Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Kiddie Lit

Yesterday I finished Ursula K. LeGuin's fantasy classic, A Wizard of Earthsea

It was... OK. I'm not going to read the others in the Earthsea cycle. It was well-written and I can see why people love it, but I'm not a big fantasy reader and I either find it "meh" or completely geek out to it (like I have to Star Warsand Harry Potter)

Speaking of, Goblet of FireDVD comes out two weeks from yesterday. Yay!

I also read Gail Carson Levine's The Princess Tales, Volume I and Volume 2

These are six retold fairy tales that are along the same lines as Ella Enchantedbut not as well developed (being that they're significantly shorter-- 3 tales in fewer pages) but fun nonetheless. There is a lineage to all the tales as well-- all dealing with different generations of the same royal family in the kingdom of Biddle and the same village of Snettering-on-Snoakes. All six are also available in individual books.

Friday, February 17, 2006

More Award Winners!

A Wreath for Emmett Till which won Boston Globe and Horn Book honors, ALA "best book for young adults", Printz honor, as well as being a Coretta Scott King honor book is a book of interlinked sonnets...

15 sonnets reflecting on the life, death and legacy of Emmett Till, the last line being the first line of the next sonnet, the final one being comprised of the first lines of the previous sonnetts, a fairly impressive feat and very well done.

Except for the 9/11 references they didn't fit and just seemed to cheapen it.

Show Way was a Newberry honor book, even though it's short (21 unnumbered pages) and is the story of the author's ancestors and the quilts they made showing the underground railway path. But what really sets this book apart is its illustrations... a quilt of color and photographs, and the text and page layout is like a quilt and gorgeous. Even if they did put Maryland as a southern state (which would have made DC's position hard!).

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Wow, Did I Read A Lot This Weekend

SO... this weekend, I finished Lamb and Cracking India

Christopher Moore's Lamb : The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal was absolutely hysterical. I really really liked it and am currently shouting its praises off every rooftop I can climb onto. But, I will warn you, if you offend easily when it comes to Jesus and the like, this is not the book for you. It's not overly offensive, but it might rub some people the wrong way. Biff does some offensive things. Jesus? Not so much, I mean, he's still Jesus. But seriously folks, READ THIS BOOK. Fantastic.

And fantastic in a different way was Bapsi Sidhwa's Cracking India : A Novel
This book was recently unsuccessfully challenged in DeLand, Florida, so of course, I went out and read it right way. Sidhwa tells the story of the partition of India through the eyes of young Lenny, who is a Parsee girl living in Lahore. This book is violent. There's talk of rape and sex. And oh, the violence. I can see why some people would want it banned, but it is no more violent than the actual events were. This was a hard book. It deals with this period of time with no background information. I really don't know much about this, so I had to look a lot of things up. The writing style, while beautiful and fitting, isn't an easy read. This would be a wonderful book to teach and read in school. It's dense and layered and the history is tragic, but so much history is. It also really puts current India/Pakistani border clashes and politics in perspective.

Also, Girl, Interrupted just survived a challenge in Orono, ME.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Book Club Woes

So... Knit the Classics is currently reading Woman on the Edge of Time and I want in on the action this month. I like Marge Piercy a lot. We read a poem of hers at our wedding.

Why is this book so impossible to get a hold of?! My library system doesn't have it. I just got an "unfillable" notice from the ILL people (who only cover public libraries in Maryland) according to the catalogue of the university my husband works for, all of their copies are checked out! Everywhere, all checked out. WTF?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim David Sedaris

Not as funny as Naked (my favorite so far) or Me Talk Pretty One Day but the most poignant by far. If you like Sedaris, read it, if you've never read him before, start with Naked. But I should say that my friend Katy liked this book so much she slept with it.

Can You Keep a Secret? Sophie Kinsella

British Chick-Lit! What happens when a low-level marketing person, still trying to find her endearing way, thinks the plane is going to crash and spills all of her secrets to the guy next to her? What happens when said guy walks into her office the next day and turns out to be the CEO of her company? Light and funny. The Brits do chick-lit best and where nothing has yet to beat Bridget JonesI did like this one.

Great Expectations Charles Dickens

I loved this book! It was so nice to finally see Miss Havisham out of her role as Thursday Next's Jurisfiction partner! ;) I did really like this. I tend not to like Dickens that much, but I loved the prose and story and characters. People think I'm crazy, but there you are!

Angels & Demons Dan Brown

So, you know how there's always that one person on a plane reading Dan Brown? Yeah. This summer, that was me. Better than The Da Vinci Codebut still a guilty pleasure trashy read that I couldn't put down.

Brick Lane : A Novel Monica Ali

The story of Pakistani immigrants in London. A slow moving book of beauty that pulls you in slowly with an ending of sheer beauty.

Away Laughing on a Fast Camel Louise Rennison


Henrik Ibsen

Um, if you've done May 4th Chinese Lit and haven't read The Doll's House READ IT NOW! Plus, Lady of the Sea was spectacular.

Cause Celeb Helen Fielding

Kinda chick-litty and kinda not. This is someone who used to be Bridget-esque and then went to Africa and saw famine first hand stayed to help. Originally helpless in a place where such things weren't endearing, by the time the action of this story takes place, she's in charge of a refugee camp and knows what she's doing. This is a story that explores celebrity, African famine, international aid and what really needs to be done. All while being light and entertaining, without overly dumbing down the subject. An especially entertaining read in light of Live 8. Heh.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Criss Cross

I finished Criss Cross this weekend.

I'm still not entirely sure I liked it... it was an odd story in that it was very realistic. There wasn't a lot of action or a big happy conclusion because life doesn't work like that. Because of this, it was almost delicate, but it wasn't. And I liked it because it was true to life but because of that, the pacing was slow and there wasn't a lot of action and it didn't fully grab me and suck me in. Odd.

But I did really like the ending and the final scene. I liked the characters. It might not have been my choice for the Newberry, but I can fully understand why it won.

Friday, February 03, 2006


So, Lamb : The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal has to be one of the funniest things I've ever read. All I do is laugh out loud and I can't put it down!


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Lucky Child

Lucky Child : A Daughter of Cambodia Reunites with the Sister She Left Behind Loung Ung

I read most of this sitting at the mechanics on Tuesday morning as they did the 70,000 mile checkup on my beloved Civic. (That means we've put 30,000 miles on that baby in 2 years. That's a bit crazy, I think.)

ANYWAY. It was wonderful. Not nearly as harrowing as the one that came before,
First They Killed My Father : A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers but still powerful reading.

Lucky Childtakes place immediately whereFirst They Killed My Fatherends, on the plane to the States and follows Loung's life in Vermont where she struggles with English and just wants to be normal. Add onto this the normal teenage crap of growing up and returning nightmares and fears about the war and family she left behind. Juxtaposed with this is the story of her sister, Chou's, life after Loung leaves. As Loung goes to school, Chou helps cook and farm with her Aunt and Uncle. Each chapter switches between the two paralell lives and tells a wonderful story.

I highly recommend.