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Back WIB series edition

November 17, 2012

Knocking stuff out because I have plans tonight.  High school friend coming to visit, woot woot!

I read every Odd Thomas book I could, because ODDY ODDY ODDY.  I looooved the first one.  I listened to the audio book and even though the narrator sounded old to me, he also sounded appropriately self-deprecating.  So I read all the books, 1-5, and the first two graphic novels.  I love Oddy even when I don’t care about the plots.  I love Oddy because he’s Oddy and I am PISSED that the movie’s being pushed back because that’s usually a bad sign, but Koontz loved the script and I am willing to believe in him.  Anyway, I suggest the books to people who like series books with a paranormal twist, and of course they are WAY better written than the Southern Vampire “Mysteries.”

I apparently read the first three Eloisa James Fairy Tale books, and even though I’m pretty sure one of them was House fan fiction set in the Regency era, I gave two of them three stars on Goodreads.  The first one I gave four stars.  One probably lost a star for House, and I’m not sure about the other.  It’s been a while, and it’s been a long time that I’ve been able to tell series romances apart.  These are not straight tellings of fairy tales; in fact, they barely skim the source material.  You can like that or not, your call, but they are fun, light reads.

And while I’m here, let’s talk about how charming her Paris in Love memoir is.  I don’t feel the title really gets across how adorable the book is.  I went in cynical, because I heard it was all Facebook statuses, and it mostly is, but it also shows the possibility in brief statements.  Surely, we can say more than “Late for work lol” when we write about our lives.  And James surely does.  I laughed aloud more during read this memoir than I have with some “comedy” books I’ve read this year (Chelsea Handler, I’m looking at you).

Actually, I didn’t have as many series on my shelves as I thought.  I have bits and pieces of series.  Comics, mostly.  I read Ultimate Comics Captain America and couldn’t bring myself to care.  I read League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1969, and didn’t realize it was the second book, so it was a bit trippy and I’ve been over Alan Moore since Lost Girls.  I read Illyria: Haunted and I liked the art and the stories but didn’t love them.  I read Irredeemable Volume 8 and apparently didn’t love it like I previously loved the series.  I think it was getting to the point where I was like “Okay, why didn’t you just end there?”  I read American Vampire Volume 2, and I still don’t love it.

I also read Pandemonium, the second Delirium book by Lauren Oliver, and apparently I enjoyed it quite a bit?  I don’t even remember it.  For serious, I have no clue.  I read some other dystopian books too, some YA, some not: Kristen Simmons’s Article 5, which (as I so often say) has a great premise but it doesn’t really take off; Kira Peikoff’s Living Proof, which maybe what I just said but also tries too hard, if I remember correctly?; and Alex Adams’s White Horse which definitely tried too hard, and is, like, arty, but I liked the tone and the ending.  It had a little bit of a Children of Men vibe (movie, not book; I liked the movie better).

Aw, man, I’m like half-way to being caught up through May! And all I had to do was forget most of what I’ve read.  Which really in itself tells you something, don’t you think?  I mean, I can tell you what I read that I remember well: that Bewitching by Alex Flinn has Kendra from Beastly, and it turns out she’s annoying as HAIL; that Anne Tyler’s The Beginner’s Goodbye is, like, The Accidental Tourist: 2012; that Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson is the truth behind Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, and it’s completely engrossing; Sarah Pekkanen’s Skipping a Beat made me cry, though that’s not a high hurdle, and I really enjoyed it; that Warren Ellis’s Supergod never really pulled me in, okay? but it was very interesting; that Natsume Ono’s Ristorante Paradiso drops the ball IN EVERY WAY.  Such a disappointment.

For my book club, we read Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, which is about a cyborg Cinderella, and other than the big reveal being blatantly obvious from early on, is probably one of the more enjoyable series beginnings I’ve read this year.  Then someone suggested I also read Malinda Lo’s Ash as well, and…whoa.  I fell into that book hard.  Highly recommended, even for fantasy haters like me.

Aw, man, I’m running out of stuff and time.  I reread The First Counsel by Brad Meltzer and still feel it’s his best work.  I recommend it to anyone who likes John Grisham.  I also reread Paula Danziger’s There’s a Bat in Bunk Five, which is vastly inferior to The Cat Ate My Gymsuit but it was good to be with Marcy and MS Finney again.  I read Jennifer E. Smith’s The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, and I remember it takes place in an airport and the girl’s dad’s wedding, and other than that, I just remember my bff being like “Ughhh, daddy issues.”  Since it didn’t really hit home for me personally the way it did her…I’ve got nothin’.  And even then, I don’t think she loved it or anything.  She said John Green spoiled her for non-paranormal teen books, which should be true for most everyone.

I read a book called Justice League: Rise and Fall by J.T. Krull but I have absolutely no memory of it.  Oh wait, was that the one with Arsenal?  Whatever.  I don’t even know.  I read Marjane Satrapi’s Embroideries but it was no Persepolis.  I basically just breezed through it and nothing sunk in. 

And, finally, there’s the Fifty Shades of Gray books.  People asked why I read them and I said “Because my patrons read them.”  People asked why I read all three, and I said “Because I don’t want to hear my patrons say, ‘Oh, well, you didn’t read all three, so you can’t possibly understand.'”  Is there anything I can say about these books that haven’t been said before?  I doubt it.  They are poorly written, atrociously edited (one of my patrons stopped talking to me for two months because I asked, “Didn’t all those typographical errors bother you?”), and ultimately no different than your usual romance novel in that inexperienced young white woman meets experienced rich white older man and they have sex, have problems, get married, and have kids.  The kinky sex?  Seemed very vanilla to me.  The treatment of practitioners of BDSM as pedophiles, attempted murders, and generally damaged people?  Highly problematic.  These books were awful and the only people I know who really enjoyed them have admitted to me that kinky sex has never been in their repertoire.  How sad for you and all, but don’t encourage poor writing because of that, please!

Anyway, that’s everything through May.  Awesome.

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