Friday, April 24, 2009

Reading is fun

I've been reading some pretty light stuff lately (and enjoying myself unrepentantly).
Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn. The second in the Lady Julia Grey series. Anyone who's a fan of Regency romances, strong female characters, witty repartee with sexy private enquiry agents, excellent writing, laugh-out loud humor or any of the above should run out and start with the first of this series, Silent in the Grave.
I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci.  A very fun food/failed romance memoir. Well written and easy to read. I gobbled it up in one afternoon. Then I made some pasta. :)
The Man with the Golden Torc by Simon Green. Thank you Tara for recommending this one to me. (See? I remember!) It was very entertaining. I enjoyed the first part quite a lot, but then it became sort of... I don't know... less interesting to me as the book went on. Here's what I know, though. Any guy who makes disparaging comments about women reading romances (not that they would dare risk the intimidating Librarian Stare by saying that to me) would then hear a tirade from me about how this type of book (and Jim Butcher's series, and a whole host of others) are totally romances for guys. They just have lots of explosions, magic, etc. thrown in. So don't let anyone fool you into thinking guys don't read romances. They do... but usually they are more well-disguised than the romances women read. (At least romances marketed to women don't usually sport a half-dressed Fabio on the cover anymore. Publishers have become *slightly* more subtle about it.)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Recent reads

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. TERRIFIC fantasy novel. Thanks to Tara for recommending this to me. Couldn't put it down. I'm dying for the sequel. Dying, I tell you!

Fashion Kitty & the Unlikely Hero by Charise Mericle Harper - I thoroughly enjoyed this third in the Fashion Kitty graphic novel series (targeted to tweens, probably 3rd grade and up).

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and Frankenstein Takes the Cake by Adam Rex -- this guy is amazingly talented. These books of funny poetry for kids (and monster-lovers) are beautifully illustrated with lots of sight gags. These are the kind of books that people of all ages will enjoy - adults for different reasons than kids.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Lucy Ann's Kindle 2

When I found out Lucy Ann commutes to work on the train every day and also loves to read, I told her she MUST come see my Kindle because it is perfect for people like her. My sales pitch worked -- she was hooked -- and a week later she was back to show me HER Kindle, which is the newest model (and therefore innately cooler than mine). Yep, it was awesome to touch it. I still love my Kindle but what I really like about the new model is the "text to speech" feature. It's easy to switch from reading the book visually to having the book read to you (in a somewhat computerized voice, but not as horrible as the voice in the grocery store self-checkout line). This would be great for commuters like ME, who resent having to get in the car to drive to work because it means we have to stop reading our book and concentrate on the road.
I tried to get Lucy Ann to look the other way, even distract her with chocolate so that I could "borrow" her Kindle 2 for a few days, but she was having none of it. She's already loving it. I'm so glad that she does, but I must admit a pang of guilt as a librarian, because maybe she won't use the library as much! Still waiting for Amazon to come up with a way of allowing libraries to purchase e-books and then lend to their patrons, but I doubt it'd be a wildly profitable thing for them (and there's also that digital rights management thing) so it'll be a while, if ever, before that is ready for prime time. For more on that subject, I recommend this article from the Christian Science Monitor.

What's been on my "shelf" lately

Honolulu by Alan Brennert -- this is a really good historical novel about a Korean woman who comes to Hawaii in the early 1900s as a "picture bride." It's narrated in the first person. I really enjoyed it and could hardly put it down. A great book not only because the main character's journey through life is so interesting and so fleshed out, but also because Brennert makes the history of Hawaii (and Honolulu) during that period of time come alive. I don't know how he writes women characters so well. But I hope he keeps writing.
Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn -- a fun regency mystery/romance featuring the wry and observant Lady Julia Grey as protagonist. Think of this as a slightly updated version of a fun Georgette Heyer novel, with a modern-thinking protagonist matching wits with the extremely sexy inquiry agent Nicholas Brisbane. Delightful! Thank you to Amazon, for suggesting this book when I was looking up The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie King because I wanted to re-read it on my Kindle.
Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughn -- Read this one on the beach (on my Kindle, which only got slightly sandy). Fun, light entertainment. Perfect beach read. The third in a series about Kitty Norville, werewolf and radio talk show host of the supernatural.
Molokai by Alan Brennert -- looked this up as soon as I finished Honolulu. This is an earlier book of Brennert's, about a woman named Rachel living in the leper colony on the island of Molokai in Hawaii, in the early part of the 20th century. Once again, I love the way Brennert describes his characters so well and I really enjoy his meticulously researched (but not boring) descriptions of life as a leper. This man can write.
My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett -- thanks to my coworker Janet, who said she read this book to her kids when they were young and they adored it. How did I miss it, growing up? What's interesting is that I read the book on my Kindle first and then I had to read the "paper" version of it because the Kindle just didn't do the illustrations justice. I don't think, in terms of children's books with lots of illustrations or picture books, that the Kindle is quite ready for prime time. I can't imagine reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret on it. Some things, you still need paper. (Especially for a picture book that's in color.)
The Saddlemaker's Wife by Earlene Fowler -- thanks to Phyllis for recommending this interesting book about a woman named Ruby who brings her husband's ashes back to his hometown only to find herself embroiled in family dramas and a years-old mystery. Fowler has a great way of defining the characters in her book. I enjoyed it.
Sebastian Darke: Prince of Fools by Philip Caveney -- yes, Michelle, you recommended this to me months ago and I forgot all about it and rediscovered it on my own recently. It was great! I should have listened to you earlier. Mea culpa. Just don't be too hard on me. You'll get old too and you will have the same problem.
Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society by Mary Anne Shaffer (re-read) -- I don't often re-read books any more, but this one is so wonderful (and was so conveniently available on my Kindle) that I had to. And I still adore it.
Pete & Pickles by Berke Breathed -- a charming picture book with great illustrations and a nice story
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan (kids/teen book) -- if we MUST wait (im)patiently for The Last Olympian, the fifth and final book in the Lightning Thief series (due out May 5, 2009) then this book of short stories and brief character bios will have to tide us over. A couple of fun short stories about Percy and other demigods are interspersed with "interviews" with some of his classmates and other fun stuff. A quick read, but as always with this series, extremely enjoyable.

Man on Wire (documentary DVD)

Xena and I really enjoyed watching this fascinating documentary about Philippe Petit, the French wirewalker who spent 45 minutes walking back and forth between the Twin Towers on a wire in 1974. The story of how he and his friends set this up and pulled it off is pretty riveting. Well, okay, maybe not THAT riveting, since Xena fell asleep... but she's a cat. What do you expect.