Thursday, January 28, 2010

ReStart Button

ummm, it looks like I'm a little ahead of schedule... I just NEED to read three more books and then I wont touch another until Easter. It'll be an early and longish lent! Happy Easter.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Connie Willis: To Say Nothing of the Dog

One Word Summary: Redundancy
More Words: You know that dizzy feeling you get when you watch "His Girl Friday" or "Bringing up Baby"? This book is funny and zany in the same way. If you're old, like me, read this in small doses. Otherwise it's marvellous.
Plot Summary: Someone brought something back through time. It's an anomaly. It's supposed to be impossible. It could ruin the universe as we know it. Ned Henry is sent to correct the problem, only he's time-lagged and has no idea what he's doing in Victorian England. Luckily he has a Naiad to help. These are their misadventures trying to save the day.
Why do time travel novels inevitably deal with fate and destiny?
Why is everyone so down on the Victorians?
Why don't I like mystery novels?
Other Books:
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe by Douglas Adams

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tamora Pierce: Bloodhound

One Word Summary: Beka Cooper is a one man band
More Words: and for some reason that's not very appealing. What really bothered me was how tough and knowing everyone is, even the babies. They were all so tough and knowing and they had to make sure you, the reader, know it. I began to feel like the whole story was being carefully outlined so as I wouldn't miss anything. The dialogue between the characters read something like this:

~I'm so tough and I don't trust you. Come over here so I can smack you upside the head.
~Yeah, well I'm tough too. See my hidden knives, you shouldn't trust me. I might smack you upside the head with one. Here's some food. Now tell me who the colemongers are. The colemongers are bad people. They're going to destroy our country.
~I'm so tough I don't trust you. Thanks for the food. I can't tell you who the colemongers are, even though I know who they are and they're so mean to me. But I'll take you to their forge so you'll have evidence against them when you take them to court. And I'll even give you a disguise so you wont be discovered in their hideout. Give me some more food, or I'll beat you up. Have I mentioned I'm so tough.

I guess what I really mean is that the Pierce lacks subtlety and finesse. Yet I love Tortal. It's a fascinating world. It's so corrupt and tough. I marvel at how it sustains itself. It would make a great movie. Hey maybe someone will option these books. And Jonathan Rhys Meyers can play Rosto. Ha! Admittedly what keeps me coming back for more is the hope that some girl and some boy will fall in love, or at least kiss.

You're both so adorable I feel a hair ball coming up. p534

Can girls be tough and feminine?

It's a jerky thing to say, but really, I hope my daughter doesn't waste her time on these books. It's about opportunity cost.

Other Books:
Robyn McKinley entire Oeuvre

Sunday, January 24, 2010

More Regency Romance

Someday Soon by Joan Wolf, The Arrangment by Joan Wolf, The Deception by Joan Wolf, Moon Love by Joan Smth.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Audrey Neffenegger: The Time Travellers Wife

One Word Summary: Streakers demystified.
More Words: An alternative title for this book could be Hip & Avant Garde in the Early '90s for dummies. Seriously, it's practically a how to manual, complete with a play list, a reading list, a menu, a dress code,and a 'garden variety Marxist' ideology. Unfortunately my IQ is barely above average, I don't know any German (except Die Bart! Die), I never read poetry, and I was pathetic in high school. So, yeah, aside from the Love Story and the Time Travelling this book is really about a bunch of upper middle class kids being ironic... er... cliche... er... down on the man. I really liked it when Mrs. Kim prepared 'some sort of casserole with corn flakes', because up until then no one ate anything I would ever touch. Alright, so those are all my gripes. And guess what? I liked this book. I like that Neffenegger thanked the tax payers of Chicago for making it possible for her to write this book. I wonder how long she spent thinking and researching and writing. I've spent days thinking about this book.

Censorship: There is a lot of foul language. There is a lot of drug and alcohol use. There is a lot of sex. Around the time I was thinking: "Hey these kids are having a lot of sex", Clare said "You know, sometimes I can't even sit down". I'm not excited for my daughter to read this until she's in college. I'm not really excited to have a sit down lesson on sexual terminology. And really I'd prefer she look higher for ideas.

I can't believe I'm feeling jealous of a multimillionaire rock star geezer
old enough to be Clare's dad. p64

Running is many things to me, survival, calmness, euphoria, solitude. It is
proof of my corporeal existence, my ability to control my movement through space
if not time, and the obedience, however temporary of my body to my will.

But you make me happy. It's living up to being happy that's the difficult


  • What came first, the chicken or the egg?
  • When did Clare choose Henry?
  • Is it fair for Henry to tell Clare that he's coming back?
  • What if Henry didn't exist?
  • Why does Clare draw a self portrait as her first foray back into Art?
  • What was the purpose of the interlude with the baby punks?
  • What is The Chronicles of Nawat Wuzzer Hyderbed? Why does the author refer to it 3x?
  • Is ignorance bliss?
  • Do you believe in choice? Fate? Time Travel?
  • The book group questions at the back of the book probe a little into Gender Issues and Roles. Why? Is there some sort of higher meaning coded into the fact that Henry is very Masculine AND likes to cook? Am I missing something about the nature of romantic love?
  • If Clare is a Kitten, what animal is Henry? How about Gomez?
  • Do you think their precocious daughter, what her name, is annoying too?


  • Homer's Odyssey
  • Tristan and Iseult
  • Selkie Folklore
  • Marie de France
  • E Aquitaine

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Amy Tan: The Bonesetters Daughter

One Word Summary: Shooting Star
More Words: Amy Tan is Effortless.
Other Words: Forgiveness, Freedom, Happiness, Love. I love reading Amy Tan's stories. Once I fantasized that I would be writer like her and write a transcendental ghost story. For now it's enough to enjoy her work. And I have my own mother to thank for introducing me to Amy Tan. Thanks mom.


...and sometimes she had to remind herself that teenagers had souls. p21
She wanted to write a novel in the style of Jane Austen, a book of manners about the upper class, a book that had nothing to do with her own life. Years before, she had dreamed of writing stories as a way to escape. She could revise her life and become someone else. She could be somewhere else. In her imagination she could change everything, herself, her mother, her past. But the idea of revising her life also frightened her, as if by imagination alone she were condemning what she did not like about herself or others. Writing what you wished was the most dangerous form of wishful thinking. p 28

And then I realized what the first word must have been: ma, the sound of a baby smacking its lips in search of her mother's breast. For a long time, that was the only word the baby needed. Ma, ma, ma. Then the mother decided that was her name and she began to speak, too. She taught the baby to be careful: sky, fire, tiger. A mother is always the beginning. She is how things begin. p. 263

Very Romantic Words:

"There is no curse," he said. I was listening hard, trying to believe that
I would always hear him speak. "And you are brave, you are strong, " he went on.
I wanted to protest that I didn't want to be strong, but I was crying too much
to speak. "You cannot change this," he said. "This is your character."

He kissed my eyes one at a time. "This is beauty, and this is beauty, and
you are beauty, and love is beauty and we are beauty. We are divine unchanged by

Aphoristic Abstruseness*
no matter how neurotic, argumentative, beautiful, talented, depressing all people deserve a mothers love and lover's passion.

*I stole this word combo from Rebecca Solnit

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Shanna Swendson's next three books

One Word Summary: Cute

More Words: I had to read the next three books. So I did. I know that makes me a sucker, but so are 300 million other people in America. And I don't mind, because I like formulas. I wish real life could be so nice.

Quote from Damsel Under Stress:
Why was it you could only get a fairy god mother to help you snag Prince Charming with a glass slipper? Where was the benevolent soul who provided the killer presentation, the perfect thing to say to the office backstabber, and the fabulous Armani suit to wear to the crucial meeting.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Children's Choice Jan 2010

My daughter loves Sylvie by Jennifer Gordon Sattler. The art is remarkable. Really it is a great book, and a great segue to drawing and talking with her. Now I am about ready to burn You Can Name 100 Trucks! My son can't get enough of it. He becomes really upset if I put the book away after 5 times through. Trucks baby touch and feel is another top pick. I think it's odd, but my son also likes The Hymn book. Sometimes he'll even sing with me. Sometimes he just 'reads' it alone.

Shanna Swendson: Enchanted Inc.

One Word Summary: Blush

More Words: My friend M Bradford recommended this book a reeeally long time ago. Incidentally her husband is a patent lawyer. Well, I've finally read it. In one sitting. It was cute and fresh and above all clean (if you ignore the more subtle phrases). I liked it. It's not genius. It's not unpredictable. It's not an MBA textbook. For this kind of book, a romance, it's about the journey.

Plot Summary: Katie Chandler is perfectly ordinary girl struggling to make it in NYC. Being ordinary is not so great for her career or her love life. But Katie's ordinariness is just what the magical community needs to save the world. Now if Owen could be interested in a little common sense.

Did you know: This is a series. Swendon has a blog. There might be a movie.

Quotes: A girl just couldn't face a magical battle without her lipstick

Betsy Haynes: The Fabulous Five Year Book Memories

One word summary: Kook!
More Words: Do you remember these books? I found this copy in the freebee bin at the library and I had to have it. The language is a little odd and I don't remember junior high being anything like this but still I'm glad I took a minute to remember a series I used to love. I think pizza became my favourite food after reading these books

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Facial Twitches

Initially I started a reading journal because I eat books like candy. Since I spend a good portion of my life between the covers of a book I wanted to justify my lack of other more productive hobbies. I got to thinking one day I'm going to die and I'll have no totem to my existence. It turns out not all of what I read is top quality or very good -I see that now. Around thanksgiving '09 I decided to take a book break until the end of the year. Now it's the new year and I've posted about every book I finished or gave up on. Having met those two criteria I can finally read again. However this year I will be more wise... I think I'll only read one book a week and only one day a week. My hope, of course, is that I'll be more selective in my reading choices and that I'll do something worth blogging about. Ha!