Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What I've been reading

Birds by Kevin Henke - a fun, gorgeously illustrated picture book. I could look at it all day.
Help Me, Mr. Mutt by Janet Stevens (picture book). Dogs write in to Mr. Mutt for advice about their people problems and he answers them in his advice column. My favorite one is the dog who complains that his people like to dress him up. I must confess Jim and I used to make Daisy wear his superhero robe and pretend she was Superman. And also, just this year, we made Molly wear a headband with rabbit ears on Easter. Oh goodness, I wonder if Molly wrote to Mr. Mutt about ME??!
Flygirl by Sherri Smith (teen) -- a fictional account of a black girl who passes for white so she can join the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) and help her country during World War II. I've always enjoyed books about the WASP and this one was no exception. Very good.
Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child. The latest Jack Reacher thriller. It was just fine for what it was, though I find that I prefer the books in the series where Child writes in the third person instead of the first person.
The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly. Normally I enjoy Connelly's books but I have a thing -- call me crazy, but I just don't enjoy reading about serial killers -- so about the 3rd chapter I had to stop. The book was giving me bad mental hygiene. But if you don't mind serial killers I'm sure you'll like it. It did get good reviews.
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman (teen fantasy) -- This really needs to be marketed for older young adults. Heavy themes, sometimes disturbing, and a frustratingly wussy main character. It got good reviews (4 stars in Bookmarks magazine!!) and I wanted to like the book, I did, but I just couldn't. The book was too long but didn't really focus on any one aspect of the character's development for enough time to satisfy me. And it ended with a jaw-dropping cliffhanger that I guess is supposed to make the reader want the sequel but I was just glad it was over. Can't recommend this one.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rebel Without A Minivan: Observations on life in the 'burbs by Tracy Beckerman

I picked up this book at one of my local independent bookstores (Sage's Pages in Madison, 973-377-7777, in the Madison Plaza on Main Street. If you live around here, be sure to go - it's a lovely place. But also be prepared to spend money. You can feel good about keeping them in business while simultaneously indulging your wanton desire to buy lots and lots of books and, in my case, stationery. But I digress.)
Anyway, I really enjoyed this book, which is a collection of humorous essays taken from a column that Beckerman writes for the local paper. She's quite a good writer, and funny too. I'm going to donate this copy that I bought to my library (thus feeling DOUBLY virtuous) and then demand that all my library patrons read it.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

What's been on my list lately

Dogs and Goddesses by Jennifer Crusie, Anne Stuart & Lani Diane Rich.
I wanted to like this, really I did -- the writing was very good, and the characters were interesting, and there were dogs -- but I just couldn't swallow the supernatural premise (ancient goddess tries to take over town) and had to reject it 1/3 through. Oh well.
Emily the Strange: The Lost Days by Rob Reger & Jessica Gruner
Weird, but interesting, teen novel that will be coming out in a few weeks (I snagged an advanced reader's copy). It kind of reminds me of those Ellen Raskin mysteries I used to read as a kid, the ones where you never quite knew what was going on until the end (and maybe not even then), only updated for the 21st century. Enjoyable.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Many thanks to Pat D who recommended this book to me. What a delightful read! I loved the cranky 12-year-old heroine and I loved the characters and the writing and... well, it was really good. I am looking forward to the others in the series.
Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn
Quite a satisfying conclusion to the Lady Julia Grey trilogy of Regency romance/mysteries. I can't wait to see what Raybourn writes next!
The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt
I liked the writing and the characters, but I enjoyed the verbal sparring between the characters much more than the actual love scenes because... ahemm... the love scenes were a bit too steamy and torrid for my tastes. But that's just me.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

New Kindle

Jeez, how many Kindles is Amazon going to unveil this year? They just announced the new Kindle DX, which will be available sometime this summer and which is aimed at the university market (people who have to lug textbooks around). The NYT published an article about it here.

One thing that I think is neat about the new Kindle (aside from the larger screen size) is you can choose whether you want to read landscape or portrait.

But I'm not sure I personally could use the Kindle as a substitute for a "paper" book if I was in school, though. The highlighting/note feature on the Kindle is hard for me to get used to (I'm a "stick post-its everywhere, underline and highlight things" kind of gal). But maybe the younger generation, unlike fuddy-duddies like me, won't have a problem with this.

It will certainly be an interesting thing to keep an eye on. And just think of all the future back problems that could be averted for kids and college students if they could just carry a Kindle instead of 15 different textbooks!

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

****Fantastic*** finale to the Lightning Thief series, which if you haven't read yet, why are you still reading this blog post? Get thee to a library and check the first one out! You won't regret it.

This satisfying book leaves the door open for a new series of adventures with Percy Jackson and the other demigods, which can only be a good thing.

Rick Riordan is a fabulous writer, engaging, funny, interesting -- I can't say enough good things about him or this series.

Still haven't read it yet?

What the heck are you waiting for? GO GET IT!!! Don't make me come over there.