I have fifteen minutes and some backwib
A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag is an old book by Gordon Korman that I never tracked down before, and while I am glad I read it, it is not his magnum opus, Son of Interflux. Now that I’ve read three of his older books, I see the sameness of them, and I cannot bring myself to care too much because I like them. But I will always love Interflux the most, and I think parents should get it for their kids (if it still exists in print) because it’s lolarious.
Rachel Bertsche’s MWF Seeks BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend is a book that I hold dear to my heart, because I think that female friendships are incredibly important (as are male friendships, but that’s a whole other post) and it can be very lonely when your BFF lives far away (I love you Jen!). Bertsche moves from NYC to Chicago and feels the lack of an intimate circle of friends, so she goes on “friend dates” to find women with whom she can hopefully find that intimacy. I found Bertsche neurotic at the beginning, admirable at the end. She uses studies and interviews just enough to give her words some credibility. She writes quite kindly about everyone involved, even when she didn’t like them. This was a great book and I’ve recommended it to many people.
I finally finished Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Lacos after meaning to for years. (I feel like I’ve written about these books already.) It was awesome. It’s racy and petty and everything the movies are and more. Also, way lezzie. Nothing new under the sun. Being a fan of the movies that aren’t Valmont–and that broke my heart–I wanted to read the source material. Now I have, and I’m thrilled for it. It’s epistolary, but it works. The drawback is, of course, the whiny Madame de Tourvel, but at least you know she’s whiny going in.
The Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth Phillips is the companion book to Call Me Irresistible, and is as good as that one, probably better with one glaring issue. I am not super-crazy about SEP, in that I find her very hit or miss. (Brangelina fan fiction? Really?) Even within one work, I’m like “Dammit, I liked everything up until now!” In CMI, everyone treats the main character like shit and she takes it. Oh, okay. In TGE, there’s this pathetic character who keeps trying to get a mixed-race kid to embrace his roots and blah blah blah. Soooo white. Soooo white guilt. It’s awkward and painful, but it’s not played that way. Just because someone means well doesn’t mean they aren’t doing something wrong. But other than that, and the fact that the lead dude’s name is Panda (okay), it was an enjoyable book, good for people who have middlin’ standards for chick lit. (We need a somewhere-between-romance-and-chick-lit designation, because good chick lit is more lit, and this isn’t, but it feels too big in scope to be a regular romance. I guess it IS romance though.)
I read the seventh volume of Tiny Titans, Growing Up Tiny, because it is wonderful and hilarious and charming and you should be embarrassed if you haven’t bought them all for your kids yet. Even if the kids don’t get every joke, it’s worth it, and they will love it, and when they are older you can show them the Teen Titans TV show. I am sad the series is over, but I am glad my co-worker got all the books for the library.
So, as I said before, I read Game of Thrones, Clash of Kings, Storm of Swords, and a Feast for Crows over the past few months, and I am bitter they came out right when I was off having that babby, because I would’ve loved them when I was younger, and I love them now. They are rape-tastic, but it doesn’t trigger anything for me because it’s a rape-y world out there and this is–oh no, last night I dreamed a certain character died who actually HASN’T died yet! That is so wrong! It just came to me as I was typing this. Anyway, I do believe that people who enjoyed Pillars of the Earth and aren’t completely turned off by the idea of Pillars of the Earth with Dragons should read this series. I’m halfway through A Dance with Dragons, but I don’t want to get back to it until I’ve read all my book club books for the month, and Bleak House is taking forever.
I read Fables Volumes 16 (Super Team) and 17 (Inherit the Wind) and it’s like I get all wrapped up in living life while waiting for the next one, and then two have come out and I haven’t noticed, and then it’s still wonderful and I still love it, and I stop being mad at Willingham for a little while, and then the cycle starts all over it. Love Fables. Recommend Fables.
I Love a Man in Uniform: A Memoir of Love, War, and Other Battles by Lily Burana is the book I was hoping Going Overboard would be. I had thought this was about Navy, but it’s actually Army, but Lily Burana and her awesomeness really made me feel like “Okay, I can do this military wife thing. We don’t all have to be petty and ridiculous and live our lives like we’re still in high school.” She’s cool. She has tats. She was a stripper. She worries about finding people to get along with on base because she’s liberal. She deals with her husband’s deployments and PTSD like a boss. I really liked this book a lot.
Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents blew me away. I am super-bitter that she didn’t finish another book in the series before she died. I mean, I just loved them so much. In the future, we have not enough to go around and too much violence. Lauren, who has the side-effect of “hyperempathy” from a designer drug her mother was taking, is just a teen but wants to start a new religion, based on things that have come to her that feel absolutely true (the premise: God is change). But people live enclosed behind walls, terrified of those who would come in to take what’s theirs. The sequel is seen backwards from Lauren’s daughter’s perspective, and I enjoyed the fact that there is no hero worship. Lauren’s daughter is not a reliable narrator but neither is Lauren herself. I got so engrossed in these books. They are painful, they are triggering, they are beautiful, they are hurtful. But they’re amazing.
Speaking of dystopias, I read The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness. I loved the “twist” in the first book and the entirety of the second. I mean, the first was good too, but the character of Aaron really bugged me at the end. That’s neither here nor there. This three-books series (I’ll get to the third eventually) is about a group of colonists who settled on a new planet and ended up being able to hear each other’s thoughts. Then there were no women, and that’s the world the narrator, Todd, is growing up in, until he realizes he may not know everything after all. Looking forward to eventually getting to the third book. I finally feel like I need to make a “to-read” list for next year.
Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea was just appalling. I’d never heard of Chelsea Handler before this clever title, and I never want to read anything of hers ever again. She is unfunny. Maybe she could be funny, if she weren’t such a goddamn mess. Maybe. Probably not.
I read Distant Shores by Kristin Hannah because everyone talked all the time about how they loved Kristin Hannah and…I don’t get it. It’s just generic post-Danielle Steel stuff. I was fooled by glowing patron reviews and beautiful covers. Also the title is a terrible pun. The couple’s last name is Shore and they are, you know, distant. That’s how I felt about the entire book. Trying too hard or too breezy by turns. Read Mad Dash if you want something along the same lines but better.
Time’s way up (fifteen minutes, ha!). Gotta go get ready for work. But I’m down to, like, thirteen! I’m so happy! Yay, NaBlo!