June 17th, 2010


A Boatload of Books...

So, knowing that I got back from Hawaii not long ago, you're probably wondering, "What did you read while you were there?" And the answer, between Hawaii (and the plane) and since then, is A LOT.

I read two Stephanie Plum novels in Hawaii (#6 and #7), and I'm working on #8 right now. These are my preferred gym books, because they're fast and distracting. #8 features Lula encountering a dreadful little girl who makes the mistake of calling her fat:
Lula: I'm not fat. I am a substantial woman!

Those novels are all about Lula and Grandma Mazur for me, and people like the goons and stoners in #6. The random dialogue for the secondary characters is a riot.

I read Procession Of The Dead for Amazon Vines, and posted the review today. It's the first non-teen novel for Darren Shan, and it was a fascinating read (though its view of women is extremely limited). The book's structure and some of its underlying details are based on the Mayan calendar and mythology, and there are intriguing mysteries that help pull you along through the bloodbath of its gangster-world setting.

The above was my "beach" novel (!), and my airplane novel was Al Capone Does My Shirts. That last book is a teen-market novel, a great mix of humor and pathos in an unusual setting. I loved it (and its sequel, Al Capone Shines My Shoes, which I read this week). I was little perturbed by the fact that the novel is set in The Depression (to line up with Capone's time at Alcatraz), and yet you'd never know it from the books themselves. That seems careless, in stories that are perfect in so many other respects (including the depiction of an autistic character). Regardless, the books are delightful.

Last week I also finished Unwind, another novel by Neal Shusterman. This was recommended by blazeorfade, and it really was fantastic. Shusterman is such a creative writer. I couldn't put that one down, though I hid it from Christopher and returned it yesterday. Some of the ideas in it would upset him greatly right now. In a couple of years, everything will be different.

I'm currently reading How The World Makes Love, by the author of Honeymoon With My Brother. Very funny writer (I want to read that first book now). He journeys to 7-8 different countries to discover how they view love and courtship, and what other cultures find successful or disastrous.

Minor shocker in reading it: I spent years being told that saudade meant "Souvenir." I.e., that the Villa-Lobos classical piece, Saudades Do Brasil, meant "Souvenirs of Brazil." The music's structure (sections that reminisce over certain places in the country) seems to support that. This book suggests that a better meaning is, "Soul-deep longing," meaning that those musical pieces are not souvenirs-- they're the homesick remembrances of the composer. Big difference, at least to me.

My next KidFic novel, as soon as Christopher's done with it, will be another Eva Ibbotson story. Haven't read anything by her aimed at the teen market, so I'm looking forward to it!

Annnnd for those of you following my side-pain issue, it got bad enough during my run yesterday that I had to quit about 1 1/2 miles in. So I called the doctor, and went in this morning... and got the diagnosis I postulated earlier. Constipation (maybe with some random muscle pain). Hey, at least I didn't let the advice nurse scare me into going into the ER last night. Bad enough to pay $20 over something like that, but $100 would have really hurt. :0