Sunday, August 31, 2008


OK, enough already with media bombarding me with images of cruelty and neglect toward animals! And I'm not even talking about those Animal Cops shows on Animal Planet. I was already feeling sad enough about animals after reading Rilla of Ingleside today, in which a beloved kitten is drowned and a wonderful dog spends the entirety of WWI waiting at the train station for his master to come home*. It's a trend I've seen in some more recent literature as well. Mad Men tonight was really the last straw. I demand recommendations for books and tv shows and movies where dogs and cats are petted and loved and nothing bad happens to them.

*Just like the episode of Futurama about Fry's dog. I saw it once and cried for about ten minutes afterward. Whenever that episode is on, I quickly change the channel.

the middleman

OK, so the season finale (and I'm hoping not the series finale) of The Middleman airs tomorrow (Monday, Labor Day) on ABC Family at 10. And I'm encouraging you all to watch it--I always mean to mention it more, but I haven't talked about it at all since it first aired, mainly b/c I'm lazy and forgetful. But--it really is a GREAT show and I think anyone I'm friends with would love it! As I said last time I talked about it, it's like a cross between Buffy and Get Smart, with hilarious pop culture references and really great characters. It makes me crazy that it doesn't get more media attention or promotion (I'm watching Sound of Music on ABS Fam right now, and every commercial break has featured an ad for their really terrible show about the pregnant teen--no really, I watched it twice, and it's terrible--and not ONE for the Middleman! And I think there would be some audience overlap b/w ppl like me who enjoy watching a family of singers trick and flee from the Nazis and those like me who enjoy watching snarky characters save the world from other various forms of evil). The point is, the show is really good, so please watch it while you can, or watch it on the show's website, or download it from itunes, b/c it really needs some love to get a renewal and I really want it to get renewed.

Thank you for your time.

2008 books 130, 131, 132, 133, and 134

L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne's House of Dreams, Anne of Ingleside, Rainbow Valley, and Rilla of Ingleside
Yes, I have read the rest of the series over the past couple of days--perfect for a holiday weekend and I can't wait to discuss!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

2008 book 129

L.M. Montgomery's Anne of the Island
I've been trying to hold off on reading these so I won't get too far ahead of the discussions, but it's not working! And I can't WAIT to talk about this one! It's two weeks away, though, so for now let's keep talking about Anne of Avonlea (below). :)

Anne of Avonlea discussion!

Post your thoughts on Anne of Avonlea here!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

recently shared links

Great piece about how Quail Ridge bookstore created a phenomenon. (Though I personally didn't love the book.)

Cutest camera EVERRRRRR. I want it in baby blue. I've been thinking about replacing my digital camera (which still works great at 4 years old, but which I accidentally close almost every time I try to take a picture, which makes me crazy) and this one, besides being highly attractive, has some great features.

In other tech-I-lust-for news, it looks like a new version of the Kindle is heading down the pipeline--and it's (slightly) more affordable! Hanukkah present maybe? ;)

And finally--how excited am I for the Merge Records 20th anniversary box set? (Um, VERY!) No worries, Triangle denizens, I will most definitely be in town for the 20th anniversary festivities.

Ooh, wait, tangentially related--long piece on Scharpling and Wurster in the AV Club. That's for all the Friends of Tom out there. (Or for their wives, who actually read this blog.)

Monday, August 25, 2008

2008 book 128

Danit Brown's Ask for a Convertible
A series of interconnected stories centering on an Israeli girl who moves with her family to Michigan, this book is surprisingly powerful and even funny. It deals with ome of the usual themes of stories dealing with immigration to America, but protagonist Osnat continually feels in search of a home. Interestingly, the two stories told in first person aren't Osnat's--one narrator is an Israeli man in Michigan, and the other is Osnat's mother. It's great how all of these characters and their stories are intertwined--A. On an unrelated note, the book has blurbs from Julianna Baggott (who I generally love) and Hannah Tinti (whose new novel I am dying to read, but the public library hasn't ordered it!! WTF! It got a huge review in Entertainment Wekly).

Saturday, August 23, 2008

2008 book 127

Poppy Adams' Sister
This is a little Whatever happened to Baby Jane? as a recluse welcomes home her sister after nearly fifty years. Their backstory starts to emerge (and is easy to figure out despite the unreliable narrator), but things take a turn for the totally ridiculous at the end. C.

2008 books 125 and 126

Hey, I'm totally stranded in Charlotte right now, thanks to Tropical Storm Fay, so I might as well blog the two books I've read this weekend.

Jincy Willett's The Writing Class
I love this trend of more literary mysteries--here, a has-been novelist is teaching a writing class and one student is terrorizing the others anonymously and to an increasingly creepy extent. Willett is a funny writer and this book has some great moments. A.

Linn Ullmann's A Blessed Child
Random House sent me an advance copy of this (they think it will be a hit with book groups, and I can see why), and it seemed interesting enough to make it onto my book pile, and generally did not disappoint. Basically, it's about three half-sisters who decide to visit their elderly father at his home on an island, as they flash back to their childhood summers and the one summer where things went awry. Here's the NY Times review--I hadn't realized that Ullman was Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman's daughter, but that does mean there's some added interest in this tale of the relationship between fathers and daughters. B+.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

some library-related links

Lego Batgirl! (Batgirl is a librarian.)

A library has banned a children's knitting group. Seriously, WTF. (Via Ravelry and Unshelved)

This new book collecting Stan and Jan Berenstain's cartoons is notable for the one that takes place in a library (see the link). I love how horrified the librarian is that someone would ask for comic books.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

2008 book 124

L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Avonlea
I love these books--it's going to take all my willpower not to read them all at once! Don't forget that we're still discussing the first Anne book below. :)

Monday, August 18, 2008


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy
OMG awesome! I won a contest on Evan Dorkin's blog and he drew me this pencil sketch of the devil puppet and sent me all his books, signed. (I owned a couple of his books already, since I am a fangirl, but now I have lots more!) I am SO getting this framed!

In other comics news, check out this new comic by Bryan Lee O'Malley and Hope Larson. It's adorable AND hilarious.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Anne of Green Gables discussion!!

I meant to post this last night but didn't get the chance--the Anne of Green Gables book discussion thread is now open! Post any and all comments on the first book here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

2008 book 123

Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go
I was glad to reread this, since it's been a few ears and the details were hazy. It's the freshman reading book this year, a big departure from last year's, but I'm looking forward to discussing it at the first library book discussion meeting.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

2008 book 122

Karin Fossum's Black Seconds
This Norwegian mystery centers on a little girl who disappears and the police detective trying to solve the case. I figured out (mostly) what had happened before the end, but still liked the way it wrapped up. B+.

2008 book 121

Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop's December
A slightly troubled little girl hasn't spoken in nine months, and as her parents grow increasingly frazzled, her school threatens to kick her out. I wasn't really that moved by the story or the characters--B/B-.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

2008 book 120

Haven Kimmel's Iodine
I loved Kimmel's early novels, but was a little disappointed with her last one, and was hoping this would make up for it. But, no, it's just totally weird and depressing, told alternating in third person and ramblig stream-of-consciousness first person, about a girl who's a star college student under a fake name b/c she had a traumatic childhood, but she's just totally off her rocker. Not fun to read, at all. Plus there's sad stuff where she neglects her dog. The end attempts to explain these things but it just made it all more annoying. D.

2008 book 119

L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables
I always forget how truly great this book is and I'm looking forward to discussing it on Friday! (I'll probably put an entry up on Thursday night so it'll be ready for the 15th.)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

hp7 discussion/2008 book 118

I did reread book 7 while home sick today, just in time for the discussion! Post comments about the final HP books (and any other HP-related comments) here.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

2008 book 117

Eileen Favorite's The Heroines
Considering that this book had a fascinating premise--the heroines of literature, frm Ophelia to Emma Bovary to Franny Glass, come and stay at a bed and breakfast owned by a woman and her thirteen year old daughter--this story turned out to be kind of lame. Really poor execution. B-.

Monday, August 04, 2008


For those who, like myself, would rather watch puppies frolic than watch televised sporting events, Animal Planet is following up on the amazing Puppy Bowl with the Puppy Games!! I am SO watching this on Friday. The Olympics are super boring and I love puppies.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

2008 book 117

Stephenie Meyers' Breaking Dawn
I went into this prepared to think it would be cheesy and satisfying. The first part was all Bella and Edward, and they're both a little annoying, so I was like, meh. And the second part was the werewolves, which I liked quite a bit--their group dynamics are fascinating. And then there was the third part--and I was so ready to write a scathing review of how ridiculous so many things were (one minor thing made me crazy! I'll hint at it in the comments)--except that I did, actually, find the end satisfying. And cheesy. B/B-.

PS to Christina--be sure to read the acknowledgements!


2008 book 116

Terry Pratchett's Nation
I can't believe how many really, really good books I managed to pick up at ALA. This was another one--it's about the aftermath of I believe a tsunami that wipes out entire villages on several small islands. A young man, the only survivor of his village, encounters a young British girl who is the only survivor of a shipwreck. For a minute I was worried that things were going to go all Blue Lagoon (I don't know why--Pratchett is a reliably good author), but instead various strangers make their way to the island and they all try to rebuild civilization together. It's not as flat-out funny as most of Prachett's novels, but there are some nice tongue-in-cheek moments. Either way, it's a really compelling story. Things do take a slightly unreal turn toward the end, but I liked it. The back of the book claims that Pratchett is coming to seven cities (including Raleigh, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh) but I don't know if that's still the case due to his Alzheimer's diagnosis. Anyway, A.

Saturday, August 02, 2008


Breaking Dawn is being released right now all over the east coast, but this review makes me second-guess my enjoyment of the series. Maybe the last volume redeems things?

Anywya, I'm in Athens at the moment for Team Clermont summer camp (I made a lanyard!) so I won't be reading it for a few days. I'll let you know my thoguhts now that I'm reading it for more than the vampire vs werewolf drama.