- Fizzy Thoughts: January 2008

Quirky

Thursday, January 31, 2008

It's Thursday! Time for...
This week’s question is suggested by (blogless) JMutford:
Sometimes I find eccentric characters quirky and fun, other times I find them too unbelievable and annoying. What are some of the more outrageous characters you’ve read, and how do you feel about them?

Last week, under the category of Huh?, I mentioned The Roaches Have No King. The narrator, Numbers, is a cockroach. And he likes to talk about his disgusting, cockroachy habits. In terms of outrageousness, that character is at the top of my list. He's gross, and he makes my skin crawl, but I like him because, really, who thinks of making a cockroach the narrator of a book? I like books that are a little different.
And usually, I like quirky and outrageous characters, like Numbers. However, I don't like them if I think they are being that way just to sell a book. Case in point - Dork Whore. Yes, the book is funny, but it gets old after awhile. And the outrageousness is the whole point of the book. I like a little subtlety mixed in with the outrageousness.
Alex, from Everthing is Illuminated, is another quirky character that I liked. Once I figured him out. He's a translator, and his choice of words are often ridiculous. Alex pretty much kept me reading this book, because I kept wondering what he would come up with next. Without him, I wouldn't have made it through to the end.
Then there's Biff. Biff is the childhood pal of Jesus, and he's the narrator of Christopher Moore's Lamb. I love Moore's books, but they're not for everyone. His books are wacky, and quirky, and often outrageous. And they make me laugh. He's another author I appreciate because I don't know how he comes up with this stuff.
And finally, I'll mention American Gods. This book is quirky in a complex way. Lots of subtely mixed into this one! I loved all the characters in this book, because I wanted to know who they really were.
This is by no means the definitive list of quirky characters I like (or don't like). But it's all I can remember for now, and I really should think about getting to work!

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The chance of a lifetime

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wanna enter a contest to win this book? Then go here.

Seriously, thanks to Lisa, I stumbled onto Girls Just Reading. And they are having a contest. The lucky winner gets a copy of The Monsters of Templeton.

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Travel Reading Meme

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Lisa tagged me for this meme, since she's trying to figure out what books to take on vacation. It's providing me with a nice distraction from the incredibly mind-boggling yet mind-numbing work I'm doing to put together a data presentation. And since the boss is away...

1. What book are you reading right now? Do you like it?
I am currently reading Ines of My Soul, but I'm not really enjoying it. It needs more dialogue. The story sounds interesting, but without the dialogue it's dragging. I'd give up, but it's on my list for the Expanding Horizons Challenge and I'm bound and determined to read an Isabel Allende book in my lifetime, although I'm not really sure why.

2. What was the last book you read on a plane?
I started A Year in the World, by Frances Mayes, on the plane coming back from Italy. Whoops...I forgot about Green Bay. I read The Center of Everything on the various planes to Green Bay. (I did sudoku puzzles on the way home, which was a waste of valuable reading time.)

3. What was the last book you read on a roadtrip?
Roadtrip? I don't remember. The last time I was on a road trip was 2 years ago, when we went to a family reunion in Oregon. I can't remember what I read, though. Oh wait, maybe that's because I drove. I've been down to Orange County a few times this year...not really road trips, but it does involve lots of time in the car. But, my mom would rather I talk to her than read, so even though I hopefully take a book with me, it never gets read. I read The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi, by Jacqueline Park, during the Italy trip, which is kinda sorta not really a road trip. It was a good book for the trip, since it's set in Italy during the 1500s. And it's thick.

4. What is the most unusual place you found yourself reading?
I can't think of any truly unusual places. I've read on the beach at Nice while sunbathing. Topless. But everyone else was topless, too...so that's not unusual in Nice. But I'm pretty sure it's not something I'll ever be doing again.

5. What books would you take to keep you occupied on a 2 week vacation to the beach?
Two weeks at the beach?!? I'd need a separate suitcase for all the books, because I'd need options. Some of the books in my TBR pile that I'd take would be:
The Palace of the Snow Queen - because it's hot at the beach (well, unless you live in Morro Bay) and I'd need some cool thoughts.
You Suck - because Christopher Moore is just so cool. And funny. And vacations at the beach just scream out for something funny.
Smile When You're Lying: Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer - because it's about travel, and I like to read about travel when I'm traveling.
New Moon and Eclipse - because they're sequels to Twilight
The Complete Stories - because I'm going to Savannah in April, and I want to read this before I go.
Between, Georgia - because I just bought it and it looks like it isn't that serious or heavy of a book. And it has nothing to do with the trip to Savannah, despite the Georgia in the title...that's just a coincidence.
That's my list for today. Since I'm not at home staring at my bookshelves, I'm sure I'd add a few more to the pile. Yup, I'd definitely add a few more...after looking over the list, I've decided I need a few more fiction titles. And then I'd make a few changes before I left on the trip, because I always do.

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Nothing much happening here

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Yesterday, HB and I went to see The Bucket List. Despite the fact that both of the main characters have cancer, the movie is pretty funny. Especially if you like Jack Nicholson, which we do. Other than that highlight, it's been a very low key weekend. Mostly, we've stayed indoors and listened to the wind and the rain.

I've been reading Ines of My Soul and finding it slow going. It needs more dialogue. Is this lack of dialogue common to Isabel Allende's books? If so, I doubt I'll be reading her again.

My Italy pictures have been enjoying some attention. Schmap (which, incidentally, doesn't load all that well on my computer) emailed me and asked if they could use one of my flickr pictures for the church Santa Maria in Trastavere. Which just goes to show that there really are people looking at your flickr pics. And then Marta, one of the SlowTrav forum moderators who selects a picture of the week from member photos, decided to give my Italy album some love this week. I thought that was pretty cool.

HB reminded me the other day that I have a birthday coming up. I reminded him that I still have a couple of months, because I'm in no rush to turn 39. He said I could be 29. Which sounds great, but still doesn't disguise the fact that next year I'll be 40. How in the hell did that happen?!? So now I'm trying to think of a really cool trip for 2009...you know, to console myself for that birthday involving the number 4. Maybe Ireland. Maybe not. If you have any suggestions, let me know.

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Huh?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

What’s your favorite book that nobody else has heard of? You know, not Little Women or Huckleberry Finn, not the latest best-seller . . . whether they’ve read them or not, everybody “knows” those books. I’m talking about the best book that, when you tell people that you love it, they go, “Huh? Never heard of it?”

The Roaches Have No King: Probably the least known book that I’ve liked (not loved, but it’s such a bizarre book I can’t help but like it).
Special Topics In Calamity Physics: It’s not that obscure, but it’s not exactly a household name, either. Another quirky book…I read it a few weeks ago and it’s still my favorite of everything I’ve read this month.
The Shadow of the Wind: I love this book. Some of you have probably read it, but I’m always surprised by how overlooked this book is.
The Caliph’s House: I’ll throw this one in, in case there’s anyone out there interested in what it’s like to live in Casablanca.

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From Heaven Lake

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

From Heaven Lake

Vikram Seth
1983
178 pages

I think I've mentioned this before, but I pretty much suck at Asian history. Cal Poly didn't offer too many courses on Asian history, and I took only the required ones. Or maybe it was just one. I don't even remember. I do remember I didn't much care for the professor. So, having said all that, I found this book to be a little difficult. Usually, when I read travel books, I can picture a map in my head and follow along. And my imagination does a pretty good job of filling in the details of the places. But with this book, my mental map and my imagination weren't around much, making it harder for me to follow.

From Heaven Lake was my choice for an Indian author for the Expanding Horizons Challenge. Back in the early 1980s, Vikram Seth attended grad school in Nanjing, China. While on an organized student tour, he happened to get a hard to acquire travel pass into Tibet. Taking advantage of the situation, he decided to hitchhike from Liuyuan, China south to Lhasa, Tibet, then to Nepal and home to New Delhi, India. Most of his journey is spent in a truck, crossing a desolate stretch of China. Seth does a good job of describing the men he traveled with, and the people he meets along the way. I had no trouble picturing the characters. The landscape, however, was a bit of a challenge for my Asian history/geography challenged brain. Seth is a great traveller, though. He dressed in the plain blue cap and trousers so prevalent in 1980s China, he spoke fluent Chinese, he was easy-going and he was willing to endure harsh weather, uncomfortable trucks and bureaucracy to basically hang out with locals for a month. In fact, he kind of reminds me of Rory Stewart and his travels across Afghanistan.

In short, it was an interesting but not riveting read. I'm glad it was a short book, because had it been much longer I think I would have lost interest. I do have another one of Seth's books on order (An Equal Music), so I'm looking forward to seeing what he's like as a fiction writer.

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The Heroines

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Heroines
Eileen Favorite (is that really her name???)
2008
231 pages

This book was a giant disappointment. Thank gawd it only took me a few hours to read.

Basically, it is the story of Penny and her mother Anne-Marie, who owns a B&B that is popular with literary Heroines. Madame Bovary, Scarlett O'Hara, Anna Karenina...these are just a few of the guests that have popped in over the years. However, the appearance of a mysterious Hero (or maybe he's a Villain, Penny can't quite figure it out) shakes up their world.

Shortly after I started reading it I kept thinking the author was capitalizing on the success of the Thursday Next books. Actually, I still think that. But then I got sidetracked by the book, since it (briefly) got interesting. Then it got annoying again as the author kept switching back and forth between the current action and back story. And at 231 pages, you shouldn't be devoting that much space to back story. Then, after a final 50 pages of back story, the author tied up the ending in 9 pages. Needless to say, the ending didn't impress me much.

Oh...and a note to the author. The truth about Penny's dad wasn't a big shocker either. As soon as his name was mentioned I had that one figured out. So, I'm sorry, but I didn't like your book. And the more I think about, the more I don't like it. I don't like the chapter titles (I've always found the summarizing of chapters annoying), I don't like how the story progressed (or didn't progress), I don't like the ending, and I really don't like the cover art.

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Let's Review

Thursday, January 17, 2008

How much do reviews (good and bad) affect your choice of reading? If you see a bad review of a book you wanted to read, do you still read it? If you see a good review of a book you’re sure you won’t like, do you change your mind and give the book a try?

Hmmmmm...I don't think I let reviews guide my decisions. Much. Sometimes I pick my books from the Powell's recommendations, or the Barnes and Noble recommended reads, or whatever they call it. I seem to have good luck with that. All two of the books I've read at the recommendation of B&N I really liked (The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Garden Spells). Oh wait. I also read The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox based on a B&N recommendation. That one I didn't like so much. Anyways...I don't really consider those reviews. More like a heavy marketing push. One that seems to work on me. It helps that they are usually promoting books and authors I've never heard of, and that the stories sound intriguing.

Powells is an independent bookstore, and their staff write recommendations. That is how I found Special Topics in Calamity Physics, another excellent choice. But I read through many recommendations that didn't grab me. Incidentally, Powells buys used books (they don't pay much, but they do pay the shipping, so if you have a pile of books you can trade them in for something new). I sound like a commercial, enough about Powells.

And if the display tables at Borders count as reviews (because let's face it, those books were judged worthy by someone in order to make it on the table, and that's a review, too), then that's another influence on my book buying. The only other reviews I place any faith in are those from fellow bloggers (I read Twilight only because so many people seemed to be posting about it...I had never even seen it in the bookstores). However, usually I choose my books based on the cover description (and okay, occasionally cover art). I don't care if Powells and B&N and Borders and any of you all judged the book to be somehow worthy, bottom line, if the description of the book doesn't interest me, I won't read it.

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Garden Spells

Monday, January 14, 2008

Garden Spells
Sarah Addison Allen
2007
290 pages

This is a simple little book, but possibly my favorite book of the year. So far. Seeing's how it's only January 14th, I'm sure many more (favorites) will come along.

After 10 years, Sydney Waverley is returning home to Bascom, North Carolina, and her family home. The Waverleys have lived in Bascom for many generations and are known for their magical garden. Sydney arrives home to find her sister Claire tending the garden and the family home, and running a successful catering business. Claire's recipes are known for their effect on people...honeysuckle wine to help one see clearly, snapdragons to discourage love, violet for calm and happiness. And the mystical apple tree that grows in the garden is said to bear prophetic apples.

Although the sisters did not get along growing up, now that they are adults they forge a friendship and help each other to work through problems. Claire is afraid of commitment and abandonment, and Sydney is running from an abusive relationship. As they come to terms with their past, they work together towards a happier future.

As I said, this is a simple little story. But the beautiful writing style and magical realism (the apple tree steals a few scenes) make for a readable and happy tale.

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Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe
1958
209 pages

I don't usually read "classics." Or older novels. For whatever reason, they don't really float my boat. However, I'm glad I expanded my horizons for this one. This was my choice for an African author...Chinua Achebe is Nigerian.

This is a short novel and a quick read, yet it still packs a punch. It is the story of Okonkwo, an important and wealthy village man. It is also a story of Igbo tribal life, both before and after the arrival of white missionaries and colonialism. Achebe does a wonderful job of portraying the day to day, and seasonal, activities of village life, telling how people lived, what they ate, and the stories they told. He shows readers an advanced society, with elaborate traditions.

Cue dark and threatening music. This is when the whites show up to convert and "civilize"
Africa. Unfortunately, Okonkwo, for all that he thinks he is extraordinary and in control of his fate, is simply an ordinary man going about his life, unaware of the coming changes. He is no match for the forces of change. When the white missionaries show up, things truly do fall apart. Okonkwo struggles against the changes, yet he cannot stand against the tide of colonialism.

Igbo oral tradition shines through in this book. Achebe shares a small piece of Igbo history and folklore. This is why I like this book. I remember slogging through Heart of Darkness in high school...I much refer Achebe's style and message.

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Sky Dancer and People of the Book

Sunday, January 13, 2008

This week I finished two books. First up...

Sky Dancer
Witi Ihimaera
2005
350 pages

This book was my choice for Natives Peoples author for the Expanding Horizons Challenge. It was better than my first choice, Twinkle, Twinkle, but overall, I thought it was just okay. I enjoyed the premise, but got bogged down in the seemingly never-ending lists of birds and battle details.

The story centers around Skylark O'Shea, a young woman who is on holiday in Tuapa (New Zealand) with her mother. They rent a house from two elderly Maori women, Hoki and Bella. When the valley they are staying in is beset by seabirds, Hoki tries to tell Skylark of old legends and a prophesy that indicates Skylark will be their savior. Initially, Skylark is having none of it, but she eventually agrees to go on a quest to learn more. As Skylark reluctantly travels with her protector Arnie, she begins to believe in the quest and the threat, and to also relax her defensive demeanor.

If you ever saw the movie Whale Rider, this is the same author. While it was interesting to read a book that weaves in Maori legend, this book certainly didn't pack the same punch that Whale Rider (the movie at least, I never read the book) did.

After finishing this next book, I understand the cover (it's a butterfly), but I still don't think the cover does it justice. After all, the book is about an illuminated manuscript.

People of the Book
Geraldine Brooks
2008
384 pages

Really, I'm trying to cut back on the book buying and focus on reading the books I already have. But I was in Borders last week, and I saw the title of this book...and how could I not buy a book about a book?

First, let me confess that I didn't read March. I had no interest and no intention of ever reading it. But now...I might just change my mind. People of the Book is an engaging book, although towards the end I was having a bit of difficulty keeping it all straight in my head.

This is the fictional story of a real book, the Sarajevo haggadah (the story of Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt, told during Passover). In Brooks' story, Hanna Heath is a book conservator/restorer/analyst, hired to do repairs on the Sarajevo haggadah. As she works on the book, she finds a white hair, salt, a wine stain and insect wings. As she learns more about each item, the book moves forward and backward in time, revealing the story of how each item came to be in the book. In the end, the individual stories were more compelling than Hanna's. Hanna's own problems are interwoven with the history of the haggadah, and while her story was interesting, at the end it got muddled. However, not so muddled that I didn't straighten it out and still enjoy the book.

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The weasels are winning

Sunday, January 06, 2008

I think I'm going to be forced into changing my email over to a gmail account that I've had for awhile but never used. Goowy is being beset by spammers, and their spam filter sucks to the point that it's worthless. I probably got 30 emails today suggesting either I enlarge an organ I don't even have or play casino games. What made it particularly bad today was that I was getting duplicates (and one time triplicate) emails from the same person. No, not person. Annoying weasel.


So I spent a good part of the afternoon moving contacts and changing my email notification from a few places over to gmail. I'll give it a few days and see how gmail performs. If all goes well, I might be forced to send that annoying email that my email has changed.
And to top it all off, I don't even like my gmail email address. It's my alter ego and it's a pain in the ass to type.

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This is what I should have read by candlelight

Yesterday I started a second book for the Expanding Horizons Challenge, Sky Dancer, by Witi Ihimaera. It's shaping up to be a good story, but I was getting lost in the endless lists of New Zealand birds. So I switched gears, and spent the evening (and part of today) with vampires.

Twilight
Stephenie Meyer
2005
498 pages

I've lost track of how many blogs I've seen this book reviewed on. All good reviews, too. So despite the fact that this is really a YA book, I decided to give it a shot. And I was glad I did. Except now I have to go get the other two books that follow. And then wait impatiently for the next one to be published. Sometimes I hate the fact that I like series.

Basic story...17 year old Bella Swan relocates from sunny Phoenix to the dreary, rainy Olympic Peninsula to live with her dad. Despite the fact that he looks like he loathes her at first sight, Bella becomes captivated by a mysterious young man, Edward Cullen. Edward runs hot and cold. He is charming one minute and curt the next, and Bella doesn't know what to think...until she figures out he's a vampire. And so is the rest of the Cullen family... "parents" Carlisle and Esme, and adoptive siblings, the charming Alice, bitchy Rosalie, hulking Emmett and the empathetic Jasper. With the exception of Rosalie, Bella gets to know the family as she is tossed into danger. The danger is resolved at the end of the book, and although Bella and Edward are in love, their relationship still has quite a few kinks to work out (human v. vampire, mortal v. immortal, 90 years old but forever 17 v. 17 and only getting older...), leaving this series wide open for many more books.

Normally, I am not a fan of first person point of view. But this is the third book in the last week that I've read that was told in first person and that I actually enjoyed (Persian Girls and Special Topics in Calamity Physics being the other two). Mainly because none of the narrator's voices were distracting and I still got a good sense of the other characters.

And now I'll return to my regularly scheduled reading. At least until I buy those sequels.

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Books I've Read in 2008

Saturday, January 05, 2008

It's time to start this year's list of books read. Hopefully, I won't space out for a couple of months, like I did last year, and at the end of the year I'll have successfully created a list of all the books I read in 2008:

January:

Twinkle, Twinkle, Kaori Ekuni
Twilight, Stephenie Meyer
Sky Dancer, Witi Ihimaera
People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks
Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
Garden Spells, Sarah Addison Allen
The Heroines, Eileen Favorite
From Heaven Lake, Vikram Seth


February:
Between, Georgia, Joshilyn Jackson
Three Junes, Julia Glass
Pomegranate Soup, Marsha Mehran
Earthly Pleasures, Karen Neches
New Moon, Stephenie Meyer


March:
Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer
The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls
Peony in Love, Lisa See
Scribbling the Cat, Alexandra Fuller
I'jaam, Sinan Antoon


April:
Tales of a Female Nomad, Rita Golden Gelman
Belong to Me, Marisa de los Santos
Keeper and Kid, Edward Hardy
Daughter of Fortune, Isabel Allende
Girls in Trucks, Katie Crouch
A Box of Matches, Nicholson Baker


May:
Gods Behaving Badly, Marie Phillips
Wicked Lovely, Melissa Marr
Ink Exchange, Melissa Marr
Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
My Best Friend's Girl, Dorothy Koomson
Broken Paradise, Cecilia Samartin
Apples are from Kazakhstan, Christpher Robbins
The Society of S, Susan Hubbard



June:

Mrs. Lieutenant, Phyllis Zimbler Miller
The Way Life Should Be, Christina Baker Kline
Woman in Red, Eileen Goudge
Queen of the Road, Doreen Orion
Octavian Nothing, M.T. Anderson


July:
The Sugar Queen, Sarah Addison Allen
Nice to Come Home To, Rebecca Flowers
The Red Scarf, Kate Furnivall


August:
Ghostwalk, Rebecca Scott
Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer
Going to Bend, Diane Hammond
The Lace Reader, Brunonia Barry
Geek Love, Katherine Dunn
In the Woods, Tana French
Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami


September:
Run, Ann Patchett
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Suite Francaise, Irene Nemirovsky
Origin, Diana Abu-Jaber
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, David Wroblewski


October:
The Last Queen, C.W. Gortner
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
Tethered, Amy MacKinnon
The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
The Heretic's Daughter, Kathleen Kent
Who By Fire, Diana Spechler


November
The Memorist, M.J. Rose
Coraline, Neil Gaiman
Between the Tides, Patti Callahan Henry
The Likeness, Tana French
Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, Chuck Klosterman
Life After Genius, M. Ann Jacoby
Apart from the Crowd, Anna McPartlin
Riding with the Queen, Jennie Shortridge
Broken, Daniel Clay


December
Fledgling, Octavia Butler
Crescent, Diana Abu-Jaber
Annie Dunne, Sebastian Barry
Angelina's Children, Alice Ferney
Whistling in the Dark, Lesley Kagen
Going Down South, Bonnie Glover
Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Stout
In the Country of Men, Hisham Matar

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It was a dark and stormy night

Last night, shortly after Hovde, our local weather dude, reported 75 mile per hour winds in Morro Bay, our power went out. And it did not come back on until 2am. So we lit the candles and played a game of Scrabble. Then we lit more candles and I read by candlelight. This is what I read...

Kaori Ekuni
2003
170 pages


I'll just say it straight up. I didn't like this book. And the reading by candlelight had nothing to do with it. It's only redeeming quality is its shortness. Oh, and the cover. Underneath the jacket is a very cool cover. I'd take a picture of it, but I'm too lazy to go find the camera.

The story is about Shoko and Mutsuki. Shoko is a depressed alcoholic and Mutsuki is gay. They get married in order to present a normal front. Shoko appears to be manic depressive, yet her doctors tell her she's relatively normal and that her drinking is okay. And everyone seems to encourage the drinking. Mutsuki is a nice guy, although he's a bit OCD, especially when it comes to keeping the apartment clean. As the story progresses, Shoko befriends Mutsuki's lover, Kon, and becomes even more depressed. I won't divulge the ending, because I'm sending the book to Adrienne. However, I was as impressed with the ending as I was with the book, which is to say not at all. The characters did not engage me, and the writing style left me bored. This is the second Japanese author I've read. I've read two of Banana Yoshimoto's books, Kitchen and Asleep. Although neither one knocked my socks off, they were infinitely better than Twinkle, Twinkle. I'm sure there are Japanese authors out there that I might enjoy, but I won't be hunting them down.

This book is my first read for the Expanding Horizons Challenge. Let's hope it gets better from here.

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Starting off the new year with good book karma

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Special Topics in Calamity Physics
Marisha Pessl
2006
514 pages

I loved this book. Loved it. It's quirky and full of implausible twists, and the author uses more parentheses than I do (and I know I use them lots). And it has more similes (not to mention metaphors and analogies) than Carter has little pills (I think I'm channeling the author right now). It's a little too weird to be jiggy quality (sorry, Lisa, I'm still searching), but I appreciate weirdness in books. After all, I read The Roaches Have No King, the pinnacle of booky weirdness. And keep in mind I didn't like The Poisonwood Bible. Just offering a little perspective so you can get a feel for my sometimes dubious taste in books.

So, how to describe this book? Let's start with a few characters:
Blue van Meer - the 16 year old narrator. Highly educated and scarily literate, she is being raised by her father,
Gareth van Meer - single dad, college professor, chick magnet
the Bluebloods - the school clique that Blue falls in with during her senior year
Hannah Schneider - film teacher, illicit friend and mentor to the Bluebloods

And I just realized I can't really explain what this book is about. A few people die, prompting Blue to research increasingly bizarre clues and leading to the above mentioned twists. As she relates how it all unfolds, she constantly references famous, obscure and fictional works, as well as popular culture. I can't really discuss the story, or it ruins the fun and the surprises.

I'm thinking this book has a certain niche market. If you appreciate first-time authors who take certain liberties with language and structure, who have an appreciation for both classic literature and popular culture, who definitely have a wry sense of humor, and who could probably tighten up their plotting a bit but that's okay you don't care, then I'd recommend this book. If you want it and promise to give it a chance, let me know. I'll send it your way.

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Anticipay-ay-shun

Last week we talked about the books you liked best from 2007. So this week, what with it being a new year, and all, we’re looking forward….
What new books are you looking forward to most in 2008? Something new being published this year? Something you got as a gift for the holidays? Anything in particular that you’re planning to read in 2008 that you’re looking forward to? A classic, or maybe a best-seller from 2007 that you’re waiting to appear in paperback?

First of all, since this is my first post of the new year, let me start by saying happy 2008! I wish you all a peaceful, happy year full of wonderful books (or other things, if you're not a book geek like me).

Now for my answer...

I have a note on my February calendar that Lisa See's Peony in Love comes out in paperback on February 19th (and boy, if you didn't consider me a book geek before now, that statement probably convinced you). Other than that, I really haven't given it a lot of thought. Nothing is currently lying (laying?) around screaming out "pick me, pick me!" I do have my list of books for the Expanding Horizons Challenge, and since I just finished my current book (Special Topics in Calamity Physics, two thumbs up, write-up to be done sometime fairly soonish), I'm looking forward to starting those, especially Twinkle, Twinkle, by Kaori Ekuni.

Meanwhile, I'll just keep browsing the bookstores and blogs looking for future good reads.

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Challenges

Tuesday, January 01, 2008



Books Read:
A Thousand Splendid Suns
When In Rome
The Places In Between
A Year in the World
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
The Blood of Flowers
The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi


expanding horizons

Books Read:
Things Fall Apart (African)
Twinkle, Twinkle (Asian)
Daughter of Fortune (Latin American)
From Heaven Lake (Indian)
Pomegranate Soup (Middle Eastern)
Sky Dancer (Native Peoples - Maori)

Read more...
In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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