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Tween, teen, and adult WIB: Starting back in, uh, February

November 5, 2012

Well, I had to redo the whole entire spreadsheet, so if there are any errors, my bad.  But it looks like I’ve read about 150 non-children’s books this year.  That sounds really low for me, and in a way, it is, because I’ve been spending a lot of time with, say, Downton Abbey and my family (really, mostly the latter–no, REALLY), but also because I’ve been reading these 100o-page George RR Martin books, and it’s taking up a lot of time.  I also read more non-fiction this year than I have before, but I’m not sure all of that counts, because quite a bit of it is celebrity bios.

So, February and onward:

Have I discussed Suite Scarlett?  Who knows anymore, I’m so far behind.  I’m just going to go with what the new list says.  Suite Scarlett is a teen book by Maureen Johnson which is about a girl named Scarlett whose parents run a hotel.  I did not absolutely love it, but I enjoyed it, and I think teens will enjoy it more.  Of course, it’s been a zillion months, so I can’t remember the details, other than spoilery ones, but I think my lack of full enjoyment is Scarlett’s attitude.  No surprise there.  I mean, she’s named Scarlett AND she’s a teenager.  It was against her from the beginning.  As the book went on, I enjoyed it more, and I’d read the next one if I didn’t have literally 200 other books that I really feel compelled to finish first.

The next book on my list is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.  It was my second Rand book as an adult–and probably the first one as a teen, where I put it down after about two pages, if that.  My favorite thing to say about the book is “I’m glad I read it,” which annoys people on both sides of the Randian fence.  Ooh, and I like to say I read it before everyone in the country started suddenly taking it out of the library, although that’s not really true.  I was right at that beginning crest of the wait list wave.  Or something.  I’m not sleeping enough, with this whole NaNo/Blo thing.  But really, I should’ve read it when I was a teen.  I wouldn’t have loved it as much as The Fountainhead, for the female lead isn’t half as masochistic as Dominique, but come on–there’s even an airplane chase!  Sex!  Revolution!  There’s a lot to be said for this book.  Yes, the author is quite wordy.  Yes, her philosophy dominates the narrative, and by that I mean eclipses it to the point of being irritating.  GET BACK TO THE PLOT. WE GET THE POINT.  And yes, there’s like a two-hour (I did the audio and the book) speech in there, just one speech, and toward the end I started screaming at the audiobook.  But I enjoyed it, I really did.  When she’s writing and not philosophizing, Rand is usually worth getting into.  I wouldn’t even mind the philosophy if it didn’t get so heavy-handed and narrative-breaking.  But really?  I liked it because it was pretty trashy.

I read The Guild comic because wow, I did used to watch the show.  That was back before I ended up loathing everyone.  My husband jumped ship way before me.  He said “I can’t like any of them.”  And it’s true.  You’d think my love of Wil Wheaton would’ve kept me going, but when my family stopped watching, I stopped soon after.  Oops.  But I liked the comic and I think there’s another one I need to pick up but haven’t yet.

I read Crossed, the second Matched book, by Ally Condie.  It’s a lot of walking and heavy breathing.  I was really bored.  And I haven’t even put the third book on my hold list.  Which, I was on the fence about the second one anyway. I assume I’ll get to it, but only because I’m a completionist, not because it was good.  I was really annoyed this summer that at least one of the high schools put Matched on their summer reading list as MANDATORY.  I know they’re trying to get the Hunger Games crowd, but my God, what a poor choice.  It’s not a BAD book.  It’s just not the kind of book that I think should be read in class, when you have so many other choices, even in the post-apocalyptic YA realm.  See below. 🙂

But first, I listened to Seriously…I’m Kidding, written and read by Ellen DeGeneres.  I’m really enjoying the celeb-bio-audiobooks-read-by-the-celebs.  I don’t think it was necessary to the full enjoyment of it, like with Bossypants, but since I don’t have broadcast TV, it was nice to hear her voice again.  I pretty much love her, and dreamed the other night we were married (awkward).

Pure by Julianna Baggott is post-apocalyptic YA on Tim Burton.  There was this bomb, right, and it fused things to people, and now this girl has her doll head as part of her hand, and it’s CREEPY and it BLINKS and the whole thing is horrifying, and then there’s plot, which doesn’t quite live up to the idea but still, I liked it and am looking forward to the next one.

Dr. Horrible and Other Horrible Stories is a comic that needed reading.  The art was good, the stories were good, you should see Dr. Horrible if you haven’t, and you should see it again if you have.  SEQUEL NOW PLEASE.

We read a Harlequin NASCAR romance for our book club in February.  No seriously.  We did that, and they make them.  It’s called Speed Dating, it’s by Nancy Warren, and we were all disappointed that it did not live up to its truly awesome title.  My spoilery thought on the book are here: http://bookretorts.livejournal.com/2012/02/28/ But to sum it up in a word: UGH.  But I feel that way about a lot of heteronormative romances.

Wayward Saints is a lit-y little book by Suzzy Roche of the Roches.  It’s about a musician going home and her conservative mother who’s afraid of how she’ll be seen, and the teacher who wants to do something cool, and all of that stuff.  I did like it. I’ll be interested to see what Roche does next.

Backwards is the third Red Dwarf novel, by Rob Grant (rather than “Grant Naylor,” the name for the partnership behind two writers, like the previous books) and I went through quite the Red Dwarf obsession this year.  I’d read the others before, but not this one, so it was neat to see where it diverged from the television show and where the writer might had gone if he had not been limited by budget.  Pretty much only for Red Dwarf fans, though.

Mad Dash is Patricia Gaffney being Patricia Gaffney–so: awesome.  It’s the story of Dash and her husband Andrew and how they’re in a rut, and how things have to change or it’s the end for them.  It’s one of THOSE books, but it’s excellently done that, okay, awesome.  The cover is godawful though.

I finally finished the combo-pack of the Vampire Diaries so that I could finish the last chapter’s recap but I haven’t done that AND you already know my opinions (and then some) if you’re read the recaps, so I’m just skipping those here.  I SWEAR, I am going to do the recap next Monday no matter what (because we’re closed), even if it means writing ALL WEEK to get ahead enough in NaNo to get it done.

Property Of is Alice Hoffman’s The Outsiders.  I love Alice Hoffman AND The Outsiders, so I liked this engrossing book, but I definitely wouldn’t put it at the top of my list for her.

The Android’s Dream by John Scalzi is one of those funny sci-fi books that I always end up not liking because I’m a jerk who hates novels that are consistently funny, but this one won me the heck over.  For serious.  I really liked it.  It IS funny, but it knows when to take itself a little more seriously, and it’s action-packed and twisty-plotted too.  Good times.

Finally, because I’m running out of time here, I read The Walking Dead volumes 13-16.  You know I love The Walking Dead, but the speechifying really got to me in the past one.  Also, I know for sure now that I need to read it in chunks.  One trade is not enough, especially when I read them over the course of the year.  I’ve never seen the show, but with the comic, I never feel like I need to.

Next up: the very end of February and onward!

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