Thursday, March 31, 2011

Grammar know-how.

Hi all. I have been thinking about this for a couple of months ever since I learned about it in one of my classes, and I've seen it enough times in the blogging community to feel the need to say something about it. It's a nitpicky grammar thing, and it's not something you'd normally think about, but here it is.

"Relatable" does not mean easy to relate to. It means it's tell-able. Easy to relate, rather than relate to.

I know, blew me away too. But now every time I see it misused, I get that crawly feeling under my skin. The same crawly feeling I get when someone says something like "He's going to the city with Steve and I." That drives me nuts.

Anyway! Yeah. So, characters are not relatable to readers—readers can relate to characters. Grammar lesson done!

Villette Readalong: Done!

Aaaaaand DONE. I did it! I finished Villette after 2 whole months of reading! Thanks again to Wallace at Unputdownables for hosting this—I don't think I would have been able to finish it without the discussions and the others who were right there with me.

My thoughts on the last 7 chapters of Villette contain **spoilers**, just a warning!

So as most of you who've read this, I'm sure, I was not surprised about Polly or Dr. John/Graham. Graham's a good guy, and he ended up with a good, intelligent lady who is not too intelligent. They're pretty much perfect for each other and they love each other, so that's that. It was sweet how Polly's dad was so sad about how she wasn't a little girl anymore and would be leaving him, sort of. But that's just the way it is!

As for Ginevra, yikes. Talk about selfish and self-absorbed. At least she was fairly happy in the end, or seemed to be from Lucy's recounting her letters from the following years. And I have to say, I'm pretty disappointed the NUN (was anyone else amused by how Bronte always put that in ALL CAPS?) wasn't actually a ghost, but stupid suitor boy that stole away with Ginevra.

And Madame Beck and Pere Silas? Mean mean mean. I have to say I wasn't surprised about Madame; I don't think I ever really liked her. Tolerated, maybe, since she wasn't going through MY things, but boy was she nasty. And Pere Silas was right up there with her, unwilling for his "student" to fraternize with a *shudder* Protestant. How un-Christian. He is a bad priest! What with sending M. Paul off and all.

That second-to-last chapter was lovely. I was so happy for Lucy, and I got a flavor of Jane Eyre and the romance bit from that. It really shows how much love there was from M. Paul, how much he cared for Lucy. And Lucy's reaction was great. I loved that she couldn't remember what she said, because honestly I have no idea how she remembered the rest of the dialogue (unrealistic, but necessary). It gives the two of them a bit more privacy.

And then of course comes the tragedy in the last chapter. M. Paul is lost at sea, and Lucy never sees him again. I wasn't surprised by this either; I was fully expecting something terrible on the horizon, since Lucy keeps talking about how unhappy she is throughout the entire narrative. I do have to say, though, I didn't expect it to end like that. It certainly harkens back to Mrs. Marchmont and the tragedy that changed her life. The final two sentences showed the injustice of it all; the three who sent M. Paul away to the West Indies lived long and fruitful lives. So unfair. Lucy must be one sad old lady.

Thanks for sticking through to the end to those of you who did! I think I'm going to take a break from readalongs for now, though I might pick them back up when I find one I'd like to jump into.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Review: "Angelfire" by Courtney Allison Moulton

Author: Courtney Allison Moulton
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperTeen), 2011

Ellie considers herself to be a normal girl, nothing too out of the ordinary. She is not the best in school but tries her hardest, has a group of close friends, and enjoys going out and having fun. But she has been having the strangest nightmares for weeks, and there's a strange guy hanging around her school who seems interested in her. Then, on the eve of her 17th birthday, her worst  nightmares come to life.

It turns out she is the Preliator, the biggest defense Heaven has against Hell. She is destined to hunt reapers, monsters that drag human souls to hell, a job she has had for centuries and has died for countless times, always coming back in another life. The strange tattooed guy she's been seeing around her school is her Guardian, Will, who has known her for 500 years. But it seems like this life, as Ellie, is different from her past ones; according to Will, she is more human than she has ever been, and she is having a harder time remembering her past lives. Plus, a deeper evil exists that could to destroy Ellie forever—if it awakens.

The concept for this book is a good one. Mystery surrounds Ellie, her past, and what she is, something not even Will is sure of. She can destroy demons with an awesome set of blades that can light on fire (angelfire, a special kind that won't burn anyone except demonic reapers) when she wishes it. There is forbidden romance. On paper, it looks pretty good, but the execution was not particularly spectacular.

Despite the book's length (the ARC has just over 450 pages), I felt like there was too much crammed in too fast. Much of the worldbuilding was done through dialogue via Will, though Ellie would have the occasional flashback, which I wish there had been more of. Those were much more interesting than listening to Will explain everything. It's clear Moulton knows her world well, but it all felt rushed and confusing.

The writing was a bit clunky, as well. There were a lot of cliches, and certain phrases and words were used far too often, especially "my heart sank," and there was a lot of perking up and scoffing going on. It got to the point that I winced whenever I saw one of those phrases.

There was a lot of materialism in the book, in the form of consumption and name-dropping, especially with cars, that seemed very out of place. Ellie comes from wealth, as do her friends, and this is made abundantly clear throughout the book. The gross consumerism was just a hair shy of the fantasies that can be found in series like Gossip Girl and Blue Bloods—the consumption in those books are deliberately over the top and fun to read about, but here it just seemed unnecessary and forced.

Some people will find Ellie and Will's relationship romantic, especially fans of forbidden paranormal romance. Though I found it tiring and got bored with the long descriptions of how Will looks and the way he makes Ellie feel, I'm sure there will be at least some swooning over Will by others.

But despite all the negative aspects of the book, it was certainly a page-turner. There were a lot of action scenes that kept me interested, and the mysteries of who each character might be made me want to keep reading to find out what I could.

Overall, I don't think there is anything particularly special about Angelfire. It's a typical paranormal romance with a mixture of folklore, mythology and Biblical influences. The action makes it a page-turner, but I found myself skimming and not missing a whole lot. I'm not sure I'll pick up the sequels, but this book will find a number of fans because of its inclusion in an increasingly popular subgenre.

Disclosure: ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Audiobook Review: "The Off Season" by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Title: The Off Season
Author: Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Publisher: Listening Library, 2007 (print edition from Houghton Mifflin)
Narrator: Natalie Moore

Starting where Dairy Queen left off, D.J. tells the story of the fall of her junior year. Things seem to be going her way finally, what with playing for her high school's football team, spending time with Brian Nelson, and doing better in school. Her older brothers are talking with her family again, though her oldest brother Win is still a bit distant. But D.J. lets us know right away that this won't last, since she tells us she's writing all this in a hospital. Things start to go downhill when she and Brian end up in a feature for People after a misunderstanding (which is kind of hilarious, by the way). Things quickly get worse after Amber runs off with Dale, her girlfriend, and D.J. has to stop football because of an injury. But the worst event happens during one of Win's college games—he gets hit in just the wrong way, causing a spinal cord injury that leaves him partially paralyzed.

Still told with humor, though the story D.J. is telling is clearly more serious than her previous one, The Off Season is an entirely satisfying sequel. D.J. is growing and maturing, though it's subtle and happens gradually as each incident crops up in her life. Once again, she becomes the glue that is keeping her family from falling apart, taking responsibility for things her parents and her brothers can't quite handle. She keeps a brave front and does what she can for everyone she loves. It's really hard not to like D.J., and I definitely wouldn't mind having her for a sister.

What I think I love most about D.J. in this book is how she realizes she not only needs to do what's best for her family, she also needs to do what's best for her. She discovers the path she needs to take, and once she does she's a stronger girl for it. She finally begins to truly see and understand her own worth, and I love that.

I also learned a lot about sports injuries, told in a way that is incredibly easy to understand. Because D.J. is a novice to this stuff herself, she does a great job at explaining what happens to her brother and the path he's going to have to take. There's a lot of easy-to-understand (not to mention interesting and useful) science going on here, which is always a plus.

Again, Natalie Moore does an excellent job at narrating. She's probably one of the best narrators I've ever come across in my audiobook listening, definitely top three. She rocks that Wisconsin accent and talks just like teens would, a job made easier for her by Murdock's grasp on teen dialogue. In this second book I've listened to narrated by Moore, I realized how good a job she does at distinguishing each character's voice from everyone else's. She makes it very clear who is talking. She also makes it clear when D.J. is speaking to other characters in the book versus when she is narrating the story, which gets two thumbs up from me.

I loved this book, both the story and the narration. I can't wait to listen to the last in the trilogy, though I will be sad that I'll be done with D.J.'s story! I highly recommend this to pretty much everyone. It's just a great story with great characters, and it's told really well. Go read it! Or listen to it. You won't regret it. (Side note: As of right now, the print edition is only $3.47 on Amazon! Totally worth the buy. You can click on the link at the top to get to the page.)

Disclosure: I got this book from the library.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Villette Readalong: Week 6

After six weeks, we're getting there. Not too far from the end now!

I'm starting to like Polly more. Kudos to her for getting back at Ginevra by getting Dr. John's attention and getting him to ignore her! Serve G right. Oh, and Lucy's ripping Ginevra a new one was awesome too.

But most of this section dealt with M. Paul Emmanuel, the most unpredictable dude of the lot of them. Poor Lucy never has any idea what to expect, though honestly I don't find her helping matters much. I got really annoyed when she didn't give him her present at his fete.

I'm finding M. Paul growing on me, oddly enough. I was not a big fan of him at first, and I don't think I'm a big fan of him now, but I can see why Lucy is fond of him. He can be pretty generous, though I don't think he handles some social situations very well. I wish he would just be more patient and less mean.

In any case, I'm sure this relationship is going somewhere. Where is the real question, and honestly it probably won't end too well if present-day Lucy's musings are any indication.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Top Ten Characters I'd Want In My Family

Top Ten Tuesday, hey-o. In case you are unfamiliar with this weekly feature, it was created over at The Broke and the Bookish for the simple reason that lists are awesome. Plus it helps us get to know one another. Anyway, this week we are taking a look at the top ten characters I'd want in my family.

My picks:

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir1. Bill Bryson. Okay, I know he's not a character, but a writer who writes about his travel and life experiences, and history. But he's awesome and I totally wish I was related to him.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery2. Flavia de Luce from The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and others in the series by Alan Bradley. Flavia is as awesome as 11-year-olds get. She's super smart, quirky, and has a way with chemistry, especially poisons. I would stay on her good side though; she doesn't feel bad using her chemistry prowess to seek revenge.

Paper Towns3. Margo Roth Spiegelman from Paper Towns by John Green. This is the type of girl I'd love to have as a cousin. Mostly I would want to get postcards and stuff from all the places she makes it to in her crazy travels, and hear the stories of what situations she gets herself into and out of.

Dairy Queen4. DJ Schwenk from Dairy Queen and sequels by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. I love DJ. She's strong, plays and knows football, and pretty much holds her family together even if she doesn't realize it. She pretty much single-handedly kept her family's dairy farm running, for crying out loud. I'd definitely want her as a sister because I'd know I could count on her.

Poison Study5. Janco from Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. I'd love to have this dude as my older brother. He's fun, funny, and playful, but also could kick anyone's ass if they were mean to me.

Stargirl (Readers Circle)6. Stargirl Caraway from Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. I love Stargirl. She knows exactly what she wants and is kind to everyone. Most important, she's not afraid to be herself or what she wants to be. I'd certainly want her as a daughter (well, when I'm older).

Savvy7. Grandpa Bomba from Savvy and Scumble by Ingrid Law. If Grandpa Bomba were my grandpa, not only would that be the best because he can move freaking mountains, but that would also mean I would have a savvy too. And Grandpa Bomba is a pretty fantastic guy anyway, a bit mischievous but wise, as a grandpa should be.

Sunshine8. Sunshine (Rae) from Sunshine by Robin McKinley. She's a baker, people. A baker. Who creates her own delicious recipes! I would LOVE to have her be my sister so she could bake me things all the time.

A Long Way From Chicago (Puffin Modern Classics)9. Grandma Dowdel from A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck. Grandma Dowdel is probably the best schemer I've come across in my reading. Her shenanigans aren't for pure fun, either; oh no, they're to get some justice in a town where there isn't much unless you go after it yourself. And she's an excellent cook to boot. Be my grandma, Grandma Dowdel.

To Kill a Mockingbird: 50th Anniversary Edition10. Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. I love my dad, but I think Atticus would make a top-notch papa if I had to pick one from literature.

Welp, those are my top ten. What are yours? Mosey on over to The Broke and the Bookish to let the world know!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Review: "The Sky Is Everywhere" by Jandy Nelson

Title: The Sky Is Everywhere
Author: Jandy Nelson
Publisher: Dial Books, 2010

Lennon "Lennie" Walker's world is shattered when Bailey, her older sister, best friend, and heart, dies at the young age of 19. Lost in a maelstrom of grief, she, her Gram, and her Uncle Big stumble through the ensuing weeks in a fog. Always the lesser star of the two sisters, Lennie doesn't know what to do with herself without her sister, by whom she was always defined. All she can do is write down bits of poetry on whatever scraps of paper or writing surface she can find, and fall into a tumultuous and grief-fueled relationship with Bailey's boyfriend, Toby, to her own horror and confusion.

And then Joe Fontaine comes into her life. Exuberant, joyful, positive Joe, half French and gorgeous, musical virtuoso. All of a sudden Lennie glimpses what it might feel like to be happy again. But will her reckless actions with Toby and her overwhelming sadness destroy the incredible love she and Joe could have?

This book has been bouncing around the blogosphere for some time now, so I decided to find out what all the fuss is about. And yes, it is excellently written, beautiful poetic prose with heartrending description and simile. I especially loved the poems Lennie writes and leaves wherever she thinks of the words she needs to release. That said, I found it slightly unbelievable that all of her thoughts are that graceful and elegant.

I think my biggest problem was that EVERYONE kept talking about this book's amazingness. I think I prepared myself to dislike it from the start because of all this hype (see Jamie's post on The Perpetual Page-Turner about the Hype Monster). It just didn't hit me like it did everyone else, though I was struck much more often toward the end by Lennie's pain than in the beginning. If this book does anything, it will most likely make you at least feel.

I was most struck by Lennie's observation that she will never stop mourning for her dead sister. She might lose a little bit of Bailey, but she will always love her and will therefore always grieve.

It is an exquisitely written book and I'm glad I read it. I just think I was prepared to not like it as much as everyone else.

Disclosure: I got this book from my library.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Audiobook Review: "Looking for Alaska" by John Green

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Publisher: Brilliance Audio, 2006 (Print edition: Speak, 2006)
Narrator: Jeff Woodman

Miles, reader of biographies and memorizer of last words, decides he needs to get out of his Florida high school for something greater, his "great perhaps" (from Rabelais's last words). And so off he goes to boarding school Culver Creek in Alabama, where he experiences a parentless world for the first time. Here he meets Chip, aka The Colonel, his roommate and eventually closest friend, who in turn introduces him to Alaska Young. Gorgeous, snarky, extremely well-read, reckless, intelligent, and completely unattainable, Miles can't help but fall for her.

Through late night conversations, both drunken and sober, it becomes clear that Alaska is unstable and miserable. But she gets through with a smile, a swig of cheap wine and an obscenity thrown in for the hell of it. Miles, Alaska and the Colonel, along with some other friends, smoke, drink and prank their way through their junior year, and getting through classes in the time in between.

But then everything changes.

A story of loss, grief, adventure and growing up, Looking for Alaska has a lot going for it. Told in the completely believable voice of Miles, Green nails teen speak and creates situations that are just priceless. The pranks are ingenius, as are the way Green reveals what the gang is up to. Things aren't explained until they happen, keeping the reader guessing where things are headed. He also uses this tactic with the headings of each chapter, labeled however many days before until the event happens. I was left unsure of what was coming, though I had a couple of theories. It was very effective.

Much like in his most recent novel, Paper Towns, Green does a lot of philosophizing through Miles. Miles does a lot of thinking about religion, not because he follows one, but because of his religion class, tying it into what's happening in his life—yet Green makes it easy to connect with.

All of the characters are fully realized, quirky, and completely human. No one is perfect, but every single one has a heart. Alaska is particularly complex, with a past that is gradually revealed not only to us as readers, but to her friends as well.

Woodman's narration is very good. He puts the right emphasis on words, acting out the dialogue as he goes. His voices for each character are very distinct, making it easy to tell not only them apart but internal narration from dialogue. Unfortunately I found Alaska's voice a bit grating. Aside from that, though, I had no trouble listening to him tell the story.

This is not a light read, even though there are a lot of hilarious scenes (the blow job scene in particular—I laughed out loud while I was driving). There is sex, smoking, excessive drinking, and a general disrespect for authority. There is depression and self-destructive behavior in an attempt to forget. But it's completely real, and you know there are teens out there going through exactly what Miles, Alaska and the Colonel do. This is completely worth the read, or a listen if you prefer.

Disclosure: I got this audiobook from the library.

Villette Readalong: Week 5

**Warning! Spoilers, through chapter 25!**

Well, FINALLY. I was hoping for some crazy things to happen and my wish was granted. Not only does one crazy thing happen, a few do. First off, there might be a real ghost in the attic (or maybe Lucy's just insane). THEN Lucy goes to the theater with Dr. John/Graham and sees this great actress in some play, only to have the climax interrupted by a FIRE. And in the ensuing confusion and stampeding, Graham and Lucy witness a girl get thrown under the crowd. Graham, of course, saves her, and it turns out to be no one other than (surprise!) creepy little Polly, who is no longer little but still creepy.

Okay, so Polly's a little obsessive about her dad, and it weirds me out. I'm sensing some serious Electra complex going on here. Though she's also once again getting attached to Graham, who obviously likes her a great deal and they will probably end up a couple. (Sorry, Lucy.)

As for Lucy, she's got some issues to deal with. If that ghost isn't real, she's hallucinating, and it's not good. Plus she has this unhealthy obsession with Graham (lots of obsessing going on here). She's driving herself to some sort of edge, and if she's not careful she's gonna fly off it, sobbing her way all the way down.

Did anyone else think it was kind of on purpose that Lucy saw this spectre in the attic, like Bronte was giving a shout-out to Jane Eyre and that other madwoman in the attic? I thought that was interesting and too coincidental to be an accident.

Can we also talk about how COMPLETELY convenient it is that Lucy and Graham run into Polly and her father at the theater, almost literally? Well, Polly gets trampled sort of and Graham saves her sort of. It all seems way too contrived. This whole thing seems very contrived. "Oh, how odd that ALL OF US just HAPPEN to be in Villette at the same time! Oh, and you're cousins with Ginevra Fanshawe?! IMAGINE!" I mean, come on.

I'm guessing we'll be seeing a lot more of Polly in the next few chapters; you know she's going to end up at Villette so we can get the plot rolling along with some drama and whatever weird love trapezoid (pentagon?) will happen as a result.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My book club!

If anyone is in my general area and wants to come to a teen book club, please come to mine! This Friday I'll be leading a discussion on The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie at my Barnes & Noble, in Burlington, MA.

If you or anyone else you know might think they'd be interested, stop by! I'm going to try to get some snacks, maybe some juice. It would be great if I could connect with fellow bloggers, or just any book lovers who want to discuss this great book.

Review: "One Crazy Summer" by Rita Williams-Garcia

Title: One Crazy Summer
Author: Rita Williams-Garcia
Publisher: Amistad, 2010

Delphine and her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, are off to Oakland, CA to spend the summer with their mother, Cecile. But this is no happy reunion, and Oakland is not all sunshine and Disneyland. Cecile wants next to nothing to do with her daughters, having walked out on them 7 years earlier. Plus, it's 1968, and the Black Panthers are working hard in this poor community to gain rights and spread the word.

Cecile, or Sister Nzila, is involved, albeit grudgingly, in the cause. Throughout the four weeks they spend in Oakland, Delphine and her sisters get mixed up in one thing after another, attending the Black Panthers day camp and learning about the revolution and its people.

Winner of the Coretta Scott King Award and the recipient of a Newbery Honor, this middle grade novel certainly deserves them. Narrated by 11-year-old Delphine, the writing is sharp and to the point. Delphine doesn't dance around issues (unless it comes to her own feelings about certain things). The writing is excellent, with language perfect for older elementary students and middle schoolers. I was pulled right into the story, could feel the tension between Cecile and her daughters, the unspoken words that Delphine was just dying to say yet too afraid to let out.

I loved how all of the characters were so fully realized. Cecile in particular struck me as particularly complex and layered. It's clear she never really wanted to be a mother, at least not in the traditional sense. She doesn't take care of her children as a mother is expected to, and many would say she is a bad mother. But she knows what she's fighting for, and will not back down in the face of oppression. She's passionate about her poetry; Delphine calls it praying, as Cecile bends over her work. Cecile is an incredibly strong and independent woman, admirable at least for that, even though she proves herself to be very flawed in other regards.

And how many books for younger readers are there about the Black Panthers? I learned a lot from this book about that part of American history; not much of it was covered during my formal education besides a few mentions in AP U.S. Names are mentioned and a bit of their histories are thrown in, and interested readers are given just enough to find more information through their own research. (This would be a great companion to a school unit about the Civil Rights Movement.)

Williams-Garcia writes this in her acknowledgments: "I wanted to write this story for those children who witnessed and were part of necessary change. Yes. There were children" (p 217). I will not forget anytime soon that children were involved in this revolution, thanks to Delphine and One Crazy Summer.

Disclosure: I checked out this book from my library.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Audiobook Review: "Marcelo in the Real World" by Francisco X. Stork

Title: Marcelo in the Real World
Author: Francisco X. Stork
Publisher: Listening Library, 2009 (Also available in print through Scholastic)
Narrator: Lincoln Hoppe

Marcelo has managed to stay out of the "real world" for most of his life. As a teen with a condition somewhere on the Asperger's/autism spectrum, he has been allowed to go to a private school called Patterson, for students with learning or physical disabilities. Yet Marcelo's parents believe he can function in the real world and attend public school instead of avoiding it. And so his father, Arturo, decides it would be useful for Marcelo to work in the mail room of his law firm for the summer to get a taste of what life is like outside of Patterson.

As Marcelo narrates the story of his summer, we see what goes on in his mind. He has a "special interest," as he describes it, in religion—though he is a practicing Catholic, he also has a strong desire to learn as much as he can about the other world religions. He has a knack for taking care of horses. He loves music and owns many CDs, a good portion of them classical. He tends to refer to himself and others he speaks to in the third person, though occasionally he checks himself. And he always wants to do what is right, even if what's right asks him to sacrifice things he wants, or hurts those closest to him.

Though this started off slow for me, I began to love Marcelo. He's such a gentle soul, though unsure of many real-world "rules" and guidelines that weren't an issue at Patterson. All his life people have adapted to him, and now he's facing the challenge of adapting to the world around him.

The discussion of right and wrong is not a clear one, and this makes the story not only realistic, but incredibly valuable. There is no clear-cut "right" course of action. Every decision that's made will affect others—even though Marcelo wants to do what's right, he needs to weigh the consequences of each path he might take.

Marcelo comes into contact with a lot of awful, corrupt people, but he also meets a number of others with good hearts. Wendell is a scumbag, as is his father; Jasmine, on the other hand, tries to get through each day in this ruthless atmosphere doing the best she can, and is essentially a good person. Then there are the people in between, like Marcelo's own father.

Perhaps one of the things I liked best about this novel is the way Marcelo sees and describes his condition. It quickly becomes clear there isn't a whole lot wrong with him, though he does have his quirks. But Stork does not present it as a disease. In fact, by the end, I did not see it as one, which is why I refer to it as a condition. Marcelo is extremely sensitive to others because of it, though he doesn't let this compassion completely rule his life. He keeps on going, knowing that he's doing what he can.

Lincoln Hoppe gives a good performance as narrator of the audio version. His voice is soothing and young-sounding, making Marcelo's voice believable. He gives emphasis in the right places, and each character sounds unique enough to differentiate between them. My biggest problem in listening to this instead of reading it was I couldn't tell in many places whether Marcelo was talking out loud or thinking his narration. Most of the time I eventually figured it out, but sometimes it was frustrating.

A detailed and intimate look at humanity, Marcelo in the Real World brings us the account of a young man discovering the greed and indifference to the wellbeing of others in the world, as well as the love and goodwill we are all capable of, should we so choose.

Disclosure: I checked out this book from the library.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Villette Readalong: Week 4

I am still struggling to get through this a bit, but I'm getting more interested now that stuff is actually happening. Lucy obviously is starting to like Dr. John/Graham, and is starting to get more involved in her own life. Good for her for sticking up for herself in that art gallery. She can look at whatever she damn well pleases, M. Paul. THAT annoyed me. Who does that guy think he is, her dad? Geez. I guess it's nice that he is concerned for her well-being, but come on.

And FINALLY Dr. John realizes Ginevra is a jerk. Though why Lucy swoops in to defend her like she does I have no idea. I know she feels a loyalty to her and find her a harmless flirt, but man, when someone is hurting about his crush like that, you agree with them. Though I suppose Ginevra is her only friend at Villette, which kind of sucks honestly.

I think my favorite part of this section was when Lucy saw that pink dress. I could just imagine her thinking, "Oh hell no." But I bet it looked great with the black lace overlay.

I'm sort of worried about M. Paul getting upset with Lucy at the concert. He does not seem to be someone Lucy wants to have as an enemy, and he seemed genuinely upset at her trying to avoid him. I think he's overreacting honestly, but still, he's going to treat her differently from now on.

One thing that's really annoying me is Lucy's constant interjections from her present-day self like "THAT WAS WHEN I WAS HAPPY" and whatnot. Obviously she's not happy anymore; that's something I would like to see through foreshadow, not "hintity hint hint" from old lady Lucy.

Anyway, on to the next five chapters. I could use some real crazy crap going on in here.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Holy moly, I'm featured again!

As luck would have it, I'm being featured again! This time it's on GReads!, written by the fabulous Ginger.

If you want to know things like which movies I can't watch enough, which books I'm reading now, and what my favorite cupcake is, check out the interview here.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Feeling buried.

Does anyone else ever feel completely overwhelmed by the amount of books out there? I'm starting to really feel the pressure about all the new YA releases, and the classics I've yet to read. I feel obligated to read them all, especially since I hope to one day be a YA or teen librarian. I need to know this literature cold—but I feel like I'm constantly behind.

Being a part of the book blogging community has certainly added many great titles to my TBR list, but the more I see, the more I want to read, and the less time I have. Add to that my compulsion to exercise at least 3 times a week (or if I have a free couple of hours), and that's even less time. (This wasn't so bad when my treadmill worked, but now I can't read and run at the same time—poop.)

I'm finding that listening to books on CD in my car as I drive around to all the places I need to be has helped whittle it down a bit. I just finished listening to Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork (look out for a review later this week), and really enjoyed it. Plus I'm spending my driving time doing something worthwhile. Two birds with one stone, woot. This is why you'll notice more audiobook reviews from me.

How does everyone else handle this? From an informal Twitter survey, I found some people feel the same way I do, while others relish the thought of being buried in books and always having something to read. Thoughts?
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