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I am trying!

November 4, 2008

I’m in Act III of Hamlet.  I feel really bad about it, but I had to drive an hour to vote (because I moved and stuff) and also it is slow going.  I could’ve read, like, four other books today if I’d been more interested, but I’m still reading Hamlet in fits and starts.  It would be unfair of me to say that I could realistically judge it while only halfway through.

I also have four titles on my manga list, so I can do another wrap-up, but I also have another three or four titles in my library bag, so I don’t wanna do THAT either.  (Can you hear the whining?  I can hear the whining.)  I don’t have the last bit of the Vampire Diaries recap done.  I have no list of filler to do.  I’m too worn-out to figure out the whole Batman thing.

So what does that leave us with?  WiB?  Okay, I can do that.  I’m still catching up from a couple weeks ago, anyway.  Minus the manga and the No Fear Shakespeare, I’ve only got 9 or so titles before I’m completely caught up and can do the whole “week” thing again.  Alana: Putting the “Week” in “Week in Books”…Finally.

When last I left my list of books, I was reading In Summer Light by Zibby Oneal.  Quick read, a pick-up from the half-priced store, picked up because I loved it when I was younger.  It’s the story of Kate, an artist who is the daughter of a great artist, who gave up her art because she couldn’t deal with the desperate need for her father’s praise.  At home from college in the summer because she is recovering from mono, Kate does a lot of soul-searching and figures out a few things about her father, her mother, herself, and also love.  I loved this book originally because I thought it was beautiful (Zibby Oneal is fantastic, really) and because I understood what it’s like to have a father that talented.  (Mine’s a musician.)  Now that I’m older, I can see more of the father-daughter relationship in this book, and…yeah, well, my dad doesn’t paint, but there are a lot of similarities here, I’m just sayin’.  It’s a great YA book, and PG to boot.

Debbie Harry Sings in French by Meagan Brothers is another quick YA read, but definitely not PG.  The main character acts out after his father’s death and eventually finds himself thanks to a girl named Maria, an understanding uncle, Blondie, and crossdressing.  Actually, the jacket plays up the crossdressing but it’s not presented as a huge deal in the book, just another aspect of finding one’s self in gender fluidity.  I liked it BECAUSE of that, but I don’t want to subject you to a huge rant about the repolarization of gender in America (BUT I ASK OF YOU, WHERE ARE THE TOMBOYS?).  I definitely enjoyed this one, although it was sort of quick, boom, done, and I don’t think I’d ever pick it up again for a re-read.

Oh!  Me Vs. Me by Sarah Mlynowski!  Fun book!  I didn’t read the back cover, and that was for the best, because I looked at the front cover and said “You know what would be awesome?  If this book were about a chick who gets to live out BOTH lives simultaneously.”  And she does!  Gabby lives each day twice, once at her dream job in NYC and once with her fiance (and his stifling mother) in Arizona.  WHICH WILL SHE CHOOSE?  I also loved the ending, which I figured would let me down, but no.  Mlynowski figures out how to tie things up satisfyingly.  Thank goodness.  That would’ve upset me.  Kickin’ chick lit, thumbs up, I don’t know what else I could say here.  Read it!

Then I read Larklight, which came highly recommended.  And I sort of loved it and sort of didn’t?  I’m not really sure how to explain it except to say that I am old and my much, much younger self would’ve been ALL OVER THAT.  For one thing, it’s brilliant: the secret to space travel was figured out by Newton and now it’s the 1800s and everyone gets to be an ethernaut.  Steampunk in space!  On the other hand, the sort of reality of Newton and the lack of reality in space confused me and originally put me off.  It took me a while to get into this, but once I did, it was quite the ride.  I’m not sure my daughter would like it, though; I think she’d be put off by the language, like the description of the process that fuels the ship being called “the chemical wedding.”  But this is good for serious young readers, absolutely.  I just think “junk food readers” like my daughter might not be able to get into it without watching the movie first.  And there will be a movie, of course!

Then I read our book club selection, Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.  I don’t want to say TOO much because then I’ll be all burned out for any discussion we have with the book club (and also, I linked to here from that community so THEY won’t want to read it all twice either) but, bare bones, it was a reread for me and I saw again all the reasons why it’s never been a favorite.  I’m not really a big reader of books that are funny ALL THE TIME.  I like my humor, but not in constant doses–save it for the sitcoms.  HOWEVER, I have been told that I need to read more Pratchett because I’m a heretic or something, and I have Going Postal all lined up to read later this week.  Anyway, great book for people who love their funny apocalypses, Christopher Moore fans, and fans of either author, but I don’t feel this is one of those situations where working together make the authors twice the awesome.

Then I switched it up to Sharon Shinn’s Archangel.  I’ve been meaning to read Shinn for a long time, as a friend of mine runs her fansite, but I never did.  Silly me.  The cover is stupid.  The back blurb gives away stuff that doesn’t even happen in the book, but later books.  On the other hand, it might be easy to see this book as pure fantasy without the set-up on the back, when it really isn’t.  My friend tells me that there was a preface of some sort in his copy, so I guess it’s not a terrible thing to give it away.  But STILL, the spoilerphobe in me twitches at the idea.  So I’ll just get to the plot: There’s an angel named Gabriel, who’s set to replace the jackass angel in charge, Raphael.  Angels are given the name of the person they will marry by the god, Jovah, and Gabriel’s appalled to find out that his intended, Rachel, is not only from a peasant area, but cannot be found, nor can any of her kin.  Gabriel is running out of time because he put off asking Jovah for the name of his mate, and they have a ritual to prepare for less the god become displeased.  Yeah, sounds weird, huh?  But it’s actually quite awesome.  Rachel has no desire to become the most powerful woman in the land, and in essence, as my friend says, it’s a romance (well–I disagree, I’d say it’s sci-fi first).  But there’s also so much that Shinn does in terms of making the world simple to understand and enjoy, familiar and alien at the same time.  Most of my problems with sci-fi stem from how hard authors try to prove how great and detailed their imaginary worlds are; Shinn has no problems realizing Samaria.  It was shelved as YA at my library, but I really think it could go either way.

Whew, three more.  And Super Collapse is waiting in the other window, so I must really love you guys.

But I must HATE MYSELF because I read Jodi Picoult’s Wonder Woman run.  *sigh*  Obviously someone watched the TV show and ran with that, because it was, like, omg, so funny!  Run out of interesting things to do or say?  Show Diana doing something silly!  WHATEVER.  It WAS funny when they were buying the toy, but other than that…bleh.  And yeah, I agree with whoever said it was FUCKING RIDICULOUS that Wonder Woman drops a man who’s in obvious distress for the lulz.  It wasn’t lulz-y Picoult.  It WAS NOT.  I know I didn’t quite connect to the Rucka run as much as I wanted to, but this?  This was just lame.

Fortunately, I followed it up with the next Fables trade.  Bill Willingham is still bringing his A-game to The Good Prince, which follows Ambrose, the Frog Prince, into his new life as a king.  I am SO NOT READY to see if there’s anything there that would make me want to dig back into my thesis paper, but I’m thinking there might not be, that Willingham may have taken his work to a whole other level here, one that’s moving away from the books’ superhero origins (or so I’ve argued), and even beyond the fairy tales themselves.  I love it.

Finally, I read Hush Returns, or whatever it was called.  Since all the Hush stuff is tied up to my biggest DC disappointment so far (see: the Batman/Catwoman romance, or lack thereof), I went in bitter and came out…eh.  It didn’t help that the trade tacked on some random issue at the end that I didn’t care about at all.  What was up with that?

WHEW.  So there you go.  I’ll finish Hamlet tomorrow, for reals.  After that, the manga deluge.  (Although we’re going to be a little overbooked later this week, so I’m not promising the manga post exactly on Thursday.)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jillian permalink
    November 5, 2008 11:14 am

    A ha! I told you Me vs Me would be fun. I haven’t yet received Fishbowl so I can’t compare.

  2. bookslide permalink*
    November 7, 2008 3:55 pm

    😀 😀 😀

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