30 June 2003

Reads & Listens, June 2003

Reads:

Crusader by Edward Bloor
Pretty damn exciting for a book off the middle school summer reading list. Racism, virtual reality, repressed memories, murder, young love ... it has everything a beach read needs and more.

Goddess of Yesterday by Caroline B. Cooney
Another book off the middle school summer reading list. This is a stunning interpretation of the Iliad and early Greek history as seen through the eyes of a twelve year old hostage. Well worth reading, but not for those looking for cutesy princess stories. Helen is not a nice Barbie princess. Paris is one evil bastard. The gods are capricious and cruel. And men, in general, just come off badly.

Green Angel by Alice Hoffman
Dark. Haunting. Lyrical. Beautiful.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
Yet another book off the middle school summer reading list (if I have to shelve 'em then I might as well read 'em). I had a lot of fun reading this book and I do thinks it would make a fine summer mother-daughter read. On the other hand, the some aspects of the storyline were either just a little too Hallmark at it's very best or too After School Special. And Bee's sexual shenanigans were just ... disturbing. Her behavior was so flagrant and yet none of the adults running the camp savvied on to it? I wish I'd gone to her kind of camp when I was fifteen.

Technology as Magic by Richard Stivers
The central point of this book seems to be that technology's main contribution and attraction for people is the magical qualities they attach to it rather than the practical tasks it accomplishes and technologists acting as contemporary magicians have worked hard to keep people feeling that way. By making everything "user friendly" the average user has no real understanding of how technology works and sees it almost as a kind of magic.

Cup of Morning Shadows (Book 2 of the Twelve Treasures) by Rosemary Edghill
Librarians in Faerie Land. An amusing and breezy read.

The Courtesan's Daughter by Priscilla Galloway
A YA soap opera set in ancient Athens. Very well researched, but kind-of repetitive and obvious.

Daughter of Elysium by Joan Slonczewski
Set on Shora long enough after A Door Into Ocean that it stands well enough on its own. Full of lots of un-Christian thoughts and gay people so you might want to skip this book or you'll make baby Jesus cry. (Sorry, I was reading Amazon.com reviews and, as always, that was a mistake). Really quite good.

The Woodwife by Terri Windling
Terri Windling copies Charles de Lint. Charles de Lint does it better.

Fires of the Faithful by Naomi Kritzer
Wow. Very interesting and clever interpretation of the Christian mythos. Lots of background detail, which I always like, and well written characters. If you like Shinn's Samaria books, you'll probably like this one. Although, I'm also a bit worried Kritzer's set herself up for a long series and the quality won't last. The last few chapters set up a lot of the action to come in the sequel and I can't believe it can all be resolved in just one more novel.

Tangerine by Edward Bloor
Beautiful and disturbing YA novel.

Ella Minnow Pea: A Progressively Lipogrammatic Epistolary Fable by Mark Dunn
I had a great deal of fun reading this book even though the characters are about as flat as cardboard cutouts. Both clever and quirky, Ella Minnow Pea could pass as a morality tale for our time.

Rules of Engagement by Christina Dodd
This is the second book in Dodd's Governess series. The sex scenes are pretty damned spicy, but the over all story is very bland and about a hundred pages too long.