Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Adventures in Knitting

Actually, I have been experimenting with a knitting machine, but that is not the point of this entry, since last night I read the book Adventures in Knitting - breaking the rules and creating unique designs by Brenda Shapeero. She is definitely a dedicated and creative textile artist, and her advice is less about making clothes than about just experimenting with leftover yarns. I liked her advice about adding bobbles, and leaving spaces and holes to weave other yarn back through the design before it is completed. And her thick fringe with braids and weaves and wrapping was visually interesting, I guess. Even for me, this one was a little bit weird.
I checked it out. 93 pages.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

regency romance

Lady Rogue by Amanda McCabe
regency romance delight. 214 pages.

The Love Affair of an English Lord by Jillian Hunter
Only a lady could keep such a handsome secret, when a sexy injured man, rumored to be a ghost, crawls through her window into her closet. 361 pages.

The main difference between a short regency romance novel and a long regency romance novel is sex. More pages = more sex.

Also, the audiobook I listened to on my Collinsville car trip this weekend had a surprising amount of sex in it, considering it was about two amateur detectives in their sixties on a jaunt to Indiana that turns into a murder mystery investigation of their 96 year old friend.
Killing Cassidy : A Dorothy Martin Mystery by Jeanne M. Dams was delightful, and it was narrated by the late great Kate Reading. I listened to it. 7.5 hours.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lysistrata, FTW

How sweet is this - I love the modern adaptation of the story I already loved. Just like the strict and polite social restraint of a good Jane Austen novel like Pride and Prejudice translates best to modern times when set at a Mormon college or in a small village in India, the Greek plays don't update to your average high school or nuclear family setting seemlessly either.

I discovered a modern day retelling of the anti-war comedy Lysistrata by Aristophanes -- (read more about Lysistrata here) -- it's a movie called A Miami Tale starring some popular black entertainers like Train, Sommore and Mr. Cheeks. The story is set in a declining neighborhood in Miami, and our sexy main character Alicia Strada is sick and tired of the gang violence in her community. She organizes a sex boycott until the men are willing to lay down their guns. I think the greatest compliment that anyone could pay to a retelling of the original Lysistrata is that it maintains and updates the truly raunchy dialogue and innuendo from the original...and A Miami Tail does it beautifully! Just like the Greek play, this is an R-rated endeavor with adult themes and plenty of sexual humor. Enjoy!

p.s. Some friends may notice that I use the screenname Lysistrata in my e-mail and online. This is not because I am a threatening, emasculating, controlling bitch, it's just a cute literary reference to my own nickname...I swear!

Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
The classic hard-boiled detective novel is best described by a friend's warning "Lissa - you aren't going to like this book - no one is nice to anyone else, and there isn't any romance." Still, it's a classic, and it was worth reading. Plus we watched the movie, and that was word for word delicious. If only it had a happy ending...
I read the library copy. 217 pgs.

All True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton by Jane Smiley

I was really worried that this book wouldn't be as good as it was the first time I read it five years ago. At the time, I had just moved to Kansas without knowing what to expect (sort of like the main character). Thank goodness upon my second reading and this month's Sunday book discussion, this is still one of my absolute favorite books. In part one, Lidie marries Thomas Newton in the morning and they move to Kansas that afternoon, as free-staters in the 1850s. In part two, less than a year later, Lidie cuts off her hair and goes looking for revenge after her husband is shot and killed on the path to their homestead. The best part about this book is that Jane Smiley never gives you an opinion about slavery or government to simply accept or reject - she offers multiple perspectives and then shows the complications and shades of grey until you are just as uncertain as the characters, and presumable as the people who lived through this time.

Also, a friend helped me see that my own spouse is similar to Thomas Newton in all the best ways, which make me love him all the more! (My spouse, not Thomas Newton.)

I read my personal copy. 452 pgs.

Damsel Under Stress – Shanna Swendson

After Enchanted, Inc. and Once Upon Stillettos, Shanna Swendson has returned with a third delightful book in this light romantic fantasy series. Katie Chandler is a magical immune in NYC, finally with the man of her dreams, but nothing is going right....including her fairy godmother!
I reviewed it. 320 pages.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Fanboy and Gothgirl

I saw The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga when I was killing time during a train layover at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago in January. I finally read it this week and it was lovely. Fanboy is a sophomore in highschool who is pretty miserable except when he is working on his graphic novel Schemata. Things are clearcut - he has one friend, hates his mother's new husband the stepfascist, and keeps The List of people who have hurt him. He meets Kyra, aka Goth Girl, and she pushes him to work harder on his story, except when it comes down to it, Fanboy is only 15 and life is more complicated than he realizes.
Laughed, cried, read it, loved it. 311 pgs.

When Horses Fly by Laurie Bishop
Regency paperback romance that I hadn't read yet - good times. Doesn't everyone know that if you swear something will never happen until "When Pigs Fly" or "Hell Freezes Over" then it pretty much guarantees it will happen in the near future, especially if you fall in love!
214 pgs.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

This book quote amused me

The quarterly trivia night that I enthusiastically emcee at the library can handle a maximum of 28 teams of 7-8 people each. You do the math.

"They all seem to know who I am. Well, I guess that's what happens when you make a complete and utter ass of yourself onstage in front of 200 total strangers. They all feel like you're their best friend."

--From Meg Cabot's Queen of Babble

Listen Up! Or, alternately, read about what I listened to recently....

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
I discovered Ally Carter when I read Cheating at Solitaire for When I found her new teen novel, I was thrilled, and she didn't disappoint me. I can summarize this whole book in 5 words. "girls boarding school for spies" Think Harry Potter's Hogwarts meets James Bond, with a dash of Charlie's Angels.
I listened to the book on CD - 7 hours.

I frequently listen to things multiple times, so I will just admit that I did listen to the first half of To Say Nothing of the Dog...again, while cleaning house. Maybe I am an addict?

And I also listened to Kurt Vonnegut's "A Man Without a Country" twice in a row, from the downloadable eAudiobook. I am so glad that Vonnegut doesn't seem to stick to his "I'm not writing any more" vow because the world needs his perspective. Or at least I do. I heard another librarian complaining about Norman Dietz narration, but I think it is wonderfully gruff and gravely. HIGHLY recommended.
I listened either 2.5 hours or 5 hours, depending on whether immediate repeats count.

Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot
Deliciously fluffy, with a first person narrator who just can't shut up. Lizzie talks her way into more problems than she talks her way out of, but her obsession and disappointment with her first boyfriend, a British bloke who leaves much to be desired, and her subsequent adventures with her friends in France are actually quite revealing and reassuring for anyone listening in on her chatter. Perhaps the queen of babble's monologue would be less obvious on the written page, but on the CD I have been glad when I can occasionally hit pause and take a break from her incessant talk talk talking.
I listened to almost 9 hours of it!

A Pile of Overdue Books

I read most of these sometime in January and they have been piled on the floor of my office becoming increasingly overdue and distant in my memory. As Tanzey always says "Write the review right after you finish the book while it is fresh in your mind." She's a smart one!

Him Her Him Again The End of Him by Patricia Marx
A weird debut novel by a comedy writer, which focused on a young woman's obsession with her selfish former lover. Funny but not memorable. 240 pgs.

The Sunday List of Dreams by Kris Radish
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which I thought was going to be mature, emotional middle-aged women's fiction and turned out to be all about embracing women's sexuality and selling sex toys. Still, I would rather read about a mother-daughter sex toy conversation than have one of my own. (No offense, mom. Better living through fiction, and all that.) The author is all about the power of female friendships and women's empowerment, and while it might come across as a bit preachy, it is an affirming sermon that more women need to hear. It was actually a laugh-out-loud, cry a little bit and overall wonderful read and I highly recommend it. 378 pgs.

Restoring Grace by Katie Fforde
Would I read Beth Moore just because I like Christopher Moore and they both sort of write about spirituality? No. But for some reason, I picked up a Katie Fforde book just because I like Jasper Fforde and they both sort of write about Britain. Lucky for me, Katie Fforde writes adorable stories that build slowly, bringing in characters who form a sort of extended family and reach satifying conclusions, like the very best kind of made-for-television movie. This one features a recently knocked-up struggling artist who moves in with a recently divorced struggling homeowner. And I never got into "art history" so I can learn a lot from the details in minor artsy subplots! Light reading.
338 pgs.