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November 26, 2012

Teen and adult books I’ve read this year.  Only thirteen left!  I can knock out thirteen!

Cynthia Voigt’s Come a Stranger is about Mina–we need more Mina books!  Mina is a tall, strong African-American girl in Maryland.  She’s a talented dancer who earns a place at a dancing camp, where all the girls are white.  It changes her.  She comes home changed.  She goes back and changes again.  It’s a tough book, a good book.  It’s about the little ways that you discover your identity, figure out where you stand.  It’s about…oh, I dunno, it’s about Mina, and that’s worth the price of admission.

The Wordy Shipmates is a good light non-fiction book for those who aren’t crazy about non-fiction but have to read SOMETHING for school or whatever.  Sarah Vowell does a good job of giving us the other side of the story of America, the one where maybe Anne Hutchinson had long-term effects she could’ve never comprehended.  It gets a little repetitive, but I enjoyed it.

When we were in Europe, I read the first Schlock Mercenary collection The Tub of Happiness.  Not only do you get the oft-hilarious web comic, but you also get background from Howard Tayler and his wife on the process of how he got into the web comic business and how the story and art progressed over time.  This is one of my husband’s and daughter’s favorite web comics, so I’m glad I read it, and would read the next one if I just had time.

The Strange Power (Dark Visions, #1) by L.J. Smith was not a book I remembered well.  I thought I did, but I definitely did not.  It’s pretty bad, but fairly entertaining, if you get my drift.  It’s no Night World, but it isn’t The Vampire Diaries either.  So there you go.

I finally read The Golden Compass, after meaning to for ages.  I was sitting there going, “I don’t see why the Catholic church hates this–ohhhhh.”  Philip Pullman creates a very interesting world with a very retro kind of main character, and of course everyone but me is like “daemons! daemons!”  Dude, I am not letting anything kill me besides me.  That is just weird.  I will read the next one…eventually.

Crazy People: The Crazy for You Stories is enough Jennifer Crusie to hold me over for now.  It’s a collection of stories, some I had read on her site, some definitely not, from when she was getting her MA.  These all created the world that became Crazy for You, one of my favorite books (which I always say gets creepier every time I read it), and it breaks my heart she keeps talking about retiring.  But if you read her blog, you see her struggle and it’s like “NOOOO, YOU GOT THIS!”  I think it’s a structure thing.  You get bogged down by structure and you forget the joy of it.  I’m trying to work against that this NaNo.

I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High is Tony Danza’s adorably optimistic year as a rich dude who could pay to have his one class have a really good time learning like in all the movies.  This book is very entertaining, but it only gives a surface look into the problems teachers are dealing with today.  I’m not saying Danza doesn’t bring some of these issues to the surface, but many of them bob there.  He is so sweetly naive, and that’s great, and the book would be a great Christmas present for my mo–ooh, idea!–but Danza’s experience isn’t and cannot be everyone’s.  It’s also about the problems inherent in the lack of reality in reality TV, and also does some skimming with Danza’s own personal life.  Hm.

Dare Me by Megan Abbott is one of those books that reviewers love and just skip over the part that it’s obviously an adult writing about teenagers.  It’s too literary, a bit pretentious, but there’s so much that’s good in it that you can forgive it or the weird little unnecessary murder mystery…thing that also goes on.  Also, cheerleading.  I love cheerleading.

Brad Meltzer’s The Book of Fate is another political thriller from the guy who brought you The First Counsel, which was great.  This is good too.  I think everyone who likes Grisham and Patterson should be reading Meltzer.

Time Off for Good Behavior was free on Amazon and I like Lani Diane Rich as a person, from what I’ve heard of her on Jenny’s blog, and I’ve read one of her books but that was ages so, so I decided to read it.  It was entertaining.  I read it on the plane, and I’m twitchy about planes, so I can’t tell you much about it, but the title isn’t my favorite.  I thought it would be more about prison.

Raina Telgemeier’s Drama is super-cute, about a girl in stage crew.  Highly recommended for tweens.  Love Raina.

Isaac Asimov’s The Caves of Steel is a noir story without the noir.  It’s a murder mystery with only one suspect (as far as I was concerned).  It fails more than it hits the mark, but it’s definitely interesting and readable.  I knocked it out quick for my new book club, and we were all kinda lukewarm about it.

Finally, someone ordered Ultimate Comics Spider-Man: Death of Spider-Man Fallout and I didn’t MEAN to read it in one sitting, but then I was like “Ooh, breaktime” and “Ooh, Ultimate Spideyverse.”  It was good.  I miss Ultimate Spidey.  Especially after watching that crappy new movie on Thanksgiving.  Ugh ugh ugh.  But yay, Bendis!

Hey…that’s it!  Go me!

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