Thursday, May 31, 2007

silence.

I blog not here, I blog not there, I do not bloggeth anywhere.


and I wonder.... why? I used to blog more than once a day over here ----and now both blogs are, well, blogless.

So, I think: has the novelty worn off? It has been three years since I started my first blog; all creatively raring to go. Now with a review job and work on the never-will-be-finished-novel, I think sometimes I should return to my journal-state and let the public sphere be damned.


But, alas, how can I deprive everyone of books THEY MUST KNOW ABOUT !?!?


first.

THE GOOD:

Austenland by Shannon Hale ---usual YA writer, Newbery winner, Austenite----writes gorgeous story about curious heroine who lives out my dream. THREE weeks in a regency-type Disneyworld. With hats and gloves, whist and cricket, too much mutton for breakfast, plays acted, books read, conversations melodiously careful in their construct and consideration---a dapple into lost art, balls and logs and bright eyes and dirty hems.... and, the piece de resistance, men in tight britches a la Darcy.

There are enough heroes to fit every Austen prototype. There are enough plot distractions to fit in every major Austen work. There is enough Ann Radcliffe ( for good measure ) to keep Northanger close in mind.


Side note: the newest BBC Austen adaptations rated by Melrose as such:

Mansfield Park **
Northanger Abbey***
Persuasion***************** ( and 45.7 on the richter scale !! ) Definitive. Delightful. Delicious! Delovely.



The good continues:

The Sun over Breda by Arturo Perez Reverte---Captain Alatriste and Diego and Dutch conflict. Bring it on.



The good continues still......

How often do you decide to read a book due to the author's note or bio blurb on the jacket? Moi? Quite often. 'Twas my initiation to perennial favourite CC Humphreys, and is now the beginning of what I hope will be a long and prosperous relationship between myself and whatever the hell Derek Landy writes for the rest of time !!

Skulduggery Pleasant is a well-tailored skeleton whose banter with 12 year old sidekick Stephanie is a page out of the gumshoe noir genre of the 1940's. They fight evil, oh yes, and not in bits and bites but throughout !! Vampires, trolls, Ctulhus ( see HP Lovecraft) OH MY !!


Still good:

No chicklit lover,I---- I took on good authority ( Courtney of Once Upon a Bookshelf) that Shanna Swensdon was one to behold. So, I read ( gulp gulp .....shhh!) Damsel Under Stress, Enchanted, Inc. and, Once Upon Stilettos. I won't go into the detail of fluff. But, the heroine is useful and has no real propensity to spend her life shopping ( yes that was a derogatory nod in a certain direction ) and the lead guy is brilliant.... the best of nerdy Clark Kent and powerful Superman--- a hybrid of wonderfulness.




Also good: Tithe, Valiant and Ironside by Holly Black. Dark faerie books for teens with an enigmatic hero worthy of Edward Cullen.

Cupcake by Rachel Cohn: the weakest of the Cyd Charisse trilogy but still a good time.

The bad and the ugly: In Search of Mockingbird by Loretta Ellsworth. Bad. Bad. Tedious and cliche, this book is everything I hate about the YA genre.... assuming the reader must be walked through the deepest emotions of its main character blandly and blatently; an assumption that the reader cannot map on their own what is pieced together overtly on the page.
Summation: Teen girl reads her dead mom's journal, discovers mom loved Harper Lee, runs away from domineering brothers and awkward father and travels on the longest bus ride any reader has ever had to sit through. She meets a couple of eccentrics and finally arrives at her destination: Monroeville Alabama, a mecca for Lee enthusiasts. The climax includes a scene in a cafe with an old lady called Nell nearby.

Argh!



BACK TO GOOD :


In the mystery genre, Maureen Jennings continues to knock my socks off.... this time, in Journeyman to Grief, she deals with issues of segregation and racism in a small " coloured" community of 19th Century Toronto.

Murdoch is awesome. Romance threads. Plot is tight.


Fair:

is the teen vampire/werewolf novel Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith ( whose husband, by the way, wrote two great kids' books Tofu and T-Rex and Ninjas, Piranhas and Galileo). I did not really care for the lead character, but the writing was so beautiful and unpredictable I didn't really care.


REVISIT: Lost Laysen : a juvenalia by Margaret Mitchell and the only novella work of fiction we have of the famous Pulitzer-winner. What is most stunning about this edition is the scrapbook type layout that dominates the first three-quarters of the book. I had not read this since high school so was quite absorbed.


For lovers of Isak Dinesen, or just a sumptuous gothic tale, read Winter's Tales which completed my Dinesen collection.



I cannot recount anymore I have read since last we spoke ( there has been a lot.... including new works by Ondaatje and McEwan ) but this is what stands out.

3 comments:

Court said...

Owen! Ah, Owen! (And I also adore Rod.) Yay for females in chicklit who aren't flakes.

(I now really want to read Austenland)

otahyoni said...

Wow. That was the mother of all blogs. I'll have to come back later to write down the ones I want to read. For now, I'm so glad you liked Skulduggery Pleasant, because when I heard about that one, I thought it sounded fantastic. I shall definitely put it on my list!

And now, it is time to go home! It's 5:00 somewhere, and that is HERE.

katie said...

".. Dark faerie books for teens with an enigmatic hero worthy of Edward Cullen."

YAY Edward! He's back August 7th!!

woohoot