30 September 2005

Reads & Listens, September 2005

Imagine a Day by Sarah Thomson (illus. by Rob Gonsalves)
The illustrations are delightful and it would be very easy to get lost in them. A good read-together book for a dreary afternoon.

Russell The Sheep written & illus. by Rob Scotton
Russell the Sheep can't sleep and, after trying countless other remedies, he begins to count things ... This is a charming picture book, cleverly illustrated, and full of humor.

Season to Be Sinful by Jo Goodman
Thief with a heart of gold takes a knife for some knob who later discovers said thief is a young woman with an interesting past. Of course, he takes her into his home, nurses her back to health, and falls in love (or an approximation thereof) with her. An okay novel, but the descriptions of sexual violence made me feel a bit sick.

Cat Haiku by Deborah Coates
Very funny and the ink illustrations are quite cute. Two of my favorite haiku are: "Sometimes when I'm bored / I hunch up and look ill just / to make you nervous" and "A bit of advice: / Purring is just a decoy. / Trust me on this one."

Monkeyluv: And Other Essays on Our Lives as Animals by Robert M. Sapolsky
There were monkey finger puppets on the cover -- how could I not pick this up? Collection of (mostly) reprint essays by a professor of biology and neurology. Each essay is easy to read without being full of dumbed down science. Each essay comes with a list of suggested readings -- really nifty-keen inclusion I wish more non-fiction authors took on.

Meet Wild Boars by Meg Rosoff (illus. by Sophie Blackall)
"This is Borris. / This is Morris. / This is Horace. / This is Doris. / They are wild boars." Naughty boars who make no apologies for their naughtiness. Yippee!

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell (illus. by Henry Cole)
I can't resist penguins, you know, and this was one of the most adorable penguin picture books I have ever read. Even The Husband was charmed by it and he's made of sterner stuff than I.

Original Cyn by Sue Margolis
Cynthia is just such a good girl -- so good she lets other people fuck her over -- but one day she snaps, steals her co-worker's identity (always a good idea), and starts dating someone from her therapy group (even better). Really bad novel. I liked Neurotica, but after wading through Spin Cycle, Apocalipstick, and this dreck, I just give up.

Red Carpet: Bangalore Stories by Lavanya Sankaran
Collection of stories about life in modern India as experienced by those who have returned to it. Some good stories. Some not so good. All worth attempting.

Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran
Indian/Irish foodie lit. Mehran's use of language and imagery is quite delicious and I enjoyed this first novel very much.

Harmony Silk Factory by Tash Aw
Long and rather tiring.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
So. Dumbledore died. Snape may or may not be a baddie. The Big V is still up to no good. Blahdy, blahdy, blah. Mostly, I found myself approaching this novel not with warm anticipation, but rather with a sense of ... duty. It's almost as if it were assigned reading.

The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick: Volume 1: The Short Happy Life of the
Brown Oxford
by Philip K. Dick

I read the entire volume while I was hospitalized and irritable which was probably a mistake, because I can only take Dick is small doses, even on my best days. Some of the stories were good, others not so good, and some just plain "eh."

Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx
Sketchy and bleak. "The Half-Skinned Steer" is probably my favorite.