Monday, November 26, 2007

Gobble Gobble

I hope you all had the happiest of Thanksgivings! It was great to see my parents (HI MOM AND DAD! I KNOW YOU'RE READING THIS!) It was nice to also just hang out a bit and relax.

Yesterday afternoon, we were all sitting in the living room reading. Well, Dan was doing something on his laptop. I knew Mom was at the end of a spy novel. I was pretty into my book, too. Dad looked like he was into his.

Dan: So, what are we going to do all afternoon
Me: Um, I think we could just sit here in read, I know Mom's near the end of her book
Me: Dear, they are my parents. This pointing to them, and to my book is totally a learned behavior!

Also, while we were gorging ourselves on mashed potatoes and stuffing (ha ha, not me. Two things I don't like. I gorged on pie. And cranberry dressing.) Our fearless Cybils leaders were putting together the final long lists. CHECK THEM OUT!

So usually, when I post multiple reviews, there's some sort of theme or something. Today's theme is:

These books are all due back at the library TODAY. In order in which I liked them:

Confessions of a Blabbermouth Mike Carey, Louise Carey, illustrated by Aaron Alexovich

So, this is part of the Minx series of graphic novels. My favorite, up to this point, was Re-Gifters , but I think I like this one better. The good news is, they're both by Mike Carey, so now I have a new author to be on the look-out for!

Anyway, Tasha is an angry blogger whose mother has a knack for dating losers. This new one she's brought home? Takes the cake and thinks that Tasha just needs a strong father figure in her life. His own daughter, of course, is perfect. Too bad she's a grade-A stuck up bee-yotch. And every time Tasha thinks that Chloe might be human after all, Chloe writes something awful in her newspaper column.

Tasha is supposed to spend spring break in the US, off-line, with these freaks?! How will she survive?!

Hilarious. Carey obviously knows how to write for the medium of the graphic novel and Alexovich's depictions of the bully Big Sylvie? Excellent.

The Diary of Ma Yan: The Struggles and Hopes of a Chinese Schoolgirl Ma Yan Ed. by Pierre Haski. Trans. from the French by Lisa Appignanesi, originally trans. from the Mandarin by He Yanping

Ma Yan is a school girl from Ningxia province, in Central China. She is a member of the Muslim Hui minority. She, like many of her neighbors, is extremely poor. She struggles with spending 50 fen (which is about 6 US cents). All she wants is to go to school, to make her family proud, to get a good job so she can support her family. School is expensive and she's often pulled out so her brothers can go and she can work at home. Her father spends most of his time in Inner Mongolia, looking for work. Her mother is very ill and climbs mountains far away from home, picking fa cai to sell.

This is not so much a good book as an important one. Ma Yan's diary is written by the thirteen year old girl that she is. She's not writing for an audience. Her prose goes between matter-of-fact and very earnest. But what she does is paints a picture of modern day Chinese poverty that can get forgotten in all the coverage of China's booming economy. She paints a picture of hunger and parental sacrifice. And, above all, she paints a picture of hope and the strength of spirit. That sounds dumb, but it's true.

The photographs and Haski's information given valuable insight and background information.

I Am the Wallpaper Mark Peter Hughes

Floey Packer is sick of always being overlooked in favor of Lillian, her fabulous older sister. So, one summer, stuck at home with her two terrible cousins, she decides to make herself fabulous.

And she's getting the attention she wants. Until she finds out why. (Now, I think this is a bit of a spoiler, but it says so on the back cover so... her evil little cousin is posting her diary on the internet. No wonder her best friend is so pissed off!)

The problem with Floey is... Hughes has captured the voice of a 13 year old perfectly. The guy she likes called her and they talked for an hour! It doesn't matter that they're good friends, he obviously LIKES her! It's all going so well!

And, frankly, 13 year old girls? Are annoying. Oiy. So, Floey annoyed me. It's never good when your narrator annoys you. But, she annoyed me because Hughes is so good. Aiya.

Also, Floey writes a lot of haikus. Love. It's good while still sounding like it was actually written by a teen.

Blood Red Horse K. M. Grant

This is an excellent book for a teen who still loves horses.

Hosanna is the blood red horse of the title. A horse with mystical powers to bridge opposite sides of the Crusades.

Gavin and Will are brothers. Ellie's the girl that Will loves but is betrothed to Gavin.

Richard is the king that's dragging everyone (Well, not Ellie) off to the Holy Land.

La la la la la la.

This book took me a month and a half to read. I just couldn't get that into it. But, I was enough into it that I couldn't put it down, you know? I'm not that into horses anymore. And the crusade battle scenes? Kinda bored me. That's never a good thing.


Julie said...

I love the image of Thanksgiving readers! Thanks for the Cybils link. I'm supposed to be sleeping, but I have to go see the list now!

Jennie said...

Those are some long long-lists. I'm kinda embarrassed by how many of the titles I haven't read!

Pierre said...

Dear Jennie, I'm glad you likes Ma Yan's diary. As you said, it's a true story, and to update you, she's about to arrive in France to learn French and study as she's successfully finished school in her home province in North-Western China!
All the best to you
Pierre Haski, from Paris.

Susan said...

haha. i don't think i got my reading habit from my least not my dad. we're (jason and i, not my dad) taking a cruise in a couple weeks, told my dad i'm looking for a couple books to read while on the cruise....his response : but you can read anywhere/anytime. my response : i can think of nothing more relaxing than reading deckside. sweet. definitely bringing an adult book along, it has been far too long. just bought some erotica for the trip, since the library doesn't carry :) jason will thank me later. can't wait.

Jennie said...

Pierre-- Merci Beaucoup et Xie Xie for the update on Ma Yan! I think it deserves its own post, so I gave it one!

Susan-- erotica? I need to do an "adult" post of some adult books. (Most of my quibbles are with word choice, so I guess I'll have to hide it on the spoiler blog!) But sitting deskside with a good book? Especially a good trashy book? Most excellent

Anonymous said...

About cruises and books – 6 years in the Navy and many of us common sailors had a book tucked in our waistbands at any given time.
Ah…to lounge on the deck with sea breezes and blue waters with a good book…..
Jennies’ Dad

Susan said...

snap. busted by Jen's dad. I meant I want to read about Beethoven's Eroica symphony.

glad to hear sailors get their reading time in :)

Anonymous said...

Hey! I didn't say what I was reading. ;)

Beethoven, hey?
Enjoy the cruise, no matter what you read!
Jen's Dad