30 January 2003

Reads & Listens, January 2003


Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
This and a nice bottle of wine will get you through the worst of the holidays.

The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage by Cathi Hanauer
Loved the first half of this book and I probably would have loved the second half as well, except that by then, the book was a bit of a blur (I did not read this in one sitting). Many of the essays seem repetitive and while I understand that's because a lot of women are going through the same shit, I didn't need to be bludgeoned with it. Also, not being of the same generation as most of the writers, I kept finding myself thinking "What about me? Where are the women like me? These are almost but not quite like my issues." Sometimes, my selfishness alarms me.

The Big U by Neal Stephenson
His first novel and it shows a bit. I wouldn't tell anyone not to read it, but I'd certainly recommend nearly everything else he's written over it. Some parts were very funny and sharp, but a lot seemed like National Lampoon Goes to College.

Never After by Rebecca Lickiss
A charming, sweet, and funny fractured fairy tale. Clever, but not so clever it made me cross-eyed. Definitely recommended to those who liked The Princess Bride.

Contact by Susan Grant
One of my romance loving cronies recommended this to me as a good "cross over" romance. Basically, it's a romance novel that wants to be a sci-fi adventure in the same way that Trek novels want to be real books. I could see it as the screenplay for a movie of the week, but ... but ... oh, hell, it wasn't very good, okay? If I want sci-fi romance, I'll pick something like Mary Gentle's Golden Witchbreed.

Patently Female by Ethlie Ann Vare & Greg Ptacek
Obviously, I read too much, because I was already familiar with most of the women mentioned in this book. It's a good primer and it would make an excellent educational supplement when coupled with the Women Who Dare Knowledge Cards. As a librarian, I would have liked a bibliography or more in depth list of resources in case, you know, I wanted to know more.

An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn
Really good. I actually laughed out loud in a few places and never rolled my eyes in disbelief at some unlikely plot contrivance. Quite amazing, really.

Potent Pleasures by Eloisa James
I was captivated by this book right up until their wedding night. Then it became like every bad romance I'd ever read.

Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Funny. Almost as good as An Offer From a Gentleman, but ... was I really supposed to think that Eloise or Mrs. Bridgerton was Mrs. Whistledown? C'mon, people. Also, it dragged a bit and there seemed to be an awful lot of characters popping up for no particular reason (besides keeping loyal readers happy, maybe?) and ...
... some of the plot contrivances did make me roll my eyes.

Enchanting Pleasures by Eloisa James
Is Peter gay? That's what I wanted to know. Oh, and why was he such an ass in this book when he was actually pretty nice in Potent Pleasures? Unlikely plot contrivances abounded in this book. My eyes were just rolling madly the whole time. I know it's a "romance," but that doesn't mean it has to be nonsensical. Why do I keep reading these things? Why?