Monthly Archives:: January 2012

Mini Reviews – Shiver, Flavia de Luce, Wonderstruck

January 31, 2012 Audio Books, Book Reviews, Books 12

I have a few books I either don’t really have a lot to say about or I’ve almost forgotten everything about, so I thought I’d jump on the mini-review train.

Shiver by Maggie Steifvater
Read by Jenna Lamia and David LeDoux

Grace and Sam have just met for the first time after knowing each other for 6 years. That sounds odd, doesn’t it? Grace has been fascinated by Sam, ever since the wolf attack that almost killed her, but she never knew he was Sam. Sam saved her and has watched over her ever since. As a wolf. Sam. Is. A. Werewolf.

This reread brought to the forefront the many problems with this book. The first time I read it, I was so enamored with the romance, that I missed a few things. I do remember being extremely annoyed at the absent parents, this read-through made me hate that even more. There were a few plot problems, things glossed over or forgotten, etc. Yet the characters of Grace and Sam and their romance are compelling enough to make me go onto the the next book in the series-the main reason for my rereading. I’ll be reading on soon.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Read by Jayne Entwhistle

Surely you know what this one is about by now. Flavia de Luce, precocious little poison aficionado and amateur sleuth, sets out of solve the mystery of a postage stamp, a dead bird, and her father’s odd behavior. I love the…absolute Britishness of this book. And I loved Flavia! Flavia is completely adorable, when she’s not being slightly infuriating, and Jayne Entwhistle’s reading is a delight. I’ve been meaning to get on with this series for awhile now; I don’t know what’s holding me back. Perhaps I will make it my next listen on my iPod?

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

If Brian Selznick captured my heart with The Invention of Hugo Cabret, he broke it – in the best possible way – with Wonderstruck. Oh my goodness, but this is a truly beautiful, moving, gorgeous book.

Selznick employs a device I’m not sure I’ve ever seen in literature. He tells two stories, alternating between Rose and Ben, using words for Ben and illustration for Rose. Considering Ben is partially deaf, and Rose is completely deaf, it gave the telling of their stories a trueness that I found fascinating. And, considering Rose’s story takes place about 50 years earlier than Ben’s, it really helped me to see Rose as she was then and how different her world was from Ben’s. Plus, with Rose being completely deaf, I think it was a unique way to tell her story, given that her world is the images around her-not the sounds.

The art, as always, is completely enchanting. I can’t wait to see what Selznick comes up with next.

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Monday Rambles

January 30, 2012 Books 15

- I meant to post my first crafty post yesterday, but I couldn’t find the article I wanted to post about to take pictures. Turns out it was at my mother-in-law’s house. I will post this weekend.

- I finished Madame Bovary on Saturday. Andi and I read it together and it was SO. AWESOME. The reading together and the book. I don’t know why I never read MB before, it wasn’t nearly as intimidating as I thought. It was actually a quick read, for me anyway. My edition was 814 pages, on my Nook, and pages don’t go like normal on there. Maybe that’s why it felt fast? Or because it was so compelling? I can’t wait to read another book with my Andibug. Also, she kicks butt.

Speaking of classics, I spent a lot of time Sunday trying to figure out which one to read next. Help? These are the 5 I am leaning toward and I want your thoughts:

  • The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  • A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
  • Villette by Charlotte Bronte
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot
  • Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (since I seem to be in a good place, reading wise, for classics) (this might go for all of the above)
You know what? Vote in the comments and that will be the next one I read.

- I read my first book on Debi’s list of top 49 for me, Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman. It was absolutely adorable. And now I am dying to get my hands in the dirt. It’s about a community garden and how it changes the lives of those who use it. For 102 pages, it packs a lovely punch.

- Did anyone watch the series finale of Chuck Friday night? I am gutted. Absolutely gutted. I cried for like an hour after it was over, mostly because I got online and read articles and interviews with the cast and creators. My Friday nights will have a big whole in them now; Grimm is good, but it’s not Chuck.

-  I’m feeling anxious to read more Terry Pratchett. Now that’ve finished the Tiffany Aching series, Amazing Maurice and Nation, I’m not sure where to go next. Suggestions?

That is all.

 

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The Doctor's Wife by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

January 25, 2012 Books 11

Isabel Sleaford is a girl who lives in her books. Ernest Maltravers, Eugene Aram, Henry Esmond; Shelly, Byron, and, well, anyone romantic be he real or fictional. She aspires to have the life she’s read in books. Seriously, this girl lives and breathes her romances and desires nothing more than to live a life like theirs:
A dull despair crept over this foolish girl as she thought that perhaps her life was to be only a commonplace kind of existence, after all; a blank flat level, along which she was to creep to a nameless grave. She was so eager to be something. Oh why was not there a revolution, that she might take a knife in her hand and go forth to seek the tyrant in his lodging, and then die; so that people might talk of her, and remember her name when she was dead?
 
…Miss Sleaford wanted to be famous. She wanted the drama of her life to begin and the hero to appear. 
So when the good, simply, kind and moderately handsome country doctor George Gilbert falls in love with her and proposes to her, she suddenly finds herself engaged. Not because she said yes, but because she lapses into this interior monologue about how this is the first great romantic moment of her life and! Next thing she knows! She’s engaged!
“This is what it is to be a heroine,” she thought, as she looked down at the coloured pebbles, the floating river weeds, under the clear rippling water; and yet knew all the time, by virtue of feminine second-sight, that George Gilbert was gazing at her and adoring her. 
Isabel does this stepping outside of herself A LOT. Too bad she wasn’t still in there, seeing what she was actually doing. That “feminine second-sight” could have saved a bit of heartache. It would have told her that George wasn’t exactly what she wanted. No, she revels in her first opportunity of being a heroine, absorbing all the beauty and poetry of the scene around her and completely ignoring the obvious.
She looked at him with a startled expression in her face. Was it all settled, then, so suddenly-with so little consideration? Yes, it was all settled; she was beloved with one of those passions that endure for a lifetime. George had said something to that effect. The story had begun, and she was a heroine.
 
This is to be the case for most of the 419 pages of this ebook.
 
So, she marries George and is instantly miserable. She doesn’t love George, not in the way he loved her. She felt for him as a brother, it says so in the book. Before she married George, she was the governess to two little orphans and earning a modest wage. Nothing fancy, nothing HEROINE-ISH, but still, she was occupied. Now, she is a doctor’s wife, running a household that runs on its’ own, and so what does she do? She reads all day and feeds her delusions. She becomes increasingly bored, as each day repeats.
 
Oh, but wait! Who is this waiting in the wings? Why, it is none other than the handsome, elegant, titled, rich, and BORED young Roland Lansdell!
 
Is that the name of a hero, or what?
 
And what do you think happens next? I’m not going to tell you, but it gets JUICY y’all. JUICY.
 
And also slightly infuriating.
 
Now, I feel I should mention how young Isabel is. She is very, very young and very, very naïve. Truly, all of her ideals on love, marriage, romance, friendship, life, all of it – comes from her books. Her father was no good. Her mother is dead. Her stepmother is off, parenting her two young half-brothers. She is basically alone, until she meets George. There were many, many times I wanted to reach through the pages and slap her silly, but then there were times where I just felt so wretchedly sorry for her. I couldn’t blame her for being depressed.  
 
How was she to bear her life in that dull dusty lane-her odious life, which would go on and on for ever, like a slow barge crawling across dreary flats upon the black tideless waters of a canal? How was she to endure it? All its monotony, all its misery, its shabby dreariness, its dreary shabbiness, rose up before her with redoubled force; and the terror of that hideous existence smote her like a stroke from a giant’s hand.
 
Um, melodramatic much?
 
And then there were the times I kind of wanted to slap Mary Elizabeth Braddon silly. The woman could write, there is no denying that. She wrote quite a few sensational novels* in her day, and, though this is supposedly not one (she even says so, in the book! “This is not a sensational novel!” I quote verbatim!), I’m sorry, but it so is. By the end, it’s like she just had it and said I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING EXCITING, SO I WILL DO THIS.
 
Lord, I wanted to slap her silly.
 
Yet, I also was rather pleased with her. I think endings like that take guts and dude. ME Braddon had some guts. And I LOVE IT. SHE MAKES ME FEEL ALL THE EMOTIONS. And the repeating! I can’t tell you how many times she goes over Isabel’s ideas and where they came from. I KNOW SHE READ IT IN A BOOK ALREADY. GET THEE AN EDITOR.
 
The Doctor’s Wife is also a rather vague retelling of Madame Bovary, which I am currently reading. I see the shades of Emma Bovary in Isabel Sleaford, but all the bitchiness and selfishness has, for the most part, been removed. I haven’t finished MB yet, so I don’t know if the endings match. I can’t wait to find out. I love how, in both books, it feels like there is this commentary on how wives were forced to live such solitary, domestic and boring lives. It feels like Braddon is saying, look, see? This is why we go crazy. We’re fucking bored. Give us something to do already.
 
All in all, especially since I got the eBook for free, I found The Doctor’s Wife to be a great use of my reading time. I highly enjoyed it, as I am (actually) enjoying Madame Bovary. Surprise!
 
Wow, I hope this wasn’t TL;DR; I knew I could write a term paper on this book. If you ever read the book, I hope you will hit me up. Obviously I’m ripe for discussion. Head on over to girlEbooks.com for your copy!
 
From Wikipedia; a sensation novel is: Typically the sensation novel focused on shocking subject matter including adultery, theft, kidnapping, insanity, bigamy, forgery, seduction and murder. Um, The Doctor’s Wife has at least 4 of these.

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Books: The Birthday Loot

January 23, 2012 Books, Lists 28

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I have had the most bookish birthday of my life today, you guys, and I could not wait to share it with you, so I’m posting it now. All of the above are books I either got or purchased with gift cards. For my birthday. I’m still pinching myself. Here are the deets, from left to right, top down:

Ha’Penny by Jo Walton – because Ana loves her and I recently got Among Others as well.

In 1949, eight years after the “Peace with Honor” was negotiated between Great Britain and Nazi Germany by the Farthing Set, England has completed its slide into fascist dicatorship. Then a bomb explodes in a London suburb.

The brilliant but politically compromised Inspector Carmichael of Scotland Yard is assigned the case. What he finds leads him to a conspiracy of peers and communists, of staunch King-and- Country patriots and hardened IRA gunmen, to murder Britain’s Prime Minister and his new ally, Adolf Hitler.

Against a background of increasing domestic espionage and the suppression of Jews and homosexuals, an ad-hoc band of idealists and conservatives blackmail the one person they need to complete their plot, an actress who lives for her art and holds the key to the Fuhrer’s death. From the ha’penny seats in the theatre to the ha’pennies that cover dead men’s eyes, the conspiracy and the investigation swirl around one another, spinning beyond anyone’s control.

Tam Lin by Pamela Dean – ditto the above

In the ancient Scottish ballad “Tam Lin,” headstrong Janet defies Tam Lin to walk in her own land of Carterhaugh . . . and then must battle the Queen of Faery for possession of her lover’s body and soul. In this version of “Tam Lin,” masterfully crafted by Pamela Dean, Janet is a college student, “Carterhaugh” is Carter Hall at the university where her father teaches, and Tam Lin is a boy named Thomas Lane. Set against the backdrop of the early 1970s, imbued with wit, poetry, romance, and magic, Tam Lin has become a cult classic—and once you begin reading, you’ll know why. This reissue features an updated introduction by the book’s original editor, the acclaimed Terri Windling.

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley – can’t quite remember why, but I’m thinking it’s because of Kelly.

History has all but forgotten…In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.

Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write.

But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth-the ultimate betrayal-that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her..

King Rat by China Mieville – I’ve been dying to try Mieville. This seemed as good a place as any to start and goodness, it sounds so good.

Something is stirring in London’s dark, stamping out its territory in brickdust and blood. Something has murdered Saul Garamond’s father, and left Saul to pay for the crime.

But a shadow from the urban waste breaks into Saul’s prison cell and leads him to freedom. A shadow called King Rat, who reveals Saul’s royal heritage, a heritage that opens a new world to Saul, the world below London’s streets–a heritage that also drags Saul into King Rat’s plan for revenge against his ancient enemy,. With drum ‘n’ bass pounding the backstreets, Saul must confront the forces that would use him, the forces that would destroy him, and the forces that shape his own bizarre identity.

Love’s Shadow by Ada Leverson – honestly, I love these covers. I’m kinda collecting them.

The heroine of Love’s Shadowis the delightful Edith Ottley. She lives with her husband Brace and her two children in a very new, very small, very white flat in Knightsbridge. As we follow Edith’s fortunes we enter the enchanting world of Edwardian London, bewitched by the courtships, jealousies and love affairs of Edith’s coterie – Hyacinth, Eugenia, Charles and Cecil, Vincy, Madame Frabelle and many more.

A Kid for Two Farthings by Wolf Mankowitz – ditto above, plus, unicorns? Hello!

A six-year-old boy in the British immigrant community of Whitechapel believes he has discovered a unicorn for sale at the market. Though it looks to most people like a white goat with a bump on its head, young Joe is certain it will make the dreams of his friends and neighbors come true—a reunion with his father in Africa, a steam press for a tailor shop, a ring for a girlfriend. Others may be skeptical of the unicorn’s magic, but with enough effort, Joe believes he can make it all real.

Seedfolk by Paul Flieschman – on my list from Debi

A vacant lot, rat-infested and filled with garbage, looked like no place for a garden. Especially to a neighborhood of strangers where no one seems to care. Until one day, a young girl clears a small space and digs into the hard-packed soil to plant her precious bean seeds. Suddenly, the soil holds promise: To Curtis, who believes he can win back Lateesha’s heart with a harvest of tomatoes; to Virgil’s dad, who sees a fortune to be made from growing lettuce; and even to Maricela, sixteen and pregnant, wishing she were dead.

Thirteen very different voices — old, young, Haitian, Hispanic, tough, haunted, and hopeful — tell one amazing story about a garden that transforms a neighborhood.

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury – was looking for The Halloween Tree, which is on my list from Debi. They didn’t have it, so I got this.

The tattooed man moves, and in the arcane designs scrawled upon his skin swirled tales beyond imagining: tales of love and laughter darkness and death, of mankind’s glowing, golden past and its dim, haunted future. Here are eighteen incomparable stories that blend magic and truth in a kaleidoscope tapestry of wonder–woven by the matchless imagination of Ray Bradbury.

The Nun by Simonetta Agnello Hornby – I was browsing and goodness gracious, this sounded GOOD.

August 15, 1839. Messina, Italy. In the home of Marshall don Peppino Padellani di Opiri, preparations for the feast of the Ascension are underway. This may be the last happy day in the life of Agata, the Marshall’s daughter. She and the wealthy Giacomo Lepre have fallen in love. Agata however must forsake her beloved Giacomo for the good of her family. Unfortunately the extended families of these illicit lovers cannot come to an agreement in their efforts to put the tawdry matter of their offspring’s affair to rest and when Marshall don Peppino dies, Agata’s mother decides to ferry her daughter far from Messina, to Naples, where she hopes to garner a stipend from the King. The only boat leaving Messina that day is captained by the young Englishman, James Garson.

Following a tempestuous passage to Naples, during which Agata confesses her troubles to James, Agata and her mother find themselves rebuffed by the king and Agata is forced to join a convent. The Benedictine monastery of San Giorgio Stilita is rife with rancor and jealousy, illicit passions and ancient feuds.

But Agata remains aloof, devoting herself to the cultivation of medicinal herbs, calmed by the steady rhythms of monastic life. She reads all the books James Garson sends her and follows the news of the various factions struggling to bring unity to Italy. She has accepted her life as a nun, but she is divided by her yearnings for purity and religiosity and her desire to be part of the world. She is increasingly torn when she realizes that her feelings for James Garson, though he is only a distant presence in her life, have eclipsed those for Lepre.

A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse – have you seen the cover? I arrest my case.

The founding of a unique Paris bookstore triggers jealousies and threats in Cossé’s intriguing follow-up to The Corner of the Veil (1999). Former comic-book seller Ivan “Van” Georg and stylish Francesca Aldo-Valbelli team to establish the Good Novel, a bookshop that will stock only masterpieces in fiction, which are selected by a secret committee of writers. At first, the warm welcome of the bookstore results in soaring sales. Then attacks in the press, the opening of rival bookstores, and attempts against the lives of committee members by persons unknown sour the atmosphere for the Good Novel’s community of readers and writers. Cossé poignantly depicts characters who have turned to literature for solace against the pain in their lives, creates ongoing speculation as to the shadowy first-person narrator, and furnishes sly commentary about gatekeeping in the literary world. Though purists may be disappointed with the solution to the mystery, there’s plenty of food for thought.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler – I loved Fledgling, so it’s been my mission to read more Butler. Now I have this and Kindred!

When unattended environmental and economic crises lead to social chaos, not even gated communities are safe. In a night of fire and death Lauren Olamina, a minister’s young daughter, loses her family and home and ventures out into the unprotected American landscape. But what begins as a flight for survival soon leads to something much more: a startling vision of human destiny… and the birth of a new faith.

A stirring portrait of 21st-century America by the author of Wild Seed. Forced to flee an America where anarchy and violence have completely taken over, empath Lauren Olamina–who can feel the pain of others and is crippled by it–becomes a prophet carrying the hope of a new world and a new faith christened “Earthseed.”

Snow White, Blood Read by Datlow and Windling – fairy tales, Datlow and Windling, and on the discount shelf. It was a no-brainer.

Once upon a time, fairy tales were for children–but not anymore.

In Snow White, Blood Red, some of today’s most acclaimed fantasy authors present stories that evoke the spirit of classic fairy tales, but that are decidedly for grown-ups. Here you will find magical tales of enchantment and delight, but also stories with a dark, sinister edge in which heroes and heroines are flawed and fallible, fairies and fey beings pursue their own wicked schemes, love lists toward lust, words and actions are weapons that draw blood, and not everyone lives happily ever after. Passionate, erotic, violent, and brutally honest, these stories simmer with emotions that their disarmingly charming fantasies can barely contain.

Edited by award-winning editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring the work of Neil GaimanCharles de LintGahan WilsonPatricia A. McKillipSteve and Melanie Tem, and fifteen other leading fantasists, Snow White, Blood Red is a connoisseur’s collection of fairy tales that have outgrown the nursery.

This provocative collection of magical tales explores the darker side of classic fairy tales. Penned by some of the most acclaimed fantasists of our day, here are tales of trolls, ogres, bewitched princesses and cursed kingdoms.

The Secret History of Fantasy ed. by Peter S. Beagle – I need more magic in my life.

Step Right Up and buy your ticket to the impossible marvels of the Barnum Museum. Take a highly caffeinated ride through the Empire of Ice Cream. If you dare, hunt feral archetypes deep within a haunted English forest. Or conquer the New World with a band of geographically-challenged Norsemen.

Tired of the same old fantasy? Here are the stories that you’ve never imagined possible. Nineteen extraordinary writers offer much-needed antidotes to clichéd tales of swords and sorcery. Combining the best of the old and the new, these instant classics will inspire even the most jaded of readers. Beloved author and anthologist Peter S. Beagle reveals the secret: fantasy is back and it’s better than ever.

The Homesick Texan by Lisa Fain – I loooove her blog, so glad my BIL got me this! PS: This book is gorgeous.

When Lisa Fain, a seventh-generation Texan, moved to New York City, she missed the big sky, the bluebonnets in spring, Friday night football, and her family’s farm. But most of all, she missed the foods she’d grown up with.

After a fruitless search for tastes of Texas in New York City, Fain took matters into her own hands. She headed into the kitchen to cook for her friends the Tex-Mex, the chili, and the country comfort dishes that reminded her of home. From cheese enchiladas drowning in chili gravy to chicken-fried steak served with cream gravy on the side, from warm bowls of chile con queso to big pots of fiery chili made without beans, Fain re-created the wonderful tastes of Texas she’d always enjoyed at potlucks, church suppers, and backyard barbecues back home.

In 2006, Fain started the blog Homesick Texan to share Texan food with fellow expatriates, and the site immediately connected with readers worldwide, Texan and non-Texan alike. Now, in her long-awaited first cookbook, Fain brings the comfort of Texan home cooking to you.

Like Texas itself, the recipes in this book are varied and diverse, all filled with Fain’s signature twists. There’s Salpicón, a cool shredded beef salad found along the sunny border in El Paso; Soft Cheese Tacos, a creamy plate unique to Dallas; and Houston-Style Green Salsa, an avocado and tomatillo salsa that is smooth, refreshing, and bright. There are also nibbles, such as Chipotle Pimento Cheese and Tomatillo Jalapeño Jam; sweet endings, such as Coconut Tres Leches Cake and Mexican Chocolate Chewies; and fresh takes on Texan classics, such as Coffee-Chipotle Oven Brisket, Ancho Cream Corn, and Guajillo- Chile Fish Tacos.

With more than 125 recipes, The Homesick Texan offers a true taste of the Lone Star State. So pull up a chair—everyone’s welcome at the Texas table!

My hubby also got me a beautiful green cover for my Nook Tablet. It says “Choose an author as you choose a friend. Sir Christopher Wren. And I love it.

Now, the question obviously is; where do I begin?????

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Top 50 Books Challenge

January 22, 2012 Books 7

Awhile back, my dear friend Debi challenged me to come up with 50 books for her to read. (Here’s my list.) I agreed, with the stipulation that she also come up with 50 books for me. I thought I would share it as, well, it may be the best list ever. I’m so glad I have lots of birthday gift cards to Barnes & Noble, so I can get started. This is probably my only reading challenge this year, to read as many of these as I can, except for RIP and Once Upon a Time, of course. And to read some of the top 50 books from others who posted their lists; Amanda, Chris, Pat, Ana, etc, etc, etc…. Did you post one? Let me know and I’ll link it up.

I’m still waiting on a number 35, Debi, when you get the chance!!! :) The ones in italics I actually own, so I have a lot of acquiring to do!

What books would be on your list?

 

1. Daphne du Maurier’s Classics of the Macabre (my favorite book of short stories ever!)

2. By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters

3. Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block (another example of my cheating ways, as this is technically five short books)

4. The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley

5. Castle Waiting by Linda Medley

6. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

7. Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams

8. The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring by John Bellairs (this is actually the third book in this series, but you really don’t have to read the others to “get” this one…all of them I’ve read are good, but this one is definitely my favorite)

9. The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

10. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

11. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

12. Death: The High Cost of Living by Neil Gaiman

13. Two Weeks with the Queen by Morris Gleitzman

14. Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

15. Horns and Wrinkles by Joseph Helgerson

16. Green Angel by Alice Hoffman

17. The Wisdom of the Radish by Lynda Hopkins

18. I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly

19. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

20. Sonny’s House of Spies by George Ella Lyons

21. The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci

22. Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut

23. Local by Brian Wood

24. Foiled by Jane Yolen

25. Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

26. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennet

27. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

28. The Tale of One Bad Rat by Bryan Talbot

29. Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman

30. Enchanted Night by Steven Millhauser

31. The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

32. The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow

33. Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill

34. Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire

35. TBD….

36. Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

37. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

38. Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale

39. Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

40. Star Split by Kathryn Lasky

41. The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant

42. The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper

43. Sky Burial by Xinran

44. We Are On Our Own by Miriam Katin

45. Boris by Cynthia Rylant

46. I Was a Rat by Philip Pullman

47. House of Stone by Christina Lamb

48. Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver

49. Neil Young’s Greensdale by Joshua Dysart

50. The Nobody by Jeff Lemire

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RASL: The Drift by Jeff Smith

January 18, 2012 Books 5

So, as I was putting together my rather limited post on my favorite graphic novels of last year, I did two things. First, I realized that I needed to read more graphic novels this year and second, that I should look and see if Jeff Smith had written anything else. You know, since I loved

And lo, he had. There is another series, one that currently has 3 books in it (a 4th is on the way!) and is about, and I quote,

a stark, sci-fi series about a dimension-jumping art thief, a man unplugged from the world who races through space and time searching for his next big score – and trying to escape his past.

Sold!

RASL, or Rasl, as in the main character’s name, is an art thief, as the above says, who travels through different dimensions, stealing alternate dimension art work by famous artists. In this book in particular, he steals a Picasso. When he tries to return to his dimension, he misses it, or Drifts and lands in yet another dimension (we are up to three at this point). He only realizes it is the wrong dimension when looking at a jukebox and discovers that Bob Dylan is not actually named Bob Dylan.  Just as he makes this realization, he is attacked by a rather strange, frog like man who tries to kill him.

Why?

Don’t really know. I kinda figure I’m not supposed to know, yet.

RASL is completely different from Bone is tone, scope, and execution. The art is stark, the images gritty and harsh, and, well… it isn’t cute like Bone. If there is one thing I learned about Jeff Smith from Bone, is that he has a fully realized world going on and I am going to have to trust him. The first volume of Rasl feels like he’s world-building.This is a world where time can be bent, artists produce different works in different dimensions, musicians have different names, and people who are dead in this world, are most definitely alive in other ones. Like Maya. Who is Maya? Do you really expect me to tell you that?

Nothing, absolutely nothing, is what it seems in this new world of Smith’s.

If you can’t tell, I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the series and hope the rest comes out quickly. I’m not good with waiting, especially when I’m this intrigued. Fast paced, new, and exciting; I love this new side to Jeff Smith! The hard lines, the sharp story…I can’t wait to see where he takes me.

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RASL: The Drift
By Jeff Smith

ISBN-13: 9781888963205
Publisher: Cartoon Books
Publication date: 1/7/2009
Pages: 112
Age range: 16 – 18 Years
Series: Rasl Series, #1
I bought this for myself, with my own money. If you should buy it through my links, I’ll make a tiny bit of money and you will earn my undying love and devotion for those pennies.

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Best of 2011 – Books of the Graphic Kind

January 17, 2012 Book Reviews, Books, Lists 5

Better late than never, right? I hope so, because I am sooooo late with this post. Put I had to get it out there, because, despite the decrease in number, the increase in quality of graphic novels I read last year just has to be put out here. I only read 23, 11 of which are from one series, but I seriously loved them all. Where do I begin?

I know exactly where I begin. With Bone.

Bone came to me early last year. On a whim, I picked up the first in the series, not really knowing what to expect. Next think I knew, I was buying the rest of the series (nine books total) and devouring them in less than a week. Here is my complete review of the series, with a bit of a highlight here:

That is just at tiny taste (and an inadequate one at that) of the awesomeness that is Bone. I loved Bone. I adored Bone. I want to marry Bone and have it’s children. Okay, that’s a little too far, but seriously, I loved it. It has been over a month since I plowed through all nine books and I find still find myself thinking about the story, the characters, the in jokes (Stupid, Stupid Rat Creatures!!!), the gorgeous gorgeous art, and more. This story is so many things. Adventure. Coming of age. Road trip. Love. Loyalty. Destiny. Friendship. Finding yourself. Trust.  It’s dark. It’s funny. It’s epic.

And the art, again, is gorgeous. Seriously.

Other highlights include Anya’s Ghost, the Brian Selznicks and The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt. I hope to read many, many more graphic novels this year, to make up for last year. At least there was a lot of quality, if not a lot of quantity. And hopefully I’ll review them better too!

The rest:

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (review)
Shivers, Wishes and Wolves, ed by Donald Lemke (review)
The Stuff of Legend, Vol. 1
Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
Bone: Tale Tales by Tom Sniegoski and Jeff Smith
where i live by Eileen Spinelli and Matt Phelan
Bone: Rose by Tom Sniegoski and Jeff Smith
Little Red Riding Hood by The Brothers Grimm, Illustrated by Daniel Egnéus (review)
Bone 9: Crown of Horns by Jeff Smith
Bone 8: Treasure Hunters by Jeff Smith
Bone 7: Ghost Circles by Jeff Smith
Bone 6: Old Man’s Cave by Jeff Smith
The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger
Bone 5: Rock Jaw by Jeff Smith
Bone 4: The Dragonslayer by Jeff Smith
Bone 3: Eyes of the Storm by Jeff Smith
Bone 2: The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith
Bone 1: Out From Boneville by Jeff Smith

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Random Stuffs and Nonsenses

January 16, 2012 Books 12

I have a new template, with new header. I couldn’t resist and it’s all this guys fault:

He made me do it. And I am immensely pleased. I mean, he is just, so, ME. Sweat and all.

Heh.

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I finished with The Doctor’s Wife by Mary Elizabeth Braddon late Sunday night. It was…. everything I expect from ME Braddon. I loved loved loved the salaciousness of Lady Audley’s (wicked) Secret and TDW more than lives up to the promise of LAS. Y’all, I might have to put her up there with Wilkie Collins. Seriously. I know, I can’t believe I said that either. But witness this quote:

“…No wise man or woman was ever the worse for reading novels. Novels are only dangerous for those poor foolish girls who read noting else, and think that their lives are to be paraphrases of their favourite books. That girl yonder wouldn’t look at a decent young fellow in a Government office with three hundred a year and the chance of advancement,” said Mr. Smith, pointing to Isabel Sleaford with a backward jerk of his thumb. “SHE’S waiting for a melancholy creature, with a murder on his mind.”

Yes. I hope to post more of my thoughts later this week. I just have to gather them first.

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I have the new John Green! Eek! This is why I want to finish TDW. Although, I have always had a hard time with books where someone has cancer, so there is that. Yet, John Green. So.

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I’m trying to think how to fit in a weekly (or bi-weekly) post on my crafts. Right now I’m making myself (yes, me) a blanket and I want to show off. Where to put it though…. maybe Sunday?

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I just placed my yearly order with BookCloseouts.com for my birthday books. Want to know what I got?

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THIS.

I know.

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Also this:

Gah.

That is all.

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