Showing posts from December, 2007

Bubblegum Flavored Gender, Sex, and Romance

Absolutely, Positively Not by Larochelle A perky book about coming out. Seriously. Steven's best friend Rachel already knew, and his parents just tell him not to tell the other parent. But basically it all works out okay, and he even finds a support group. It's nice to see some bubblegum fiction for gay teens. The Breakup Bible by Kantor Why was I drawn to this book about what it feels like to be broken up with cold, left hanging with no explanation, and then find that one's boyfriend has taken up with someone else on the staff of the school paper? I don't know, but it worked for me. The cover is pink, and this is book 2 of the bubblegum reviews in this post, though the protagonist Jen does come to terms well with her new assessment of her ex-boyfriend. He is, in fact, a jerk. Convenient that he is... the real heartbreaks are over people who *are* worth it. Anyhow, this is another 1-hour teen fic romp if you're in the mood for hetero romance. Parrotfish b

Someday This Pain....

I hope that someday the pain of reading < span style="font-style:italic;">Someday This Pain will be Useful to You by Peter Cameron will be useful to me. I found this on the Horn Book Fanfare list, and picked it up with high expectations. The opening did not disappoint... our protagonist James and his sister Gillian are rich Manhattan kids whose mother is off in Las Vegas on her third honeymoon when suddenly their mother comes back. This is not like the ending of the Cat in the Hat though. Instead, it's the start of a story about James' depressed mother dealing with the fact that her marriage lasted only days until her husband snuck off with her credit cards to the casino for some gambling and lap dances. The first few chapters are great. Then the novel loses steam. This is very much like Catcher in the Rye, but James is less appealing than Holden. Enormous amounts of inner monologue seem overblown for a character with a pretty desolate emotional life,

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick This is a newfangled graphic novel with an satisfying story. Hugo Cabret is an orphan who has been abandoned by his drunkard uncle. Hugo hides in the train station, continuing to do his uncle's job of winding the station clocks. He also works on the automaton that he rescued from the rubble of the museum where his father was killed in a fire. The boy has become convinced that, if he can fix the clockwork man whose mechanical hand holds a pen poised over paper, he will find a message from his father. What he finds instead is more complex and leads him on a goose-chase through movie history that ends when our orphan protagonist finds a home with a once-famous filmmaker. The reader has a rare treat in the cinematic complexity of the book, which shifts between textual narrative and black-and-white movie stills reminiscent of silent movies. Indeed, there is some true film history buried in the fictional story. I found myself wonder

A fantasy trilogy to be reckoned with...

The Magic or Madness series by Justine Larbalestier Magic or Madness , Magic Lessons , and Magic's Child Any book reviewer knows that talking about trilogies is tricky... How much does it matter if you've read the other books? What will you lose if you treat them as one enormous narrative rather than three distinct books? So the short answer is, you could read these separately, but you won't want to once you start the first. Reason is the child of Sarafina, who has kept them on the run all of their lives from Reason's grandmother, Esmerelda. Esmerelda is magic, uses magic, and drained young Sarafina of her magic as a child. This is a world where people who are born magic but die young, and the choice is this: either they use their magic and live to maybe 30 (unless they feed off the young) or they don't use it and go insane. The story begins when Sarafina has finally succumbed to all her years of resisting magic by losing her mind. Reason, who was raised to

The rest of my Thanksgiving break reading

What I've been reading most, lately, are IMLS grant guidelines, my own draft of a grant, my own abstract for a paper that I'll be presenting in January, my own draft of what I thought was the same paper but actually turns out to be quite different than I expected, and my own journal. I keep journals in 3-ring binders, and I look at the pages twice; once when I write them and once when I revisit them to put them in the binder, usually 1-3 months later. It helps me remember what I've actually been doing, where I've actually been, and keeps me from setting unbelievably unrealistic goals for myself. Now on to the really fun and juicy stuff that I read over Thanksgiving break but haven't yet blogged... Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst The Wild is a mass of green vines that lives under Julie's bed. Her mother, Rapunzel, and other fairy tale characters want to keep it that way, and keep the wild from trapping them in their old stories and making them play out the