Monday, October 22, 2007

 

Bookies

Followed up with Pretties and Specials by Scott Westerfeld; Sister was right, the third one lagged, partly because we know how the world works now. Neat twist RE: the wild primitives in the forest, though, and Tally's transformation into and out of official Specialdom was convincing. Regarding the romance, Lending Friend and I agreed that we appreciated the measured way in which the author returned Tally to Nature Boyfriend after the demise of Prettyboy.

Mentioning these books to Eldest Sister during a (far too rare) phone conversation, I was told, "Oh, yes, I recommended them to Youngest Sister." Who knew? Maybe it's time we had some kind of joint blog—a virtual book club. Five minds must be better than one! If anyone out there has advice on this sort of thing, let me know.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown and Company, 2000) arrived at my local library. I am eagerly looking forward to the next idea this author takes on.

Monday, October 15, 2007

 

You can't read just one...

Mmmm--Sunday reading!

I admit I rolled my eyes a bit at the beginning of Alex and the Ironic Gentleman by Adrienne Kress (Scholastic Canada, 2007); there have been so many rollicking adventures lately, and irony is rife. But in the end it was a delightful tale with lots of humour and a heroine who wasn't egregiously heroic; and who knew you could fit torture and death into a children's book in a way that is both comic book ridiculous and ever-so-briefly, chillingly real? The realness comes from the author taking her time to include many true and well-observed moments (I recommend to you the musing on the nature of Monday mornings) which give the story the depth (and, perhaps, the staying power) that the Lemony Snickett series lacks.

A tip of the hat to editors on both sides of the water for a good clean read (if you've read earlier grumbles you'll know what I mean). I beg you all to give the author time to write the second book properly, so that isn't just more of the same but has the well-rounded feel of this one.

I borrowed the copy I read but I think I might get one of my own so that Husband can read it to Daughter. They will enjoy it, I think.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

 

Apple Farming

The Land of the Silver Apples was very good—Couldn't Put It Down and all that—but not as "of a piece" as Sea of Trolls, which seemed more real, while the sequel is more fantastic.

All this while I've been working my way through Emotions Revealed by Paul Ekman (Henry Holt, 2003) which I picked up because of another read, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown, 2005). The latter was so very good (it's rare for me to encounter a nonfiction CPID) that I wanted to know more about something that Gladwell wrote about. Emotions just shows me how well Gladwell understood and presented the kernel of Ekman's research that most matters to the person on the street. I'll put Emotions aside now (I'm getting bored) and take a look at the other Ekman book I took out of the library, Why Kids Lie. And BTW, I highly recommend Blink. You'll never take market research seriously again.

The power of a novelist: to crack open a moment and turn it into a life. In Remembering the Bones (HarperCollins, 2007) Frances Itani presents the story of Georgie, as she lies at the bottom of a ravine waiting for rescue. Because of her car accident, she is missing the biggest event of her life, a birthday lunch with Queen Elizabeth. That could stand as a parable for her entire life: she missed out on a loving father, work that suited her gifts, raising more than one child, a golden sunset with her husband—if she chose to look at it that way; but she steadfastly refuses to. She strives toward stubborn hopefulness to the end. An utterly persuasive book.

Shadow of a Bull by Maia Wojciechowska (Simon&Schuster, 1964): they just don't make Newbery Medal winners like they used to! Whether this is a good thing or a bad, I don't know. All I can say about this book is that it contains not one nanoparticle of irony.

Friday, October 12, 2007

 

Darling Son

Am currently reading the sequel to Sea of Trolls, The Land of the Silver Apples by Nancy Farmer (Atheneum, 2007). Son found it in the library when he was there with Dad and brought it home for me. Had to finish Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (Scholastic Inc, 2005) which a friend at work gave me—I remembered a younger sister had recommended it, and it was indeed very good, bringing to attention peculiarities of our culture, in the way that the best spec fic does.

Monday, October 08, 2007

 

Holiday Reading

Ah, there's no one for a happy ending where all the characters get what they need and the simple generous heart is rewarded than Maeve Binchy on a tear. I took the day (well, it is a holiday, after all!) off (okay, I did laundry) to read Whitethorn Woods (McArthur and Co., 2006) and the day was not wasted. I do wish that overseas writers would hire North American editors to vet their North American characters, though. An American would never even think "she was meant to be eighteen" when the meaning is "it meant she would have been eighteen"! It just looks silly—and it's so preventable.

I've not been blogging very much as I don't want reading to be work. So, a quick (and incomplete) catch-up: Billy Creekmore by Tracey Porter (HarperCollins, 2007)—entertaining and old-fashioned; the ending came somewhat abruptly; two Alice novels (Alice On Her Way and Dangerously Alice, both Simon&Schuster)—just by way of keeping up; they were okay; various New Yorkers; and an interesting entry by Geraldine McCaughcrean in a history series called Flashbacks, called Casting the Gods Adrift (A&C Black, 1995, 2005). I at first thought it a possibility for a historical fiction project but decided it was probably too complicatedly about religion—even if that religion isn't practiced anymore. The book is about a boy training as a sculptor in the court of Akhenaten, the pharoah who tried to establish monotheism in ancient Egypt. I guess this is what historians cite as the inspiration for Hebrew monotheism. What a discussion one could have with a church youth group!

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