Monday, September 8, 2014

Cities of the Red Night - William S. Burroughs

This author is infamous, but I hadn't read any of his books until I stumbled on this one on the Library Sale shelves and decided it was a good way to meet part of the Color-Coded Reading Challenge.

What can I say about this book - it was like a 332 page sexual fever dream heavily influenced by drugs. I can imagine it would appeal to the Baby Boomer generation for that reason. I'm sure at the time it was first published (1981) it seemed very radical and shocking, but reading this in 2014, it just seems like so much effort to shock, and no effort to actually tell any kind of story or make any kind of point. Maybe I'm just jaded, spoiled by the societal changes that have happened since 1981, or too stupid to fully appreciate this book. I must say I got rather tired of the word "ejaculated" halfway through. Naked Lunch or Junky might have been better choices for a first Burroughs book; maybe someday I'll read one or the other. Not sure what to say to sum things up; I guess this is a book you'd have to read for yourself, I can't honestly recommend it.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Shuck - R.T. Knickerbocker

A friend recommended this book to me, and they were correct! This was a compulsively readable book - I had a really hard time putting it down. The main characters are highly likable and sympathetic. I don't read a lot of horror or paranormal type books, since so many are poorly written (in my opinion), but this one was well done. If you like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Sanford, and other authors like that, you will enjoy this book. Recommended.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death - Mark Reutlinger

Oy vey iz mir, what a charming book! It's a highly entertaining combination of Sherlock Holmes and Murder She Wrote seasoned with a healthy dose of Yiddishe culture and language. I wish I could spend the day with these fantastic ladies; I suspect I'd have a hard time keeping up with Mrs. Kaplan's quick mind. I sincerely hope this is the beginning of a series, because I am already wishing for more spirited adventures with this fresh new dynamic duo of sleuthing. Highly recommended.

Displaced Persons - Derek McCulloch and Anthony Peruzzo

This was an inventive graphic novel that tells the tale of several generations of a family in San Francisco. It's also a puzzle that I am still thinking about; I'm still putting together in my mind how some of the pieces fit together. I really liked the concept, and I definitely wanted to spend more time with some of the characters. I think the author did a nice job of showing some of the characters' inner motivations for us, within the constraints of a graphic novel. I suspect you could reread this several times and pick up on more details/pieces of the story each time.

One issue I had is that my digital version was blurry on all the pages that were traditional "comic/graphic novel" pages. The title pages and etc. were fine. I don't have a Kindle, so I read ebooks on Adobe Digital Editions, and I have never had that happen to me before - the images are usually very clear. Obviously, this made it harder for me to read the book, as I had to really decipher some words, and I'm sure the illustrations would have looked better if they had been clear. The only thing that helped somewhat was using the "fit to width" option, as that enlarged the writing, making it a bit easier to read, but it was still blurry. I hope this is just a fluke and that others didn't have this problem, as it detracted from an otherwise enjoyable reading experience.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Nest - Ester Ehrlich

I loved this book.

It's an instant classic. This is a book that kids of this generation will remember as a favorite when they are adults. They'll reread it as adults and still love it.

The main character, Chirp, is a wonderful, fully realized person that reminded me of the kind of characters I used to love in my favorite books as a child (a couple of which are mentioned in this book!). I also felt such a strong sense of empathy for Joey; I so want to just give them both a big hug. As someone who was around as a child in the time period in which the book is set (ahem), it felt very true to that setting, down to the mention of my perennial favorite soda, Tab. I cannot wait to read more from Ester Ehrlich. Highly recommended.

Maddy Kettle: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch - Eric Orchard

What a fun way to kick off my Fall reading! This was a lovely middle grade/YA graphic novel. The story and the characters are charming - they had me at "family owns a bookstore" and the addition of  talking animals cemented my enjoyment. Maddy Kettle is a fun character, and once again I must say it's so nice to see intelligent children, particularly girls, depicted in books. I can see that this has endless potential for expansion as a series, and I look forward to as many books in this series as the author releases. Recommended.

Oh, and now, in addition to a starcat, I would love to add a floating spadefoot toad to my imaginary animals menagerie! :-)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

August - This Month in Reading

Despite it being a stupid, busy summer month I managed to meet my reading goals for August:

-Finish my 2 review books
-Finish the 2 books I was working on for the Language Freak Summer Challenge


Of course, I would have liked to read more books, but between work commitments and personal life commitments it wasn't going to happen this month, so I'm just happy I managed to meet my goals. Careful readers will realize that I posted several reviews on the same day (the last day of August - ahem) but in reality I was just able to carve out some reading time today to finish books I had in progress. Really. Even I can only read so much in 1 day :^) 

For September, I have several review books lined up, and I also need to wrap up a few more of my challenges. I am going to shoot for 6 books, which covers my reviewing commitments and a couple extra for some challenge books. 

And most importantly, long time readers (there must be at least 1 of you, right?) know that in my deranged mind, Fall/Autumn, my favorite time of the year, begins on September 1, which is now in just a few short hours. As always, I am thrilled to see the back of summer and I cannot wait to embrace all things Fall. BRING. IT. ON!!!!! 

How was your reading this summer?