Ah, the joys of a library card! If I can only manage to keep myself going often enough and keep the books together where they’re supposed to be and turn them in on time so that I don’t have to pay any money!
I read lots and lots this weekend.
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party – M.T. Anderson. I don’t really know what to say about this book. I kind of hated it. It went on and on and on and on. I was intrigued and disgusted and infuriated all at the same time. I appreciated the teeny bit of good that happened at the end on Octavian’s behalf, but there was so much vile filth that was done to him and his mother that made me want to retch. Do I care enough to read Vol. 2 if/when it comes out? I don’t know. I guess it depends on if I’m ever in the mood to read it if/when I happen to see it on the shelf. Right now I’m guessing the answer would be no.
I honestly don’t even know how much to say about it here without giving too much away. It’s set in pre-Revolutionary War America in a most extraordinary household. Octavian has been brought up amongst a group of scientists who conduct the most cold-blooded experiments; they train him in the types of subjects in which one would expect a young prince to be trained. His mother is treated like the queen she tells her son she once was. But then one day Octavian learns that he is not a prince. Things start to change for him, albeit slowly at first, and not necessarily unpleasantly. Then one day he learns the great secret that has been kept from him by Mr. 03-01, and things really start snowballing from there.
Hot Lunch – Alex Bradley. This was a fast and dirty fun brain candy type of book. Two girls are assigned to work on a flash assignment together. They don’t so much get on, and end up doing the assignment on their own. The D’s they receive for the assignment don’t sit too well with one of them, and she tries to persuade the other to redo the assignment as per the teacher’s original instructions so they can get a good grade. This leads to a really nasty food-fight in the cafeteria of the hippie-like private school they attend. The consequences are hilarious. Do the girls ever learn to cooperate? What do you think? I liked it, not the least for the photo of the blue-haired girl on the cover, seeing as how I always wanted to have purple hair. Hmmmm. I wonder what they’d say at work if I showed up with grape jelly coloured tresses one day.
My Secrets: A PostSecret Book – Frank Warren. This is a book of postcards created by teens and sent to Frank Warren, who runs the vastly popular PostSecrets blog. The secrets are moving, horrifying, delightful, universal. I loved it. I’d buy this book–and the other 3 PostSecret books as well–if I could justify the expense. The PostSecret blog is one of my Monday morning pleasures (they update every Sunday), and I definitely look forward to it. Have I sent a secret of my own? You may never know.
The Name of This Book is Secret – Pseudonymous Bosch. I liked it, but I’d have liked it better had I never heard of nor read anything by Lemony Snickett. It appears to be the first of a series. I like the protagonists, and I loved the exploration into synesthesia. The antagonists were delicious, and I enjoyed them much better than Snickett’s vile Count Olaf. I’ll read the next one, and hope that it doesn’t go down Snickett’s revolting path to nowhere. Give it a go.
The Wright 3 – Blue Balliett. This is the sequel to the charming Chasing Vermeer. Calder’s friend Tommy is back in town, and jealous of Calder’s friendship with Petra. Their teacher, in the last few days of school, brings the class’s attention to The Robie House, a Frank Lloyd Wright home that is scheduled for destruction. Because the university that owns the property cannot afford to renovate it, it has decided to divide the house into three portions and donate each portion to a different museum. Is it murder, as the teacher claims it is, to destroy art? Can Tommy, Calder, and Petra learn to work together? What’s the deal with the thing Tommy digs up on the Robie House property? And what’s going on with The Invisible Man? It’s a fun read. I don’t think it’s up to the quality of the first book, but it’s still very enjoyable.
The Spell Book of Listen Taylor – Jacklyn Moriarty. This is a very peculiar book. I read the whole thing and could never decide whether I liked it or not. The Zing Family has a Secret. It’s a big, all-encompassing Secret and they meet every Friday night to discuss it. The narration jumps slightly back and forth in time and narrator, which can be slightly confusing as you’re trying to figure out just when the action is taking place. And based on the content of the novel, I was a little disturbed to find it in the YA section of the library. I don’t really think this is a YA novel. Yes, Listen Taylor is a teenager, but other characters in the book are a 2nd grade teacher who for a good portion of the book is having an affair with another (married) teacher; the two Zing sisters, one of whom lives with Listen and her father but is having an affair (well, it wasn’t an affair at first, but she slept with him, and couldn’t quite figure out why, because she truly loves Listen’s father) with an aeronautical engineer, and the other of whom is deeply dissatisfied with her husband and keeps a book of the myriad ways in which her husband annoys her. The book is full of quirky characters, which is all well and good, but quirky characters and writing style do not necessarily add up to a good book.
Start Late, Finish Rich – David Bach. Smart Couples Finish Rich – David Bach. I grouped these together because they’re almost the same book. I’ve read several personal finance books lately, and have gleaned a lot of good information from them. Bach makes a lot of good points, has a lot of valuable tips and information. But for me and where I am right now, one of his books is enough. I think I’m doing better with branching out and reading with others have to say instead of continuing to reread the same author. Don’t get me wrong–I do recommend his books if you’re getting started on trying to straighten out your personal finances. The first book of his I read, Smart Women Finish Rich, really got me going. But since then I’ve read three other books by different authors, and the combination of advice and strategies has helped me put together the strategies I’m using now.
Vegan With a Vengeance – Isa Chandra Moskowitz. If I ever find this at Half-Price Books, I’m buying it. If you love me and you ever find it at Half-Price Books, please buy me a copy and I’ll pay you back for it. Of course, it’s a moot point because anyone smart enough to buy this book is too smart to get rid of it. I LOVE this book!!!! It’s got some incredible-looking recipes, so I plan to write down a couple of my favourites before I take the book back to the library. Isa Moskowitz is the founder of the Post Punk Kitchen, and also wrote Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (and yes, the same request stands–if you find it at half price or less, buy me a copy and I’ll pay you for it). I adore her.
Linda’s Kitchen – Linda McCartney. Why’d I read this one? I dunno, probably because Joe watched a movie about Paul & Linda McCartney a few weeks ago and kept going on and on about it. So when I saw it sitting on the shelf next to VWAV, I grabbed it out of curiosity. Yep. Good recipes. What did you expect?
All those books have been returned except for the cookbooks, which I’ll keep for a few days longer, and I have a lovely pile of books in the bag in my car, just screaming to be read. And my to-be-read list is growing longer now that I’m not insane enough to think I have to try to just buy books instead of check them out.
In other news: Joe has strep throat. The poor guy never gets sick. Truly. I think in the 16 years (as of the 8th) that we’ve been married, he’s only been sick maybe 2 or 3 times. So I’m thinking he’s not going to be going to see Regina Spektor with me on Wednesday night. That’s probably okay with him, since he doesn’t like her anyway, and was just taking me because I love her and it’s for our anniversary. So L-squared is going with me because I was a naughty girl and got her hooked on Regina Spektor. I’ll have to think of something else for our anniversary, once he’s feeling better. The doctor would have given him a penicillin shot, but, wouldn’t you know–he’s allergic to penicillin. So oral antibiotics it is.