Agent to the Stars
I needed a break from literature about the American Southwest (on deck . . . Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire) so I read John Scalzi's sci-fi novel Agent to the Stars; the plot sounds absurd-- aesthetically unappealing, smelly (but friendly) aliens travel across the universe to investigate and embrace the intelligent life on earth, but then drag their feet about first contact, because they've seen all of our movies and television and know how we generally treat gross alien creatures . . . so they seek representation and leave it to a Hollywood agent to figure out how to best introduce them to the planet-- but the novel is more serious than you might imagine from the synopsis . . . the characters are well drawn, the insight into the Hollywood agency is vivid and meticulous, the writing is sharp, and the plot really moves . . . the book is more than a satire of sci-fi and the film industry (although it is that as well) and dog-lovers, film-lovers and dog-film lovers will especially appreciate the story.