Monday, July 30, 2007

Great Books!

I've been on a spurt of great books lately. You will have seen them over there on the right hand sidebar, in my Librarything widget, but I feel I need to tell you more about them. I feel this so strongly, that I've even written most of this post twice. Because apparently just letting Blogger autosave your message doesn't keep it in draft form. I guess you actually have to save it to save it. I wrote about most of these books on Saturday before I left work, and the message is gone! All this to say, these books are so great, I'll tell you about them twice.

My list is in reverse chronological order, so the first one I read back in Dallas, and the last one, I just put down this morning.

  • The Last Summer of You and Me, by Ann Brashares -- This is the first grown up novel from the lady who wrote "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" books. Ann did a great job of getting readers inside the heads of her characters, and though I would have been even more impressed if she didn't take the easy way out of the love triangle she'd so carefully built, I still loved the story. Very well done.
  • Dedication, by Emma McLaughlin and some one else -- The same two ladies who wrote "The Nanny Diaries." I loved this book, partly for the plot, who doesn't love a story where a girl with a life long obsession with a boy finally gets to be with him? But more than that, I loved the references to being a teen in the late 80's early 90's. These ladies had me at "Salon Selectives."
  • The Amelia Books, by Marissa Moss -- Amelia is a grade school kid, she's an author, an artist, and bless her, an avid journal keeper. Moss has created a series of notebooks with Amelia's thoughts and her drawings, and they are funny and intelligent. And somehow Moss dumps a life lesson in each one without sounding obvious. I want to be like Amelia when I grow up.
  • Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan -- Both of these authors have written other young adult books that I've really loved. The book alternates between Nick's perspective, all written by David, and Norah's all written by Rachel. I love stories with multiple points of view. And I love this story. One night, two people, and the sweetest edgy little love story you'll ever read. Warning, lots of profanity. But it's sweet.
  • A Certain Slant of Light, by Laura Whitcomb -- This is a story about a ghost haunting a high school English classroom. Y'all know I'm not much of a ghost story person, but this was touching and only barely spooky in a few small places. As the story opens, the ghost realizes that for the first time in 130 years, someone can actually see her. And, another bonus, this book totally did not end the way I thought it would.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by JK Rowling -- Plenty of hype around this book, last of a seven part series. I think I liked taking part in something like literary history almost more than I liked the book itself. But, all good things must end and all that. It was still a good read. And Hermione rocks. Obviously, I recommend this for folks who've read the others. For non-Harry Potter fans, I'll just add this to demonstrate the sweep of good books I've been reading.
  • The Uglies Trilogy, by Scott Westerfeld -- I checked out this series after seeing the wait list for it at the library. And because it has a pretty cover. In a future version of the world, everyone gets an operation when they turn 16 that makes them stunningly gorgeous. Of course, as it turns out, it also makes you a bit slow witted. Rats. I've read Uglies and Pretties, and I'm waiting anxiously for my turn with the last volume, "Specials."
  • The Higher Power of Lucky, by Susan Patron -- This is the Newberry winner that raised such a fuss 'cause it has the word "scrotum" on the first page. Somehow I managed to overlook that travesty and enjoy this book heartily. I'd recommend it in audio format, especially, since the reader does such a good job. Lucky reminds me a bit of Ramona, and her friends are quite likeable. The residents of Hard Pan, CA remind me of the characters you'd find in a Barbara Kingsolver novel.
  • Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke -- Okay, I'm cheating with this one, because I'm not even halfway through it, but it's wonderful. It's Gabriel Garcia Marquez meets that artist I like, Michael Parkes. It's about a girl who's father is a bookbinder who has the unfortunate gift of bringing people and things out of books just by reading them aloud. And you really, really should listen to it as an audio book. Lynn Redgrave does a splendid job of reading this story. It has one of my new all time favorite characters, Meggie's aunt Eleanor, who is wonderful. She's like Farmer Maggot telling off the Black Riders. That's another thing I love about this book. When Meggie is leaving her home, she suspects for a long time, she packs up only her most-favoritist books ever. One of them is the Lord of the Rings. You have to like book characters who like your favorite books, don't you. I think this one will become an all-time life favorite. Though I've still got two and a half books to go.

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