Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April 2008

Here we go!

Barry, Dave. Dave Barry's History of the Millennium (So Far). New York, Penguin. 2007. * 208 pages. I heard a coworker mention that she was reading it, and I love Dave Barry, and I've always loved his year-end reviews, and so when I saw it at the library, I got it. Hilarious, hilarious stuff. He even gives a quick catch-up of sorts for the other stuff that happened before this millennium. You know, like the Romans and whatever. And in case you were wondering, he wisely skips 2001 all together.

Brockmeier, Kevin. The View from the Seventh Layer. New York: Pantheon, 2008. 267 pages. (Autographed by the author! Whoop!) I love his writing, even when I don't love his characters. He tells great stories. And he does so in such a way that when he starts reaching and reaching (like the one about the town that decides to become completely silent and comes up with technology to do so in an amazingly short amount of time), you just keep nodding your head, waiting for more. Because it's a story. You just enjoy them. And I did.

Browne, Jill Conner. The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1999. 213 pages. (Also autographed by the author! Yay!) Because much of this book is narrated by all of the SWQs, all of them protected by the alias, 'Tammy', I always imagine that they're pronouncing "love" the ways my sisters do: "LUH-ve." I'm not sure why they do this, other than that it's funny. Anyway, the book is great. It's like hearing from your crazy aunt every now then, the one who does and says the stuff you want to bust out with, but usually do not. God bless outrageous behavior. This is also the book that explains how Jill Conner Browne became THE Sweet Potato Queen. Awesome stuff.

Fforde, Jasper. Thursday Next in Something Rotten. New York: Viking, 2004.* 385 pages. Things actually happened in this novel (as opposed to the one before this one, which I got a little bored with), so much so that I couldn't really keep up with it. This was probably due to the time travel and oncoming apocalypse and something to do with really hardcore-sounding croquet matches. And cloning. Don't get me started on clones. But it's restored my faith in the Thursday Next series, which means I'll be checking out the next 2 books at the library.

Lewis, C.S. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. 1950. New York: Scholastic, 1987. 186 pages. Oh.....I'm not sure how I can go about saying this. I was disappointed. There. I hadn't read this since I was 10 or 11 and there were some things that jumped out at me that didn't at the time. Like the part where, even though Lewis initially began writing the series as a present for his goddaughters, he couldn't stretch his fictional horizons enough to allow girls in battle. Just to paraphrase Aslan, "War is very ugly when women are brought in." But it's okay otherwise? Even when a 14-ish age high king is leading the troops? Even when it's okay for Lucy's 6 or 7-year-old character to have the magic bottle of medicine, that she gets to drag all over the battlefield and use to tend to horrible, maiming injuries sustained in up-close battle? Sound familiar? Book of Acts? Timothy? No? Okay. I thought it was weird enough when they gave her a dagger for self-protection. She's already proven she can't be left alone, or she'll wander into magical worlds in separate dimensions. Or just get cornered by wolves. This is what happens when you try to be sensible in fairy tales. I'm still totally finishing the series, though.

--. Prince Caspian. 1951. New York: Scholastic, 1987. 186 pages. Even if I hadn't planned on reading through the whole series, I would have had to review this before going to see the movie (who's excited? This girl! Does anyone know why they gave Caspian a weird accent, though? If I have to hear Cody imitate it mockingly one more time, I'm going to hurt either him or the TV.). Hey, you know how in the commercials, you see Susan being brought in like a sniper as she shoots her arrows at some castle as a griffin or a dragon or huge eagle or something flies her down closer? Yeah, that doesn't happen in the book. She and Lucy hang out with Bacchus and his minions while Peter and Edmund advise Caspian on battle strategies. But it's okay! Aslan's there and it's mostly just feasting and dancing with trees. Huh? What? Exactly! The book was good, but I can see why it was combined with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in that horrible, awful British series that we probably still have tapes of somewhere. Goodness. As far as crazy battle scenes go, the duel between Peter and the false king is boring. The parts where they figure out they've been unexpectedly been yanked back to Narnia, re-discover old treasure, and have crazy journeys are far better.

Currently reading: Gilbert and Gubar's Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination and C.S. Lewis's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

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