Wednesday, January 30, 2008

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (October 11, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446310786
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446310789
  • List Price: $6.99
  • I finished this book on Jan. 31
Okay, as we know, I have not read a lot of the "classics". In fact, those of you who have been reading since last year know that the point of this blog was for me to explore books from the Modern Library's top 100 list. Obviously I have given that up to live in hedonistic bookslut sin with ya books, trash and gay porn. Either way, I never read Mockingbird and one of the English classes at my school is beginning a unit on it. Since I said "Let me know if you need any help" when the teacher mentioned it, I figured I better read it. And I was pleasantly surprised.
So, the back cover of the edition I had said something about how librarians had voted this the best book ever. I'm not saying this is the best book ever, but I liked it. I liked Scout, and her father, and her story. I was appropriately annoyed by the outcome of the trail and I liked the events toward the end of the book and the denouement. I found Scout's narration to be easy to read and fun to get into. I liked that she was a tomboy and that she had to dress up like a ham. I have a feeling that if all the classics were narrated by a little girl they might all be easier to read.
Oh, and so many good supporting characters! By the end of the book you felt like you'd been really hanging out in Maycomb with all those people. I liked Calpurnia the best, but also Miss Maudie.
Fun fact: according to SparkNotes, Harper Lee based the character of Dill on Truman Capote. Interesting (Mr. Burns impression). Also: cool lesson plans for this book here. Other bio info for Ms. Lee here.

Crush by Carrie Mac

  • Hardcover: 106 pages
  • Publisher: Orca Book Publishers (May 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1551435217
  • ISBN-13: 978-1551435213
  • List price: $14.99
  • I finished this book on Jan. 29
So, okay. Here's the thing. I'm bee and I'm an internet addict. I know this, anyone who's met me knows this (and anyone reading this is probably one too.) The other day at work the internet went down like 25 minutes before quitting time. Nightmare. This book was sitting on my desk and so I started reading it. There you have it.
The book was sitting on my desk because it is part of the Orca Soundings collection and I am going to create a display of them soon. Orca books are specifically designed to be appealing to kids and cover a wide range of hot topics. They are very low reading level, short and use simple vocab. They are, in other words, what we in the business call hi/lo (high interest/low reading level). Their topics range from graffiti to sports to crime to drugs and even prostitutes (that word makes me think of this: funniest song about hookers ever!) So, because I send kids away with them all the time I thought I should probably read one. (Leave it to your girl bee to find the only one about lesbians).
So, yeah. Lesbians. Hope is a hippie kid who grew up in a commune with hemp wearing, no meat eating, madly in love with each other parents. They ship her off to NYC to hang with her druggie, bitchy model sister when they decide to go on an anniversary trip. In short order she meets a young mother who wants to take her in as a nanny (and is, shockingly, a lesbian) and a pretty girl. She is crushing on the pretty girl and of course this raises the "Am I gay?" questions and Hope is pretty freaked out. In a matter of 106 pages our Hope is out and proud and kissing on the dreadlocked object of her affections. Being that it is short and a low reading level, the novel sort of works itself out like a Babysitters Club book or something, except I don't think the BSC ever outed anyone. There are lots of plot holes and of course all of Hope's problems wrap up painfully easy (not to mention how the problem that the girls live in two different states is never addressed). But I'm not mad, this is all more or less to be expected.
Reading this was like a jolly rancher: It's sweet and strong, over quick and leaves a vaguely weird taste in your mouth (don't worry, it doesn't turn your tongue green). I'm glad we have them and I think they are good for reluctant readers. Just as long as you don't pick them up expecting Shakespeare.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wide Awake by David Levithan

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (September 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375834664
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375834660
  • List Price: $16.95
  • I finished this book on Jan. 16
An Open Letter to David Levithan
Dear Mr. Levithan,
Please figure out how to make the beautiful things you write turn into real life. If even half of the things that happen in your books existed in real life (like acceptance, Sound of Music Drag Reviews or Infinite Darlene) the world would be a much cooler place. Please get on top of that stat.
Thank you,
The Management (bee)

Seriously: I effin love this man. He is magic. If DL were to somehow meet and create an intellectual love child with Francesca Lia Block I would experience a joygasm of epic proportions.
Oh, plot? Okay. In the future: First gay Jewish president is voted in ---> election contested ---> the people make a stand. That's all you get. Effing read it.
What is so amazing here are the characters. Jimmy and Duncan are a sweet gay couple with an amazing group of friends that the story centers around. Levithan always has these amazing characters that might be floating off in the peripheral of the story that you're like dying to have lunch with. For me, in this story, it's Gus. He says some amazing things, I love the way he speaks. Also: there is a young man who hates his parents (because they won't let him be Jewish) who unleashes a hilarious tirade on how they are the apotheosis of suck. Love. It. Oh, also: a boy named Sue and his transsexual dad. Oh! And someone says that someone else is "rainbow sprinkles" I frocking love that! I wish someone would say that about me.
So, yeah, this got a seal of approval from me, and I would give it two if I could. I told like six people about how much I loved this today, totally unsolicited. I believe that when you are a librarian you are allowed to be a crazy person about books you like. Either way, you can look forward to more DL book reviews because I have ordered all his books for the library.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

  • Hardcover: 832 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (December 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385730306
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385730303
  • List Price: $17.99
  • I finished this book on Jan. 14
You may remember that I read the others in this series and have been eagerly awaiting this book for some time now. Also, let me say that these book have the coolest titles and covers. Double extra points and a cherry on top for Ms. Bray. To catch up, read my reviews of the other two books: here and here.
So: in the last book our heroine, Gemma, bound the magic of the realms to herself and promised to make an allegiance with the other forest folk. Let me stop here and tell you a story: the other night by b/f and I went grocery shopping and while I was picking out lean cuisines he threw a frozen pumpkin pie in the cart. Me: "What's that for?" Him: "Our faces." What he really meant was we were going to cook a whole pie, not offer any to our pals, and hoard it and eat it like the dirty pie sluts we are. Selfish pie. Cause you know if you start offering it out then it's gone before you know it and pie. Do you see where I'm going with this? That's right, Gem begins to feel less and less like sharing. Other characters in this book work hard to gain Gemma's good graces by being completely untrustworthy. Not to mention that out of all the nogoodnicks to choose from Gemma picks the worst (Circe, the big bad from the previous book who is now imprisoned) to seek help from and she gives her power. Boo! Another boo? One of my favorite characters totally bites it. Balls. Also: things don't necessarily go the way you think they will in the end, but either way it's satisfying.
On the plus side: there is kissing with Kartik (mmm, forbidden Indian...nutritious and delicious.) Also, the girls seek to create lives for themselves outside of the narrow roles that their culture expects them to play. I love this. Someone becomes an actor. Oh! And someone comes out of the wardrobe (worst gay related - historical fiction joke ever? the world may never know). Hint: it might be someone who is very beautiful and who you thought only loved herself. So, with making one of the characters gay Ms. Bray has successfully covered all teen "problem novel" issues plus written a fantastic historical fiction/fantasy series that is not only deep and beautiful but it looks great on a shelf. Well done. I say: seal of approval to you!
p.s. this is my 100th book review on this site. thanks for reading!

The Tarot Cafe Volume 1 &2 by Sang-sun Park

Volume 1:
  • Paperback: 184 pages
Publisher: TokyoPop (March 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595325557
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595325556
  • List Price: $9.99
Volume 2:
  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: TokyoPop (June 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595325565
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595325563
  • List Price: $9.99
First off: my new puppy ate one of these books, which is awful. We won't be repeating that mistake again. In any event: Viggo says they are tasty.
So: this is a fairly popular comic book series. Basically you have Pamela, who has crazy hair, tells fortunes and runs the cafe. She happens to tell fortunes to a hodge podge of different folks: like a dude who's really a cat. Or a blind male model/vampire. So, what you really have is little vignettes of their stories framed by Pammy in the cafe.
The vignette I liked the best was in the first book with the vampire dude. He keeps finding his true love over again and then offing her sister. I hate when that happens. There is also a cool one about a puppet master who's boy puppet falls in love with him. Please enjoy a visual sample, here:
The next book has a little more about Pamela and there's also a werewolf boy, which is cool. I can see how this is popular with the tweeny girls cause it has some dark ideas/themes plus fantasy fun. Here's one thing, now: anime male characters are often very pretty but these guys are downright beautiful (and they might be wearing lip gloss. strawberry lip gloss) and I often had to use context clues and dialog to make sure I knew the sex of the character. See, check out cat boy, pretty, huh? I wish my lips were that full. Either way, it's something I found funny and a little odd. Boys will have to be pretty secure in their masculinity to dig on this as much as the female of the species.
If you lurve this series you can join a fan group here. Also, here's the TokyoPop webpage, if you want to check out similar manga.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


That's right, guys and ghouls, it's been one hot sexy year of blogging for this booknerd.
Also, remember how I did a 50 book recap? Well, after this post my next review will bring it up to 99 books in a year. Not too shabby.
I started the blog last year as a way for me to keep track of what I've read. I wanted to be able to look back and see, and I honestly didn't think anyone would read it. So, thanks, my lovelies.
Some fun facts:
  • I have read 26527 pages this year.
  • I have given the bee seal of approval 9 times.
  • The biggest tags on my tag cloud are: Supernatural and YA
  • Many of the books I read since the 50 book benchmark are series, for example: His Dark Materials, The Twilight Saga, the Abhorsen Trilogy, and of course, Harry Potter.
  • I added a tag called "In which I claim to be dating someone famous" because I like to say that people are my boyfriend all the time. Here's the ranking on that so far: Stephen King - wins it with 5 times. Trent Reznor - 2. Snape/Alan Rickman - 3. Tim Curry - 1. Laurie Halse Anderson - 1. My actual real life boyfriend? Yeah, I mentioned him once. Only to tell you that he's a slower reader than me. Pwned!
In addition: I have been contacted by two different authors of books I've reviewed this year. Because I am fucking awesome. Who are they? Guess. Seriously. Okay, I'll tell you. Laura M. Zeises commented on my review of her book: here. Graham Joyce sent me a meebo message and friended me on myspace (I'm basically goddamn famous). This gave me major warm fuzzies and a hugely big head. I'm now sitting around and waiting for SK or Mr. Gaiman to waltz on by and ask me to tea (or not).

Also, please enjoy another booknerd recap feature: What keywords brought you here? The following are keywords people used and ended up here. Last time there were lots more sex ones, seems I'm loosing my touch, or, people are getting better at finding internet porn.
  • wikipedia warm fuzzies (aw)
  • whats cher doing lately does she have a boyfriend (i dunno, but she's probly not gonna date you)
  • invisible man movie sex (huh? perv. i think)
  • sexy indian
  • dark witchraft (spooky)
  • sexy lines stephen king books (heehee)
  • sexy male pictures
  • rebels rape pretty girls (yucko)
So, Merry New Year, my darlings, and thank you for reading. Please allow me to suggest some resolutions for you: add booknerd to your RSS feeds. Tell a friend about this kickass blog. Comment on booknerd. Talk to bee on meebo (cause she's nice!)
Seriously, thanks for reading.

P.S. the nerdy cake images are from a blog post, here. If you're interested in baking me a cake I would like a Labyrinth theme cake, please and thank you (Bridget, I'm looking at you).