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My copy of Claverhouse, by Gordon Daviot, finally came! It took two months and four days to arrive. This verifies my theory that the postal services of multiple countries hate me. The book isn't in great shape, but it's fine. It has a musty, used bookstore smell to it, which I like in musty, used bookstores. Not so much in the kitchen when I'm eating my lunch. But so far I'm enjoying the story very much.
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Author John Hart calls himself a "recovering attorney" and he's been compared to John Grisham and Scott Turow. This book reminded me of The Client. But I liked this better. The book debuted at number 10 on the NY Times bestseller list this week. Hart's first book was nominated for an Edgar for best new author and his second, Down River, won an Edgar for best mystery.
Nathan has had a bad day. His crush made a point of telling him he's not invited to her Halloween party, he didn't get picked for any of the teams in gym class, and he tanked at the popular video game, making him a Loser. He doesn't think his day can get any worse, but boy is he wrong. In a science experiment gone wrong, Nathan is soaked with a chemical that kills off parts of him in a zombie-like way. Doncha hate it when that happens?
He has to hide his new abilities from his parents (he doesn't have a heartbeat, or need to eat, sleep or breathe) and work with his friends to concoct an antidote before he's completely changed forever. Amongst all the fun, Nathan and his friends (and even some of his enemies) learn to be kinder and less obsessed with their social standing. There are lots of clever little jokes--the gym teachers are Mr. Lomux and Ms. Gristle, the art teacher is Mr. Dorian, they go to Belgosi Upper Elementary (Bela Legosi, anyone?) and another school is Borloff Lower (hello-Boris Karloff?). At the end of the book Nathan has to make a choice and things are resolved for now--not exactly in the way he expected--but the setup is there for the next book in the series.
Nathan's descriptions of the quirks of the other kids and his parents made me laugh throughout the book, and it's just gross enough that my 9 year old nephew will love it. It will appeal to older kids, too--though the characters are in 5th grade, the kids seemed older to me and I can see 6-7 graders liking it, too.
I got to hear Mr. Lubar read some of his short stories and his delivery was amazing and hilarious. As I read My Rotten Life I kept hearing him telling the story, and that added to the fun. I expect this book will be a big hit with the kids at my school--as are most all of his other books.
This book will be available in August.
Isn't that lovely? That's how it is outside, today. Spring.
(from The Sorceress and the Cygnet)
Melusine by Sarah Monette: I liked it. It reminds me very much of Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner books. Hunky, tortured heroes, lots of action, evil magicians. I've started The Virtu, the second book in the series. My one complaint has to do with the language. The setting is an exotic fantasy one and the author uses lots of made-up words to mean dates and periods of time. The terms are never defined by our standards, which is fine. It was kind of fun to try to figure out what they meant. But Mildmay speaks in a lower-class vernacular, with lots of swearing and that got repetitious after awhile. He uses phrases that seemed jarring to me, "barbecue sauce" and "numbnuts" are two that come to mind. Those are minor things, though, and I especially liked the way the narration went back and forth between the two men. It kept things interesting.
The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley: This one really wasn't my thing. Something about the heroine put me off. The book reminded me very much of the movie "The Village" with the same sort of menacing, unseen evil always there, waiting to pounce. It was beautifully written, however, and the main character's voice was unusual and well done.
I'm delighted that The White Darkness and The Invention of Hugo Cabret were given awards by the ALA today. I had figured Hugo Cabret for a Newbery but the Caldecott makes more sense, I suppose. A colleague sent me the link to this cool interview with author Brian Selznick.
Now I'm reading Un Lun Dun by China Mieville. There's a glossary in the book to help translate British to American and I'm puzzled by the usage of the word "quite." The book says:
Quite: When Americans say something is "quite good / bad / etc.," you mean it is "very" good / bad / etc. When Brits say it, we sometimes mean it in just the same way -- but then sometimes we mean something is only "fairly," or "moderately," or "kind-of-but-not-extremely" good / bad / etc. It can be confusing."
My question: Who can explain this to me? Is it in the tone of voice, like sarcasm?
Oh, and I was "quite" tickled to find that China Mieville is a burly-looking guy.
Here's one of my favorite quotes from the book:
"A cat can make you feel well rested when you're tired or turn a rage into a calm just by sitting on your lap. His very nearness is a healing song."
I really, really liked this book. It was very different. Don't read any farther if you have not read the book because you will see
So, what happened at the end? Did Keturah go off with Lord Death? Was the entire thing only one of her stories? Who is Naomi?
Naomi was not a character in the book. The addition of "Naomi" made me wonder whether the entire book was one of Keturah's stories and not a true telling of anything that had happened to her. Naomi can't be her child--if she went off with Lord Death she cannot have children.
Did anyone else cry when she talked about never having children?
Did you love the urgency at the beginning when she thought she had 24 hours to find her one true love? Then the relaxation of the story when she realized she would not find her love during that time frame, that there was so much more to it than what she had thought, and that Death would not claim her immediately?
Guess what was waiting for me at work? A box of books fromsdn !
Here's what she sent me:
Tam Lin - Dean
Foundling - Cornish
Truth Teller’s tale - Shinn
I am Mordred - Springer
The Son of Summer Stars - Pierce
Enchantress from the stars - Engdahl
Journey between worlds - Engdahl
The blue mirror - Koja
Tersias the oracle - Taylor
Anatopsis - Abouzeid
Moon-Flash - Mckillip
Mariel of redwall - Jacques
Wolf Tower - Lee
The dragon hoard - Lee
Intersteller Pig - Sleator
The tough guide to fantasyland - DWJ
The riddle of the wren - de Lint
The secret country - Dean
The Faery Reel edited by Datlow, Windling
Piratical II - Lee
I suppose I'll really have to get off my lazy ass, now, and start that Fantasy Book Club I've been talking about.
|What Be Your Nerd Type? |
Your Result: Literature Nerd
Does sitting by a nice cozy fire, with a cup of hot tea/chocolate, and a book you can read for hours even when your eyes grow red and dry and you look sort of scary sitting there with your insomniac appearance? Then you fit this category perfectly! You love the power of the written word and it's eloquence; and you may like to read/write poetry or novels. You contribute to the smart people of today's society, however you can probably be overly-critical of works. It's okay. I understand.
|What Be Your Nerd Type?|
Quizzes for MySpace
A continuation from the previous post. The YALSA YA Breakfast and the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet.
Oh, and the dessert was awesome. Then I went back to my hotel room and hacked into an unsecured wireless network. Take that, Hilton!
Next post: The highlight of the conference, the Printz Reception.
Tomorrow I'll continue with tall tales of the YA Author Breakfast, the Newbery Banquet and the Printz Reception.
No sympathy, please! I mean it.
I really mean it. I'm just venting. I ♥ LJ.
Here is my exciting news...
Meg is a strong main character, and the issues of a woman's place in that society are realistically portrayed, as Meg considers what she sees as her only choice in life--marriage and child-rearing. Edward's character is wonderfully complex, and his narrative vividly describes North Africa and his Muslim captors in a way that surprises Meg. I loved Meg's complicated relationship with her father, which is just one of the ways that the details of the time period are subtly woven into this story. I thought it was brilliant.
What I found most fascinating about the book was how it realistically described the way that ignorance and stereotypes--in this case, about Islam--can be overcome, and I think it is written in a way that will make teen readers think carefully about their own prejudices. I'd recommend it especially to girls, ages 13 and up.
Back to school tomorrow. We'll see.
This is pretty cool--another friend is having author Sonnenblick visit her school in a few weeks. I am very jealous. She says he is a very amiable and friendly guy, and she is actually having him and some colleagues to her house for dinner. As an afterthought, she asked him if he has any food dislikes and he told her, "Oh, it's a good thing you asked because I am deathly allergic to shellfish." I told her it would be hard to explain if YOU KILLED YOUR AUTHOR.
I finished Jane Eyre and am so sorry I waited until now to read it. For a classic it is very readable and it has aged well. Thanks for shaming me into it, guys.
At 149 pages, it's a quick read, and Doug is chilling and scary, yet sympathetic. I guessed the secret on page 73, but that didn't spoil anything for me. I think the book would appeal to older teen boys, and this is what S. and I were arguing about. As I read, I felt as if I was watching a movie and I think guys who like realistic, suspenseful movies would like it. She felt it would appeal more to girls who might be attracted to the "emotional" end of the story. I'm going to encourage/force some eighth grade readers to give it a try and see what they think. Hautman is a great author, and I loved his book Sweetblood a few years ago. He's a cool guy and visited an online book group to discuss it with us. Invisible is another of his that I'll recommend to the older kids at my school.