Sunday, December 30, 2007

Someday This Pain Will be Useful to You by Peter Cameron

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (September 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374309892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374309893
  • List Price: $16.99
  • I finished this book on Dec. 28
The title of this book comes from an Ovid quote: "Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you." I like the title, and I like the cover. It was one of the books in our new order and it intrigued me.
In this book our hero is James, who lives in NYC and works in his mother's gallery. He is a probably gay, antisocial genius. He's been accepted to Brown (didn't get into Yale) but of course he doesn't want to go. Supporting characters include his sister: Gillian (with a hard G) who is having an affair with a married professor, James' mother who is just coming off her third divorce and runs the gallery where James works. James' grandmother, Nanette, is the only family member who he can relate to. In fact, she is the only person who actually makes sense.
James has a crush on one of his older co-workers at the gallery and he sort of fakes the guy out and is accused of sexual harassment. Oh, and he's in therapy. And his therapist is kind of lame and the sessions don't seem to really go anywhere.
One neat thing about this book is that James is obsessed with vocabulary and proper usage of grammar. He is very concerned about expressing things properly, and I love this. (Remember how sexy I think good vocab is?)
Firstly: this book reminds me a lot of Catcher in the Rye. Young man has to face facts, make a decision regarding school. He has one family member whom he relates to and loves. And, accordingly, I feel about it the way I feel about that book. I liked it, I was on board. However, it was a quiet story and I am sort of looking for more in a book. Like explosions, you know? Or sex. Either way I liked the character and the prose, so all in all I'm a fan.
Anyway, here's Peter Cameron's site. I would definitely be interested in reading something else of his. If you want to read the first chapter of this book, go here. (Coincidentally, that's why I took this home like an eager puppy, because I peeked at the first few pages.)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (August 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375844406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375844409
  • List Price: $16.99
  • I finished this book on Dec. 24
So, okay: this is the new to me book from David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, who wrote Nick and Norah and who fucking rock. I was very excited when this came in at my library right before Christmas. Also: remember last spring when I went to that young adult book fair and I saw Mr. Levithan speak? He read a chapter of this then, saying that he probly shouldn't because it wasn't published yet etc. and he read it substituting the word "frock" for "fuck" which is also awesome. So, yeah, I lurve him.
Anyway, try this on for size: Naomi and Ely are these hot toddies living in NYC and they have been best friends/soul mates for just about ever. Except, Naomi is in love with Ely who is gay (insert Nelson Muntz Ha Ha here). Anywho, the pair have a No Kiss List in place to ensure against a N and E breakup, which includes a few random hotties they both know. Naomi is currently dating Bruce the Second (cause he's the second boy she's dated named Bruce. God, I love them) but she's not really into him, she's more biding her time until Ely realizes maybe he wants her instead of the cock. Either way shenanigans ensue when Ely kisses Bruce the Second. Naomi is really more hurt because she realizes Ely will never love her that way than because of the adulterous making out. This starts a huge fight/drama/journey of awesomery.
This is written in alternating chapters as was N&N but the cool thing is: it's not just Ely and Naomi talking, it's lots of people. Aside from there being two Bruces (I always think of this Bruce when I hear that name, btw) there are two Robins (one is from Schenectady) a chihuahua and lots of insomniacs. Lots of different people have a say in this story and somehow all of their mini dramas and points of view add up to one very well told story. I totally didn't know which author was writing which chapter when I was reading it and was amazed that they both shared writing the same characters. Fucking rad. Naomi's chapters have these little symbols instead of words sometimes, which I thought was cooler in theory than in the execution.
To read an interview with the authors: go here. Or check out their websites go here for Levithan's and here for Cohn's.
The cool thing about this book is it speaks to so many different kinds of relationships and contains problems everyone can relate too. Also, the main characters share sparkly belts. I'm in frocking love :)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Listening Library (Audio); Unabridged edition (August 23, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307282279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307282279
  • List Price: $50.00
  • I finished listening to this audio book on Dec. 22
I always think it's funny when you listen to a book on tape read by a woman and they do the voices. Lynn Redgrave read this and she was amazing, her voices and accents were outstanding. However, many times, when women try to do men they sound like old men because the woman does the voice gruffly to distinguish it from her own. The reason I'm telling you this is because I imaged Mo to be much older than Brendan Frasier who will play him in the movie. You can see the trailer here.
Okay, so, Mo is a bookbinder and he has a secret: he can read things out of books. This is fucking awesome except he can't necessarily control the things he reads out. For example: 9 years ago Mo was reading his wife a story and he accidentally read out two really bad guys, one sort of good guy and read his wife into the story. Balls. I hate it when that happens. Anyway, this is all news to Meggie, his daughter, until the sort of good guy, Dustfinger, shows up and starts a kerfuffle. Turns out, the big bad, Capricorn, has an even bigger bad he wants Mo to read out (not to mention treasure and wenches) of his story while Dustfinger desperately wants to be read back in.
Then, the good guys do lots of stupid things, like get themselves caught, get themselves put into nets and get all their books burned. Double balls. Eventually, they come up with some pretty lame plans to save the day. I don't mean to make fun, it's just this: if I were ever caught by the bad guy I would be very docile and agreeable. Seriously, I feel like things work better if you are not so obviously trying to escape. Maybe play along. People in books never do that, especially pre-teen girls. Give me a break, I would be baking Capricorn and his creepy mother cookies and offering to do their laundry so as not to get myself kilt.
Oh! Dustfinger has a marten with horns. That's this kind of marten, and not Marten Broadcloak, in case you were wondering. P.S. I want to snuggle with a marten. Additionally: my new puppy's middle name is Marten. His first name is Viggo (as in the Carpatian)
So, one of the things I liked about this book was the complete reverence the characters had for books. It was funny to read this and the Thirteenth Tale at the same time because they were both bibliophile books.
I am excited about this movie, but I am worried that it will be cheesy and I can tell from the trailer that lots of made up extra stuff goes down. Either way, I have a crush on Paul Bettany and I hope to see lots of him breathing fire. I also have a crush on Helen Mirren, so that should be good too.
Anywho: this is part of a trilogy, and you can read more about it here. I shall be reading the second book at some point, that's a promise. In case you were wondering, if I could read things out of books I would read out Oy from the Dark Tower series. I would want to read out Edward from the Twilight Saga, or Roarke, from the ...In Death series, but the truth is: they wouldn't be into me so that would be a bummer. I like to think that Oy and I could have fun though. Oy! Un!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (October 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743298039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743298032
  • List Price: $15.00
  • I finished this book on Dec. 18
This book was recommended to me by an English teacher at my school, who said to me: "If you like Rebecca, you will like this." P.S. I effing love Rebecca. Lurve. Anyway, so I got the book, and I must say: I was not disappointed.
Okay: Margaret Lea loves books about as much as I do. She works in a family owned Antiquarian Bookshop and reads lots of history, and occasionally writes a biography of various crusty old dead men for fun. Vida Winter is a prolific author. She has written about a bajillion books and has an air of mystery, mostly due to the fact that she has never ever told the truth about her personal life. One day Miss Lea gets a letter from the mysterious Ms. Winter, requesting her services as a biographer. Best part? Lea has never read any of her books. Hee.
Margaret reluctantly signs on to a trial run with the author, but Ms. Winter insists on telling the story her way - as a story, in order without answering questions. So she proceeds to spin a yarn of such craziness, such gothic goodness, that Miss Lea cannot resist seeing the story through. Let me tell you my lovelies, this is some good shit. Insanity ensues. Ms. Winter tells the story of Angelfield, the place she grew up, otherwise known as nutbar central, or, the house that fucking crazies built.
There's a lot about twins and family and secrets. Very cool stuff. The parts where Mrs. Winter is telling the story are the best parts, and the parts where Margaret is researching are not as good at first, but totally get better. This is good rainy day reading, or good snowy weekend reading (as we have just had here). Okay, it's pretty much good reading regardless of the meteorological conditions.
I have not heard of Diane Setterfield, the author, before, but I can tell you she has fantastic hair. Beyond that, you'll have to look here. Also: the book has a rather dramatic, clunky website with little meat and lots of graphics, but A for effort, you know?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Film Review: I Am Legend

  • Based on the book: I Am Legend
  • Directed by: Francis Lawrence
  • Screenplay by: Mark Protosevich and Akiva Goldsman
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (2007)
  • PG-13
  • 101 min.
  • I watched this film on Dec. 14

Okay, so I'm not trying to be one of those asshats who's all: "Oh, the movie was sooo much better than the book!" because: fuck that noise, the are different things. But I will be the first to tell you if a movie is different. You may remember that I read this book and reviewed it: here. Also, here's more info on the book, but beware of spoilers in that link.
Anyway, Will "Parents Just Don't Understand" Smith is Robert Neville here and his name, the general scenario and the title are about the only similarities to the book. But let's put those facts aside for a moment and discuss the film.
Smith, as usual, is beautiful, strong and really an actor who deserves more credit. I would image it's pretty damn hard to carry an entire movie with only yourself, a dog to deal with (also some hungry girl at the end - eat a cookie!). He is entrancing as someone who is in this impossible situation, who is both fixed on survival and a bit mad. I actually teared up (just call me Weepy McEstrogen) at one part just because of his face. I literally couldn't watch he was emoting so believably.
So, you can imagine that the story of the last(ish) man on Earth is a fucking bummer, and that's true. But, it's also creepy. The vamp/sickies were creepy, though a little too CG at times. Either way, I do not want to get eaten by one of those guys.
Okay, now, the things they changed, ie: everything. They totally changed Skinny McHungrypants as a character which was lame and that in turn changed the whole effing ending and the reason for the title. Which is kind of lame. I'm not going to get into it, you should read it, but trust me, it's bizarre. Though, this ending gave a more sunshiny, lollipops kind of ending, unlike the book.
Once again, I really did like this movie. It was intense, it was creepy, there were some good jumps and there was lots of emotion (possibly even a chuckle). So, see it. know, read the book too.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Film Review: The Golden Compass

  • Based on the book: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  • Directed by Chris Weitz
  • Screenplay by Chris Weitz
  • New Line Cinema (2007)
  • rated PG-13
  • 113 min.
  • I watched this film on Dec. 7
So, okay. Wow. Remember this? I have only gotten more excited to see this movie since then. And let me tell you, this movie did not disappoint.
So, right from the beginning to the very end the story adaptation is good, it doesn't make crazy shit up or leave out important things. It cuts our story off a bit before the end of the book, but I feel confident that they will include that all in the beginning of the next. And, if for some reason there is not a next, I will have to punch a bitch.
Either way, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel either about the little girl playing Lyra, or Nicole Kidman, and they both impressed me. Dakota Blue Richards is the girl, and this appears to be her first movie. She's very good and believable as Lyra, who, is really a great character. She's rude, she's a trouble-maker, and she's brave, and this girl did a fantastic accent - almost exactly what I imagined. Kidman played Mrs. Coulter like a goddamn crazy person and it was pretty cool. Who hits their own daemon?! Religious crazies who are cuckoo for cocoa puffs, that's who. She also looks beautiful (as always) and very, very thin and tall. Her costumes accentuate that. And, her golden monkey is effin creepy. You almost feel bad for it because it's clear that Coulter's craziness even freaks him out (and he's CG).
People's daemons are super cool. Lyra's Pan switches his form effortlessly and sometimes midair, which is super cool. Also, apparently, he's voiced by Freddie Highmore. And they look real and cuddly.
OMG - bear fight! First off, I didn't realize Gandalf was the voice of Iorek. The bears were super sweet and the fight was amazing. Seriously, it was crazy talk. They kept going for the money shot of the bear growling (howling? yelling? wtf noise do bears make?) and you'd think it got old, but man, it never did. Chills.
I feel like they are playing up the religious aspects a bit more than the first book really did, which is fine with me. I also think the ensuing kerfuffle about it is, of course, insane. It's like the stink they made over DaVinci Code, but the difference is, this movie is actually good.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

New Feature: Movie Trailers!

Hey my lovlies. So, because I review movies that are based on books, and because there are some I am excited about, and because I feel like it (and love run on sentences) I am adding a new sexy feature to the blog. Movie Trailers! I this will probly be rather haphazard and posted only when there is something I am really excited about. Either way: hope you enjoy!
First up is the new Chronicles of Narnia movie Prince Caspian. I will totally need to read this again before the release of the movie as my memory of it is very foggy. Sadly, none of the kids have gotten any cuter, but Prince Caspian is pretty good looking, despite having some awesomely bad layers. You only see it for a minute so I couldn't tell if it was more 80s or flat-ironed man shag. Either way: here you go:

Next up is Inkheart, which is a popular YA novel by Cornelia Funke. I am currently listening to this on tape, so I almost didn't want to watch the trailer, but it's very cool that it will be a movie. Also, Vanessa Redgrave is reading my version, so in my head, I thought the father was older than Brendan Frasier. (I should not want to make out with Moe, is my feeling.) Either way, be patient and you will have my book review for that soonish (I think the tape is something over 10 hours). Enjoy:

Update: I've finally finished the book and I've watched the trailer. I have some concerns, but hopefully it will be awesome. Also: huge crush on Paul Bettany. Especially if he plays with fire. *sigh*

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Mister I by Lewis Trondheim

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Nantier Beall Minoustchine Publishing; English Ed edition (January 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561634867
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561634866
  • List Price: $13. 95
  • I finished this book on Dec. 4
See that guy? He's Mister I. And...he's kind of a dick. Really. He's all about trying to steal food. Pies from windows, apples of trees, that kind of thing.
I'm not going to talk about this book much because it's something you really need to see to believe, but here's what I can tell you: Each page is a block of 60 postage stamp size pictures of Mister I's antics. He is usually trying to steal food and mostly ends up dead at the end (a la Kenny from South Park) Some of them are super funny. Some are sad and most are just really fucked up. Here's an example of a page:
So, yeah. If this were a cartoon it would be Don Hertzfeldt's Rejected. What? Please show another movie, bee? No problem my lovelies. I live to serve. P.S. if you think this cartoon is funny, you should probably find this book and read the hell out of it (also, no words! hello, visual literacy!)

The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (May 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375836578
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375836572
  • List Price: $8.95
  • I finished this book on Dec. 3
So, Mr. Levithan is the scribe of other booknerd reviewed books. One I really like, and another that got the coveted bee seal of approval.
Anywho: in addition to having a great title, and am amazing cover, this book is in free verse. Fucking rad. It is poems from a huge variety of high school students. It is a dozen stories from all different points of views. It is song lyrics, anguished cries for help, and love letters.
The books starts and ends with a poem about a young gay couple: Daniel and Jed. These couples are mentioned throughout the book in other people's poems, and the book finishes with them as well in a poem that makes me all mushy inside. Some of the other poems include a girl who retaliates by wailing a bully in the schnoz with a lunch tray and another from the bully in question. There is a girl with an eating disorder, a lesbian musician with unrequited love. My favorite is the girl who writes all the amazing phrases on desks, lockers and walls and then the reaction from others. Some of the choice phrases: YOU ARE HAPPY EVEN IF YOU ARE AFRAID TO ADMIT IT, YOU ARE FOOLISH IN YOUR UNHAPPINESS, and the ever popular: YOU ARE IMPLICATED
I confess that I'm not entirely sure how one is supposed to read some of these poems, and I often found myself sort of singing them to myself in my head (yeah, I know that makes me sound like a wacko. whatever, I stand by it.) There are four sections and they give different points of view. If you really pay attention, or maybe take notes, you can figure out who everyone is and how they are related. That is very cool, but even separate, each character is interesting.
Did I mention that I saw Mr. Levithan speak once and I thought he was dreamy? (Maybe I do think all intelligent gay men are dreamy, but that doesn't make him any less so.) Either way, this didn't disappoint and I can't wait to read more of his stuff.
I wouldn't suggest this for just anyone, but I am sad for those who wouldn't appreciate it. It is honest, sad, sweet, hopeful and beautiful.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Good Vocabularies are sexy, so is giving

People, (when you are done reading my blog) stop dicking around on the internet (i know you're looking at questionable materials and LOLcats. oh, wait, that's me...) and go to: It's a site where you go and guess the answers to vocabulary words and for each one you get right, 20 grains of rice are donated to an impoverished country.
The site rates your vocabulary prowess and sets them at your level. My highest is level 41 so far (out of a possible 50) I challenge myself and you to get higher and donate more rice!
I love the idea of this site, both helping people expand their vocabulary and helping hungry people. Seriously, a well spoken person is very sexy, so: Go now! What are you waiting for??

Monday, November 26, 2007

Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion (March 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 142310126X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423101260
  • List Price: $8.99
  • I finished this book on Nov. 26
So, first off: this is the first book finished/review from my new house! I'll be posting pictures soon, once we're more situated.
Right, the book: have you ever heard of vampires with different colored blood? Now you have: thanks to this YA vamp tale. Fucking get this: they are rich kid vampires...and they really have blue blood. Ack.
Our heroine Schuyler (who shall henceforth be called Skylar cause that's cooler and I can't spell that other Dutch nonsense) who is apparently a "young Kate Moss" (p.s. i can't stand kate moss. too skinny, not cute, coke addict, grossest boyfriend ever. hate! so much hate i refuse to capitalize. or write complete sentences!) Anywho: Skylar is from a super rich family and goes to some crazy prep school in NYC. Apparently she is goth, and dresses like a homeless person, but also sometimes models. The fuck? Whatever. So, she finds out she's really a vampire. There's some really bizarre vampire history here about how they are totally immortal and die so they can chill out, but then their memories are reborn or something. I dunno, I didn't really get it/like it.
Anyway, nothing is supposed to be able to kill the blue bloods, but (dun dun dun!) something is. Oh noes! So, Sky has to figure it out with the on again off again help of Jack Force, fellow vamp and sometime douche bag. Also, there was something about Jack having to marry his twin sister. V. C. Andrews, anyone?
What I didn't like about this (besides the above) is that these rich kids have an irritating sense of entitlement. Why are three 15 and 16 year olds sitting at a hotel bar drinking cocktails, not to mention getting into clubs. Also, I can't stand name dropping of any kind and there's a fuck-load of that in there too. The only fashion I know is Project Runway (what happened to Andre?)
and I'd like to keep it that way. Do not talk about designers/brands to me in order to impress me, thanks.
So, yeah. Oh, I forgot to mention that absolutely nothing goddamn happens in the end. Not a thing is resolved. At all. Cause there's a sequel. Something about Italy. Or space pirates, I wasn't really listening. Cool cover, but I still wouldn't recommend it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile (March 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670061018
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670061013
  • List Price: $16.99
  • I finished this book on Nov. 17
First, let's say that I actually began listening to this book on Random House audio book read by Mike Chamberlain. However, this was proving to be a super pain in the ass, because my car is a time machine from 1995 and it has a tape player (remember those?) and my iTunes was being a bitch downloading the disks to my iPod. Wow, that was a horribly boring story. Sorry. Anyway, so I finally snagged the book at my library. We have two copies which have literally not sat on our shelves more than a day since the beginning of the school year. On Friday when I saw one in the return bin I did a little happy dance and claimed it as my own.
Okay, first thoughts: this book is about Tyler Miller who is a senior in high school and a bit of a loser by his own admission. It is a bit weird to have a grown man with excellent diction read this story in with a teenager's voice. Especially when he says things like "trouser snake" (yikes). Oh, would you like to hear it? No problem: booknerd provides. Please enjoy a clip of a chapter early on in the book courtesy of Random House Audio Publishing:
It's kinda weird, right? My favorite favorite is when the dude makes the "chicken" noise. Ba-gock! (which makes me think of Bangkok which makes me think of this.)
Anyway, so this cheerful sort of underdog story takes a pretty serious turn when some major shenanigans occur at a party. (for the record, I never knew of any party like this when I was in high school. where are these parties happening?) Tyler, having gotten busted for his Foul Deed (of defacing the school), is the first suspect after the shit goes down. Anywho: he goes through a lot and you really feel for the poor kid. Also, his dad is a turbo douche. (this is the second book in a row with a dad who's a total ass) but Tyler is lucky to have a cool mom, a cooler sister and a best friend who is named after a Star Wars character.
Of course I loved the other books that I've read by Mrs. Anderson, and I saw her speak once and she was phenomenal. She held someone in the crowd's baby, it was cute. She was very funny and cool. Either way, this one did not disappoint in any way and it's amazing to me that she's so versatile a writer. She writes these amazing books from the point of views of these very different characters, and of course a really cool historical fiction book too. I can't wait to read more of her books, if they ever make it back to the library...

Luna by Julie Anne Peters

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316011274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316011273
  • List Price: $7.99
  • I finished this book on Nov. 17
Okay, this is why I love writing this blog. I did not realize that the green guy on the cover had as much significance as it does until i did my research for you, my lovelies. Oh, what? Maybe I should tell you what the book is about first. It's about a teen boy who is transgendered. And he only gets to dress up at night so he calls himself Luna. So, moth on the cover for the whole coming out of a cocoon thing and it's a Luna moth. Awesome.
So, here's the thing, Liam (or Luna) obviously has a really hard life not being able to be who he knows he really is. Not to mention that his dad is all about the male chauvinism. But, what this story is really about is Reagan, Luna's younger sister. Reagan is the only one who is in on the secret for their whole lives. She feels like Liam/Luna is her sole responsibility. Because of this she does not feel like she has any part of her that is for herself. She is so out of the loop that when a boy, Chris, begins to flirt with her and asks her out she totally has no idea how to react. Things progress with Chris, though, but Reagan's new life as a member of society with a possible boyfriend are put on hold by her concerns for Luna. As Luna becomes more unhappy with her life as a boy and more determined to transition to a female form, tension mounts. Then, some crazy shit goes down.
The whole time I could not honestly predict what was going to happen, and when the end came I was sort of tearfully happy about it. Also, their dad is a super-douche. I mean it. His super powers include: telling horrible jokes, and being a goddamn homophobic asshat. Also, their mom was not too cool either. She was a bitch, actually, and I feel she probly should have dumped that dad. Argh.
Either way, I thought that the characters of Reagan, her brother and their best friend Aly were all very realistically created. I also sort of like Chris, except there was one scene in which he acted totally out of character for just about any high school boy. Oh well, can't win 'em all. Anyway, this was a powerful and moving story about a girl who is under a tremendous amount of pressure from her family and her brother's horrible struggle. This should be in any library and could probly be read by middle school kids (though they might not understand the whole bloke in a dress thing).
P.S. I am Spartacus! This is Booknerd's 100th Entry. Woot! Thank you for those of you who check in regularly. And, if you got here accidentally by looking for gay porn, stay and hang out a while. I'm nice!
Also, leave me messages on Meebo and talk to me when I'm actually there. I promise I'll be funny and nice :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The Chicken House (March 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439786231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439786232
  • List Price: $16.99
  • I finished this book on Nov. 11
We have several of this guys books in the library and they all looked rather intriguing to me. I chose this one because of two things: gypsies and a kid I thought was vaguely psychic. Eh. I suppose I was hoping for cool gypsy curses and possibly girls wearing lots of jewelry. Not so much.
Ruben, our narrator, has the ability to sometimes "be with people" (not like that, you perv) which seems to me like a sort of astral projection/being able to sense what they are sensing kind of thing. This never gets explained or used in a way that I would use it (aka: spying on people while they are in the shower. just kidding ((no i'm not)) or I dunno...using it to find things out about bad guys) Anywho: Ruben's sister gets kilt (boo) and so he and his (possibly sociopath or at the least chemically imbalanced.) brother go to find out who did it. Now, please understand that they to not really care who did it, they just want the investigation to end so they can bring her body home and bury it (whaa?).
Anyway, of course they uncover a super plot with lots of bad guys and some ultraviolence. So...we hear this whole story about their trying to find the culprits, and lots of stuff happens and then it's the end. don't really get to find out how the brother accomplished all these important things. "Does it really matter?" Ruben asks himself. Yes, asshat, I just spent 337 pages trying to find out. It matters to me. I want to know. Did Cole kill that fucker? Where was the body? Argh!
So, I'm not saying it's a bad book or anything, cause it's not. But that was some seriously weak sauce there at the end. I want to know. I'm invested. So, lots of violence, reasonable storyline, only a little predictable and a sort of lame ending. I dunno. Once again, I find myself with my thumb planted firmly horizontal. Le sigh.

The Dark Horse Book of Witchcraft edited by Scott Allie

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse (June 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593071086
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593071080
  • List Price: $14.95
  • I finished this book on Nov 11
So, this little collection was on the "Shelf of Shame" at my school. Meaning that, some other esteemed librarian in the past had found it to be inappropriate for our students. I took it home to investigate.
So, what we have here is a collection of what appears to be a smattering of different animated stories about witches and witchcraft. For example, there is a tale about a toad-like witchie poo who by force of potions gets a young man to have creepy toad sex with her. Note to attractive young men (or anyone really) it is very unwise to drink any concoction cooked up by a crone who you expect to be a witch. Honestly. It's as bad as Ofelia eating the grapes. There was also a comic book treatment given to the witches from Shakespeare's Macbeth as well as a little Hellboy action. Of course, don't forget a story about Tituba and the Salem Witch Trials. That one actually had the illustrations I liked the best.
Now, crammed in the middle of all this is an interview with a Wiccan laywer Phyllis Curott who talks about the actual religious practice of witchcraft. Including something like this is a good idea, however, the questions and answers that make up this particular interview did not particularly do it for me. I feel this book would be aimed at school age kids, and this interview would go right over their heads. If you're really interested in reading about Wicca I recommend trying Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham, or if have goth-leanings then maybe Nocturnal Witchcraft: Magic After Dark by Konstantinos is for you (Konstantinos also has a good Vampire book out there, in case you're interested.)
Anyway, the moral of this whole story is: I didn't find anything in this book that I would think is totally out of hand for my high school students to read. There's a little sex talk in the toad-lady story, but nothing overly graphic (and, thankfully, no in your face picture of toad-boobs). However, there is something of a mixed message in here. The forward and the interview with the real witch trying to dispel the stereotype of old gross crone doesn't really jibe with the wart covered old ladies of questionable hygiene portrayed within. Then again, getting rid of witch stereotypes is about as simply done as getting rid of librarian stereotypes, so what can you expect. (Very few people can refrain from making a crack about my specks when I tell them I'm a librarian.)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Dracula: the Graphic Novel by Bram Stoker, Gary Reed and Becky Cloonan

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin (March 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142405728
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142405727
  • List Price: $10.99
Let's start with the cover shall we? Wow. First, Dracula looks like a male stripper/Elvis impersonator version of a vampire, no? Not nearly as sexy as Stuart Townsend or Keifer Sutherland (or really anyone from the Lost Boys) and not nearly as creepy as Bela Lugosi. Also, Mina looks like Christina Ricci. A lot. Not that there's anything wrong with that but she should totally sue.
Okay, that's off my chest. Now, the actual illustrations. There's nothing wrong with them, per say. It's just that...well...everyone looks like they are in a goddamn emo band. Seriously. It's bizarre. Please check out Jonathan Harker getting bitten by Dracula here: He's all "Oh noes! Please don't mess up my eye makeup!" All I'm saying is: he looks like Pete Wentz. Which is bad news. (Damn you, Becky Cloonan, for making me admit I know who that douche is.) And you think Dracula looks bad there? When he gets young he grows flowing locks of fury. Spooky! The female characters actually look pretty good. They have good hair that artfully blows into their faces as all comic book females should (I wish my hair did that). Dr. Seward looks like a malnourished Snape with a ponytail. And he's inexplicable sweaty. Oooh! And Van Helsing sort of looks like a wolf man.
Thirdly: the adaptation. I'm not saying it's bad. But I'm not saying it's good. I'm just saying this: if I hadn't just read Dracula I would probably be very confused.
I have to hope that this kind of book would appeal to the tween population and maybe I'm just too old and lame to get it. But, I kinda doubt it.
Now, for fun: please enjoy a booknerd recommended video. My excuse for posting this is that this song is definitely vampiric. And it's effin rad. Thanks, Chip!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Anyone But You by Lara Zeises

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf; Reprint edition (November 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440238587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440238584
  • List Price: $6.50
  • I finished this book Nov. 4
I know my lovelies. You were thinking: "Gee, bee, I wish you'd review some more obscure YA literature, because I can't get enough." And I'm all "No prob, I live to serve." Aren't I sweet like that?
Anyway, first off, here's a list of some character names from this one: Critter, Layla, Jesse and Seattle. My take: someone who's name is Critter is not allowed to be sexy. Ever. Layla is a good name, but is now permanently associates with Eric Clapton's hard on for George Harrison's wife and Seattle, well, they call her Sea for short and that annoys me. Also, Jesse reminds me of Uncle Jesse, and even though I'd make out with John Stamos in real life, ugh.
The story: Seattle's dad sucks at life and briefly dated Layla and then abandoned them, leaving Seattle with Layla with her own biological children, Critter and Jesse. So, even though Sea is not her daughter nurse Layla raises her as though she is. Now Sea is 15 and Critter is 17 and they maybe have the hots for each other. Yeah, this is the Brady Bunch sequel movie in book form. Okay, so, not that dramatic, but they definitely dig each other. And they each have some bizarre other relationship they are working on through the course of the book and neither of them work out. Both of their potential significant others seem odd to me, as in they are not very believable characters. The book makes up for this, though, by having realistic teenage fights and a good single mom character.
So, let me ask you this? They aren't technically siblings, but it's weird...right? Right? Hello? Don't worry, nobody ends up getting any (or not much, at least).
Anywho: props to Ms. Zeises for having a cool looking sight and referring to herself as a dorkus extremus (I often refer to myself as a nerd-bomb, in case you were wondering).
Oh! And Critter loved Rod Stewart! What?? You know who else loves Rod Stewart? My mom! Boo! Because I cannot in good conscience link to the real deal please enjoy Mike Meyer's take on him. Piper down!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Inexcusable by Chris Lynch

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 165 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (May 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416939725
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416939726
  • List Price: $6.99
  • I finished this book on Nov. 2

So, first off, I have to say that I think this cover is good and everything, but to me, I do not think it speaks to what the book is really about. To me, a stray bra makes me think fun sexy times are to be had. And trust me, that's not what's going on here. What is going on here? Date rape. Boo that.
In describing this book to an English Teacher at my school I said it is like the opposite story of the book Speak. From the mind of the rapist instead of the raped. Yikes, huh. And, for the record, author of Speak, my girlfriend Laurie Halse Anderson has a quote on the back of the book: "...The world needs this story. And you want to read it, trust me." So, yeah: here's the setup. Keir is a high school senior and he tells this story, which alternates between his graduation from high school and the night he is accused of date rape. In reading this I knew there was something wrong with Keir, and eventually you start to realize that the way he describes things is not really the way a rational person might see them. But his narrative makes me think there is something wrong with him. Some sort of social thing, he doesn't seem to have much of a conscience, and mostly bases this opinions of right and wrong on how other people react to him. Keir keeps saying that he's a good guy, but his evidence for this is never a good deed he's done, it's always based on another person's opinion. Super Weird.
So, he claims he's in love with poor Gigi Boudakian (who's the kind of person you always refer to by their whole name, apparently) and she is the girl who accuses him. There is a sort of mounting suspense during Keir's tale of graduation, going to parties, doing drugs...because the whole time you know what's going to happen. It's very bad news.
It was interesting to see this side of the story and of course, somewhat disturbing. Don't be fooled by that cover, though. There is no fun sex romp to be had within.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Godless by Pete Hautman

  • Turtleback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Turtleback Books (March 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0606348506
  • ISBN-13: 978-0606348508
  • List Price: $16.95
  • I finished this book on Oct. 30
So, this one is by the same guy who wrote Sweetblood, and he has another one I'd really like to read (but is checked out) Invisible.
Jason Bock (as in, the chicken noise) is 15 and agnostic going on atheist. (Do you think they could sing about that a la the Sound of Music? Cause that's funny to me). Mr. Bock (ba-gock!) makes up a religion worshiping the water tower, cause...why not. Anyway, Jason's crazy snail catching friend gets into the religion and of course some other schmucks to do, including a pretty girl (of course). So, as with most religions (imho) when many people get involved and try to mess with faith shenanigans ensue.
This books gets points for many things: an interesting look at religion, awesome bits of the made up "Chutengodian" gospel at the beginning of each chapter, also a funny premise and the repeat use of the word "pods" short for gastropods (snails, duh).
I like the point that this book is trying to make about religion. It's interesting to me and it's nice to see a YA book dealing with this topic in such an approachable way.
Mr. Hautman's page is pretty cool, and he's available for speaking engagements. Also, please enjoy a teacher's guide to this book, also compliments of his website.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sweetblood by Pete Hautman

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (August 10, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689873247
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689873249
  • List Price: $5.99
  • I finished this book on Oct. 29
Here is what happens when I have to go through a list of all the titles in my library. I start adding titles to my list of books to read like a crazy person. Also, I have added this to my challenge reading list and switched it up a bit because I just bought a house and I'm busy (this is my excuse for everything right now, and it tastes good)
As you may know, my dearies, I do love vampire stories. I also love YA lit. This little gem combines both those into a neat little package. So, Lucy (hehe, I just got that reference to Stoker when I typed it) is a 16 year old diabetic goth (but she'll tell you she's a not-goth. oooh, goth-served) and she has a fantastic theory about vampires. Little Miss Lucy says that original vamps were actually people suffering from advanced diabetes. She writes an extremely cool paper on this topic for her English class which definitely freaks out her teacher and parents. And you know what that means...time for a shrink! Also, Lucy spends lots of time in vampire chat rooms and finds herself mixing with some very questionable people at parties.
This is a very interesting take on illness, goth kids and teen angst. As I write this I find I'm liking it more and more. I suggest reading it just to check out the paper that Lucy wrote her teacher elaborating on her diabetics as vamps theory. It's a cool idea and vamp enthusiast should check out.

Dreamcatcher by Stephen King

  • Paperback: 684 pages
  • Publisher: Albin Michel (April 9, 2003)
  • ISBN-10: 2226131906
  • ISBN-13: 978-2226131904
  • List Price: $7.99
  • I finished this book on Oct. 27
So, as you know, I lurve me some Stephen King. And oddly, I have never read this book before. However, I did watch the film version from 2003 when it came out in theaters. Now, the movie actually follows the book pretty closely but for two things: though Morgan Freeman is effin awesome, he's not Kurtz in my head. You know who is? Maybe a crazy Kevin Spacey, I dunno. The other thing is: was there some obsession with the song Blue Bayou in the movie? I seem to remember that, but it's totally not in the book. (and great, now I have it in my head mmm Linda Ronstadt is dreamy...)
Okay, back on task: shit weasels. That's right. This one is about creepy crawly skeeviati monsters. And evil foliage. Oh, I'm sorry, did you want a real synopsis? Here goes: a group of four friends go camping in the Maine woods and aliens slowly start to take over the world via red fuzz and creepy parasites that cause their hosts to cook up some super-funktastic farts. Also, the superfriends have a mysterious fifth pal, Duddits, whose powers have rubbed off a bit on the others. My friends did give me a Harry Potter Sorting Hat, but that's not quite as cool as goddamn telepathy. Just sayin...
So, this book was super gross and cool. One of the characters gets sort of taken over by an alien and lives for a while in an office in his own head. I loved those scenes, I got chills once or twice somewhere in there. Another example of the magic of my b/f SK. I read this book for the challenge and it gets extra points for allowing me to type the phrase 'shit-weasels' (there! I said it again. hee)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Goodbye, Chunky Rice by Craig Thompson

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon (May 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375714766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375714764
  • List Price: $12.95
  • I finished this book on Oct. 24
So, in the grand tradition of me crying at hallmark greeting cards and pretty much everything else, this frigging graphic novel made me cry.
Ready? Here goes:Little Mouse and Little Turtle are friends. (Little Turtle's name is Chunky Rice, I have no idea why. Is he Chinese food? I dunno, but let's go along with it.) Anyway, Turtle guy is going away, presumably forever. (Don't make me quote Sandlot again here, people) and this is a cause for much grief. There is a weird dude who is trying to cover up for past mistakes by befriending a self mutilating bird (?!) and a creepy set of conjoined twins. And the trip to the new place the Turtle guy is gonna live doesn't go very well. And the Little Turtle and the Little Mouse are both so sad. And here's me on my couch all "Boo Hoo, the little Mouse is so cute and sad! And they miss each other so much! Why can't we all just get along?" Damn you Mr. Thompson, I was snuffly for the rest of the night.
Anyway, it's a sweet and sad look at friendship and loss. But really, it's cute animals. Please check out Mr. Turtle Rice Butt. He's Teh Qte. (Yes, I spend far too much of my life with Cuteoverload and lolcats. Lolcats never make me cry.)
So, in my next book choice I will try to chose something that is less sniffles and more giggles.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Avigon: Gods and Demons by Che Gilson and Jimmie Robinson

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Image Comics (June 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582405034
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582405032
  • List Price: $19.95
  • I finished this book on Oct. 15
I nabbed this one from my library's fledgling graphic novel collection cause I thought it looked neat. I was right. And p.s. search engines: no I did not mean "Avignon"
Back on task: Avigon is a clockwork robot sort of gal, only she has feelings. And she can break your neck like it's no big. You know, usual girl stuff. So anyway, she's annoyed that she's made to live with and obey the woman who created her so she's all: "I'm out, suckas!" and runs away. You and I both know that she's gonna find out that the outside world isn't as glamorous as she thinks it is. Apparently she hasn't ever read a book or seen an after school special like this. So, our girl takes a powder and gets the real world treatment and wears some fishnet clothes (awesome! did I mention she is a super badass and like 7 feet tall?). Eventually, important lessons are learned and one smarmy dude with some seriously warped views of love gets pwned.
Oh, and there's also a totally amazing fight between some broad with wings and a clockwork who looks like Robert Smith of The Cure (who did kick Barbara Streisand's ass in a fight). There was more than one moment where I gasped out loud during this book. (I historically have an inappropriate reaction to surprise/fear. Like laughing or saying really dumb things.) And there was certainly a surprise or two here.
The illustrations are very cool, lots of neat angles and images. Though it's black and white I'm throwing in a bonus color pic of some of the characters, cause I'm generous like that. Apparently this author, Che Gilson, is a mystery, cause I couldn't find much on here anywhere, but: please enjoy this interview she did about this book. Also, check out Jimmie Robinson's myspace.'s some more about the book.
Note: when I grow up I want to be a kick ass robot goth chick. That is all.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dead on Town Line by Leslie Connor, illustrated by Leslie Connor

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin (November 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014240697X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142406977
  • List Price: $6.99
  • I finished this book on Oct. 14
This is the peril of a librarian: there you are, walking along, straightening shelves, and books literally jump out at you. Some of them whisper: "Hey, bee, read me, I'm totally cool." some sort of shout "Hey! Read my ass!" some just sort of stand aside, aloof, knowing you will be drawn to them. This was one of those. Despite the fact that I had serious work to do, and despite the fact that I have books to read for the R.I.P challenge (which I am diligently working on, I swear) I had to read this one. And, since it was just a brief sort of taste of a book, I didn't feel too bad.
So, anywho, here it is: Cassie is dead, and they can't find her body. She is watching them search, but they aren't getting close enough because she's right on the line between two towns and they aren't looking there. This story is told in free verse. Honestly, I have never had the least interest in free verse (I always politely look the other way and try to look busy when Out of the Dust starts tapping me on the shoulder) but for some reason, this just seems so appropriate. And haunting. And sad. And sort of beautiful. And even though you couldn't pay me to read this out loud I really liked the format.
Most of the pages have black and white illustrations on them. Leaves or music notes sort of twirl around the poems. Some illustrations, such as a beautiful one of a field of birds, take up whole pages. The drawings are done by Gina Triplett, an artist who apparently designed her own set of Chucks. Her other illustrations are very cool, I particularly dig this one.
The story is sparse, and I'm not sure which, if any of my students would like this book, but it definitely wormed it's way into me and I thought about finishing it all weekend while I was out of town. Ms. Connor has apparently written some other stuff, so I might try to dig some of that up in the future. Either way, this is a very fall/spooky story. All the reviews/info I peeked at are all: "Blah, blah, blah, Lovely Bones, blah blah." I say boo to that. Does every story about a dead girl have to get compared to that? No. Some books should stand alone. Quiet. Aloof.

Monday, October 8, 2007

A Clockwork Orange: film review

  • Based on the book: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  • Directed by Stanley Kubrick
  • Written by Anthony Burgess (book) and Stanley Kubrick (screenplay)
  • Warner Bros. (1971)
  • rated R
  • 136 min
  • I watched this film on Oct 8
Alright, kiddos, I read this one way back when, near the beginning of this blog. (Actually, my review of it kind of sucks, I'm much funnier now, I feel) So, anyway, I'd never seen the flick. I think for some reason in high school my male pals didn't want me to watch it cause they though it was gonna be too violent for me or something. Hee. Pussies.
So, our young ne'er-do-well, Alex, is a total violent nutbar. He gets into trouble, gets cured and gets un-cured again. I've got to say, I dig their outfits and the milk bar is super cool looking. I totally want to drink my diet pepsi with lemon at a bar with creepy white naked mannequins, effin rad. It was nice to hear that crazy made up language being spoken and I felt all kinds of smart because I had sort of memorized it when I read the book. I totally want to start calling people my droogs and referring to my head as my gulliver. Think that will fly?
Also: let's talk about Malcolm McDowell for a second, k? Linderman was looking kinda good in this, a bit like Ewan McGregor, I feel. All I'm saying is, I might have wanted to make out with him a little. Either way, he had fantastic hair. Also, why I do I remember him from Milk Money so much? Really, why do I remember that movie at all? Ack.
Back on task: so this film followed the book pretty well, but why leave out the last chapter? Boo that. (if you're interested in reading a super in depth synopsis check this out, but really, if you're that interested just watch it) Either way this one followed the story a lot more faithfully than Kubrick's adaptation of my boyfriend Stephen King's The Shining. All in all, I didn't really find this movie all that violent. Maybe with today's standards of gorno movies I am desensitized. Either way, extra points for lots of gratuitous breastages and a giant ceramic boypart.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Cut by Patricia McCormick

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Push (February 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439324599
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439324595
  • List Price: $6.99
  • I finished this book on Oct. 4
So, cause I am a turbo nerd I joined a book club with some other teen librarians. For the upcoming meeting we are reading "problem novels" to discuss. This is one of those. Also, it's a popular book with my female students (well, the ones who actually read.) So, I picked it up and read in in one sitting.
The truth of the matter is: books like this are upsetting. I teared up a bit here, I'm not ashamed to tell you. (so you know, that's nothing special: I cry all the time, especially at Campbell's soup commercials. say what you want, that shit is deep.)
So, Callie is narrating this book and she's in a loony bin and apparently I'm the shrink (do you know what I mean there? It's that weird first person where she keeps saying "You do this" about the shrink, like I'm the shrink? What's that called? I dunno.) Anywho, Callie won't talk. Life is pretty hard when you don't ever talk. Especially when you get a phone call. No one can hear nodding over the phone. Her roommate calls her S.T. for silent treatment and that is funny to me. Callie is a cutter and that is what landed her in the crazy house, and that is less funny.
Over the course of this short novel we learn more about Callie and watch her as she starts to explore her behavior and starts on the road to recovery. The book is basically Speak-light and if you were only going to read one I would suggest Speak. Nothing against this one, it's just that Speak is a bit deeper and personally I liked Melinda a little better. Also, the other girls could have been a little funnier, or more realistic or more...something.
In my copy of the book (which I got from the public library cause the copy from my school was checked out) there is a little scrawled note from a kid who'd previously checked it out. I was all worked up about it, but I like to think that this book scribbler is on the road to recovery like our Callie. But, for the record: info on teen help lines here, here and here.
p.s. i swear the next book won't be a bummer.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

  • Paperback: 1040 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (January 2, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 0747590052
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747590057
  • List Price: $17.99
  • I finished this book on Oct. 3
Okay, my lovelies. First off: this book took me forever to read. For-ev-er! (name that movie). That is no indicator of quality, mind you, it's more due to it being very long, very British and me trying to adjust to my new work schedule. I promise I will be reading much more frequently, p.s. this is the first book I've read for the R.I.P. Challenge.
Anywho: the story. Imagine an alternate version of 19th century Britain in which there is a long history of magic lost, a shady King and two emerging practitioners of magic. Mr. Norrell is set about reviving English Magic, which he does by stamping out any other magicians in the area and buying all the books of magic so that no one else may read them. He's cranky Wilfred Brimley, he's that guy at the restaurant that eats alone and complains that his soup is too cold, he's that creepy uncle that you don't want to get stuck in conversation with. Then there's Jonathan Strange, who becomes Norrell's pupil. Strange is arrogant, young and a quick study of magic. They have an increasingly strained relationship as Strange becomes more independent and skilled. Norrell asks a fairy for help who then causes a wicked ruckus amongst pretty much all involved. Will Scooby and the Gang figure out how to break the enchantment in time?
Ms. Clarke loves footnotes. She is dating them and I have heard that the relationship is growing quite serious. These footnotes are nothing like the brief snippets in Anansi Boys. These are serious, not to be effed with footnotes. They will school you in a fight. I quite enjoyed said footnotes, except more than once I would get all sidetracked thinking about what I just read in it and forget about the actual story. Either way, it was neat. And weird.
Also, for fun, Lord Byron is a character. And briefly Mary Shelley. And, they talk about how the weather in the year 1816 was very strange and the summer was very cold. Also, Frankenstein is one of the books I will be reading for the challenge. For that reason (and that it is pure awesomeness) I am giving you a booknerd exclusive: a video. I swear it's pertinent. Or not. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Recorded Books, Inc. (1988)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000JWW2G4
  • I finished listening to this audio book no Sept. 21
So, I own a copy of this book, I don't know where I got it, but when I went to read it all the pages where in super bizarre wrong order. So, I got it on tape from the library.
I have seen lots of different takes on this story. Remember Bill Cosby, or (terrifyingly) Kevin Bacon and his invisible nudie shots? Yikes Stripes. (Uh, scratch that: upon further investigation Bill Cosby was a ghost in that movie, not invisible. Either way, it was bad). And once again, after hearing the real story I am surprised at the original.
It's mostly an account of what happens after our hero (whose name, we will learn, is Griffin) is already invisible. He's actually kind of bad at it. I'm not saying that I would be better, but I like to think if I found myself invisible I would be a bit more stealthy. Also, he's quite rude to people, which makes him suspicious. Apparently he doesn't know you catch more invisible cats with sugar (or something). Anyway, so he makes a series of mistakes, gets busted and shenanigans ensue. And before he was invisible? He was an (presumably ornery) albino. So, you know, things kinda went from bad to worse with him.
The reader here was an English woman and it's always funny to me when women do men's voices in books on tape. It always leaves me with an impression that every man in the story is sort of a pansy whiner. But, she did do a great cockney accent so that was cool.
Overall, the story was interested, and it led me to think about what I would do if I couldn't be seen. Cause our crank-meister Griffin thought it was gonna be cool to kill folks cause they couldn't see him. That's just rude. I think I would probably cause much tamer mayhem. Like, you know, switching the soup at Bennigans, or goosing people.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Metamorphosis by Peter Kuper and Franz Kafka

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (August 5, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400047951
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400047956
  • List Price: $7.99
  • I finished this book on Sept. 16
So, you know what super sucks? Turning into a giant bug. Really, really sucks. That's what happens to Gregor Samsa in Franz Kafka's 1915 novella. This is a graphic novel adaptation of that story done by artist Peter Kuper. His stuff is weird and very cool. My estimation of this gentleman when up considerably when I realized he feels pretty much the same way about G.W. Bush that I do. Anywho: his website is cool, check out the stock illustrations.
So, the story at hand. I confess that when I read the original for some class or another in undergrad I thought it was only okay. I see why they make kids read it and everything, but really: it's just kind of a bummer. Likewise: the graphic novel is scratchy black and white. It is harsh, it is ugly. Except: Gregor the MacDaddy Beetle himself. He's not that ugly. He often looks like a sort of very concerned cartoon dad's head on top of a bug body. I keep thinking that he probably sounds like the dad from The Oblongs. Actually, he kind of looks like him too. Weird. I know that was a horrible description, so feel free to look at pages out of the book here, and here. There was a bit of coolness with the text going in different directions, or following the pattern of Gergor's shell. Overall, though: it was a bit strange. I'm not sure that reading this would make any kid want to read the actual book.
You can study up on the original version at sparknotes, if you're interested, but I'm all set. My grade for this one: meh.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The R.I.P Challenge

Hey Kiddies. So, its' time for the R.I.P. Challenge over at Stainless Steel Droppings. This is a challenge to read spooky stories brought to you from the Master of Awesomery, Carl, who also hosted the Once Upon a Time Challenge I did this summer. You may read everyone else's reviews over here at the Yarns Review site.

I'm gonna do Peril the First: which is to read 4 books from any subgenre I choose. Soooo, here are my choices
Edit: This is my new list, updated on Oct 29. (I had to make some changes due to my schedule and book availability. Also, cause I am lame.)
1. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susannah Clarke
2. Dead on Town Line by Leslie Connor
3. Dreamcatcher by Stephen King
4. Sweetblood by Pete Hautman

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch (September 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060515198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060515195
  • List Price: $7.99
  • I finished this book on September 11
So, my lovelies, another tasty Gaiman book. Amazon calls this a companion piece to American Gods. I'll buy that, however, it's a totally stand alone story in it's own right.
Mr. Nancy (who was in AG) is actually an incarnation of Anansi, a rather jaunty spider god. This book is about his son Fat Charlie who, in the course of the first few chapters, finds out that his father has died, his father was a god, and he has a brother. How's that for a shocker? Also, extra points to Mr. Gaiman for throwing in karaoke, wax fruit, and a literal barrel of monkeys.
As you may remember, I raved over the chocolate covered cherry sweet Stardust (and also the movie, here). This one, while equally amazing, was really more like a savory four course dinner. There were several interesting characters, an awesome, twisty plot and lots of little jokes. I really thought Charlie's inner thoughts were really funny, especially those about Rosie's mom. Ooooh, also fantastic chapter titles. For example: Chapter Five: In which we examine the many consequences of the morning after. Love!!
As I have mentioned ad nauseam: Gaiman has a fantastic blog/website, which you may look at: here. You may also read more about this book and American Gods at wikipedia, if you're interested in that sort of thing.