Friday, October 31, 2008

October's book list

Since I don't think I'll finish that book on flower arranging today, here's the list of what I read this month. As always, library books are marked by asterisks. I love the library. It's, except that I helped pay for it. I should start checking books that I actually enjoy. You'll see what I mean.

Atwood, Margaret. Oryx and Crake. New York: Anchor, 2003.*
I love Atwood. She's a great writer. I thought I would take a break from her books that are typically written from a female perspective and go with something that had a funny name and seemed kind of science-fictionsque. And the central character was a man. And this was a good book, but it took me forever to finish. Too many flashbacks (even for her), too much buildup, and not enough...something. I almost bought this a couple of months ago, but I'm glad I checked it out instead. It was good, but it was just....not particularly riveting (despite tons of tense moments and Very Important Cues That Something Bad Will Happen/Happened) until more than 3/4ths through. Not cool.

Fforde, Jasper. Thursday Next in First Among Sequels. New York: Viking, 2007.*
The most ridiculous one yet. It can be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on your patience. I'm losing mine.

Herbert, Frank. Heretics of Dune. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1984.*
At first, I thought I didn't 'get' the ending because I was tired and sick and whatever. No. I got it (and I went back and read the last 40 or 50 pages just to be sure), but it was stupid. I mean, really very stupid. I had considered reading the last 2 books of the series, which were actually written by Herbert's son using notes and drafts, but now I know I'm done.

Radosh, Daniel. Rapture Ready!: Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture.
New York: Scribner, 2008.
This one was fun. At times it got a little smarmy, but I can see where that defense mechanism can kick in when one is surrounded by some of 'those people.' I would recommend that everyone read the book, even if it's just to read the mock interview with Stephen Baldwin. It's completely unfair and ridiculous and made me laugh till I cried and started coughing uncontrollably. Good stuff.

Setterfield, Diane. The Thirteenth Tale. New York: Washington, 2007.
Why do I love the British so much? There are plot twists and themes and dialogue that reads like the script for a Lifetime movie--but I promise the book is cooler than that. Probably because it's so unbearably British. We don't even quite know when the story takes place. There's also a whole lot of twin creepiness. Some of it's intentional and some of it's due to the fact that twins, like all familial relationships, can be very strange.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

September's Book List

I told you last time that September would be a good month.

Byatt, A.S. The Game. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967.
-After finishing a particularly unsettling collection of her short stories, I decided to switch over to some Byatt's novels for a nice change of pace. The plot? Two sisters are kind locked into some sort of power struggle over themselves and each other and they're kind of estranged because of some boy from a long while back. They're so close that I thought they were twins, but once I realized they weren't, I was creeped out. I'm not sure why. Also: I don't think Byatt likes spaghetti. I've caught two references in two works (20ish years apart) and there's just something about the way she mentions it.

Clarke, Susanna. Jonathon Strange & Mr Norrell. New York: Bloomsbury, 2004.
-I'm not sure what's up with British writers creating alternate universes, but they're always great. And this one has magic. Tons and tons of magic. And hilarious footnotes. Yes, this is fiction. Delightful, intelligent, engaging, escapist fiction. Over 700 pages of awesome. I recommend it.

Cain, James. The Postman Always Rings Twice. 1934. New York: Vintage, 1981.
-So, supposedly this a big deal because it's one of the first books in the 'hard boiled' genre. And I didn't care. But I finished this in a day (it's barely 120 pages), and was incredibly engaged. Parts of it were ridiculous (and, several decades later, incredibly racist), but the story stayed with me. Interesting.

Cobb, Linda. Talking Dirty With the Queen of Clean. New York: Pocket Books, 1998.
-If I were one of those people who said "[Book title here] is my bible!" (and I don't, because the Bible is my bible. Duh.), I would say it about this book. Super-informative, relatively uncomplicated, and incredibly helpful. Cobb also only recommends 7 cleaning products you should always have, with a few extras if you have pets. She's easy, she's thorough, and she might be one of my heroes. And yes, I did sit down and read it all the way through.

Herbert, Frank. Children of Dune (3). 1976. New York: Ace, 1987.
-Dune! Crazy, crazy stuff. All kinds of plans just fall to pieces.

Herbert, Frank. God Emperor of Dune (4). New York: Berkley, 1981.
-Even crazier stuff. Not as great as the three before it. Nonetheless, I think I finished it in under a week because I really, really, really liked it. I've got to find Book 5 pretty soon.

In conclusion:
  • Talking Dirty With the Queen of Clean > How to Clean Practically Anything.
  • I really want to read Book 5 of the Dune series, but I don't know about 6 and 7 because they were ghost-written, and are based on drafts and notes. Okay, I probably will.
  • Magic = fun.
  • British = great.
  • My 'read all the A.S. Byatt books in the Central Arkansas Library System' project = daunting.
  • Spaghetti = disturbing. And possibly a metaphor for a misspent life.