Sunday, October 10, 2010

An addendum and what I read last summer

So yesterday I talked about ZOMBIES VS UNICORNS and I kind of called Alaya Dawn Johnson a pottymouth perv. Well, I still went back to finish the story she wrote "Love Will Tear Us Apart" and it was AMAZING! I might even go read her series (even though in my equation of what interests me in YA magic+the Pacific Ocean=snore) because her writing is great. One of the things that I don't like in non-realistic fiction is that sometimes the background details are shoddy. This story was tight. And her characters were so fascinating. And she made a very unsympathetic (zombie) protagonist very sympathetic.

Okay, and now I am on to what I read this summer. A surprising amount of it was not YA, but what can I say. Sometimes a middle aged matron must read like a middle aged matron. (Don't you love the word matron? It brings together a delightful combination of Mrs. Oleson from LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE -the show, not the books- and Queen Latifah in CHICAGO leavened with Donna Reed and Harriet Nelson. If you are under the age of 40, just keep reading and don't look back...)

But I digress -  so here is the list with mini-blurbs.

The Leisure Seeker: A NovelTHE LEISURE SEEKER by Michael Zadoorian is about two old people, one with terminal cancer, one with Alzheimer's who drive Route 66 to Disneyland in a last ditch effort to enjoy life. I laughed, I cried. Thanks, Mom, for recommending it!
Sophomore SwitchSOPHOMORE SWITCH by Abby McDonald is about two girls, one a soCal blond, the other an English intellectual who do a college exchange. I am sure you will be surprised to find out that their expectations are entirely different from what they end up with! Hilarity ensues, and just because you pretty much see every plot point before it hits, doesn't mean that this isn't a fun ride.
Sisters RedIf Jackson Pearce would write faster, I would really appreciate it. SISTERS RED is, I believe, her second book and it is a great, non-cliched werewolf story that will certainly be short-listed for BHS summer reading as soon as she deigns to get it out in paperback!
Is It Night or Day?In IS IT NIGHT OR DAY, Fran Schumer Chapman tells a fictionalized version of her mother's story of escaping Germany at the beginning of the holocaust and her painful story of her first years in the United States. You won't find any "America is great country!" immigrant story, but rather the moving story of a young girl having to navigate a new world alone.
Sorta Like a Rock StarMatthew Quick's SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR is wonderful, funny, touching and sure to be on summer reading next year. Amber Appleton has a life that any normal person would consider a poop sandwich, but her amazing positivity is her salvation as she navigates her life bringing joy to others. Until she doesn't. AMAZING book.
The PassageTHE PASSAGE is Brendan Cronin's beast of a doorstop. It just kept going and going and I just kept reading and reading. There is a military experiment that results in a race of zombie/vampire/scary creatures that terrify everyone. Me included. It jumps 100 years and races from place to place deliciously. I believe that it is the first in an intended trilogy. I hope I don't forget everything before the next one comes out!

Prairie Tale: A MemoirConfessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being HatedYou can't read one without the other! Melissa Gilbert's PRAIRIE TALE and Alison Angrim's CONFESSIONS OF A PRAIRIE BITCH are both fun reads. The former is a little more delicate but still honest and fun. The latter is far deeper than I expected. Both were well written and both made me feel like I could be besties with either of these prairie icons of my childhood.
Extra Lives: Why Video Games MatterI ripped through EXTRA LIVES: WHY VIDEOGAMES MATTER by Tom Bissell. Trying to understand why my children were such huge fans. I finished with a pretty good idea. This would be an excellent summer reading book, except the author is recalcitrant in his unrepentant attitude towards his recreational drug use. But he has a fascinating perspective.

Okay, that takes me through July 12. I'll finish up later!

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