Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saving Sky, by Diane Stanley

Saving Sky
Pretty blah young-ish YA. Near future, terrorism on the rise, paranoia and xenophobia. Sky's off-the-grid parents have raised her and her sister to be ethical, and when the department of homeland security starts rounding up citizens with Middle Eastern origins to imprison in internment camps, her family tries to help hide Kareem, a classmate of hers. I don't remember why I requested this- must have read a great review somewhere, but it was a disappointing book.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Vicarage Family, by Noel Streatfeild

A vicarage family,: An autobiographical storyOh, I loved this so much it is hard to write about it. Noel Streatfeild, my favorite writer, wrote this "autobiographical novel" about growing up the middle daughter in a family living in a vicarage in the years between 1910 and 1914. I am starting to cry as I type, it was so good. An absolutely unvarnished, clear eyed look into what must have been one of the last homes of it's kind- a kind of late Victorian life lived in the early 20th century, with all that was to come hidden from view, thank god.  This really might be the best book I've read all year, all sentiment aside- absolutely magical, and unexpectedly devastating.  I'm hunting down a copy to own. I love this book.

Mariette in Ecstasy, by Ron Hansen

Mariette in Ecstasy Beautiful, haunting novel. 17 year old Mariette Baptiste joins a convent in upstate New York in 1906, and her passionate faith disrupts the calm orders of the priory. Made for a fantastic book discussion!!!

Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall, by Spike Milligan

Very funny but very moving memoir of Spike Milligan's WWII experiences. This is part 1, and I need to get parts 2 & 3!!! Mostly, this volume deals with his joining, training, and experiences on the South coast of England, Hailsham and Bexhill, and ends with his regiment embarking to Algeria, via Liverpool.  Liverpool was being bombed as his carrier left port, and his book once again filled me with awe at how people writing in and about England in the war are able to find the good sides of terrible times. Wonderful.

On Tour: An Autobiographical Novel of the '20s, by Noel Streatfeild

Lovely book about Noel Streatfeild's travels as an actress throughout the 1920's.

Friends Like These, by Danny Wallace

Friends Like These: My Worldwide Quest to Find My Best Childhood Friends, Knock on Their Doors, and Ask Them to Come Out and Play This was wonderful beyond all reason. What seemed to start off as a stunt premise (the book's subtitle is My Worldwide Quest To Find My Best Childhood Friends, Knock On Their Door, and Ask Them To Come Out And Play) turned into one of the most satisfying adult non-fiction reads I've enjoyed in ages. Wallace has such an enjoyable voice, and what he discovers as he really does find friends from a well-travelled childhood honestly had me reading the last 100 pages simultaneously laughing and weeping. Fantastic.

All Tomorrow's Parties: Photographs of Andy Warhol's Factory, by Billy Name

All Tomorrow's Parties: Billy Name's Photographs of Andy Warhol's Factory Beautiful photography- some amazing images I'd never seen from the enigmatic Billy Name, the photographer who chronicled the goings on at the Factory. n

Death of a Dustman, by M.C. Beaton

Death of a Dustman (Hamish Macbeth Mysteries, No. 17) Bath book, Hamish Macbeth solves yet another murder in scenic Lochdubh.

A is for Alibi, by Sue Grafton

A is for Alibi (Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Mysteries, No. 1) Awful, LA noir-ish tough chick mystery. Plot holes you could fly a 747 through, and I didn't care if the heroine, Kinsey, lived, died, or dematerialized into a pluff of smoke. In fact, that would have made her (and the book) substantially more interesting, and would not have interfered with what passed for a logical storyline. Can't belive Grafton is up to U in the alphabet series- readers' appetite for shite seems insatiable.

Weddings of The Times: A Parody, by Kasper Hauser

Weddings of the Times: A Parody (Kasper Hauser Comedy Group) Very funny set piece, parody of the nauseating NYT Wedding section.

The Red Blazer Girls: The Vanishing Violin, by Michael Beil

The Red Blazer Girls: The Vanishing Violin A very good, enjoyable puzzle-filled 6th grade-ish mystery.

Me and Mr. Darcy, by Alexandra Potter

Me and Mr. Darcy: A Novel Incredibly bad, Jane Austen-based chick lit.

Wodehouse on Crime, by P.G. Wodehouse

Wodehouse on Crime: a Dozen Tales of Fiendish Cunning. Edited Andwith a Preface By D. R. Benson. Foreword By Isaac Asimov Always hilarious Wodehouse collection of short stories about crime (of the lightest sort). Country house shenanigans, etc.

Family Shoes, by Noel Streatfeild

Absolutely wonderful childrens' book by Noel Streatfeild. Fictionalized account of a family growing up in a vicarage, this was made more poignant for me because I immediately followed it with Streatfeild's autobiographical novel A Vicarage Family, which made it clear that Family Shoes was a much cheerier version of her life.

Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) Excellent conclusion to the powerful YA dystopian Hunger Games trilogy. Political, violent, thoughtful, redeeming.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About, by Mil Millington

Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About: A Novel One of my reading equivalents of comfort food- I read this over and over, and laugh myself silly every time. Pel and Ursula are one of my all time favorite fictional couples.

Roommates Wanted, by Lisa Jewell

Roommates Wanted: A Novel
Fun, charming London chick-lit, from Sophie Kinsella's Very Short List of 5 recommended titles. Toby Dobbs inherits a large london house, and fills it with lodgers. 15 years later, he needs to move on in his life, and with a neighbor, starts trying to sort out how to get them all to move on to happier, fuller lives.

Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England, by Amanda Vickery

Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England
Fascinating, highly academic look at residential interiors in Georgian England and what sociological evidence can be gathered by studying household bills, inventories, architecture, and craftwork.
This was really wonderful- a bit dry in spots but it's been a while since I read any history, and this was a really satisfying, in-depth look at an era of great change. Lots about women's status, of course, and also looked at how changing politics and military issues affected interior design- the rage for Chinoiserie and Japanning, for example.
Really good, though provoking stuff- I even think I'll be able to use one chapter for the Jane Austen Book Club.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

39 Clues: Into The Gauntlet, by Margaret Peterson Haddix

The 39 Clues, Book 10: Into the Gauntlet The last book in the 39 Clues series!
Satisfying conclusion to fantastic series- this one was set mostly in England and Ireland.

39 Clues: Storm Warning, by Linda Sue Park

The 39 Clues, Book 9: Storm Warning Caribbean- Bahamas and Jamaica.

39 Clues: The Emperor's Code, by Gordon Korman

The 39 Clues Book 8: The Emperor's Code China.

39 Clues: The Viper's Nest, by Peter Lerangis

The 39 Clues Book 7: The Viper's Nest

39 Clues: In Too Deep, by Jude Watson

The 39 Clues Book 6: In Too Deep Australia.

39 Clues: The Black Circle, by Patrick Carman

The 39 Clues Book 5: The Black Circle

39 Clues: Beyond the Grave, by Jude Watson

The 39 Clues Book 4: Beyond the Grave Yup- 39 Clues, this one Egypt.

39 Clues: The Sword Thief, by Peter Lerangis

The 39 Clues Book 3: The Sword Thief

More action and adventure- Japan.

39 Clues: One False Note, by Gordon Korman

The 39 Clues Book 2: One False Note

Amy, Dan and the rest of the Cahills on the Clue adventure- this one mostly in Vienna.