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Teen and adult WIB: January 27 to February 6

February 6, 2012

Plus backwib, of course.

I started this the other day and wrote all of one line.  Okay, I’m back with a few more selections and not one but TWO lists to work from.  Awkward.

Let’s start this adult WIB with the most adult of adult titles: The Story of O, by Pauline Reage.  This was apparently written by a woman whose lover told her a woman couldn’t write like the Marquis de Sade.  Well, I’m not really familiar with de Sade’s writing, but this is definitely an experimental work rather than a successful one.  It grows continually disjointed as the reader grows more and more disconnected from O, and the original end was severed by said lover, giving it one of the most abrupt endings I’ve ever read.  What does this mean?  Not much.  Do I probably have a leg to stand on when it comes to discussing erotica, especially French erotica from the 1950s?  Probably not.  Do I feel like I gained something from reading this?  Nuh-uh.  Perhaps this was the lover’s point, but the disconnection doesn’t work for me.  No, I don’t need to get all ~*mushy*~ with it, but the mindset of the submissive is the most incomprehensible for the vanilla reader, and Reage doesn’t get us anywhere near as close to understanding it as, say, Anne Rice.  AND WHEN I SAY THAT ANNE RICE IS BETTER THAN SOMEONE AT WRITING SOMETHING…  Kidding.  Sort of.  The thing is, you could say, “But that wasn’t Reage’s intention!” but then we ARE meant to have SOME connection to O in the beginning.  Things are, at least in part, seen from her point of view, and then that pulls further back and we’re left thinking, “Okay, what happens next?” which means what feels like the original intent is lost.  At the very least the original intent is muddled, because the flip side of that is that we’re supposed to see O as an object, but we’re too far into her head at first to do that.


Heh, I also finished (on the same night, go figure) John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany.  Actually, I finished Owen Meany first, but because I started Story of O ages ago, Goodreads puts it closer to now.  Or I rated them in that order–but not that point.  The point is that this was probably my third to tenth reread of the book, and it was so powerful (AGAIN) that I needed something else to read before bed.  I don’t think I’ve read it in ten years, probably more, and it was surprising to me to see how many things I’d remembered, and how many I’d forgotten.  One of the things that’s so surprising is that I forgot how religious it is–well, how much of a part religion plays in it.  You’d think with the word “prayer” in the title that one wouldn’t have passed me by, but there you have it.  This book is about two boys who grow up together, one of whom is oddly stunted with a VOICE THAT PROBABLY SOUNDS A LOT LIKE THE ONE IN MY HEAD, since it’s written in all caps.  This is surprisingly effective, since in books, I hate caps (but online, I like them, go figure) but for Owen, the caps constantly remind you that THIS IS NO ORDINARY VOICE, and no ordinary character.

I’d forgotten how the end went down–actually, I completely misremembered.  I remembered little things but not the big things.  Isn’t that odd?  Anyway, the book was fascinating, but slower and more disjointed, time-wise, than I remembered.  It was difficult to figure when everything happened, but I didn’t feel like bopping to the present day and back was the problem, just the line of events during.  But I suppose that’s Irving’s idea of memory.  It’s not linear.  Why would it be?

So worth the read, worth the reread too.  I’d grown sick of Irving a decade ago, so it was a good idea to pick back up an older one.  I have one or two here I haven’t read yet, so that’s getting me in the mood.

Hm.  Then I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, at the recommendation of our teen librarian.  She really thought it was the best book of the year.  I spent the first few chapters going “Well, the main character sure is perfect,” but physical perfection and talent isn’t the author’s focus–the character’s insecurities, confusion, and bizarre life is, so I quickly moved on from that and got engrossed in the story, which is about a girl who was raised by “demons,” who comes to find out why and how when said demons are attacked by, um, angels.  Sort of.  Anyway, it was very good, but I definitely didn’t think it was the best book of the year.  It was, however, the first book in a while that made me think, “Okay, yes, this needs to be a series,” rather than “Look at them milk this crap for all the books/money they can get.”  I’m sick of series but I’ll pick this next one up.

Isn’t it funny?  All I want from my viewing selections are series, but I don’t want them from my books.

Then I read Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson. I have to say I was expecting more from this book than a really good movie script.  There were things about it that really bothered me, like the irritatingly “keep reading to see what happens!” commentary by the “compiler” and how it’s supposed to be this world-changing event, yet we only see the same few people over and over again, and how–but that’s not the point.  What it really is is a harder sci-fi version of World War Z, and World War Z was more effective and got me to care me about the people in it.  Just sayin’.  It’s not that I didn’t like it, but like is as far as I’ll go.

I reread Sandy Asher’s Summer Begins for the first time since I was a teenager, most likely, and I was so surprised.  I remembered things about it, but only in retrospect–it felt SO FAMILIAR, and yet if you’d asked me what it was about, I would’ve said and awkward girl and a school newspaper.  Instead, I got another The Cat Ate my Gymsuit, pretty much.  If you like the one, you’ll probably like the other, even though you’ll spend a lot of time comparing them.  Summer is a little more cynical, a lot less abused, more afraid than self-loathing like Marcy.  However, the book covers a lot of topics that we would freak out about eighth graders talking about today (even though they DO talk about it), like abortion, menopause (MENOPAUSE!!!), marijuana.  Well, without “covering” them.  They’re just there.  Summer’s big problem is that she writes what she believes is a harmless editorial for the school paper, then finds herself having to deal with the spotlight, which is also on her formerly famous mother.

So good, so quick, so ’80s, in a good way.

Then I read a book about the Snowpocalypse–Trapped, by Michael Northrup.  Seven kids get stuck in the high school during the bigger snowstorm in for-freakin’-ever.  I had some issues with it, because some things seemed like they were out of date, even though the book was set recently (no, never in the history of ever has a kid been able to get away with wearing a gun on his shirt as far as I know), and the kids drove me nuts sometimes because they weren’t thinking reasonable–AND they never went to the library, which is like a sin.  You get locked in somewhere with a library?  GO TO THE LIBRARY.  Just for funsies.  Just because you don’t have to check out the books and can walk out with them.  Come on, that’s AWESOME.  My husband says, “Not everyone is you.”  Heh.

But yeah, it was an interesting read, and really makes you realize how boned we are in the face of extreme weather.

Finally, I caught up on my Teen Titans, as much as the library would let me, by reading The Hunt for Raven and Team Building.  OH MY GOD, was The Hunt for Raven bad.  It was so, so, so bad.  The dialogue was AWFUL.  I mean, truly terrible.  EVERYONE has the same voice.  And the art wasn’t AS bad, but at one point, I believe that Miss Martian is saying something, but she’s Cassie, because the two characters look exactly alike and ended up colored wrong.  MISS MARTIAN AND CASSIE ARE LITERALLY WEARING THE SAME THING IN DIFFERENT COLORS.  What the heck?

And poor Cassie!  And poor lack of exposition!  And NO ONE SAYS “I” 90% OF THE TIME.

“Finished something the something.”

“Want to go to blah blah blah.” (Period, not question mark.)

OVER AND OVER.  Same voice, in everyone.

Thank GOD, the next book had a new writer.  Suddenly, wtf, the old team is back together (I had to check the numbers to see what was up, if I’d missed something, but apparently) and I’m SO not sure how I feel about Solstice.  I mean, I love her optimism and personality and non-broken home and all, but that outfit looks more like ’60s hippie than Indian superhero.

And Cassie is still getting dumped on.  Sigh.


I really got into Castle last year thanks to my bgff Jen, so I just had to read Heat Wave, the book-within-a-show written by the eponymous character.  Nathan Fillion’s adorable face commanded me.  It was a terrible, terrible idea because it was a godawful book, and everything it shouldn’t have been: NOT the set-up for a first book, more like Castle fan fic, and, worst of all, poorly written, which is everything a Richard Castle book shouldn’t be.  You simply cannot have this megastar of a writer and then put out a crapular book with his name on it.  It makes no sense.  The graphic novel of Storm Front made a hell of a lot more sense, but of course that was written by Brian Michael “Brian Michael” Bendis, and this book isn’t even admitting to the ghostwriter.  As well they shouldn’t, for several reasons.  UGH.

I read Philippa Gregory’s The Constant Princess and The Virgin’s Lover, but I have to say, nothing has stacked up to The Other Boleyn Girl yet.  I did myself no favors reading these out of order, and have little desire to read the two I haven’t.  Oh well.  It was fun while it lasted.

I read Randa Abdel-Fattah’s cutesy-named Ten Things I Hate About Me and cleverly-named Does My Head Look Big in This?, both stories of Muslim teens in Australia.  The latter is better than the former, but both are quick, fun reads that I’d suggest for any teen girl, especially one whose horizons need to be expanded beyond “Beautiful white girl has amazing romance and/or adventures.”

For some reason, this says Incredibly Alice is something I haven’t talked about yet, which is weird because didn’t I discuss the rest of them already?  I was SURE I included this.  Let’s just say more of the same greatness from Naylor and what I KNOW I said before, that I’ll be sad when this series is over.

I reread Princess Ashley for the first time in ages.  This Richard Peck book about social hierarchy in high school was a decent read, but I can barely remember it…again.

Oh, I read Michael Grant’s Gone, and I can see why the comparisons to Stephen King were made.  I was kind of sad where it went, and my daughter says the second book is terrible, but I did mean to go back to it and continue with the series.  I suppose it just wasn’t strong enough for that.  Close to it, but not quite enough.  I liked the concept, and I liked reading the story, but…again, not enough to keep me going to the next book.  I’m so picky.  I think most readers WILL want to continue though.

I read Gallows Hill by Lois Duncan, and it was pretty much most of her later books: eh.  This one’s about, oh, middle America and witchcraft or something.  But if you’re going to read Duncan, Daughters of Eve is always the way to go.  So disturbing, to this day.

I read Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens and was going into it with trepidation: I LOVE the cover, and I wanted to like it desperately, but I’d been disappointed by Bray before.  Beauty Queens is exactly the kind of book I don’t like: the kind that has to be funny, so funny, all the time.  It’s a satire, but I feel that satires can be clever without being goofy, and there’s a lot of goofy here.  This is great for everyone but me, basically, who doesn’t like to read goofy books except for anything that says Red Dwarf on it, basically.  Still, the story of vapid pageant contestants crashed on a seemingly deserted island is all about knocking shallow consumerism, and I’m all about that. This book reeled me in eventually, and everyone else who read it that I know loved it.

There are so many more books to write about!  But I have to get ready for work if I want to remember to eat before I go, which I sometimes forget when I go in to work at 1.  Next time, Booksliders!

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