Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Last Night At The Lobster, by Stewart O'Nan

Serious, small, and very sad but wonderfully done book.

It's the last night a Red Lobster franchise is open, and manager Manny wants everything to go right, despite a snowstorm.

This was a heartbreaker of a book. The relatioships between the co-workers were so beautifully expressed, and captured the bizarre-ness of working.

So, so well-done.

Violet on The Runway, by Melissa Walker

Fun YA. Gawky Violet is spotted and recruited by a modeling agent, moves to NYC, life changes. Fluffy YA but interesting, seems like it might even be slightly realistic. Fun read, looking forward to the follow-ups.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In Debt We Trust

Good but not great documentary about what was then the upcoming (and is now the present) economic implosion brought about by consumer debt and financial instruments based on hyperinflated housing values. It was definitely prescient, but at the same time, I felt like it covered much of the same ground (down to using the 1950's footage of Mr. Money!) as the somewhat better-put-together Maxed Out. It was good though, just not fresh to me right now. Maybe if I'd seen it first, it would have felt more powerful.

Revenge of the Wrought Iron Flamingos, by Donna Andrews

Oddly incoherent Meg Lanslow mystery. Still, fun, but I was so addled by the end I'm still not really sure why "who done it" done it. But anyway, her books are always kind of fun in that Caerphilly (Virginia not Wales) way, what with the kooky relatives and the iron-smithing and the hey hey.

27 Dresses


The Adoration of Jenna Fox, by Mary Pearson

This was so good. Wonderfully done, and not just for sci-fi people. There were some things ( her sexuality, for one) that I wish had been addressed that weren't, but maybe that was deliberate, to keep it more all-ages or to keep the 'debate' focused on the point. Loved the image of the butterfly. Plot holes you could drive a truck through, but it didn't even matter. If I had read this book as a young teen, I would have LOVED it. I even kind of loved it now.

The Compound, by S.A. Bodeen

I felt very let down by some of the gaping plot holes in what wasotherwise an interesting premise (basically Blast From The Past setnow). There were so many things that just made no sense at all. HighSchool for some *creepy* and disturbing plot points that even made meshudder, even as I realized that they wrecked the plot's coherence.

Monday, October 13, 2008

No End In Sight

Absolutely devastating, maddening, excellent movie.
This was so well done, and so incredibly disturbing. Rumsfeld...

A Crude Awakening

Pretty great documentary about peak oil and our collective failure to address the coming crisis.

Amazing scenes of Lake Maracaibo and Baku, Ukraine, where abandoned oil rigs tilt into irredeemably poisoned land.

Radiant City

Interesting but ultimately disappointing documentary about suburbia's unsustainable and unpleasant nature, as seen in the vast tracts of mcmansions and so on popping up like so many poisonous mushrooms across american fields. Andrés Duany, James Howard Kunstler, etc appeared, but much of it was taken up with actors playing parts, which I found very offputting.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Then We Came To The End, by Joshua Ferris

Oh this was amazing. its been a long time since I've read adult fiction that took my breath away and this absolutely did. It is so so hard to pull off 3rd person plural narration, and when someone just asked me what it was about, all I could say was 'working in an office in Chicago" but it was fine fine writing indeed.
Breathtakingly good.

Newes From The Dead, by Mary Hooper

This was a great read, but creepy as hell! Based on a true story, and all the more creepy and awful for that. Anne Green is hung as a killer, but she is not dead. Before the Oxford medical students disect her body, she returns to life and is hailed as a miracle- eeeeeeeeek!Really great YA- read it in one sitting! Amazing, and I loved the historical details and really got the shivers at the thought of it all.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sweethearts, by Sara Zarr

Did not like this book one bit. Was it better than last year's abysmal Story of a Girl? Maybe. Does that make it good? No.

Suburban melodrama piled with pathos.

Revolting characters who blame their parents for everything.

Grow up Sara Zarr- you're writing for teens, but you are supposed to be an adult. Get over it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Dead and the Gone, by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Eck. NOWHERE near as good as the first one, Life As We Knew It. In fact, this was so bad, I wondered if the first was actually that good.

MAJOR dissapointment here for me. This was pretty awful.

And damn, is she just going to write the same story over and over from different points of view? Because while that may be interesting in theory, this really didn't cut it for me.

Flower Confidential, by Amy Stewart

This was a wonderful in depth look into an industry that I have a lot of interest in. When I worked with flowers, of course I saw that the roses came from Ecuador, or that the tulips came from Holland, but never thought about the impacts on local economy or ecology, about how bizarre it is that almost all the flowers that get sold in the world travel through Amsterdam, or had any idea what the auctions were like, or the commercial growers with grennhouses covering acres.

Oh, it was a good read, full of interesting details and images that have lingered- the descriptions of the arrangements available from the b. brooks florists made me drool - a very high-end alternative to FTD or Teleflora that I had never even heard of before reading this.

The book was a treat, and left me aching to be surrounded by buckets of flowers again and to have that ineffable smell of green in the air.

The Nannies, by Melody Mayer

Well, such a rip-off of Melissa de la Cruz's Au Pair series, but, well at least it was set on the west coast.

You know the drill- 3 girls from diffferent lifestyles, your exiled princess, girl from the barrio with a chance at a new start, and wholesome midwesterner with dreams all become friends wihle working as nannies.

Yup. So, not bad for all that- I would have liked it a LOT more if I hadn't already read it, set in the Hamptons and by a better writer.

Unbelievablle, by Sara Sheperd

I could hardly wait for this one, the last in the Pretty Little Liars series (I think!) and it was awesome. Read it in one go.

I don't know what about these that made them so delish- but they were like Gummie Bears- you know it's no good for you, but you just want to devour them.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Immunity, by Lori Andrews

Well, this didn't rock me.

Wildly improbable thriller (but aren't they all?) that smushed up the requisite stunningly beautiful and sexy female epidemiologist, the rugged renegade DEA agent, evil DHS guys, immune system reactions to man-made substances, Native Americans, civil rights, innocent children, etc etc into a slab of a book that for all those ingredients still felt flat. The ending was hurried and semi ridic, and well, overall, it just didn't grab me, and this kind of thing usually grabs me at least a bit. Oh well.