Monday, June 30, 2008

2008 books 93 and 94

Francine Prose's Goldengrove
Prose, author of A Changed Man (about a neo-Nazi who claims to be reformed and wants to work for an organization founded by a Holocaust survivor) takes a really different tack with her new novel. It's about a young girl who's older sister suddenly dies one summer. It's really moving, though the ending felt a little rushed. A-.

Deborah Copaken Kogan's Between Here and April
I had mixed feelings about this book--which centers on a journalist who suddenly remembers the disappearance of her best friend when they were six and investigates the story--though it did come together for me toward the end. The subject matter is even darker than Goldengrove, as it deals with depressed mothers hurting their children in various ways. B/B+.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

2008 books 91 and 92

A.D. Byatt's Possession
Of course I've read this before, a few times, but it's been several years and it seemed like a good airplane book. I didn't finish it till yesterday though. It's still a really compelling literary mystery.

Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book
Hell yes I got an advance copy of this!! It's about a little boy raised by ghosts in a graveyard and it was pretty awesome!

Sorry to be so brief, ALA has me exhausted!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

2008 book 90

Forgot to post this yesterday--ALA's been pretty busy! I only read one book on the plane--I mostly napped and watched Venture Bros. on my ipod. BTW, first class is SO worth it. I have no idea how I'll go back to coach on Tuesday!

Anywya, I read Michele Martinez's Most Wanted, which is the first book in he series about federal prosecutor Melanie Vargas. I like this series a lot and this was no exception, as Melanie tries to figure out how a fellow prosecutor was tortured and murdered.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

2008 book 89

Kirsten Miller's Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City
I really love this series and have no idea why it isn't super popular and famous. I wish I'd re-read this one earlier; it has some great tips on how to save knocked-out teeth that I could have used a couple months ago! Seriously, I would have LOVED these books when I was a kid. Educational AND entertaining events ensue as a band of pre-teens with special skills explore an underground city in New York.

2008 book 88

S. Morgenstern's The Silent Gondoliers
It turns out William Goldman wrote another book as S. Morgenstern, only this one isn't good at all.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

lip gloss reviews

I'm pretty into lip gloss--it's the only makeup I wear--so I don't know why I never talk about it here. I mean, there are classics like the various Lipsmacker flavors (my sister got me the Starburst flavors to cheer me up after I got hit by a car--we share a love of lip gloss), and then there are exciting new summer trends. Here's some of what I've been using lately:

Earlier in the spring I was using Carol's Daughter Candy Paint (and felt very validated when Mindy Kaling raved about it). The color was nice and sheer, but I didn't love the texture and I had to squeeze out a ton of clear goo before the actual lip gloss came out. So I decided not to buy a new tube when mine started to run out.

Instead, I bought the Too Faced Mood Swing lipgloss when I was in NC for my birthday--now, of course I know it's not actually mood activated--I'm pretty sure it's heat activated--but I love it! In this terribly hot Florida weather, it turns bright pink and I get lots of compliments (mainly from my grad assistant, but still). It's perfect for summer--fun, shiny, smooth, etc.

I also recently got Too Faced's Glamour Gloss, which has a hilarious fuzzy tip and you like crank up the gloss bit and it comes out of all these holes and is reminiscent of a play-doh extruder. Anyway, I have it in "Love Bites" which is really more of a metallic neutral color then a plum shimmer, but it's pretty cute anyway. It has a texture somewhere between gloss and lipstick, which generally works for me. It does get all over my water bottle, though, and it's not super long lasting. I'll bring it to ALA and see how it goes.

Aren't you thrilled to hear all about my lip gloss!

more tv, etc

Following up on yesterday's post re: summer tv . . . I actually didn't really watch the VH1 shows last night. Simon Doonan is hilarious, and of course I love Wil Wheaton, and I've been a Michael Ian Black fan since high school (when The State was on), but I jsut don't really care what any of them have to say about Clay Aiken or the Paris Hilton sex tape. Instead I ended up watching this ridiculous movie on Lifetime starring Fred Savage as the abusive boyfriend of Candace Cameron. It was clearly an early 90s movie based on the terrible hair and clothes (I believe Michelle Phillips was playing Candace's mom--in one scene, she's wearing a poofy white shirt with a denim vest, a shiny black flowered skirt, and black cowboy boots. And Candace wore mom jeans throughout). Anyway, it got pretty intense since (spoiler alert!) Fred kills her. Sally Jessy Raphael played the judge at his trial and gives an awesome and heavy handed speech about how no one helped poor Candace even though they all knew she was being beaten up, and domestic violence is wrong, and everyone who ignores it sucks. I especially thought the character of Candace's best friend sucked, since the night of the murder she got annoyed at Candace for talking about her breakup with Fred and actually said, "This is a party, [Candace]! If you're going to talk about [Fred], then leave!" Dude, for one thing, it was a bowling alley, and for another, the scene takes place a week after their breakup. If a girl can't whine to her friends about her scary ex a week after their breakup, they are not really very good friends. Anyway, it was a slightly hilarious yet sad period piece of a movie.

Speaking of period pieces, I also watched the 2001 Love in a Cold Climate recently (starring the mean stepsister from Ever After and the dude who played young Voldemort in the second HP movie). It was a very compressed version of the two Nancy Mitford novels--clearly entire plot points were missing, like we see the narrator with a baby and she never even mentioned she was pregnant--so it made me want to reread the book and remember all the stuff that was left out. Plus, two nvoels in one--perfect for the flight to ALA! Unfortunately, it seems that I got rid of the book during the great book culling of '07. I can't think why I did that--I think the Mitford sisters are totally fascinating and that novel is really autobiographical--but it's definitely no longer in my possession. Just goes to show why you should never get rid of books! You never know when you might desperately need to reread some crazy novel about young girls and their politics and their romances in the 1930s and 40s.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

summer tv

I haven't been relying on my Netflix queue as much this summer--mainly b/c I grew sick of Monarch of the Glen in season 5 and returned a bunch of discs unwatched, but also b/c there have actually been some good shows on. I already mentioned the cartoon Total Drama Island, a Survivor parody, but I am also really into ABC Family's The Middleman (starring Lars from Psycho Beach Party!), a hilarious and retro cross between 60s spy shows and Buffy. USA's In Plain Sight has been consistently watchable (if not super awesome) and I've even been watching the new LO:CIs with Goren and Eames (my dislike of Mr Big spills over into his Law and Order character, unfortunately). And lots more stuff is coming soon-- Avatar, Psych, and The Secret Life of the American Teenager (which is by that awful 7th Heaven person, but stars Molly Ringwald! And might be good?).

And of course, I'm always a sucker for VH1's I Love Something series, and new ones are on all week! (Unfortunately, Perez Hilton is on them, and he is super annoying, but otherwise they're reliably funny.)

Monday, June 23, 2008

2008 book 87

Terry Pratchett's Feet of Clay
Yet another amusing Prachett novel, this one involving a police force that include werewolves, trolls, and dwarves as members, some golems, some vampires, etc, all caught up in a murder attempt. The characters were great but the storyline was a little all over the place. B/B-.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

2008 book 86

Ceridwen Dovey's Blood Kin
In some unidentified country, a coup occurs and the President and several of his staff--his chef, his barber, and his portrait-painter--are taken hostage. The men alternate in telling their stories--and then their women get the chance--a fairly startling portrait of regime change occurs. I liked the ending--really my only beef was that it was a pretty short novel, and I wish Dovey had gone more in-depth into the characters and what they witnessed. B+.

hp5 discussion thread

The discussion of HP and the Order of the Phoenix will be on July 11th (slightly delayed since the other discussant and I will be at ALA). Feel free to join in, or to comment on HP4's discussion, which is still going on (just scroll down)!

2008 book 85

Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why
So this is the story of a high schooler who receives a box of cassette tapes in the mail--they're from a classmate (and his crush) who recently killed herself, telling the reasons why. As he spends the night listening to her story, her heartbreaking story unfolds. I mean, I thought it was pretty heartbreaking, though, sadly, not necessarily unusual. Anyway, A.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I was all set to write something about this hilarious cartoon I've been watching called Total Drama Island (about a bunch of teens on a Survivor-type show) when I followed Jezebel's link to these comic strips about the earthquake in China. I highly recommend reading them, but several have actually made me cry, so maybe wait till you're at home.

2008 book 84

Will Lavender's Obedience
OK, this book TOTALLY gave me the willies. I was like, if I read this tonight I won't be able to sleep, but if I don't finish it, the not-knowing will really make me unable to sleep. It's about a college professor teaching a logic class where the students have to solve a hypothetical kidnapping before the victim is killed, and the three students who get really caught up in the mystery. I will say that I called both (all three?) twist endings, but not in a way that I minded--the story made sense--and there were a few other twists that kept things lively. Still, I'm a little jumpy. :) A.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

2008 book 83

Phillippe Claudel's By a Slow River
A policeman is haunted by three deaths that all occurred within one year of WWI--a young schoolteacher's suicide, the murder of a little girl, and his own wife's death during childbirth. The story was a little slow--though a nice portrait of a small town--and I had very mixed feelings about the ending (the twist I liked, the part I guessed was horrible). B/B-.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

2008 book 82

JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Oh my gosh, do I love this book, even after reading it probably more than twenty times. The discussion thread will be posted on Wednesday so start thinking of things to say now!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

2008 book 81

Aleksander Hemon's The Lazarus Project
Apparently Hemon wrote this afer receiving one of those MacArthur genius grants. I think some elements must be autobiographical--it's about a Bosnian writer living in Chicago who is researching a book about a young Jewish man (the titular Lazarus Averbuch) who was murdered by Chicago's chief of police in 1908 (this is true). I was more interested in the bits about Lazarus than the bits about the writer, who isn't a very likable character, and I almost totally lost interest after a scene where a dog is casually tortured. Just thinking about that one small paragraph makes me sick and dropped this book a few grades. B-.

2008 book 80

Micheline Aharonian Marcom's The Mirror in the Well
This is yet another book I wouldn't have read if I hadn't been assigned to review it. It was just unpleasant to read--no plot to speak of, and way-too-graphic and non-sexy sex scenes on just about every other page. D.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

2008 book 79

William Goldman's The Princess Bride
This movie was on tv the other night and I realized it'd been a long time since I read the book, so of course I dug it out. And it was just as clever and fun as I remembered--really, it's a slightly brilliant book, and when I was a kid I really believed it was an abridgement and all of Goldman's notes were true--but then I got to the bit with the fire swamp and was like, eh, it's not as awesome from here, and put it down for a couple days. But then it was on again tonight so I picked it up and finished it, and actually it is pretty awesome throughout. I can't believe I almost missed "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father--prepare to die!" (That scene is actually on tv as I type this.) I really vacillate over which is better, the movie or the book--it's hard, b/c of course all the best lines from the book made it into Goldman's script for the movie--but currently I'm enjoying both.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Multimedia message

Multimedia message
Originally uploaded by wordnerdy
Here is a video of JB meowing (turn the volume up to get the full effect--he's a loud dude). I took this with my cameraphone, hence the not-great quality. This meow means, "Why aren't you feeding me????"

2008 book 78

Terry Prachett's Wyrd Sisters
I enjoyed Witches Abroad, so I figured I'd read another Discworld book about the witches (I have several of your recommendations on my library hold list--this one came in first). It was an entertaining story, as the witches have to deal with a ghost kind and a royal baby, but not quite as awesome as the other one. B.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

hp4 discussion

Since HP4 is long-ish and we have lots of stuff going on, the next discussion date will be June 18th--midweek fun!

Also, there's a 10th anniversary edition of the first book coming out. Yes, I did preorder it, to no one's surprise.

Monday, June 02, 2008

2008 book 77

Nicci French's Losing You
French is apparently the pseudonym of a husband-and-wife writing team, and I liked this mystery/thriller enough to maybe check out their other books. It revolves around a woman whose daughter goes missing just as they're about to leave on vacation--all the action takes place over a day and so the novel is pretty fast-paced, which I enjoyed. The end was pretty abrupt, but I was pleased at the resolution. B+.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

2008 book 76

Margot Livesey's The House on Fortune Street
Earlier today I was reading a book I just couldn't get into (Andrew Altschul's Lady Lazarus, clearly inspired by Kurt Cobain and his daughter) and remembered that the joy of library books is that there's no obligation to finish the annoying ones. So I picked up this one instead and read it straight through, b/c it was excellent. It's the story of two best friends, their signficant others, and one's estranged father, told from the points of view of four of them. It's really kind of a heartbreaking story, but in a satisfying way. A.