Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Top Ten Words/Topics That Will Make Me NOT Pick Up a Book

I have to say, I loved the positive version of this topic, but there's something more deliciously wicked about this one-Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Words/Topics That Will Make Me NOT Pick Up a Book

1. Romance

Sorry guys, just not into the schmoopy stuff.

2. Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

Bleh. So many mysteries are so predictable. There are some great ones, they're just few and far between.

3. Horror

Not my thing.

4. "Action-packed"

As far as I can tell, this is code for all plot and little to no character or world-building.

5. Dan Brown or "Like The Da Vinci Code"

If it's an author I haven't cared for or compared to an author or book I don't care for, it will be a lot harder to get me to pick it up.

6. "Like Pride and Prejudice"

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen. But too often this is just code for girly romantic comedy, reflecting the widespread social misunderstandings about Austen.

7. Shopping

If it mentions shopping or clothes or makeup in the title, I'm not interested, sorry. It occurs to me that I probably miss out on some good books this way. Boo marketing.

8. Chick lit

I have a love/hate relationship with so-called chick lit. On the one hand, some of what is marketed as chick lit is really great literary fiction that happens to be focused on women. However, sometimes it means books that focus on shallow and stereotypically female topics without delving deeper into what it all really means.

9. "If you want to land a man, you should really read this book..."

...Or something to that effect. I'm not in the market and if I were, I wouldn't try to trick someone into getting with me. That's a recipe for disaster.

10. "If you want to lose weight, you should really read this book..."

...or something to that effect. I don't need you to screw with my body image, I like it just the way it is. Thanks.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Belated Thank-you to Tor

To be honest, I've been swamped these past several months, between graduate school, my health, and my current summer job.

And there have been packages filled with review books just sitting on the floor of my room. Since April.

And I just opened them

And man oh man, I wish I had opened them earlier.

Remember when I raved about Ian Tregellis' The Coldest War?

On April 30 of this year, the final book in the trilogy, Necessary Evil, came out.

And I have a copy. And, Tor, I wish I could have gotten you a review earlier, but I promise there will be one coming ASAP.

I also received Tarnished by Rhiannon Held, a sequel to last year's Silver, and London Falling by Paul Cornell, which I've heard excellent things about. Cornell is a writer for Doctor Who.

Dear Tor,

A very belated thank-you from this swamped critic, whom you have nevertheless made very, very happy. I'll do my best to return the favor.*


Space Station Mir

*Don't worry, despite the way I've received these books, I have no qualms about being blunt with my thoughts!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Literary Polyamory

Just Finished:

Eggs by Jerry Spinelli

I wasn't as impressed with Eggs as I have been with Spinelli's other children's books. It's written in Spinelli's characteristically reader-oriented style, but is altogether not as winning or profound a tale as Stargirl, nor as relatable as Loser. David and Primrose, ages 9 and 13, are both missing a parent and, consumed with their respective losses, fail to appreciate the adults who are in their lives. Fortunately, they do learn to appreciate each other and oddball Primrose inaugurates the younger David into a world of trash-picking, flea markets, and childish pranks. I could see a child who relates to the particular characters appreciating this book, but the protagonists lack the more universal appeal of Spinelli's other outcast characters.

Currently Reading:

The Queen's Lover by Francine du Plessix Gray

The Queen's Lover has been on my TBR list since I read an intriguing review in The Washington Post. I found the audio book at the library so I have been listening during my morning and afternoon commutes to work. So far, it's more of a character study than a novel (which is fine with me!), but I'm not past the first disc yet.

Delaying the Real World: A Twentysomething's Guide to Seeking Adventure by Colleen Kinder

I had to buy something extra to get free shipping on my very necessary classroom order (see below) and I may be nursing an addiction to travel/adventure memoirs inspired by Wanderlust. Someday, someday soon...

For the Classroom:

The Hideaways dir. Fielder Cook, starring Ingrid Berman

I just wrapped up teaching From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (complete with a visit from Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, possible picture to come!) and I've been wondering if the movie is worth showing, so I ordered a copy of The Hideaways (movie based on the book). There's also a more recent movie with the same name as the book, but it's more expensive and I haven't seen positive reviews in any case. The main complaint about this version seems to be poor image quality that can't be helped. We shall see.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Reading Update

No time for reviews, but I am reading! Reviews, or at least awesome quotes, to come.

Just Finished:

Wanderlust by Elisabeth Eaves

Loser by Jerry Spinelli

Currently Reading:

Eggs by Jerry Spinelli

Next Up:

The Miniature Wife and Other Stories by Manuel Gonzalez

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Kid Quotes

I'm currently teaching a class for elementary school students, and my kids have come up with some amazing lines. Since they're not the biggest fans of The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, I'm also shopping around for a different book to read next year. At the moment, I'm reading Loser by Jerry Spinelli, and in my students' honor, I'd like to share some quotes that really touched me:

"Little-kid eyes are scoopers. They just scoop up everything they see and swallow it whole, no questions asked. Big-kid eyes are picky. They notice things that the little-kid eyes never bothered with: the way a teacher blows her nose, the way a kid dresses or pronounces a word" (99)

"A kid runs to be found and jumps to be caught" (185).

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

Worst Movie Adaptations

1. Stuart Little
2. Ella Enchanted
3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
4. Dune (but it has Patrick Stewart.)
5. The Golden Compass

Best Movie Adaptations

1. Game of Thrones (not really a movie, but.)
2. The Devil Wears Prada
3. Wicked (the musical, again not a movie...)
4. The Lovely Bones
5. Emily of New Moon (the TV show)

Although, I still can't think of a single case where I wouldn't say, "the book is better." (Maybe GOT. Maybe.)And most of the best adaptations are not actually movies...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Top Ten Books That Intimidate Me

I'm late to the party, but great topic this week Broke and Bookish!

Top Ten Books that Intimidate Me
(These are books that intimidate me, but I intend to read someday anyway, unlike these.)

1. Ulysses by James Joyce

2. Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

3. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

4. Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

5. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

6. Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco

7. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust

8. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

9. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

10. Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant