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84) Humphries, Martha. UNTIL WHATEVER. Houghton Mifflin: 1991.
YA fiction by a local Huntsville author about two teenage girl friends, one of whom has AIDS.

And that finished out the count for 2010 at 84 books read. :)

1) Hart, Erin. FALSE MERMAID. Scribner: 2010.
Mystery set in America and Ireland; I liked the subplot about Irish folklore and selkie stories.
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82) McCrumb, Sharyn. BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER, Dutton: 1998

Yes, it was based on a murder ballad.... and that part of the story took place in Morganton NC, where I'll soon be running my New Year's race.

83) Maupin, Armistead. MARY ANNE IN AUTUMN, Harper 2010.

The latest in the author's revived TALES OF THE CITY series.

I'm contemplating getting an audio book (and or some music) to listen to over the night hours of the race, but Barry teasing me that I'd probably get distracted by the story and wander off the race course....

Book #81

Dec. 15th, 2010 11:15 am
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Turner, Joan Frances. DUST. Ace: 2010.

Narrated by a sympathetic and believable adolescent protagonist in a near future post-apocalyptic world, Jessie simply happens to be (un)dead. Instead of being yet another typical mindless zombie/violent gorefest, or being played for light thrills and humor, Dust offers something a little bit different in this disturbingly realistic novel.

I like sentient revenants. :)

Not a perfect novel (there is some uneven writing, with some characters better developed than others), but this is an original and interesting premise and a mostly engrossing (yes, pun on gross) read.

One of the better books I've read this year!

Book #80

Dec. 10th, 2010 12:03 pm
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80) Cain, Chelsea. EVIL AT HEART. Minotaur: 2009.

Cain's third in her Gretchen Lowell/Archie Sheridan thriller series about a female serial killer and the detective obsessed with the case and the killer. Lol...I got over a third of the way through the novel before my brain kicked in and I realized I had already read it last December! Decided it was entertaining enough to finish it again for a reread though.

fyi: in 2009, I read 78 books; getting a few more in the total for 2010!

book #79

Dec. 5th, 2010 10:40 am
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79) Napoli, Donna Jo and Richard Tchen. SPINNERS. Dutton Children's Books: 1999.

YA retelling of the Rumplestiltskin story.
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77) Kellerman, Jesse. EXECUTER. New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, c2010.
A grad student meets his intellectual match and seals his dark fate when he responds to a newspaper ad seeking a conversationalist.

78)Bacigalupi, Paolo. THE WINDUP GIRL. San Francisco : Night Shade Books, c2009.
Very BladeRunner-esque Sci-fi. What happens when bio-terrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits? And what happens when this forces humanity to the cusp of post-human evolution? This is a tale of Bangkok struggling for survival in a post-oil era of rising sea levels and out-of-control mutation.

Book #76

Nov. 19th, 2010 10:34 am
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76) Robinson, Alex. TRICKED. Top Shelf Productions: 2005.

I stayed up til 1 am last night reading this graphic novel straight through; really enjoyed it. (*sigh* although my aging bifocaled eyes did not; I had a hard time with the size of some the handlettered text blocks..good grief, do I need to ask our fiction librarian to purchase LARGEPRINT g-novels?) I seem to prefer this style of b/w, edgy and gritty graphic novel to the pretty slickness of Marvel type books.

Publisher's Weekly review:
This dense graphic novel follows the paths of six characters who weave around one another, all finally meeting in the story's violent climax. The six are Ray Beam, a blocked and exhausted rock star; Nick, a small-time grifter; Phoebe, a daughter in search of her father; Steve, the very worst kind of music fan; Lily, a young girl drawn into Ray's artistic drama; and Caprice, a self-defeating waitress. Before the final meeting, each leads a fully realized life, whose detailed individuality and complex relationships mark Robinson as a truly gifted writer. His art is no less impressive, with clear line drawings that hone in on the subtleties of his characters' emotional lives. A master of the slice-of-life indie comic genre, Robinson brings a strong dramatic force to his work as well. Robinson's talent allows his characters to be comprehensible even when they act like spoiled jerks or sabotage their own chances for happiness but his authorial generosity returns them all to their own best selves by the end.

Book #75

Nov. 16th, 2010 03:04 pm
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75) Williams, Carol Lynch. THE CHOSEN ONE. St. Martin's Griffin: 2009.

I wasn't impressed much with this YA novel of a young girl struggling to find her freedom from the repressive polygamous fundamentalist community in which she was raised.

Book #74

Nov. 8th, 2010 03:35 pm
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74) Lindqvist,John Ajvide. LET ME IN. St. Martins Press: 2010

from amazon review: I am not sure if "Let Me In" was truly a good book, or if it is because it is so different than much of the vampire fiction being published right now, but I found it fascinating. It is not for everyone - not so much for the violence (par for the course in these sorts of books) as much as the peek into damaged psyches. It's to Lindqvist's credit that he presents even the most revolting beings as full-fledged characters and not just drooling, one-note lunatics. The vampire, Eli, is also that rarity in horror fiction - a sympathetic vampire who is by no means "good."

If I was a real purist... I'd have read this book in the original Swedish, but had to settle for reading the translation before allowing myself to watch the Swedish movie version before watching the current American remake....

Book # 73

Nov. 4th, 2010 10:32 am
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73) Gruen, Sarah. APE HOUSE. New York : Spiegel & Grau, 2010.

When a family of bonobo apes, who know American Sign Language, are displaced after an explosion at a language laboratory, their mysterious appearance on a reality TV show propels scientist Isabel Duncan, together with reporter John Thigpen, on a personal mission to rescue them.

Second novel about bonobos I've read recently!

Book #72

Nov. 3rd, 2010 08:20 am
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72) Straub, Peter. LOST BOY, LOST GIRL. Random House: 2003.

This was a thoughtful thriller & ghost story read for Halloween.

2380

Oct. 29th, 2010 04:43 pm
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While out the other day, I noticed a streetside advertising banner. It was touting yet another version of diet cola, “Pepsi MAX ”. Seen from a distance, I could recognize the Pepsi corporate logo, but somehow on first glance I misread the additional printed text
“ZERO CALORIES” as saying instead “2380 CALORIES”!

I immediately flashed on the Cory Doctorow novel, Makers, I had recently read and thought “It’s diet soda for Fatkins*!” And it certainly gives a different meaning to the “MAX” than intended!

*In the novel, the “fatkins” treatment is a biological hack that resets the metabolism of the morbidly obese to make them uniformly thin and muscular while tweaking the body’s metabolic systems to require ten thousand calories a day. As the treatments catch on, the fatkins become one of the nations' dominant cultures, with their own restaurants, dating styles, and demographic box. And, as Makers is a satiric cautionary tale, “fatkins” also ultimately proves not a miracle cure but a death sentence of organ failure and osteoporosis.

a couple reviews of Doctorow’s novel:
http://io9.com/5411121/as-silicon-valley-crumbles-the-makers-will-inherit-the-earth
http://newhumanist.org.uk/2146/makers-by-cory-doctorow
entire novel online serialized and illustrated here:
http://www.tor.com/blogs/2009/07/cory-doctorows-lemgmakerslemg-index
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#69 Pearce, Jackson. SISTERS RED. Little Brown: 2010. YA fiction werewolves and fairy tale themes.
#70 Goldsmith, Barbara. OTHER POWERS: the age of suffrage, spiritualism, and the scandalous Victoria Woodhull. Knopf: 1998. Women's Studies nonfiction.
#71 Shepard, Judy. MEANING OF MATTHEW: my son's murder in Laramie, and a world transformed. Hudson Street Press: 2009. Non-fiction memoir. (fyi: Matthew Shepard's murder was years later, but (like Matthew) I attended collage in Laramie at the University of Wyoming)

Book #68

Oct. 14th, 2010 11:31 am
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Actually, my sister jogged my memory for me, as she remembered the title from seeing the book around the apartment. Of course, once she said what the title was, it all came back to me...

68) Gonzales, Laurence. LUCY. Knopf: 2010

Jenny Lowe, a primatologist studying chimpanzees, is running for her life with the child of a murdered fellow scientist after a civil war explodes in the Congo. Realizing that the girl has no living relatives, Jenny begins to care for her as her own. When she reads the notebooks written by Lucy's father, she discovers that the adorable, lovely, magical Lucy is the result of an experiment. She is part human, part ape, a hybrid human being.

LOL...given the interesting sci-fi bio-thriller plot, I wish this novel had been more memorable than it was! :)

Book ?????

Oct. 13th, 2010 12:14 pm
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Lol..getting old sucks (bibliophile style)

I finished reading another novel a few days ago, and returned it to the library.

I thought today that I needed to update my books read list (this would be #68 for the year).

Damned if I can remember now what the book was!!! Not title, not author, not what it was about.

There is just a BIG book blank in my brain!

This would be really funny if I didn't feel so stupid!
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Help me decide! What or who should I "be" for Halloween?? (Its gotta be a costume I can run in for the Spooktacular 5K)

-Lola (movie character from Run Lola Run; most running related, but obscure)
-Leela (cartoon character from Futurama; could be funny!)
-Lucille (book/movie character from Crazy in Alabama; prolly not for running--unless I want to drag her husband's-head-in-the-hatbox luggage along with me)
-flying monkey (Wicked/Oz inspired; what can I say? I've got a quirk for flying monkeys.)
-matador (Dia De Los Muertos, folk art inspired)

Also, anyone want to place odds on my getting Barry to costume with me? I susppose I should count his reluctance for dress up as a blessing in disguise, as then I'd have to come up with a couple costume concept! :)

Book #67
67)Ryan, Carrie. THE DEAD-TOSSED WAVES. Delacorte: 2010.

Young Adult zombie apocalypse novel. Contained a bit of teen angst and romance, but no "sparkly" monsters.

Book #66

Sep. 22nd, 2010 07:45 am
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66) Doctorow, Cory. MAKERS. Tor: 2009.

Cory Doctorow's work is up to the minute (or perhaps 30 seconds into the future). It is the perfect science fiction and manifesto for Makers, Hackers, DIY'ers and Entrepreneurs. I'm not by any means a tech geek, but I am a fan of Cory Doctorow who can make me see the art & culture of technology! Loved this novel.

Publisher's Weekly starred review: In this tour de force, Doctorow uses the contradictions of two overused SF themes—the decline and fall (or Disney-fication) of America and the boundless optimism of open source/hacker culture—to draw one of the most brilliant reimaginings of the near future since cyberpunk wore out its mirror shades. The result is bitingly realistic and miraculously avoids cliché or predictability.

Book #65

Sep. 13th, 2010 08:12 pm
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65) Moody, David. HATER. Thomas Dunne: 2009.

Originally self-published, Moody's nail-biter of a debut plausibly creates (not quite a zombie story but) a nightmare world in which ordinary people suddenly transform into violent killers, and an everyday man struggles to retain normalcy and recognize who is trustworthy in a society escalating out of control.

Books 62-64

Sep. 9th, 2010 09:50 am
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#62)Borodale, Jane. BOOK OF FIRES. Viking: 2009. Well written historical fiction about a young woman who becomes a fireworks maker's apprentice in 18th century London.

#63)Millar, Mark. KICK-ASS. Marvel: 2010. Graphic Novel about geeky teenager turned superhero. Snarky and edgy; graphic and violent, but I liked it. (lol..sort of "Sin City cuts class from High School?"

#64)Hopkins, Ellen. IDENTICAL. New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, c2008. Interesting (if also sometimes irritating) style; YA fiction written in verse about the dysfunctional family of a set of teenaged twin girls.

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