Thursday, June 23, 2011

Books I am excited about for June.

Steampunk Softies: Scientifically-Minded Dolls from a Past That Never Was

Drawn In: A Peek into the Inspiring Sketchbooks of 44 Fine Artists, Illustrators, Graphic Designers, and Cartoonists

Rip the Page!: Adventures in Creative Writing

Nerd Do Well: A Small Boy’s Journey to Becoming a Big Kid

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Eyre Affair

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde has to be one of the most interesting and elaborate books I've ever read. The characters are well thought out, the plot is interesting and very detailed, and the book doesn't lack in very exciting moments for the reader. There is literately something for everyone in this.

Let's start with the plot. Thursday Next is the main character and she happens to be a very kick-butt sort of female. She shoots first and asks questions later. She is a literary detective and takes care of all of the books in England. She solves mysteries on copyright, reproduction, overcharging of materials, and she carries a gun. At first, she thinks a robbery she is called to is a standard crime, something easily solvable, but it turns out that the sinister plot runs deeper. She is asked to be apart of another division and she readily accepts due to the fact that being a literary detective can be boring. This decision leads her on a whirlwind chase of a master criminal who she may or may not have had an affair with in the past. Throughout the book there is time travel, kidnapping of characters from books, changes made to literary works, and a slight romance. There are also gun fights, violence, hospital stays and various other types of talks of politics and war. This book takes place in our time, but is not of our time. There is so much going on here you have to really pay attention to the details.

The characters, and there are alot of them, are well thought out and wonderful. They are named perfectly and you can tell the author took time to get this book just right. I'm not sure the author thought there would be a second book in the series as the ending wraps up very nicely.

I enjoyed this book immensely. The woman who narrated the audio book (yes, I'm still reading in my car) has a wonderful voice and is able to do many many characters while keeping the storyline going.

If you enjoy mysteries, action, science fiction, literature, or political, this is the book for you!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Great Expectations: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

There are some books you put on your list of books to read that you just never get around to. This is one of them, for me at least. I saw the cover of this book and was really intrigued by it. I love Jane Eyre and the fact that she is an independent woman who chooses what she wants and who she wants to be with has always struck a cord with me. I think that is why the Eyre Affair has been on my list for 6 years.

From what I gather, Jane is kidnapped out of her book. The main character, Thursday Next, a literary detective, has to find her and put her back in her proper place. Thursday, incidentally, is also a strong female character.

Since I have waited so long to read this, I hope I find it interesting and well worth the wait. If not, I supposed I will have to be content with reading the first in the series and giving up on the rest. I usually only get 3 books into a series anyway before I lose interest. There are only so many times the same thing can happen in a book.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Airhead and Being Nikki

Meg Cabot is brilliant. I know it's wrong to gush about authors and books, but I am such a HUGE fan and this series does not disappoint.

Em Watts is a (sort of) regular teenage girl. She considers herself to be a feminist, she fights the good fight for the environment and is against big business. She hates Stark, the big corporate mega store. Nikki Howard is a 16 year old supermodel with perfect hair and long legs. She happens to be the spokes model for Stark. During a Stark Mega-store opening, which Em's sister Freida has to attend, Em is killed by a giant flat-screen television that falls on her. At the exact same time, Nikki suffers a brain disorder and is killed instantly. Stark, not wanting to lose a great model, transfers Em's brain into Nikki's body. Unfortunately, Em now has to do a lot of things she hates, like model. She also gets all the perks like a cool loft in Manhattan, a crazy roommate, and a built-in boyfriend. Em has to adjust to everything in her life, including friends, family and her own viewpoints about the world to accommodate her new body. The second book has a great plot that turns into a mystery when Nikki's brother comes to town and Em finds out Nikki's mother is missing and has been for months.

Meg Cabot seems to also have something to say about the way consumerism and industry has worked over the past few years. She makes sly comments about capitalism and sometimes you can hear her views on how big business effects small town life. Meg definitely has a point of view on this and is able to express that in a fun and interesting way. You may not agree with her on this, and that's okay because she doesn't ram it down your throat.

Overall, this is a great series and I will be reading Runaway, as soon as a copy gets turned back into the library. Sometimes, it's difficult to wait.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Great Expectations: Airhead and Being Nikki

It's time again to start reading. Now that summer is almost here and the holidays are done, it might be time to start looking at some fun reads. I've decided to combine 2 books. I know what you are thinking, "it takes you forever to get through 1! How will you ever do 2?" I understand your concern. Fortunately, I've moved, so now I have a commute! You know what that means, don't you? Books on CD and downloadable books! Yes, all available free at my library! It's so exciting! This doesn't mean I'll be skipping my graphic novels, manga, and books that I can't get on CD, but it does open up a whole new world.

This week, I'm going to be "reading" the Airhead series by Meg Cabot. I use the quotation marks because really, I will be listening to the books. I used to be able to say that I had read everything by her and then she started just putting out tons of books! I think she publishes massive amounts every year. She has several series going right now. She did the Princess Diaries, the Allie Finkle series, Queen of Babble, Avalon High (my personal favorite), and several adult books like Insatiable.

From the cover of the books and the back blurb, it looks like Meg Cabot will be delving into Science Fiction. Em Watts and Nikki Howard somehow die and Em's brain gets put into Nikki's body. This wouldn't be terrible, except for the fact that Nikki is actually a super model. With all of Meg's books, there is mystery, romance, and teen angst, so I'm sure this brain transplant will cause some drama. There is a third book in the series called Runaway, so if it's a great series, then I guess I'll have to read that one, too.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Great Expectations: Howl: A Graphic Novel

I've been reading graphic novels lately. I'm on this librarian committee that chooses the best graphic novels for the year for grades 6-12. It's called the Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List. I thought it might be interesting to blog about one of the graphic novels we are looking at for the list. We have several that would be intriguing, but I thought something by Allen Ginsberg would be great.

I don't know anything about Allen Ginsberg. From what I have heard, it's poetry. I wonder how they will make it into a graphic novel. From the cover, it looks like it will be made into a movie. Again, I wonder how they are going to do that.
Now, I know it sounds like I have no idea who this person is and what he is about. This is one of the reasons I am participating in this blog. I want to learn. I want to read. I want to see what I'm missing.
If you want to see what other graphic novels I'm reading, follow this link and see what else is on the nomination list. We will have the official 2011 list out by December 1st.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rant by Chuck Palahniuk

I tried. I tried to read this book for months. I couldn't get through it. I was kind of hoping that everyone would forget that I was supposed to read it and maybe I could get away with not reading it at all. It didn't really happen that way.

Let me tell you what I did like about it. It's not a regular book. It's told in interviews and really has no plot, just stories that people tell about this person. I really enjoyed that view into his character and the way people thought about him and what he had done.

Now, let me tell you what I didn't like. Everyone in the book had a different name for the guy. It would be like interviewing my mom and her calling me one thing (I won't tell you her nickname for me) and then talking to my best friend about me, who calls me something completely different, and then asking my co-workers about me, and they use my proper name. It was very confusing.

Then there are these little symbols after the names of the people speaking. They aren't really explained and I didn't really know what they were doing there or what they meant.

I think I might not be a Chuck Palahniuk fan. I know, it's a curse to not like such great literature, but it's something I think I can live with. I promise, one day, there will be a book I will like.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Great Expectations: Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey by Chuck Palahniuk

We got a request for one of us to read Rant by Chuck Palahniuk, along with several other things that I had already read, but Sunny hasn't, so I took this book. Now, I have read this author before. I read Choke, which was a great read. I haven't read Fight Club, but I saw the movie. I know, the books are always better, but sometimes having things shortened and acted out by Brad Pitt is nice.

From what I can gather, Rant is an oral history. This format of writing is fascinating to me. Storytelling is a big part of the human experience. When you look through history, some of the greatest stories started as in the oral tradition. An example of this is The Odyssey of Homer. Other books have been written in this type of format. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War is a great example of this. It's well written, suspenseful, and a great read.

I'm looking forward to this book, although the cover is really freaky. I like Chuck Palahniuk, most of the time.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

This is a romance for people who don’t like romances. I really did not expect much when I started reading this, but my thanks go to Matt for recommending it. I really love epic stories that span lifetimes such as the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle or Kavalier and Clay, so this was right up my alley. This is the kind of book that you hold off on finishing because you don’t want to leave the characters and you’re sad that you will never experience this book for the first time again.

The Traveler’s Wife is the story of Henry and Claire. Henry has chrono-displacement disorder, which means that he time travels, but unfortunately has no control over where he lands. He keeps visiting his wife as a child and teen. The story unfolds in fragments and the pieces fall into place later. Throughout the book, you root for them to be together “in real time,” as it were. The book is told through both Henry and Claire’s eyes.
The characters are believable and very likeable. Henry is seen as a bit of a misfit rebel and Claire seems to be the stabilizing force in his life. I don’t want to say too much for those who haven’t read it, but I am really sorry that I took a dim, dismissive view of this book before actually reading it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Confessions of a Shopaholic

*Spoiler Alert* I will tell you the whole plot in this post!

Chick lit is a great escape for those of us who read a lot of different books. I have to say, sometimes I really like to read books that I don't really have to think about. This was not one of those books. I did not like this book at all.

Rebecca Bloomwood is dissatisfied with her life, her job, and, well, pretty much everything. She starts the book badly by getting credit card bills that she can't afford. At this point, I'm sure I'm supposed to feel sympathy for her, but I can't. She decides that to fix this, she needs to buy more things and the book just gets worse from there. She dates a guy who she hates just because he has money. Then she looks through his checkbook while at dinner. Again, I'm sure I'm supposed to feel sorry for her, but I don't. She consoles herself by spending more money. She has no idea how to fix her problems and does not succeed in doing anything but getting herself in deeper with her problems by running her mouth and not listening to anyone. Oh, and running up her credit cards.

In the end Rebecca Bloomwood is a girl I would never be friends with, can't identify with, and grew to dislike. I'm sure Sophie Kinsella didn't mean for this to happen. The only redeeming quality of the book was that is was easy to read and fairly well written. I am sure she has written other things that I might enjoy. Perhaps I will pick up one of those someday.