I am utterly baffled by not remembering some of the books I’ve read. Sure, the kids’ books? I read so many of them that I can imagine forgetting some of them. But the other day, I looked at a copy of 21 Proms and thought, did I read that?
Apparently, I did. And I gave it four out of five stars. Heck if I can remember a thing from it though.
Obviously, this is an argument for writing up reviews once a week, so I don’t have time to forget.
My boss found a box of copies of Nina Malkin’s 6X: The Uncensored Confessions. I have to say, from the cover and the blurb on the back, it sounded godawful bordering on pornographic. The book itself ended up being pretty good! It follows the members of a band, put together by a record industry guru, based on the fact that this one girl is hot. They call her “The Body,” but it turns out she’s got a good turn of phase as well. Then there’s “The Voice,” a completely screwed up born-again prima donna; “The Talent” (or “The Boy”), the one person who can play an instrument well; and “The Boss” (or “The Bitch”), the token black-chick-with-attitude. That all of these characters know they are reduced to stereotypes, and yet never fall into becoming them. The switching of POV can be a little disorienting, but it’s not like you can’t flip back to the beginning of the chapter to remind you who it is you’re reading. I immediately picked up the sequel, 6X: Loud, Fast, and Out of Control, and thought it did an even better job of portraying the ridiculousness of the pop music industry. (My father is a musician, so I found myself nodding a lot when Malkin got it right, which she almost always does.) These poor books are ruined by the crap covers, I have to say, a fact that even the author admits. Here’s hoping people read it anyway, enjoy it, and eventually get a reissue with a decent cover. And maybe a title that doesn’t confuse.
Oh, looks like my spreadsheet is in alphabetical order today. Okay.
I read A Blunt Instrument by Georgette Heyer. Her mysteries have so far not impressed me nearly as much as her romances, and this one in particular often missed the mark with me: I felt that too much we hear the same information passing from one character to another. Still, some of the characters were incredibly entertaining.
A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon is read extremely well by Simon Vance, and I’m not sure how I would’ve felt about it had I not listened to it. It was definitely claustrophobic, and the characters had that too-real, too-irritating feel that you find in literature. No one ever does anything REASONABLE, like talk to each other or cut toxic people out of their lives, IDK. Maybe this is how most people live. I try not to overcomplicate my life that way.
Alien Moonlight is a Harlequin by Kate Kingston I’m going to recap, but I definitely did not like it when rereading it.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, Volume 8: Last Gleaming by Joss Whedon, et al. takes the series into a somewhat-satisfying conclusion, if you can brain-bleach the last trade out of your head. I’m sure I’ll appreciate it more the next time around, but as it was, I was so let down from volume seven that I just couldn’t get too into it.
The Finishing Touches by Hester Browne was a big let-down after the particular joys of The Little Lady Agency books (type it into the search bar and see me glow). If you haven’t read the Little Lady Agency books, I would say that you’d enjoy The Finishing Touches, and certainly the idea of it is great. The execution didn’t impress me much, though. Oh well.
The Nancy Drew Files have been killing my nostalgia buzz with each book. Not even the first one was tolerable, but the thirty-third book, Danger in Disguise, is particularly awful. Poor Bess. People complain about how Sweet Valley High gave them an eating disorder? Jeez, try rereading these and see if you like Nancy and (the obvious lesbian) George anymore after all their fat jokes. Ugh.
(Okay, not on the spreadsheet anymore; back to the book community reviews.)
The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes – Couldn’t get a grip at first on this book; I think because I thought it’d be more Bridget Jones-y or maybe because my glance at the back had me thinking it was about one person when it was really about three. What this book is about isn’t manhunting or the breakup of a character’s parents, but really how the publishing industry works, and how it affects the women in it. The ups, the downs, the way it engulfs or briefly touches their lives. I enjoyed it, once I sort of figured out what it was ABOUT.
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – I tried the audio book of this and couldn’t stand the guy’s voice; I’m glad I gave it back and went for the book instead. LOVED this book about a man who disappears to moments in his own timeline with little warning, and the wife he leaves behind to wait and hope for the best. LOVED LOVED LOVED it.
Tender Rebel by Johanna Lindsey – Ah, historical romance + the late ’80s = heroines who are too feisty to be period-appropriate. Lindsey assumes you read the previous book in the series, and isn’t clever with her infodump (it was confusing at first), but once I pushed my way past all that, I had a good time with this book, even if it was a little light in plot.
Imajica by Clive Barker – I cannot review this impartially. I loved it too much when I was growing up. It is a sweeping, epic contemporary (late ’80s/early ’90s) fantasy novel, and I still love it but I have no idea if it’s good. I think so. I mean, it’s fantasy and I got through it, which says a lot right there. It’s very visceral, except by visceral I mean that Barker is very much one to always remind people they are human beings, not characters. Death is messy, especially when it’s murder; everyone still needs to go to the bathroom. Lust is stupid, friendship is important, magic is part of us. Whatever; I loved it. Someone else tell me it’s good!
The Invitation by Jude Deveraux
Deveraux is usually my comfort reading, but not in this case. These “novellas”–well, maybe a novella or two and a short story?–are poorly paced, sometimes repetitive and sometimes with one aspect too drawn out. Not even good enough to keep. Also, who doesn’t guess that William is Billy or whatever?
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
My second, post-Laurie Halse Anderson, reading of this book didn’t go quite as well as the first. I still enjoyed it, but I found it a bit problematic. It’s a watered-down Speak, a watered-down Wintergirls.
Follow Your Heart: Your Best Friend’s Boyfriend by J.E. Bright (I wouldn’t use my real name, either)
A Choose-Your-Own-Dating-Adventure. Interesting idea, horrible execution. For one thing, who names anyone Sally anymore? I was more interested in the process of creating a book like this (how does the layout look?) than the book itself. Read through more than half the possible scenarios and gave up. That’s finishing it, right?
Ta-da! 815 to go.