If you're not gonna read the books, at least read about the books.

Joe Streckert (whose feature this week about this history of pinball in Portland is a great read) takes a look at the new Joe Sacco collaboration Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, written with journalist Chris Hedges. They'll be at Powell's June 25.

Erik Henriksen's review of the new John Scalzi novel Redshirts is a sustained expression of nerd satisfaction.

And I read two very different novel but very good novels this week: Alafair Burke's Never Tell—a fast-paced, well-written police procedural set among Manhattan's super-rich teenagers—and the new novel from Jess Walters, Beautiful Ruins. I didn't love The Financial Lives of the Poets, his last book (and that second "the" in the title always annoys me), but I was totally charmed by Beautiful Ruins, which ambitiously ties together a handful of stories: a washed up musician, a sweet Italian hotelier, a Hollywood producer's assistant and her creepy, self-interested boss. (Plus, Walters lives in Spokane, and I'm increasingly interested in reading and reviewing the work of regional authors—Beautiful Ruins reminded me at times of Truth Like the Sun, Jim Lynch's great novel about the transformation of Seattle around the time of the World's Fair.)

Other books-y things: There's a new Rebecca Stead book out later this summer! The Penny Market on SE 20th & Stark now has a tiny but weirdly respectable bookshelf—the other day I dropped in as I was headed to the park with a Kate Atkinson novel, and I found another Atkinson book I hadn't read for only $2! And Murder by the Book on Hawthorne sells brown-paper wrapped bundles of books—billed "mysterious surprise packages"—for $3. (Maybe they always have, but I just noticed.)