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Ain't we having some fun now?


This is one of the books - along with Scott Pilgrim, Fables, etc. - I had to read for my graphic novel class a few years ago.  I'm breaking out the review now because I've been so wrapped up reading Les Miserables, and it might be a while before I'm done.  So in the meantime I'll be posting reviews of well-read books that I have.

Two nights before my father died, I dreamed that I was out at the bullpen with him. There was a glorious sunset visible through the trees. He missed it. If this was a premonitory dream, I can only say that its condolence-card association of death with a setting sun is maudlin in the extreme.Collapse )

Recommended reading from Patton Oswalt!

Sarah Vowell is a journalist associated with NPR, as well as an essayist.  She's written many books about American politics since Patriot was published in 2002.  But most people probably know her as Violet from The Incredibles.

Being a nerd, which is to say going too far and caring too much about a subject, is the best way to make friends I know. For me, the spark that turns an acquaintance into a friend has usually been kindled by some shared enthusiasm like detective novels or Ulysses S. Grant.Collapse )

'Good' grief


One of my last purchases at The Dusty Bookshelf in Manhattan, this book also has the distinction of being my first reading experience of Danielle Steel.

I asked my mother if she'd ever read any Steel.  She replied with a scoff that the romance books Steel wrote are the kind that can be read in an afternoon.  Her fiction novels - "fiction" being a vague genre that can mean anything - take only slightly longer to complete.

The Worthingtons were directly related to the Vanderbilts and the Astors, and somewhat more indirectly to all the most important New York families. Their future, like their history, was predictable, assured, and safe.Collapse )

A bloody good read


On my new-found kick to read more classics this summer, my next stop was one of the most famous horror stories of all time.

Although this wasn't the most interesting cover I found, I do like how it showcases Dracula's castle in order to create a foreboding mood.  It also represents the kind of overwhelming power Dracula has on his victims.


Do you not think that there are things which you cannot understand, and yet which are, that some people see things that others cannot? Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain it all, and if it explains not, then it says there is nothing to explain. But yet there are new beliefs, which think themselves new, and which are yet but old ...Collapse )



This is one book that I had to read for my Children's Lit class last semester.  I was too busy then to write a decent review, but I've since downloaded the e-book version and have enjoyed the re-read immensely.

None of the book covers I researched had a good quality picture of Anne, so I went with this simplistic, modern design.  I must say that it's growing on me.

I feel it's a great responsibility because I have only the one chance. If I don't grow up right I can't go back and begin over again.Collapse )

#2 in Nostalgia: a critique


Evidence shows that I purchased the #23 BSC entry, as it still has its price tag.  Inside on the first page, there is a listing of all 25 BSC books written up to 1989.  The previous owner circled most of the titles, leaving out #12, #14, #20, #21, #22, and #24.  I'll say this - she was far more avid a reader than even I.

Some additional info: Dawn was, for a time, my favorite BSC member/character.  This was mostly because of the fact that I had an obsession with California, and Dawn was, as stated above, "a California girl." Beyond that, she really held no interest for me, as she was also a blonde, outdoorsy type and a health nut to boot.  Except for the blonde part, she's a lot like my mother.

It'd be nice if Mom were here in California with me. If she were a part of things, playing cards with me, puttering around the patio. And wouldn't it be great if it was Mary Ann, just dropping by for a visit. What I wanted was to be able to share all the things I loved with all the people I loved.Collapse )
 This was back before every character became parodies of themselves, although Kristy's obsessive strictness - usually played for laughs - is irritating enough here.  One of the problems is that, somewhere down the line, Martin and her team of writers forgot (or stopped caring) that they were writing about 13-year-old girls.  Character arcs are more or less nonexistent, as everyone usually forgets what they have learned, either about themselves or others, after the books' endings.  The exception I can think of is the 4 or 5 books where Stacey leaves the BSC for the cool crowd, only to return after learning to appreciate the BSC for the friends they were.  Of course, another problem was that everything became so BSC-centric that old fans like to joke that the "C" stands for "cult." It would be cruel to say that the series was run into the ground, especially when Ann M. Martin has proven herself a good writer elsewhere (from other testimonies, I've learned that she isn't incredibly proud of the series).
Anyway, I can't be too mad at the series of books that first inspired me to be a writer.

Jun. 23rd, 2011

 I unexpectedly did a little book-shopping tonight with a good friend.  Even though I am now an unrepentant Kindle owner, there's nothing like finding a classic or two, an old favorite, or a twee guilty pleasure priced at $1 each.  So I caved.

The Kid Who Ran for President by Dan Gutman
Sweet Valley High #4: All Night Long by Francine Pascal
Movers and Fakers: An Alphas Novel by Lisi Harrison
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell
He's Just Not that Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

A strange mix, to be sure, but I was paying more attention to the prices than creating a theme.  My friend convinced me to pick up Not that Into You, claiming it has well-worn advice about how to deal with the opposite sex.  In my ongoing goal to read more modern literature, I brought home Midnight and Patriot (one fiction, the other non-fiction).  Despite lackluster experiences with the updated SVH and that one Clique book, I decided to give Pascal/her ghostwriter and Harrison(/her ghostwriter?) another chance.  Sometimes you just want a little brain candy, even if it's the cheap kind.  Finally, President is a juvenile fiction book from my grade school days, and I can't wait to give it a nostalgia series review.  Of course, this list only reminds me of all the other books I need to start reading already . . .

Notes on an opera ghost


Apologies for my absence.  Truth be told, for a while I debated whether or not to attempt a review of this.

Usually, when presented with the play, people think of either two men - Michael Crawford or Sir Andrew Lloyd.  Maybe this is ignorant of me, but I was a little surprised to find out that a French writer penned the book.  I don't know whether that's my naivete, or that I'm so used to associating English names with the musical of the same name.

Shall we pity him? Shall we curse him? ... He had a heart that could have held the empire of the world; and, in the end, he had to content himself with a cellar. Ah, yes, we must needs pity the Opera ghost.Collapse )

Nostalgia: A critique

 When I was around eight, I went to visit my cousins in Michigan.  My cousin Lindsey, who's the better part of half a decade older than me, invited me to take back some of her old books that she was no longer interested in.  She showed me a box full of Baby-Sitters Club books, thus introducing me to the YA series that would become my life - at least until I got hugely into Harry Potter around 10.  I picked out the best-sounding titles and ended up taking about 7 or 8 home with me, and after that I was hooked.  

It wasn't the baby-sitting that attracted me.  I hardly ever baby-sat and doubted my abilities to take care of a kid for more than ten minutes.  The most appealing thing about the BSC was the group of friends that populated it: a bunch of 11- and 13-year-olds with distinct personalities, styles, and problems that beset them.  And clearly, I was not the only reader: a lot of other girls around my age loved the series, if these blogs are anything to go by. (And this fanfic archive!) I, too, have dabbled in BSC snark - and they are quite snark-worthy.  But with the final handful of BSC paperbacks that I still own, I wonder if any of them hold up, if not as capital-L literature, than as solid YA lit.

I wish I really did have a sister or a brother. But like Charlotte, I'm an only child. And since my parents' divorce, I live mostly with my mother.Collapse )