Monday, December 31, 2007


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Some of the aforementioned cupcakes--in chocolate-orange flavor! Yum. Happy New Year!

top 11 of 2007!

I know, with 185 books read, you'd think I'd have more than eleven favorites. It turns out 2007 yielded a lot of pretty good books, but not a lot that I totally loved. Here they are, in no particular order!

Heather McElhatton's Pretty Little Mistakes
J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Diana Abu-Jaber's Origin
Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union
Austin Grossman's Soon I Will be Invincible
Haruki Murakami's After Dark
Joshua Ferris' Then We Came to the End
Lisa Lutz's The Spellman Files
China Mieville's Un Lun Dun
Lisa Tucker's Once Upon a Day

The list is slightly dude-heavier than last year's, though a few books by women almost made the list (Lionel Shriver's Post Birthday World, Stef Penney's Tenderness of Wolves, and Aryn Kyle's The God of Animals [which was disqualified b/c I can't stand reading about brutality toward animals]). Anyway, these were the books I found particularly appealing this year--clearly my tastes are running more toward mystery type books these days (Spellman Files' sequel comes out in March!) but there is a healthy dose of fantasy in there as well.

OK, now it's time to bake cupcakes for tonight!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007 book 185

Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex
It's been a few years since I read this--I loaned my copy to a friend for her book group in like 2003 and never got it back, but now one of my several book groups is reading it so it was high time to get a new copy. Our discussion is actually a few weeks away, but I was really down to the dregs of my library books and figured a great epic novel would be a good way to wrap up my year's reading (seriously, ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FIVE BOOKS. Thirty books more than I'd ever read in a year! That has to be a record! Why aren't I doing this for monetary gain or fame and fortune???). Anyway, yes, it's the story of a man who was misidentified as a girl until he hit puberty, plus he's telling his intricate family history (which is full of inbreeding). Eugenides is such a great author; I really wish he'd publish more frequently, but when it takes like eight years to write something this awesome, I'm willing to give him the time. :)

Saturday, December 29, 2007


I finally got to go see Juno today and of course I loved it! (Clearly I was its target audience, since every few minutes I'd say "hey, I own this cd" and get all happy.) It was a great movie besides its soundtrack, just for the record. Ha ha, record, get it? OK, sorry, just go see it.

Friday, December 28, 2007

2007 book 184

Laura Kasischke's The Life Before her Eyes
Two stories of one woman's life--we see her in high school, flashing back to the day when a kid brought a gun to school, and we also see her as a 40 year old mother and wife who's so happy with her perfect life but clearly losing it a little. Or is she. Whatever. B.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

2007 book 184

Megan Abbott's The Song is You
A booze-soaked wannabe-noir mystery, this is based on a true story of a starlet who went missing in 1949. When a publicity dude who knows more than he should decides to find out what really happened after drunkenly spilling secrets to a girl reporter . . . it's a surprisingly boring story. There is absolutely zero dramatic tension and I almost didn't even finish it. The end was kind of ok, but really, totally a boring book. B-.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

2007 book 183

Gail Tsukiyama's The Street of a Thousand Blossoms
This story of two families in Japan during and after WWII, and especially of two brothers, one who becomes a sumo champion, and the other a Noh mask maker, is a generally engaging one. Both families are struck early and often by tragedy, though some of Tsukiyama's characterizations are a little weak and the emotional impact is lessened. Still, her writing is lovely and her descriptions of plant life and of the sumo world are worth the read. B+/B.


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy
I've finished a few knitting projects recently--this scarf will be sure to keep me warm at Midwinter! I'm a little obsessed with Noro yarns right now--I almost want to knit a scarf to match the hat I made!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

2007 book 182

Tana French's In the Woods
This mystery involved an Irish homicide detective and his partner who take on the case of a young girl whose death may be related to another child murder that took place twenty years earlier. The twist here is that one of the detectives was the only survivor of the earlier murder, but has no memory of the event. French does a great job of ramping up the tension, though one key piece is fairly obvious to a close reader before it is to the detective which is slightly frustrating. I had seriously mixed feelings about the ending (though it was entirely suitable), but I read the whole thing in one sitting so it gets a B+.

2007 book 181

Linda Sue Park et al's Click
A bunch of notable authors--Nick Hornby, Ruth Ozeki, Eoin Colfer, Gregory Maguire, and more--got together and wrote a book to raise money for Amnesty International. Each tackles a chapter of the tale of a photographer and the legacies he leaves his grandchildren, as well as the other lives he touches along the way. I really liked it until the last two chapters, which veer too far into the realm of fantasy. B+.

Monday, December 24, 2007

2007 book 180

Ha Jin's A Free Life
Sigh. I wanted this book to be awesome--Ha Jin is awesome!--but it REALLY could have benefited from closer editing. It was way too long and dragged a bit--not that his story of a Chinese family acclimating to life in America isn't a great one, but really nothing much happens in it. It's all about a wannabe poet's daily life, which is great, but hard to get caught up in for 600+ pages. Not to mention a couple of character notes that kept popping up--if you've already said that a couple act like newlyweds, does it really need to be repeated in those same words a hundred pages later? Before reading this, I thought it'd be a likely contender for the end of the year list, but instead I give it a B.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

j.k. rowling interview

Time named J.K. Rowling its person of the year, and here's a pretty good story about it (quoting some prof at Pepperdine, no less). Anyway, she is officially writing a new (adult) book, so yay! (Not a Harry Potter one, but I'm excited to read anything she writes.)

Friday, December 21, 2007

best comics of 2007 as chosen by the artists (and me)

The Daily Cross Hatch has compiled a list of various awesome comic book artists' five favorite comics of 2007. There's a great variety of titles, though not nearly enough love for Scott Pilgrim, and too much love for the Fletcher Hanks book (which I didn't really like much).

My own five favorites?

Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together
American Elf vol. 2
All of the cute new Love and Rockets reprints (I keep wanting to buy them, but it's hard to justify since I own all the content already--but here's one that I think is a great starting point for newcomers to the series)
Aaaand the Yotsuba&! series (vols. 4 and 5 came out this year, so it counts), which I finally started reading and it is ADORABLE.

I read a lot of other great graphic novels this year, and of course there are the comic book series I'm still reading and loving (like Y the Last Man, Fables, Powers, Love and Rockets, and others I'm forgetting), but these are the stories I keep coming back to.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

i have no words

I'm not sure what disturbs me more, that teenage Jamie-Lynn Spears is pregnant (adn we always thought she was the normal one!), or that TV Guide felt the need to send an urgent email with this "breaking news".

2007 book 179

Tayari Jones' The Untelling
A young Atlanta woman reflects on a car accident that changed her family forever as her adult life is also changing. Pretty good, but I didn't love the ending (though it was quite believable). B+.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

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2007 book 178

Marie Phillips' Gods Behaving Badly
This novel is kind of like Neil Gaiman's American Gods, if that book was a light and silly romp that has the Greek pantheon living together in a house in London. Wackiness ensues when a cleaning woman and her sort-of-boyfriend enter their lives and when Aphrodite takes revenge on Apollo. I actually quite liked it, mainly b/c Artemis was the central figure and she was always my favorite goddess when I was little (I loved her stories and pictures in D'Aulaires'). Interestingly, this book was sitting on my couch this morning waiting to be read after I finished the paper, and the one-page book section actually had a review of it! It didn't say much (didn't even mention Gaiman, which is really the most obvious comparison) but did note that Ben Stiller had optioned it for a tv series. I did love the Ben Stiller Show when it was on a million years ago, so maybe it would be good? Another reason to hope the stupid studios settle with the writers soon . . .

Oh yeah, I'll give it an A, b/c it really was fun.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

2007 book 177

Ray Robinson's Electricity
This was a pretty good book about a young woman with epilepsy who goes to London to search for her missing brother after their abusive mother dies. It had some interesting epilepsy-related typographical features, which were ok. B.

Friday, December 14, 2007

tales of beedle the bard won the auction, and they're making some images available online. That is an insane amount of money but since it goes to charity, it totally rocks!

2007 book 176

Elias Khoury's Yalo
Another book for review that I didn't like, this novel is a really kind of dark story about a guy in Lebanon being interrogated and tortured. I'm pretty sure he's a serial rapist, though, so it's hard to sympathize. D.

Monday, December 10, 2007

best holiday gift guide ever

Still hunting for that perfect gift for pretty much anyone and everyone in your life? Well, Chapel Hill Comics has just posted their AWESOME gift guide. The photos are hilarious and I can speak to the high quality of their selections.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

omg cute!

I almost died of cuteness flipping through the channels tonight--Animal Planet had their latest episode of Growing Up on and it was about pandas!!! Yes, there were baby pandas galore!! Those of you who have known me for a long time may remember the hours I spent fascinated with the pandacam at the San Diego Zoo back when they had a baby panda, so I'm sure you can guess how much this show delighted me. It airs again on December 31st at 7 pm--like you have better new year's eve plans than watching pandas??? OK, probably you do, but that's what VCRs/tivo are for.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

2007 book 175

Autumn Cornwell's Carpe Diem
Cornwell's novel about a typical high-school overachiever whose parents are blackmailed into sending her away to Southeast Asia for the summer with her free-spirited artist grandmother is a very funny, cute, and engaging one. As Vassar (named for the college her mother hopes she'll attend) embarks on her adventures, she meets an Asian cowboy, bonds with the grandmother she's never met, and attempts to solve the big family secret (which I accidentally saw while putting my bookmark into a back page, so it was pretty easy to catch all the hints and I think a general reader could figure it out relatively quickly). A-.

Friday, December 07, 2007

2007 book 174

Joanna Kavenna's Inglorious
The jacket describes this novel as "piercingly wise and bitingly funny" with a main character who is "a triumphant modern heroine." I can;t think of worse ways to describe this book, which was profoundly depressing. The main character, a successful journalist, suffers a sort of mid-life crisis after the death of her mother and abruptly quits her job. Then her boyfriend of ten years dumps her for another woman, and all her friends are jackasses, and she's just in a terrible mental state for the entirety of the book, which is completely unpleasant to read. D.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

hanukkah treats

My quest to find locally stocked latkes has been fruitless, and making them is way too much work, so my Hanukkah has been a little lame. I'm almost tempted to try these Jones Soda Hanukkah drinks. I love all their themed beverages--well, I love the concept, but have never mustered the courage to imbibe in stuffing-flavored soda (or whatever their other seasonal offerings are). But I am so sorely lacking in Hanukkah goodies that I might rethink my position if I find these in person!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

2007 book 173

Kirsten Miller's The Empress's Tomb
The second book in the Kiki Strike series--about a group of girls with somewhat extraordinary abilities trying to thwart troublemakers in New York--is just as good as the first one, adding smugglers and giant squirrels into the mix. I can't wait for more books in this series, and I'm dismayed it doesn't get more critical attention, b/c it's seriously fun. The website is also top-notch, and needless to say, I'm jonesing for the squirrel shirt! A.

Now I'm off to finally see Enchanted, yay! I love Amy Adams.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

2007 book 172

Michelle Wildgen's You're Not You
When a college student becomes a part-time careworker for a woman with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), her own life begins to transform. There's some dark humor in here, and lots of bittersweetness, plus some college-girl angst. I liked it. A/A-.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

wonder woman

I like This NY Times piece on Gail Simone writing the new Wonder Woman comic book, b/c it avoids their usual "Girls read comics, OMG!" tripe. Has anyone read any of the new WW? Is it worth picking up? (I'm mildly interested in the Jodi Picoult storylines, though of course I HATED what she did with My Sister's Keeper.)

And speaking of comics . . . have you read Scott Pilgrim 4 yet?? If not, why not?? BTdub, its author, Bryan Lee O'Malley (along with his wife Hope Larson, who's a great creator in her own right), will be doing a signing at Chapel Hill Comics on December 1st. Am I heartbroken that I can't be there? More than words can express! No, really.

Monday, November 26, 2007

2007 book 171

Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein's Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited
The bizarre but true story of identical twins who were separated at birth and didn't discover one another until they were 35 hit national prominence thanks to an NPR story--it's a fascinating and amiably written dual memoir, if occasionally cluttered with a few too many mentions of scientific studies about twins. Their quest to uncover the reasons behind their separation make for an extremely compelling story and raise some thought-provoking questions about medical ethics and informed consent. A-.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

2007 books 169 and 170

Cornelia Read's A Field of Darkness
This was a very readable literary fiction type mystery, about a young woman whose family has old New York money (none of which she has), who lives in Syracuse and gets caught up in trying to solve a nearly 20 year old murder case. A-.

Thomas McMullen's The Last Town on Earth
It's 1918, and a small mill town in Washington state has decided to cut itself off from the rest of the world to try and avoid getting the deathly flu. War, politics, and disease all come into play, along with a little romance. A/A-.

Friday, November 23, 2007

more year-end lists

The NY Times list of notable books from 2007 is up. I haven't read most of the fiction contenders, but a good number are on my library hold list so I should get to them eventually.

2007 books 166, 167, and 168

Ellen Raskin's The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel), The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues, and Figgs and Phantoms
Raskin's The Westing Game is one of my all time favorite books, but she has several others that have similar themes and I decided to reread them all Thanksgiving day and night! Leon has word puzzles and the increasingly antic-filled quest to find the titular Leon, Tattooed Potato has similar identity-related plots but with artists, and Figgs deals with an outcast teenage girl, her bizarre family, and their own special heaven called Capri. Westing is still the pinnacle of Raskin's works, but the others are fun too. Leon: B+, Potato: B+, Figgs: B.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

2007 book 165

Faye Kellerman's Straight into Darkness
Whenever I'm home for Thanksgiving, my mom always supplements my library books with her own collection of mysteries and whatnot. In this story, Kellerman departs from her usual murer stories involving Orthodox Jews and goes for a historical tale taking place in Munich in the 1920s, as a detective attempts to find a serial killer while dealing with the turmoil of Hitler's rise to power. It was pretty entertaining, especially since the only other option for entertainment was some random football game on tv! B+.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

2007 book 164

Michael Collins' The Death of a Writer
There's a lot going on in this book--a failed novelist/academic tries to kill himself, but a grad student mostly saves his life and then discovers a hidden masterpiece, which becomes a huge success until police realize there are remarkable similarities between the novel and an unsolved murder, at which point a detective with his own set of personal problems gets involved. The killer is glaringly apparent from very early on, whcih is at times frustrating, and the book is somehow even more grim than I thought it would be. Still, Collins does a good job of ratcheting up the tension and keeping the reader engaged. B.

Monday, November 19, 2007

2007 book 163

Dinaw Mengestu's The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears
Sigh. I'm on vacation and not in the mood to review this! OK, brief summary: Ethiopian immigrant in DC falls for his new white neighbor and her biracial daughter. Neighborhood has tension, etc. Whatever. It was pretty good. B+/B.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

2007 book 162

Anne Enright's The Gathering
I read this a few days ago and my memories are somewhat vague, but I'll give it a whirl. This Booker-prize-winning novel involves an Irish family coming together to mourn their dead brother. The narrator, a sister he was particularly close to, faces an identity crisis and also resurrects a family secret. I don't think I've read any of the other Booker nominees, so I can't definitively say this deserved to win, but it deals with those timeless themes of family and self in a pretty interesting way. A-.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

best books of the year

PW's best books of 2007 list came out last Monday . . . there are some good picks on there for both fiction and graphic novels (awesome that Scott Pilgrim 4 is on a list that came out a week and a half before the book itself!). Anyway, you all know I love these end of the year lists, but of course mine won't be out till the year actually ends, b/c sometimes I read a really great book in late December.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

2007 book 161

I am CRUSHING my previous reading record! Plus Thanksgiving's coming up, which includes several flights and a whole week in Pittsburgh, i.e., lots more reading time!!

Philip Pullman's The Subtle Knife
One thing that strikes me about my copies of the series is the different covers. The first two I got from the YA section--they're trade paperback size, with somewhat somber pictures of Lyra, and then Lyra and Will. However, when it came time to read the third one, I was desperate! And the YA section didn't have it! So I asked a dude at whatever book chain I was perusing if they had copies in stock, and sure enough, they did--in the science fiction section! So my copy of this one is a mass market paperback size with an outrageously awful cover (that opens up to an even worse interior cover). Anyway, this one is more of the same, kids with important missions caught in an epic battle, angels on angels, lots of creatures of various types from various worlds, etc. Good times. The creatures with wheels always remind me of something--is it from the Wizard of Oz books?


I recently read the first volumes of two minicomics that I think are arguably linked thematically--the first, How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, tells of a young Jewish woman's trip on Birthright Israel, while the second, The Hookah Girl, is a bunch of short stories about a young Palestinian woman's experiences growing up in America. The latter doesn't get very deep (the stories are short, as I mentioned) but won me over with its paper doll versions of Palestinian women's identities and recipe for grape leaves; the former hasn't gotten too far yet, either, but was interesting enough to make me want to read the second volume whenever it comes out.

Anyway, I liked both of these a lot and figured I'd mention them--I'm all about chicks writing comics! Especially when it's stuff I'm interested in.

Monday, November 12, 2007

2007 book 160

Philip Pullman's The Subtle Knife
C'mon, you must have known as soon as I finished the first one, I'd be on to the second! I really want to start the third, but I have work in the morning and know I'd just keep reading till it was done.

2007 book 159

Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass
Seeing a trailer for this movie reminded me that it's been ages since I read the books! Plus, as the weather turns chilly it seems like a good time to bust this series out, since so much of the first one takes place in the snow. Anyway, it's the fantasy story of a girl in some weird version of England where people's souls are animals and she has a mysterious destiny, plus there are witches and warrior bears. I love it every time I read it! A.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

2007 book 158

Nicholas Christopher's The Bestiary
I had mixed feelings about this book--I think sometimes the author wasn't sure if it was more of a coming-of-age story or a story about a scholar hunting down a mysterious book--containing details of all the mythological animals ever--missing since the 1300s. Some parts were slow, some parts were predictable, and the end felt abrupt, but it was mildly entertaining. B.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

2007 book 157

Markus Zusak's I am the Messenger
At first I was super bummed that Pushing Daisies wasn't on tonight, but finishing this book was excellent consolation. it's a completely different sort of story than Zusak's The Book Thief, but I was still completely enthralled and moved by it. It's about a sort of young slacker guy who drives a cab and isn't really doing much with his life, when he suddenly receives a playing card in the mail with a mysterious message. As he begins to follow the card's instructions, he finds meaning in his life, etc. Anyway, Zusak is a GREAT writer. I got a little teary several times throughout the novel (usually for nice things, don't worry, it's not nearly as dark as Book Thief) which shows what a great writer he is. I had sort of mixed feelings about the final chapter, but it's a YA book so we'll let it slide. A/A-.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

book recommendations?

The blogs have been abuzz about What Should I Read Next?, which ostensibly is awesome at recommending books based on other books you love. However, I tried it out and was not impressed at all. I mean, some of the recommendations are really weird. Like, I loved The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and its pop culture references, but what does this website recommend for me? Plays by Samuel Beckett and Tom Stoppard, Crime and Punishment, The Divine Comedy.

I think this it perhaps because there aren't enough books in the system to get good comparisons, but most of my recommended lists were full of random classics and non-fiction, which isn't at all what I'm interested in reading (and my favorites list reflects that). I am always desperate for new stuff to read, but this website isn't coming close to finding things I'd like.

I think I'll stick with Amazon's recommendations for now--after all, they have 6+ years of my purchasing history to base their picks. Someone let me know if this new site gets good!

Monday, November 05, 2007

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Originally uploaded by wordnerdy
That last post was a little cranky, so here's a picture of my cat to lighten things up a little! Though he does have his serious face on, doesn't he?

Oh, and did you notice I beat my previous reading record (155 books in 2005)??? And November just started! Should I start a pool to see what my final tally will be?

2007 book 156

Judith Levine's Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping
I know, this doesn't seem like something I'd choose, and of course I didn't--it's a book club book. When I first started it, I was enjoying it--I was caught up in the start of Levine's project and thinking about how I need to watch my own shopping habit more closely. But as the book went on, her memoir-cum-journalist-essay style grew wearing--I liked the memoir bits enough, but then she'd be like, "So then I consulted such and such expert at such and such academic center" and cite a bunch of statistics. Plus her villains were totally cartoonish--a woman who wants to build a cell-phone tower in Vermont lists Wal-Mart and a prison as ideal residents of the town--and Levine gets snarky about even the people who she seems to think are good-hearted. By her entry on Buy-Nothing Day, I was very angry and her and her preachiness. And I agree with her claims! And yet still, I couldn't wait to be done with this book! I can't imagine the reaction from someone who doesn't agree with her when my own reaction is so negative. C-.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

2007 book 155

Jenny Downham's Before I Die
This heartbreaking novel about a teenage girl dying of cancer who is determined to complete her lists of things to do before she dies manages to stay fairly unsentimental while still capturing a good amount of teen angst. A-.

Friday, November 02, 2007

awesomest book ever?

The Daring Book for Girls came out this week, and it is seriously awesome. I would have LOVED this when I was a kid (and not just b/c it shows you how to make paper fortunetellers, which I only learned how to do a few years ago). I'm glad I'm not too old for it. I mean, maybe now I'll finally learn how to whistle with two fingers! :)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

2007 book 154

Shalom Auslander's Foreskin's Lament
Man, I feel like I was waiting for this book forever! Auslander, author of Beware of God and frequent contributor to This American Life (note to my dad: you heard him do one of his pieces--I think the one about how he wasn't allowed to throw away anything with his name on it, b/c Shalom is one of God's names, or maybe it was the one about how he watched over the dead for a part-time job), has written a caustic and funny memoir about growing up religious, and how all his conflicts came to a head when his son was born and they had to decide whether or not to circumcise him. I'm not sure this story will resonate with non-Jews (or with Jews who didn't have a bunch of frum friends and went through a brief BT period), but I do think his struggles with the concept of God are perhaps universal. If nothing else, it's an entertaining look at teen rebellion in a seriously outlandish environment. A.

reasons to wish i was a millionaire

J.K. Rowling is auctioning off one copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

Yes, I am a Harry Potter fanatic. Did you just start reading this blog?

As a side note, how awesome is it that a book will go for that much money??

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007

2007 book 153

Hillary Jordan's Mudbound
This book's plot is vaguely reminiscent of another book I read a couple years ago (though I can't remember which one and don't have time to check my archives right now--the Wii is calling me!), involving a husband, his wife, and his brother on a farm. The story starts with the burial of the brothers' father, and flashes back to the events leading to his death. Things are made more complex by the time and the setting--Mississippi in the 1940s--and by the presence of a black family whose oldest son is a war hero and chafes at returning to his previous subservient ways. The story is told from the perspectives of multiple characters--the four I've mentioned, plus the soldier's parents--which isn't always a narrative technique I like, but it really worked here, especially as the story sped up toward the end. A-.

2007 book 152

Philip Pullman's The White Mercedes
I was all excited to discover there was a YA book by Pullman that I hadn't read, b/c of course I love his other books. Unfortunately, this one was a stinker; described as a "modern-day Shakespearean tragedy", it was really more of a "stupid young boy meets random young girl and somehow there are mobsters involved" story. Pullman never makes you feel for any of the characters, so when the melodramatic denouement finally occurs, I was just glad it was over. D.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy
I went to the annual Monarch Butterfly Festival today with some friends--I think there were more butterflies last year, but the weather was perfect and we got some good shots. Then we came back to my place and played my new Wii! I suck at golf but am a bowling champ!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

2007 book 151

Jan T. Gross' Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland
Yet another book for the Jewish literature discussion group, and yet another that I feel was a poor choice (not least of all b/c it's non-fiction, and not literature!!!!). Anyway, it's a depressing read about how a Polish community killed their 1600 Jewish neighbors in 1941. Gross does little to breathe life into this event; he's more interested in its historiographical context. However, I really don't know where he's coming from--he makes all these weird generalizations about how historians blame the Germans for everything, which they don't. We've all known for ages that local communities were involved in the genocide. Anyway, at least this book was short.

Back to Pushing Daisies!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

2007 book 150

Oh my goodness--my previous yearly reading record is 155--I am so going to beat that!!

Ann Patchett's Run
This has been getting mediocre reviews, which I think is undeserved--of course everyone is comparing it to Bel Canto, which really isn't fair, because it's not that epic sort of a story. It's much more comparable to Patchett's earlier, maybe more character-driven works. Anyway, it's about the two adopted (black) sons of a former (white) politician, and what happens when one of them is saved from being hit by a car. I really liked this, barring one identity twist that I don't think the novel needed. Patchett really has a gift for characterization and this novel's sympathetic family is no exception. A-.


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy
It's been a long time since I baked bread from scratch, but today was a cloudy day that needed something that smelled good in the oven. This is a Sephardic Jewish recipe from Greece and it smells delicious!

2007 book 149

Haven Kimmel's The Used World
I wanted to love this--I love pretty much all of Kimmel's books--and it started off strong, with three somewhat quirky midwestern women all working in a used-stuff store called Hazel Hunnicutt's Used World Emporium. I mean, that's great, right?? And gradually bits of their somewhat broken pasts are revealed, and there's one secret that is like sooo obvious, and then things just get a little mish-mashed at the end and I was just disappointed. B.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

2007 book 148

J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
I've had a hankering to re-read this for a couple of weeks, and finally had some time for a good dose of fun reading! And yes, there were several moments where Dumbledore's sexual identity could have been more explicitly revealed, so that's something of a shame. Still, this may be my favorite HP book! I want to read it again already!

Made some delicious chocolate-orange cupcakes this afternoon . . . yum yum!

who knew the harry potter news would keep on coming?

Apparently Dumbledore is gay. I really wonder why Rowling didn't reveal that in any of the books--especially book 7, which has so many Dumbledore flashbacks. I was actually planning to re-read book 7 today anyway and it will be interesting to read that with Dumbledore's sexuality in mind . . .

Thursday, October 18, 2007


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I whipped up a new pair of wristwarmers tonight during the NBC comedy block--a perfect Thursday night combination! My previous pair is something like five years old and pretty worn out, and it's been fricking freezing at work, so immediate action needed to be taken!

And check it out--it's been almost a year since I posted a picture of any of my knitting. That's because I've been busy cranking out baby blankets for several friends who occasionally read this, and I didn't want to ruin the surprise! Also, I've had some major knitter's block--I need some new projects but can't find any that inspire me. Have any of you knitted something fun recently?

Monday, October 15, 2007

2007 book 147

Alia Mamdouh's The Loved One
This book was soooooo sloooowwwwww. I wouldn't have finished it if I hadn't had a review to write.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

2007 book 146

Marina Lewycka's Strawberry Fields
One of the blurbs on the back describes this as "a comic triumph", which is a completely ridiculous assessment--not to say the book is bad, which it isn't, but it's mostly not funny at all (there is plenty of dark comedy, but also many depressing scenes as well, most of which involve chicken farming). Anyway, it's the story of a bunch of immigrants (legal and not) in England working on a strawberry farm. When the farmer's wife runs down her cheating husband, they must figure out how to make due. Several characters who figure heavily in the first half of the book completely disappear for the rest of it, leaving the three youngest workers to carry on with the story. Oh, and bits are narrated by a dog, which I had mixed feelings about. I really enjoyed this, but would recommend that any of you who read it ignore the book jacket, which totally gives the story away. A/A-.

Friday, October 12, 2007

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A Pittsburgh-themed bar in Florida . . . what will they think of next?

great essay; peirogies

Here is a thought-provoking essay by Heidi MacDonald (of Publisher's Weekly) about the current state of comics and comics snobs. I agree with most of her points and am looking forward to next year's Abel and Madden version of the Best American Comics anthology.

In other news, I'm eating dinner at a Pittsburgh-themed restaurant tonight. In Florida. Life never stops amazing me. I will probably even bring a camera.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

nobel prize!

The Nobel Prize for literature went to Doris Lessing! I'm especially excited about this, since I reviewed her latest novel for Library Journal. (It was excellent.) Women hardly ever win, so this is extra-awesome.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

finally a little scared of google

Google Street View expanded to Pittsburgh today--I am seriously looking at my parents' driveway on the internet. And I'm a little freaked out (in a good way).

Saturday, October 06, 2007

2007 book 145

Ann Patchett's Bel Canto
I was glad to have a chance to reread this for one of my several book groups; I first read it a few years ago (actually, more like five years ago, long before I was book-blogging) while flying home for Thanksgiving and I remember wishing I could read it again for the first time. Of course, it's one of those books that sticks with you, and it's hard to read because you know exactly what's coming. For those who haven't read it, it's the story of the participants of a party in South America who get taken hostage. How the hostages and the terrorists negotiate their new relationships is a fascinating story (and an excellent example of Stockholm Syndrome). It's still an excellent novel as a re-read--A.

2007 book 144

Isaac Babel's Red Cavalry
I've been home sick for a couple days, but managed to finish this book, the next one for our Jewish literature discussion group. Red Cavalry is Babel's series of stories about his time in the Russian army in 1920. I'm glad we have a professor leading discussion on this, because it can be hard to tease out the relevant strands of story. I really think whoever chose the books for this book group didn't always do a great job.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

an exercise

1. Go to (Barnes and Noble)

2. Search for "last summer of the world" (without quotation marks)

3. Click on the top choice--the novel by Emily Mitchell.

4. Scroll down.

I'm famous!!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

2007 book 143

Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Several years after writing a book of critically acclaimed stories, Diaz is back with his first novel, and it's right up my alley. It's the story of a family of Dominicans in New York--the titular Oscar, his sister Lola, and their mother, along with a boyfriend of Lola's who narrates much of the story. It's chock-full of great nerdiness--if you've never read Lord of the Rings, half of it might not even make sense, b/c everything gets compared to Tolkien! (Trujillo as Sauron is of course apropos.) There's plenty of great comic book geekery as well, including multiple mentions of my own favorite series, Love and Rockets. Diaz touches on some magical realism, imbues his story with plenty of actual history (complete with snarky footnotes), and makes the story of an overweight geeky kid a really, really compelling one. A.

finally, all my tv watching pays off

I've been selected to be a Nielsen family! Or whatever! Finally, my preferred tv shows will have their moment in the sun! Of course, I won't be receiving the booklet thingy until late November, so I just hope all my shows will be on.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Once finally opened in my town, months after the rest of the free world, and it was such a great movie. It had been billed as a musical so I was a little worried (I'm not into musicals--I hate when people randomly break into song-and-dance numbers), but really it's the story of two musicians who begin to collaborate, so it totally makes sense that they're always singing. The songs were great too--of course I love the Frames (whose lead singer is the star, and who I believe wrote the songs), so I was predisposed to like them. Anyway, totally an A.

2007 book 142

Chelsea Cain's Heartsick
This book was pretty intense--it's about a cop, the former head of a serial killer task force who was kidnapped and tortured by said serial killer before she turned herself in. Now he's back on the job, trying to find the killer of several teenage girls while an intrepid pink-haired girl reporter writes a story on him. Meanwhile, every Sunday he visits the woman who almost killed him, and he frequently flashes back to their time together. As things started to wrap up, I was having trouble suspending my disbelief, but when the final twist was revealed, I really had to appreciate Cain's storytelling. A/A-.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

2007 book 141

Dennis McFarland's A Letter from Point Clear
In this novel, a woman and her brother receive news that their wayward younger sister has suddenly married an evangelical preacher in their hometown in Alabama; the two make a trip down south to visit the newlyweds, but problems arise when the preacher is informed that the brother is happily married to another man. I really enjoyed this novel--it really captures the feel of the slow days at the end of summer, and the small human dramas McFarland captures are very compelling. A/A-.

Monday, September 24, 2007

more east side story

Hey, remember when I found out that West Side Story was almost about a Jewish girl? I'm not the only one who found that fascinating. Check out this story from Nextbook.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

2007 book 140

Alice Kuipers' Life on the Refrigerator Door: Notes Between a Mother and a Daughter
I read a good review of this somewhere and decided to check it out--it's basically exactly what the title leads you to believe, notes between a single mom and her teenage daughter. Of course it's hard to actually write sympathetic characters when they're writing brief notes to each other, or maybe Kuipers just isn't that great at it. She definitely was going for a tearjerker sort of story but I was pretty meh on it. Also, the writing styles were really unbelievable, especially the teenager's. Anyway, C.

Also, I actually watched the premiere of Gossip Girl tonight (it was on right after ANTM and Kristen Bell was narrating, so I got sucked in). It's somewhere between deliciously trashy and sweet! I may add it to my to-watch list. Oh, and since I'm blogging during Top Chef and my TV is in another room, clearly I've grown bored with it. I don't care which contestant wins, though I do hope it's not Hung. Still, I don't care enough to bother watching it anymore. That's what TWoP recaplets are for!

2007 book 139

Amy Bloom's Away
This book has been getting tons of buzz, which usually means I'll love it or totally hate it, but in this case my feelings were slightly more mixed. I think that's b/c it wasn't what I was expecting--it's being described as about a young Russian Jewish woman in the 1920s who flees to American after her family is killed in a pogrom. When she hears that her small daughter may in fact be alive, she goes on a quest to find the child in Siberia. All of which is technically accurate, but the story is really about the journey. Several events require serious, serious suspension of disbelief, but the protagonist's tale is an intriguing one. A-/B+.

Oh, and EVERYONE at my book group HATED the end of My Sister's Keeper, just like I did. It's being adapted into a movie, possibly to star Cameron Diaz.

Monday, September 17, 2007

2007 book 138

Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper
God, I am really in a ridiculous number of book groups. This is for the library's book group dealing with various issues ("medical ethics" is the issue at hand here). It's about a thirteen year old girl who was conceived to be a bone marrow match for her sister with leukemia. When the girl decides to hire an attorney to sue for medical emancipation, all hell breaks loose. Told from the perspectives of all the main characters (except, interestingly, the dying girl), it's a riveting story (I read it all in one sitting), and there is one nice twist at the end. However, the last couple of chapters were totally ridiculous, and there was a tacked-on romantic subplot, both of which call for a seriously downgraded B-.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

new mix

Heaven Club 8
Impossible Shout Out Louds
Frozen Floods lovers
Saturday Waits Loney, Dear
Eli Caribou
What It's Like in Japan Logan Whitehurst & The Junior Science Club
Room With a View Imperial Teen
Mutiny, I Promise You The New Pornographers
Carrboro Schooner
Lake Michigan Rogue Wave
Angela Oakley Hall
Saints Army Navy
Cowboy Man Northern State
Land Mines St. Vincent
My Favourite Book Stars
Paralyzed Betty Wright
Penny In a Fountain Aja West and Friends
Beyond the Rains The Mitchell & Dewbury Band featuring Billie Godfrey
Time to Go John Vanderslice
Squalor Victoria The National

2007 book 137

Evan Fallenberg's Light Fell
I read this the other day but forgot to blog about it. It's about an Israeli man who left his fairly religious family for another man, and twenty years later he's about to reunite with all five of his sons for the first time in those twenty years. The sons are a weird microcosm of Israeli society and the end felt pretty pat, but it was a pretty good read anyway. B.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

fall tv!

Fall TV season is almost upon us, which is the time to make difficult choices about what shows are must-see, which are relegated to the VCR (I am so old school), and which will be ignored completely. Here is what I'm planning on watching, at least for now . . . Feel free to chime in with your own picks!

8 pm. How I Met Your Mother. CBS (I am sooo glad they didn't move this to the 9 pm time slot!)
8:30 pm. Aliens in America. CW. This has the chick from Ned's Declassified and Luke from Gilmore Girls. It could actually be funny!
9 pm. Heroes. NBC. Duh.

Probably I will watch Netflixed tv shows on Tuesday. Seriously, this is a crappy night for tv.

8 pm provides my only dilemma--Pushing Daisies (ABC) or America's Next Top Model (CW)???? I'll probably go with the former--it's got great buzz and a great cast--and try to catch ANTM in reruns some other day.
9 pm. Bionic Woman (NBC). Yes, I've decided to forgo the Grey's spinoff, which is also in this time slot. The critical response has been terrible and I'm not interested in the inevitable Amy Brenneman--nice schlubby guy pairing. Sorry, Piz. Plus, Bionic Woman has Starbuck!

This was my major night for the VCR last year--I watched Ugly Betty and Grey's, and taped the comedy block on NBC (My Name is Earl, 30 Rock, The Office, and Scrubs). Since I now think Grey's sucks, I'll probably tape Ugly Betty and watch the comedies--barring Scrubs, which I've lost patience with.

9 pm. Friday Night Lights. Seriously, this show is soooooo good. Why aren't you watching it? Quick, catch up on the DVDs before season 2 starts! I hate watching football and even I am obsessed with this show.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

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Seeing the Rosebuds for the first time in over a year was pretty much exhilarating! They played hits both old and new and I think won over the cynical student crowd. Anyway, it was one of the best nights I've had in a while--of course I always love seeing them live, but it's a special treat when it's in Florida.

Monday, September 10, 2007

finally, something that makes me more interested in the emmys

I've always had a fondness for Joan Rivers, but I love this new self-mocking thing she has going on. I may actually follow her Emmy coverage this year!

(I should note that the Emmys are pretty much the only award show whose results I sort of care about, since I watch a lot of tv and most years at least one show I really like gets nominated for something or other. I still never watch the actual awards show though. That's what reading blogs the next morning is for.)

Coming later or tomorrow: My annual What-Alicia-is-planning-on-watching-this-fall entry! Please try and contain your excitement.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

2007 book 136

A.B. Yehoshua's A Journey to the End of the Millennium
This is the first book for the Jewish literature discussion group, and I stull think it's a crappy choice to start a book group with. I remember liking it in college (I once wrote a paper on it) but it was a much slower read this time. Anyway, it takes place in 999 and is mainly about a Moroccan Jew with two wives. He's in business with his nephew and with a Muslim partner, but his nephew's new European Jewish wife is trying to break up the partnership b/c she thinks having two wives is wrong. Yehoshua is a writer I love, but this is not one of my favorite books of his. I guess discussion will be interesting, if nothing else.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

new ipods!

Pretty exciting new announcements today. I totally am getting an 80 gig video ipod for the price of the (4 gig) mini my parents bought me for mt 25th birthday. I love the idea of the wifi touch ipods too, but for more money and less storage, it really didn't seem worth it.

Monday, September 03, 2007

2007 book 135

Orly Castel-Bloom's Human Parts
Normally I'm a fan of Castel-Bloom's writing, but between the awkward translation and the very neat endings, this didn't do it for me. She focuses on several characters from different walks of life, all dealing with various heartaches in near-future Israel, which is abnormally snowy, has a serious flu epidemic, and still has problems with terrorists. Parts of it worked well--I especially like Kati, a mother of four struggling with poverty--but it really jumped around too much to give any insight into the characters.

2007 book 134

Victoria Redel's The Border of Truth
The story of a translator working with the letters of Walter Benjamin is intersected with the wartime letters of her father (to Eleanor Roosevelt), who was trapped on a boat from Europe trying to gain entry to the US in 1940. As the translator tries to investigates her father's story, the reasons for his reluctance to reveal his past become clear. Most of this book was pretty good, though various subplots felt slightly shoehorned and there were plenty of deux ex machina moments. Anyway, B/B+.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

friday night lights

Ah yes--it's that exciting time of the year when last year's tv shows are finally coming out on DVD, so I can catch up on all the shows I never got around to watching before. FNL has received raves from pretty much everyone and I've been saying for months that I'd watch it was soon as it was out on DVD, so I can catch up in time for season 2. I just finished watching disc 2 and this show is really compelling so far! I always love watching tv in bulk, though the dvd does feature one of my pet peeves (do we really need the previouslies when we JUST watched those scenes?). Anyway, it's definitely going on my must-watch list for fall.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

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Aaaaand Halloween season has officially started, at least at CVS.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

2007 books 130, 131, 132, 133

Jane O'Connor's Dangerous Admissions
This light mystery centers on a former copy editor who is now giving tours at her son's elite private school; when the director of college admissions turns up dead, she finds herself snooping into the case. I will note that any book featuring a character who's always noting grammatical errors should be gone over with a fine-tooth comb--I found two typos. Anyway, it's basically exactly as it sounds, right down to the ubiquitous sexy and helpful love interest. B.

Jonis Agee's The River Wife
When a young girl's new husband keeps slipping away to run mysterious errands in Prohibition-era times, she finds a series of his great-grandmother's journals and begins to believe their lives are paralleled. Some other women who were part of his great-grandfather's life also come into the story. The first half of this book is very strong, but when random other women come into it and we lose sight of the new young wife (for several hundred pages), things start to falter. The ending also feels very, very rushed. B-.

Travis Holland's The Archivist's Story
Ah, this was more like it. A man working as an archivist under Stalin's regime in the late 1930s encounters the great Isaac Babel, imprisoned, and his final story. Holland does a good job with the rising sense of terror as Stalin's regime grows more oppressive, and the archivist's own past as a literature teacher makes his choices all too believable. A-.

Kim Edwards' The Memory Keeper's Daughter
I've been meaning to read this for ages and I'm glad I finally got around to it. It's a heart-wrenching story about a doctor in 1964 who delivers his own twin babies. When he realizes that his baby daughter has Downs Syndrome, he asks his nurse to take her to an institution and tells his wife that the baby died. His decision changes all their lives and haunts his wife and himself. It can be frustrating to read a book about someone who you just want to bitch-slap, but Edwards tells a riveting story. A-.

Friday, August 24, 2007

2007 book 129

Kenn Kamoche's A Fragile Hope
Another book I'm for real reviewing . . . it's a book of short stories by some Kenyan expat in Hong Kong who apparently teaches management?!? Actually they're pretty good stories, set all over the world, mainly slice-of-life stuff but a few are more serious. B+/B.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

2007 book 128

Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
This is one of my all-time favorite books--I mean, seriously, it has like every kind of theme and cultural reference that I love, Jews and folklore and comic books and just everything!--so I was pretty happy when one of my many book groups chose this as its first selection. I know most of the other people in the group haven't read it yet, so I'm very intrigued to see what they think.

for the interested

The September 2007 issue of Gourmet has an article on Hispanic eateries in the Triangle . . . it makes me homesick!

Monday, August 20, 2007

two great tastes that taste great together?

Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) is joining the cast of Heroes! (Just for a few episodes, but still!) OMG! *fangirl squee*

yiddish is cool

At least according to this article, though I am inclined to agree. I actually wanted to learn Yiddish a few years back (well, I still do), but have never lived anywhere that offered classes (or at least, not when I lived there--i.e., Pittsburgh has classes now, NC did the year before I moved there, and so on). Apparently there are online versions, but I guess I'm a traditionalist when it comes to learning languages.

j.k. rowling writing again!

I'm actually looking forward to reading her non-Potter work. (Via Booklist)

ETA: Never mind. Apparently Ian Rankin is just a jerk.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

2007 book 127

Laura Moriarty's The Rest of Her Life
A woman's teenage daughter accidentally kills another teenage girl in a car accident, and all their lives fall apart a little. Riveting read, though not much substance, and the end was a little weak. A-/B+.

In other news, I saw Superbad today, and it was superawesome, as expected. I also disagree with the several reviews I've read saying the girl characters were two-dimensional--we thought Becca especially was a realistic teen girl, acting the way teen girls think they're supposed to act. Anyway, the movie was hardly intended to be realistic, as every scene involving the cops shows. One final note: McLovin is a breakout star. Someone get that kid an Oscar!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

2007 book 126

Lisa Tucker's Once Upon a Day
I'm giving this book a "wow!" right off the bat. It's about a young woman who, along with her brother, has been raised in complete isolation by their eccentric father. When her brother leaves home and she goes after him, secrets about their past come to light, but not in the way I expected at first. There's a romantic subplot as well, where the girl meets a damaged man, which is satisfying if you're willing to deal with some serious suspension of disbelief (I was). Anyway, I really enjoyed this and along with me "wow!" give it an A.

2007 book 125

Lloyd Jones' Mister Pip
Though this story starts off a little slow and its description seems on the wishy-washy side, this story of a schoolteacher reading Great Expectations to a classroom of kids on a tropical island near Australia is an unexpectedly powerful and moving one. As civil war comes ever closer to their tiny village, the stories of the teacher and of Dickens are one of the only refuges available. I don't want to give anything away, but trust me that this is not some sweet pastoral tale. A/A-.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

2007 book 124

Dianna Wynne Jones' The Game
This YA fantasy book had a premise I should have liked (a girl meets up with her zany relatives and discovers they all have ties to the realm of the mythosphere, i.e. all the stories ever told, plus they have connections to classical mythology), but it was really insubstantial. It's being marketed as a novella but I found myself wishing Jones had just written a full-on novel. The characters were interesting, but there wasn't much there, and the ending felt really rushed. C+.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

return to sleepaway camp!

Those of you who know me well know that I totally love the horror movie Sleepaway Camp (and its terrible, terrible sequels, starring Bruce Springsteen's untalented sister). Check it out, they're making ANOTHER one! (Not counting the unfinished part 4, which is included in the DVD box set, which of course I own.)

My favorite part of that link is of course the part about the "grizzly murders". Dude, it wasn't a bear doing the killings!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

2007 book 123

Matt Ruff's Bad Monkeys
A woman has been arrested for murder, but tells the police and the psychologist examining her that she actually works for a secret organization dedicated to taking out evil people! Is she telling the truth??? I was pretty amused by this story, and it was a very fact read if nothing else. Great attention to details too. B.

2007 book 122

Ron Suskind's A Hope in the Unseen
This is FSU's freshman reading book (the first one FSU has ever had) and the next book in the library's discussion series. I really struggled to get through it, especially the first part. It's not that the story--a young black boy from inner-city DC fights to get into an Ivy League school--isn't compelling, it's that the narrative style (journalistic omniscience?) was extremely annoying. It kept taking me out of the story--like how does this random white dude writer know what this kid is thinking? It really made me nuts. I hate non-fiction. C.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


I went to go see Stardust tonight--of course you all know I love the book (especially the signed copy procured for me by a gallant college boyfriend) and are expecting me to bitch about the many changes, but actually I thought they really worked. Besides the all-star cast, there were lots of great actors in bit parts--Peter O'Toole, the dude who plays Arthur Weasley, etc. Of course I do like the book's ending better, but I'm never one to frown at a well-done action scene, especially one with zombies. So, I loved the movie--funny action fantasies are pretty rare.

Monday, August 06, 2007

2007 book 121

Jonathan Tropper's How to Talk to a Widower
I'm not really sure how to describe the writing of this book, except to say that it's already been optioned for a movie (I liked it anyway). It's about a 29-year-old widower, his fucked-up teenage stepson, and the rest of his crazy family as he tries to come to terms with his wife's death. The characters are all really likable; I could have done without the protagonist's columns (the character is a magazine writer), which aren't as good as all the other characters say they are. Things do get overly dramatic and exciting at times--which is no doubt why this will be a movie, and reminded of chick lit at times (though maybe I just have chick lit on the brain). Still, when I finished it, I actually said, "I liked this book!" and decided to give it an A/A-.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

2007 book 120

Kiara Brinkman's Up High in the Trees
I'm sure this book is going to garner lots of comparisons to Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, b/c it too is narrated by an autistic boy (actually, they never say he's autistic--some review I read said that--so he may have some other mental handicap). Anyway, his mother has just died, his father is having a breakdown, and his two older siblings are also having trouble coping. It can be hard to write a realistic narrative from the POV of a kid, especially a handicapped one, and I don't think Brinkman quite managed. It's a first novel and it really feels that way. B.

2007 book 119

Lynn Harris' Death by Chick Lit
I looooved Harris' writing when I was in college (back during the Breakup Girl website days--now she does freelance stuff. I sometimes see parenting-related stuff she does for Salon), so when I saw she had written this goofy-looking mystery, I had to check it out. The premise is that a sort-of-unsuccessful writer Lola (who clearly is a little bit autobiographical) gets caught up in a series of murders--but all the victims are very successful chick lit authors! Lola takes up the investigation--but is she famous enough to be on the hit list??? Anyway, this was very funny, although very New York. I'll give it a A-.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

2007 book 118

Michael Chabon's Summerland
Like, ohmigod, can you believe there is a book by Michael Chabon I hadn't read?? Frankly, the idea of a YA book mixing fantasy and baseball sounded like the least appealing idea on the planet. OK, not the least appealing, but still. And unfortunately, Chabon just couldn't pull it together for me. Take all the usual elements of YA fantasy books--a totally non-special kid tapped for a world-saving task, with a motley assortment of friends and mystical creatures--and make them play baseball for like half the book . . . sigh. I'm just not really that into baseball. B/B-.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

2007 books 116 and 117

Back in Tally . . . and with a kitty in dire need of cuddles!

Laurie R. King's Locked Rooms
The latest Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes mystery deals with Mary's own past! Dramatic! B+.

Meg Rosoff's Justin Case
A teenager believes he is doomed; stupid interludes by fate confirm this. Or something. D.

Monday, July 30, 2007

P7300355/2007 book 115

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Today my parents and I went to see the Dale Chihuly exhibit at Phipps Conservatory. It was pretty amazing, and apparently is even better at night (some of the sculptures light up). I think it's up through November so get to Pittsburgh and see it!

Also, I read a pretty awesome book this afternoon:

Heather McElhatton's Pretty Little Mistakes
McElhatton, a contributor to This American Life (among other things), presents a grown-up version of a choose your own adventure book (the writing is much better too). A girl has just graduated high school--what choices will she (you) make??? I've read the majority of the endings--I think--and they range from tragic to silly to beautiful. I can't think of a book that better fits the adjective "entertaining" . . . I was VERY entertained! A.

Oh, and as of this morning my parents have wireless and my computer is actually working, so hooray!

2007 book 114

Ruth Rendell's The Water's Lovely
When I finished this book, I actually slammed it down and exclaimed, "This book was crap!!" Because it was. It focuses on a young woman who's convinced that her younger sister killed their stepfather when they were girls. As she frets over this, a cast of other characters all come into the story, leading to a bunch of totally unbelievable coincidences and interactions. The mystery's resolution is totally predictable, and the end of the book sucks hard. D.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

2007 book 111, 112, 113

Hey! I'm in Pittsburgh!

Nicola Griffith's Always
I think this was part of a series I've never read, b/c there were lots of references to people that never actually showed up in the story. Anyway, it's about some rich ex-cop woman who goes to Seattle to investigate some weirdness with real estate holdings and has to deal with the weird goings-on at a movie set. It's categorized as a mystery but the tension level was really low. Meanwhile, the protagonist is flashing back to a self-defense course she taught (the author used to teach self-defense--thoguh I think the method I learned for eye-gouging is more efficient than hers) and the problems it caused. The protagonist was likable enough but this may have been a little too formulaic for me (lots of falling in love at the drop of a hat with a local caterer). B.

Michael Loewenthal's Charity Girl
A really fascinating historical novel set during WWI, when women with STDs were imprisoned so they wouldn't infect soldiers. Young Frieda, a Jewish runaway, falls for such a soldier, who of course gives her the clap, and she's rounded up and locked up with a group of women. This part of the novel was stellar, but things start to fall apart towards the end and the book ends pretty abruptly with some serious deus ex machina. I wonder if the author was fascinated by his setting but didn't know where to take the story--that's how it felt. Anyway, another B.

Alix Ohlin's The Missing Person
When a grad student struggling to write her art history dissertation is beckoned home from NYC to New Mexico to deal with her brother, an eco-activist, wacky adventures ensue. OK, not exactly: she falls for one of her brother's cohort, becomes fascinated by two paintings bought by her late father, and has to deal with her mother's affair with a married man. The story was ok, but there was absolutely no closure and things got pretty unbelievable toward the end anyway. OK, I guess I'll give this one a B/B-.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

2007 book 110

Jerry Spinelli's Love, Stargirl
Aw, this was a really sweet followup to the original book about the mysterious and fascinating Stargirl. She finally gets to tell her own story as she moves to Pennsylvania, meets the usual assortment of people whose lives she can enhance, and moves past her broken heart. I will be nitpicky and point out that the continuity between the books isn't perfect, but like many fans, I am still hoping for more to this story. A-.

2007 book 109

Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl
The sequel to Stargirl debuted at ALA, but being unaware that a sequel was forthcoming, I didn't track a copy down. Imagine my delight when a copy landed on my desk today! I actually have no idea who left it for me and hope s/he reveals her- or himself soon so I can properly express my thanks with cupcakes. Anyway, I had to reread the first one since I didn't really remember much besides "normal boy falls for eccentric girl and betrays her in some way that I don't recall" (which is pretty much the gist of it--lots of high school peer pressure and whatnot). I intended to save the sequel for my trip to Pittsburgh, but I don't think I'm patient enough for that. Anyway, I like the original, so give it a A-.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

2007 book 108

I recently received some suggestions that I should add additional tags to my book reviews for specific genres like YA or mysteries, so I'm going to start doing that from now on. No promises on tagging old entries--it's a little bit of a hassle so it'll have to wait for some day when I'm really bored. :)

Margo Rabb's Cures for Heartbreak
This semi-autobiographical novel (Rabb's first after her Missing Persons series) focuses on a teenage girl whose mother suddenly dies of cancer. As she and her family struggle to cope with their loss, along with her father's failing health, she deals with the typical teenage dramas involving friends and boys. I really enjoyed this, and actually wish there had been more of it; it could easily have been a grown-up coming-of-age novel instead of a YA one. Still, it was a nicely bittersweet read. A-.

hope for harry potter fans

Some spoilers appear in this article about J.K. Rowling's appearance on the Today Show, but there are some interesting tidbits for fans!

Monday, July 23, 2007


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy
My photos from NC are up! They are all of the Harry Potter party at Quail Ridge and the commune kids enjoying Jared and Christina's firepit.

2007 book 107

Hey, I'm back from NC! It was a great weekend--I got to see many of my favorite people, read the new Harry Potter (twice!), experience the joys of communal living, go shopping, etc. I also read a book on the way home:

Howard Norman's Devotion
This book has a really interesting premise--a man and his father-in-law get into a fistfight just after the honeymoon, and the book tells the story of the aftermath of said fight and how and why it occurred. I liked it a lot, but there were occasions of very clumsy exposition, i.e., "Who will be your maid of honor?" "Francie So-and-so." "Ah, your best friend since you were 11." Um . . . ok. Anyway, B+.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

2007 book 106

J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
I tried to pull an all-nighter to finish it, but I crashed and burned a little after 3 (I got up at 4:30 yesterday, after all). It was a delight to sit outside and eat blueberry pancakes and finish it this morning . . . I thought it started off slow but it got SO GOOD like halfway through. Obviously I won't say anything else yet, but I'm ready to discuss it if you are! The safeword for those who have finished is PHOENIX. A+.

Friday, July 20, 2007

2007 book 105

I'm in NC!!!!! I;ve gotten to see several of my favorite people so far and will be seeing more shortly. And I got to go into my favorite comic nbook store and pick up stuff in person! And I got yummy food at Sandwhich and got to admire Christina's amazing garden. Excuse typos, I'm on Christina's computer (mine is doing that awesome thing where it forgets I have a wireless card) and I'm not used to her fancy keyboard.

I oinly read one booki on the way here:

Naeem Murr's The Perfect Man
This was a really great novel about an Indian boy who's shipped off to live in Missouri with a woman who sort of knows his father's family. It's the 1950s and a small town, so he feels out of place, but still makes some great friends. Their story, along with the town's dark secrets, makes for a compelling read. A-.

T minus a-little-under-7-hours to Harry Potter!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

2007 book 104

Trenton Lee Stewart's The Mysterious Benedict Society
Quickly, b/c I have to get back to the World Series of Pop Culture! This is an awesome book about 4 super gifted kids who are recruited by a mysterious gentleman into a plan to stop an evil dude from doing nefarious things. A.


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy
My computer has only been working in fits and starts--as in, sometimes it starts up and sometimes it throws a fit and freezes up. Good times. Since it's working at the moment, I figured I'd post this picture--I brought my Holga to campus the other day and was lucky enough for it to be a day where someone put bubbles in the fountain!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


When libraries sue famous theorists' widows, nobody wins. I actually saw Derrida speak at AAR in 2001--Kate dragged me, b/c after struggling through my lit theory class in college, I wasn't really interested--and to my surprise, he was an adorably engaging man. I was very sorry when he died, and now I'm sorry that UCI's stupidity may mean that his later writings won't be accessible to scholars.

In other news, my laptop may or may not have died (terrible timing, since I'm going on two vacations in the next two weeks and was planning on bringing it), so book updates may be delayed.

Monday, July 16, 2007

2007 book 103

Stef Penney's The Tenderness of Wolves
This was a really riveting novel set in the wild north of Canada in 1867; a woman's son disappears after their neighbor is murdered, and she sets off to track him down, with the help of a mysterious man. Various other characters are drawn into the case, including the relatives of two young girls who disappeared seventeen years earlier, various Hudson Bay Company employees, and a woman living in a religious community. While reading, I was at first annoyed that the son's secret was glaringly obvious and wished Penney would just officially reveal it already, but as the story really got rolling all complaints fell by the wayside. I almost want to reread it, just to try and figure out the narrator's first name! If anyone knows, will you tell me? A.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

2007 book 102

Leonie Swann's Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story
The premise of this mystery is very silly--a flock of sheep tries to solve their shepherd's murder--but although the book was occasionally hilarious, it really wasn't silly at all. Lots of small-town dark secrets are ferreted out by the sheep, led by the one cleverest sheep in all Glennkill. I really enjoyed this and will give it an A, though it's not really a contender for best of the year or anything. Totally a good summer read though.

Friday, July 13, 2007

2007 book 101

Diana Abu-Jaber's Origin
On paper this sounds like most any mystery book--a gifted forensic expert with an asshole ex-husband and a cadre of eccentric co-workers comes to believe that a series of SIDS deaths are actually baby murders. But Abu-Jaber takes this way beyond the formulaic mystery, as the forensic expert's own past (described as "improbable" by the book jacket, to which I'd add the adverb "wildly") starts to seem connected to the baby killer. The only other book by Abu-Jaber I've read before this was her memoir, The Language of Baklava, and I was expecting something this dark, unsettling--and yet completely compelling and, um, AWESOME. A, baby!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

more harry potter

I just got back from seeing the new HP movie. Actually it may be my favorite in the series--mainly b/c I violently dislike the other four movies, and I only disliked little bits of this one. It was really beautiful, so even when it was annoying it managed to be pretty and I could distract myself. I do wish Daniel Radcliffe would extend his acting chops a little and learn to express emotion in ways other than a) shouting, and b) making tortured faces. The kid playing Ron has learned to make way subtler facial expressions than in the earlier film, so props to that guy. And I still hate replacement Dumbledore. But Imelda Staunton was a genius, and Helena Bonham Carter was clearly enjoying playing mad and villainous Bellatrix. I also liked the hints of Ginny the badass and Neville the avenger. Good times.

2007 book 100

Julia Glass' The Whole World Over
I remember loving Glass' previous book, Three Junes, so was excited to finally get her newest novel from the library. And mad props to Glass, b/c it did not disappoint--even though it's mainly the story of a bunch of New Yorkers just before 9/11. It revolves mainly around four characters--Greenie, who is suddenly being wooed by the governor of New Mexico, who needs a personal chef; her husband, Alan, a failing shrink; her friend Walter, a flamboyant restaurateur who takes in his teenage nephew; and Saga, a woman damaged from a past accident. This novel--despite its length--is something to savor (and I'm not just saying that b/c of all the descriptions of desserts!). Glass really brings these characters and their world--from a corner of a Manhattan neighborhood to the sprawling deserts of New Mexico and beyond--to life, and even the minor characters are interesting and lovable (though the governor is something of a caricature). I give it an A, even though I had some mixed feelings about the ending, b/c the writing and characters are just that good.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

harry potter and the media

This issue is something my mom and I were discussing on the phone last night--specifically, what Harry's fate will be (if I'm right and he lives, I get cookies from a certain coworker and friend! If I'm wrong, I owe her cupcakes).

My mom is insisting that I immediately tell her what happens to Harry, so she won't find out about it while watching the news or signing on to AOL or whatever. Of course, as I pointed out, my mom STILL doesn't know What Snape Did in book 6 (she's just reading book 5 now), so perhaps her usual media outlets won't give this away either . . . or maybe I'm putting too much faith in the media? I know everyone is looking at the Sopranos finale as the model here--I, who didn't watch the show, didn't need to read the recaplet on TWoP to find out what happened the following morning, b/c it was EVERYWHERE. (I wasn't avoiding it, though, since I don't watch the show.)

So I do wonder how long it will take for the media to reveal the ending of HP and the Deathly Hallows. I hope that for the sake of the younger and/or slower readers out there, they manage to contain it for a few days, at least.

I'm not worried--I'll be reading the entire thing Friday night, just like last time.

Monday, July 09, 2007

ratatouille and the jews?

The Amateur Gourmet breaks out from his usual awesome food commentary to examine Rataouille as a parable for Jewish assimilation. He raises some interesting points, but the comments aren't very supportive.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

new mix!

It's been a while since I made a mix, but since summer seems to be the time for lots of poppy goodness, it was overdue! Track list below:

Easy - Tracey Thorn
Lay Down Your Weapons - Scissors For Lefty
Let's not Fall Apart - David and the Citizens
Melody Day - Caribou
Aidan Quinn - Thrushes
I Am John - Loney, Dear
Brief Meeting - The Galactic Heroes
Early in the Morning - Cripple Lillies
Heatstroke - Magic Bullets
Tonight I Have to Leave it - Shout Out Louds
Fato Consumado - Milton Banana Trio
If I'm In Luck I Might Get Picked Up - Betty Davis
Paris 2004 - Peter Bjorn & John
Strange Little Girl - Stranglers
Why I Try To Look So Bad - Comet Gain
C'mon Cupid - Roosevelt Grier
Kaboom - Ursula 1000
Track 01 - Imperial Teen

Saturday, July 07, 2007

2007 book 99

J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Less than two weeks till the final HP book is out! I remember before this one came out, parts of it leaked onto the internet; like many other naive people, I clicked a link on some jackass' website that read "Harry Potter fans, click here!" only to be confronted by page 606. Of course that did color my reading of the book--I figured out who the titular Prince must be very early on--but didn't really lessen my enjoyment of it. Still, I've been carefully avoiding anything HP related online till after the new book comes out, just in case.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

2007 book 98

J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The fifth Harry Potter book is my least favorite by a large margin--I always refer to it as Teen Angst Harry Potter. There are some things I like about it--namely the DA, Neville being heroic, and various Weasley antics--but when you spend most of an 800+-page book wanting to give the protagonist a good shake, it can be a little wearing. Having Harry angrily talk in all-caps in multiple scenes isn't my favorite editorial choice, either.

I didn't actually mean to reread this before the movie comes out next week; I was sort of hoping to not really remember all the details, and that maybe the movie would leave out the annoying bits. (I actually have been saying that this is the first HP movie I'd like in a while, since they'd probably just leave in the good parts with the DA and the exciting fight scenes or whatever.) After reading it once again, though, I think this movie will probably annoy me just like the last two. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they'll tone down Harry's attitude problems, but not getting my hopes up . . . Of course I'll still be seeing it opening night. :)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

2007 book 97

J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The new book comes out in just over two weeks!!!!

happy 4th of july!

Originally uploaded by wordnerdy
I made mini vegan red velvet cupcakes with blue and white swirled icing for a 4th of July party. (They're redder in real life.)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

this american life: the tv show

It's finally available for download on itunes! Yay.

YA book reviews

Actual YA kids review three new books over at Nextbook. I actually have Cures for Heartbreak on my hold list at the library!

Monday, July 02, 2007

2007 book 96

Doris Lessing's The Cleft
I have the say, the best part of being a book reviewer is getting to read these totally unexpected books. I don't think I'd ever have chosen this one, but it was a fascinating and thought-provoking story within a story deal--an aging Roman historian telling a tale of human origins, where the first people were all females and were horrified and confused when the first boys were born. I really enjoyed it--A.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

2007 book 95

J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Like I said, I just can't stop! (I read all three in one day.) Now I'm wondering if I can make the final HP book my 100th book of the year, though I think I'll hit 100 before July 21st, since I have three more HP books to read along with a slew of library books. It would be nice to have a big round ceremonial number, but I don't think I can avoid reading anything else for three whole weeks!

2007 books 93 and 94

J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
I wanted to wait till July to start my re-readings, but this may still have been a bit early, b/c now I want to go through the whole series all at once! Only three weeks till the new book comes out!!!

I had a pretty fun weekend--helping a friend shop for a wedding dress, then playing with an adorable puppy AND playing xbox monopoly, followed by a bunch of us going for delicious sushi at Kitcho (their Killer Rolls just about melt in my mouth) and then seeing Ratatouille, which was adorable. How could I not love a Pixar movie all about cooking?? The voice cast was great, too.

Friday, June 29, 2007

apropos of nothing

This article is amaaaaazing. I love how the reporter characterizes the zorse as being the product of a "holiday romance". I'm imagining the cartoon movie now . . .

Also, don't miss the photo caption: "Eclyse has earnt its stripes as one of the zoo's main attractions."

Nice work!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

2007 book 92

I have been overwhelmed by books lately--eight books that I've had on hold for months at the library all came in at once, I got tons of awesome freebies at ALA, PLUS I need to start re-reading the Harry Potters! All that AND the next library book discussion group is less than two weeks away! Of course, I was happy to re-read this one and look forward to the discussion:

Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants
This was one of my favorite books of last year, and it still held up on a second reading. It's the story of a 93-year old man who's flashing back to his days as a circus vet in the 1930s, when trains of circuses were wandering America struggling to keep their acts together. Romance, fistfights, and elephants--all the elements of a perfect story are there! It still gets an A.

If I keep up this frenetic pace, I will be well on my way to breaking my previous most-books-read-in-a-year-record (155, in 2005), or at least since I've been keeping track.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

2007 book 91

Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible
This was an often-hilarious novel about a supergenius supervillain and the team of superheroes trying to bring him down. Told alternately from the villain's POV and one of the hero group's newest members, a cyborg girl, the story manages to maintain a high level of dramatic tension while throwing in a few twists. Grossman pokes a lot of fun at the superhero/villain relationship (I especially enjoyed the appendix, which really brings out the cliches) but all of his characters are interesting and whatnot. I think readers of Powers would probably enjoy this. It gets an A, because of course I am a nerd.

2007 book 90

Ann Brashares' The Last Summer (of You and Me)
Brashares, author of all those books about pants, has written her first adult novel (though honestly I'm not sure I could tell the difference, except that the characters were in their 20s and the font was smaller). Anyway, it's about a summer beach town, two sisters, and the boy next door. I think Brashares is shooting for depth, but doesn't quite make it--it's extremely predictable and seems like the perfect book to read at the beach. Eh, B.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

2007 books 88 and 89

I'm back from ALA and wow, what a weekend! Getting back was a hassle and a half, but at least I read two books (plus one volume of the Azumanga Daoih manga, the latest New Yorker, an issue of Mental Floss . . . the usual while being delayed in airports).

Dana Reinhardt's A Brief Chapter in my Impossible Life
This YA novel was the recipient of a few awards within the Jewish book community, so I was psyched to meet its author and get her signature while at ALA. It's a really likable book too, about an adopted teenage girl whose birth mother suddenly wants to meet her. I really enjoyed the way it all played out, though there were a few too many moments of Jewish education for my taste. I already know all about Passover and Hannukah, thanks, and I think the non-Jews in the audience don't need to be talked down to. Anyway, A-/B+.

Dalia Sofer's The Septembers of Shiraz
In this novel, an Iranian Jewish gem dealer is arrested just after the Iranian revolution. What happens to him and his family in the aftermath of his arrest is a really moving story. I especially liked the way his daughter was written, and wondered if this novel was a little autobiographical--apparently Sofer and her family fled Iran in 1982, when she was 10. I also suspect she's Jewish--her last name is Hebrew for "writer". A-.

Monday, June 25, 2007

east side story?

Arianne and I went on a tour of the Folger Shakespeare Library this afternoon, where, while perusing their current exhibit (Shakespeare in American Life), I discovered what may be the awesomest fact of all time!

It turns out that when Leonard Bernstein was originally working on his musical version of Romeo and Juliet, he envisioned it as EAST Side Story, with the gangs being Jewish and Italian!! In fact, in his original conception of the main parts of each scene, for the second scene he had written, "ball or seder or motzi shabbat" with motzi shabbat written in Hebrew/Yiddish letters! How cool is that? And imagine what a different movie that would have been . . .

2007 book 87

Claire Matturo's Sweetheart Deal
I think I would describe this mystery as a southern-fried cozy. The author, a former professor at FSU's school of law, creates a story set in a tiny SW Georgia town called Bugfest. The protagonist is a high-powered attorney (who possibly has a series--there were allusions to past events that indicated so) who returns to her hometown after her mother apparently shoots and kills a man. She's drawn into trying to figure out what happened, adventures ensue, ex-loggers try to set her up with their available sons, etc. There were few twists and turns and the villain was slightly cartoonish, but it was still entertaining enough for those few minutes before sessions were starting. B.

Back to conferencing!

Friday, June 22, 2007

2007 book 86

Andrew O'Hagan's Be Near Me
I only read one book on the way to ALA (I slept on the plane, and read the newest issue of Craft magazine), and was really excited for it, b/c I loved O'Hagan's Personality. Unfortunately, this novel involved one of my least favorite plot points--an old dude forming an inappropriate relationship with someone much, much younger. And O'Hagan is way too young to be writing a book about a pretentious old British priest who takes a post in a tiny town in Scotland and forms a friendship with two drug-addled asshole teenagers. The conclusion was extremely predictable, the main character was weak-willed and unlikable, and there was an abundance of interminable dinner parties discussing the situation in Iraq and fine wines. Ugh. C-.

Here's hoping for some stellar advance copies to make up for this torturous read!

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I'm an oldest child, so clearly I think this study is totally on the ball.

I'm off to ALA in the morning! The free advance copies are just one of the things I'm looking forward to. :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

news for knitters

The latest Stitch 'n' Bitch book, which is a whole collection of patterns for dudes, is available for preorder . . . and my friend Stef has a pattern in it! It's even on the cover!! (I believe it's the one on the far left.) She is a knitting superstar!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

2007 book 85

Will Allison's What You Have Left
This novel, told in alternating chapters by three of its main characters, revolves around a little girl whose mother dies in an accident and whose father leaves her at her grandfather's to be raised. As she struggles through life as a virtual orphan, her father has struggles of his own . . . and so on. I really liked all of these characters and the ending didn't feel forced. A-.

Monday, June 18, 2007


I got home from work to find two awesome packages--one from my mom, of a homemade tote bag and a bunch of yarn, and one from Chapel Hill Comics, containing the new issues of Y the Last Man, Fables, Buffy, and SiP (the final issue--though the series has been dead in teh water for a couple of years), plus Re-Gifters and Plain Janes (the first two books on the teen girl-oriented Minx label from DC), Jason Shiga's Bookhunter (library-oriented! I believe this is the published version of his infamous webcomic), Fashion Kitty, Rutu Modan's Exit Wounds, and the new Stuck in the Middle anthology. Needless to say, I am a happy girl and comics fan!