Monday, May 29, 2006


Boy2Girl by Terence Blacker

I picked this YA novel up from a book display at the library because the cover art was interesting. It sort of reminded me of the Twelfth Night remake She’s the Man that I just watched. As is appropriate for a book dealing with seventh grades (Year 8 in London) the whole boy dressing up like a girl issue is a significant part of the plot but not an in depth exploration of gender identity issues. The best part of this story is the frequently changing points of view from which it is told, and the only drawback is that the main character never has a voice.

I checked it out. 296 pgs.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


I admit, I picked up junior mainly because of the author's name -- Macaulay Culkin.
And I also admit, it was an odd little book. But I have to confess, I liked it. And as one of my coworkers can attest, the ending surprised me so much that I got a bit weepy. This is not a novel so much as a collection of writing. Parts of it reminded me of Wigfield, and other parts reminded me of a combination nanowrimo novel and personal journal.

I checked it out. 199 pgs.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Small Steps

Small Steps by Louis Sachar

While not as artful as Holes, at least on first reading, this continuation of Armpit's story after he leaves Camp Green Lake and heads home to a dingy duplex in Austin, TX is worth reading for both teens and adults. Armpit (or Theodore, is he would like to be known now) lives in a very modern world of racism, hard work, temptation, prejudice, suspicious parents, and occasional lucky breaks. He wants to stay out of trouble, so he plans to follow his counselor's advice and taking small steps to just keep moving forward.

I checked it out. 257 pgs.

Friday, May 26, 2006

A Dirty Job

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

What happens when the author of Lamb: the gospel according to Biff, Christ's childhood pal, takes on the Underworld? Charlie Asher, reluctant and recent recruited Death Merchant, is about to find out.
While this book will make you laugh a lot and occasionally feel a tad maudlin, mostly it is a wonderfully bizarre and absurdist exploration of the possibilities of the human soul when faced with Death.

I checked it out. 384 pgs.

How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life

How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life by Mameve Medwed

I thought this book would be a follow up on fictional characters who find support and encouragement from literature and reading, but it turned out to be more about the Antiques Roadshow than I had anticipated. That said, it was a lovely story about making your own way in life in spite of your parent's expectations for you.

I checked it out. 258 pgs.

Literacy and Longing in L.A.

Literacy and Longing in L.A. by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack
Finally, a character in fiction who loves to read as much as I do. Plus a cute website from the authors. Plus a multi-page list in the back of the book of the titles and authors mentioned within.

I read an ARC from PLA. 325 pgs.

Monday, May 22, 2006


I YDouglas Coupland's writing. He helps me make sense of my world while constantly making me laugh out loud. Somehow, he gets it. Or, I get it. Either way, I can't guarantee that you will like his new book, jPod, as much as I do. But I still think you should read it.

The cover art is quite similar to these toys I have in my own cubicle at work. And while Microserfs inspired me with the haunting image of the flat foods that could be slipped under the office door during a meltdown, I didn't grow up and get my own office, which I usually only regret with thinking about individually wrapped slices of American cheese. The Cubes are just ironic enough to brighten my own desktop, most days anyway.

5 things

1. These characters actually make MORE references to the Simpsons than my own husband. Which I didn't know was possible. Admittedly, for any person born since 1970, the Simpsons have been on television for more than half of their life.

2. Within the first 35 pages, I had paused in reading to google the common name for C13H20N2O2.HCL, wished I had my old CS101 textbook handy to doublecheck ASCII codes, and find a french language translation tool. Catagorically, this book made me think more about mathematics than anything since my STAT 310 textbook, but was much more interesting and esoteric.

3. I started reading aloud the really great, relevant, insightful, hilarious parts to my husband, and 50 pages later he reminded me that he actually wants to read the book too.

4. Wikipedia tells us "Much of Coupland's work explores the unexpected cultural shifts created by the impact of new technologies on middle class North American culture. Persistent themes include the conflict between secular and religious values, ironic attitudes as a response to intense media saturation, and an aesthetic fascination with pop culture and mass culture."

5. Few books could better make me appreciate my own inner geek. Coupland does crazy things with the size and layout of the text on some pages. He doesn't just have his characters make references to things, he uses art to trigger the memories of the reader and involve them in the experience. It's a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Single in Suburbia

Single in Suburbia by Wendy Wax

As if cleaning one house wasn't enough, homemaker Amanda now cleans all of her neighbors' homes while disguised as a French maid. Well, we know those plot twists aren't going to work out all neat and tidy...

I reviewed it. 367 pgs.

Also, I finished...

Cyber Cinderella by Christina Hopkinson

I firmly believe that if a book invokes the image of Cinderella in it's title, it should be more fairy tale and less internet-stalker-creepy than this one. That said, this book kept me guessing until the end, when I was pleasantly surprised. Also, I like that the crazy stalker site in the book is real...

I reviewed it. 271 pgs.

And randomly, I did some serendipitous shopping tonight. I picked up the new Douglas Coupland book, jPod, which claims to update Microserfs for the age of google. I read and loved Microserfs when it came out, and spent all of college imagining myself in that work environment when I grew up. Little did I know how much the world would change. Thank goodness Coupland is willing to redefine things for us again!

And, Bruce Springsteen has a new album We Shall Overcome: Seeger Sessions. And it's my idea of a perfect album ...when awesome rock stars discover folk music legends and record live albums with new arrangements of old traditonal social justice and folk hero ballads.

Life is good.

Friday, May 12, 2006

A primrose wedding

A Primrose Wedding by Jo Ann Ferguson

Why am I reading so many regency romances? I don't think I feel that stressed, which is usually when I read them. Maybe if I just put different books in my purse....

I checked it out. 255 pgs.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Avalon High

Avalon High by Meg Cabot

Why am I such a sucker for any kind of literary adaptation set in the world of highschool stereotypes? This is another such work, albeit a less familiar world for me -- the world of Arthurian legend. Cabot recognizes that her readers may not be familiar with the intricacies of Arthur and his crowd, so she fill in the background by giving the main character two medivial history professors for parents, and a school project on the Lady of Shalott. The only thing missing was a reference to Anne of Green Gables, which is all that I think about any time I hear the Tennyson poem.

I listened to it. 7 hrs.

Also, I recently vegged out and watched the first season of One Tree Hill. TV on DVD is a great time saver and convenience, unless the collection is due back at the library in 3 short weeks. Watching an entire season of TV in such a short time certainly intensifies the drama!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

With one lousy free packet of seeds

With one lousy free packet of seeds by Lynne Truss

The author of the witty Eats, Shoots and Leaves tries her hand at fiction, with some success. A large cast of characters with confusing plots that intertwine like garden vines make this one a bit confusing on audiobook, but funny none-the-less.
The sort of weird sexual references to "Manderley" come just as I am reading Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca for my book group.
I listened to it. 6 hrs.

Friday, May 05, 2006

finished project: dad's blanket

2 years in the making. But it (eventually) turned out beautifully!

The Lady in Question

The Lady in Question by Judith Laik
The Luddites are planning a revolution in the milltowns of England. Unfortunately, the investigator is falling in love with the suspect.
Luckily for me, I read the last 100 pages while rocking a sleeping baby!
Note to self: thin paperbacks can be read with only one free hand.
I checked it out. 221 pgs.

I've also read Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, Animals by Bright Baby, and Big Rex and Friends by Priddy Books. Big Rex is my favorite, because the rhymes are silly and the pronunciation guide for nodosaurus and diplodocus is right on the back for people like me who don't normally spend too much time talking about dinosaurs.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Feeling sorry for Celia

During a rainy late night car-trip, I listened to Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty, narrated by Anushka Carter. The best part of this Australian young adult story is that it is told entirely in letters, both between two pen pals at neighboring school, and in a series of notes between Elizabeth and her mother, and supplemented by numerous 'memos' from organizations ranging from the Association of Teenagers, the Cold Hard Truth Society, The Amatuer Detective Society, and other 'groups' who comment on Elizabeth's thoughts and actions in a candid and hilarious way.
Highly recommended, and not really anything to feel sorry about....

I checked it out. 6.5 hrs.


Dedication by Janet Mullany

In the Signet regency romance series, with main characters in their forties, which was unique, but much too racy for a regency...

I checked it out. 209 pgs.