tavern. Get a signed copy from Anthony when he visits the Bay Area Sat/1-Sun/2; visit for details. (Kaylen Baker)



By Paul Ruditis (author) and Patrick Faricy (illustrator) (Gallery Books, 32 pp., $16.99)

Any trekkie (or trekker) knows that Shakespeare was actually a Klingon, but did you know that Santa Claus is actually Santa Qlas? You'll have your nerdy loved one singing yuletide warrior battle cries with this holiday tale, which puts a Star Trek spin on Khristmas via the show's beloved fictional warrior aliens. The Norman Rockwell-inspired art style makes scenes like Santa Qlas (who resembles a 1980s hair-band refugee) biting the head off a lizard that much more strange ... er, jolly. At least, according to the book's rhymes, Klingon Santa is still generous: "There's dollies and yo-yos, toy trains with conductors, and maybe a mek'leth or pair of disruptors." And instead of a celebration of that Jesus guy, the Klingons are celebrating the birth of their warrior-king, Kahless (because what's cuter than a baby with huge head ridges and a small sword in hand?) Need a holiday gift for the nerd in your family? Don't walk, run — and slaughter your most feared foes (sending their souls to Gre'thor) on the way — and pick up this book. Q'Plah! (Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez)



By Annalee Newitz (Doubleday, 320 pp., $26.95)

Also in this section

  • By George

    A new book collects George Kuchar's shouts and murmurs

  • The Doctorow is in

    The sci-fi writer visits the Bay Area with two new works

  • Polly's sexual (r)evolution

    SEX ISSUE The queen of Kinky Salon pens a raw and revealing new memoir