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!