Jun. 3rd, 2011

eleneariel: (reading (jolly good))

1. Strings Attached, Judy Blundell
   Young adult fiction which I liked very much (Blundell has a way of making a creepy/sad/mysterious admosphere throughout her books that I really enjoy). Plot in a nutshell: small town girl moves to NYC to be a dancer, there are secrets and lies and an ex-boyfriend with a creepy gangster father and it's all very 1930s-noir and I LOVED it.

2. City of Glass, Cassandra Clare
   Losing interest in this series so fast. Jace is still being emo. Emo Jace is emo. See emo Jace run away from Clary ... AGAIN.

3. The Man Who Ate Everything, Jeffrey Steingarten
   A collection of Steingarten's articles as the food writer for Vogue. Hit and miss ... some of them are really excellent, but a lot appear dated (mostly the ones discussing health scares/fads we've all gotten over a long time ago.)

4. Johnny and the Bomb, Terry Pratchett
   Probably the best of the three Johnny book, although maybe I only think that because I'm into WWII.

5. The United States of Wal-Mart, John Dicker
I have neither loyalty to nor antipathy towards Wal-Mart, so I'm not sure why I thought it was a good idea to spend time reading this one. It was repetitive and openly hostile, but redeemed itself slightly when it called Nicholas Sparks an "emotion pornographer." haha, right on.

6. The Dead Beat, Marilyn Johnson

An obituary (at least a well written one) is a small slice of a life. Who was this person? What impact did they leave on the world? How old was he, where was she born, what did he do during his life, who did she leave behind?
In this book Marilyn Johnson has collected stearling examples of obituaries and the writers who craft them. I loved it!

   Clementine Werfel blessed priests at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Strongsville with heavenly desserts, memorable meals and seemingly miraculous coffee.
   The retired parish housekeeper, who died Aug. 2 at 96, routinely walked around the dining table in the rectory, offering coffee to each priest.
   "Would Father like regular or decaf?" the 4-foot-something Werfel asked them one by one.
   Regardless of the priests' individual preferences, she filled all their cups with coffee from the same pot. The coffee drinkers silently accepted what they got, as though Werfel really could turn regular cofee into decaffeinated, much the way the biblical Jesus turned water into wine.


7. Dying to Meet You, Kate Klise
   Really adorable kids book. Charming illustrations!

8. The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery (audio book)
   By the time I reached the end of the first disc I was pretty sure I hated this book. It was a whole lot of wordy philosophical ramblings maskerading as a novel, with two main characters who pretty much sit around and think about how much better they are than the rich, shallow people around them. And oh yeah, the plot goes absolutely NOWHERE. For 3/4 of the BOOK.

And then the last fourth came along and broke my heart, in an i-see-what-you-did-thar-and-i-hate-you-for-doing-this-to-me-but-it-IS-brilliant way, if that makes sense. I know that's hardly a ringing endorsement, and I was SO MAD about the ending, but ... yeah. It was strangely worth reading. Er, listening to.

9. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, Joshua Foer
   Journalist covering the US Memory Championship becomes interested in the tricks of the trade that allow the competitors to memorize 3 pages of unpublished poetry in fifteen minutes and the exact order of a deck of cards in less than two minutes, starts practicing these techniques and goes on to win the championship the following year. Interesting but not particularly practical unless you are insane, er, really dedicated.


Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it. You can exercise daily and eat healthily  and live a long life, while experiencing a short one. If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle and passing papers, one day is bound to blend unmemorably into the next - and disappear. That's why it's important to change routines regularly, and take vacations to exotic locales, and have as many new experiences as possible that can serve to anchor our memories. Creating new memeries stretches out psychological time, and lengthens our perception of our lives.


 10. Blackout, Connie Willis
      I'm going to ditch any attempt at a real review (check here if you want that sort of thing) and just flail around saying that I LOVE this book, you should all read it, it is so real and vivid and wonderful, and captures the ordinary everyday heros of WWII, AND it's got awesome time travel, and I sort of know the ending of the second book already and that makes some parts of this one all the more poignant and yes, I did possibly cry over some of these characters.


July 2011

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