30 September 2006

Reads & Listens, September 2006

Reads:

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
Alison Bechdel's graphic biography of her dad and her self. Deep, poignant, painful ... blahblahblah ... it's already been said and better. Am I a horrible person if I admit a booklist was the only thing I took from this tragicomic?

Ripening Seed by Colette (trans. by Roger Senhouse)
Le Blé en Herbe. Summertime in Brittany and two young friends who have been long in love with each other are now awakening to sexual desire. Philippe, of course, muffs everything up by carrying on with Madam Dalleray (yes, she does seduce him a bit, but he keeps coming back), and then by allowing Vinca to seduce him. My very first Colette novel and quite spectacular. According to the preface, the story is based on that of Daphnis and Chloe.

How This Night is Different by Elisa Albert
Collection of stories about normal things (bat mitzahs, seder, concentration camp tourism, etc) rendered absurd by the people in them. "How This Night is Different" was probably my favorite, although "The Living" was pretty damned good, too.

5 A Day: The Better Health Cookbook by Dr. Elizabeth Pivonka & Barbara Berry
Produced by The Produce for Better Health Foundation, this straight forward little cookbook promises to show us all how to get five servings of fruits and vegetables into our daily diets. Explains the whole "5 A Day" program, provides sample menus, delicious new recipes, and tricks for getting more fruit/veg into your old recipes. I made three recipes -- "Baked Asparagus with Parmesan Cheese," "Springtime Scallop and Asparagus Stir-Fry," and "Chicken Oriental" (chicken stir-fry ... with asparagus, of course) -- and all were fast, tasty, and healthful. Yum. This book is certainly worth borrowing from the library.

Death Match by Lincoln Child
An utterly far fetched and ridiculous piece of fluff. (And the computer did it. Of course. Does the AI always have to go bad?)

Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing by May Sarton
Completely fantastic. How is it I never read any Sarton before?

Teahouse of the Almighty by Patricia Smith
Rough going, but well worth it.

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Not nearly gender bending enough for me, but still pretty cute (and hot) for a young adult novel.

The Childless Revolution: What It Means to Be Childless Today by Madelyn Cain
If you're looking for the Childfree Manifesta, this isn't it. However, it's still a reasonably good introduction to the many whys behind "childfree" women/families and it would probably make a fine gift for overly concerned relatives (but why should we ever have to explain ourselves, anyway?)

Traction Man is Here written & illus. by Mini Grey
Funniest picture book I've read in a long time.

Mammoths on the Move by Lisa Wheeler (illus. by Kurt Cyrus)
"Big and bulky, / huge and hulky, / wide and woolly mammoths" ... are on the move! Excellent rhythm and beautiful watercolor/scratchboard illustrations make this picture book perfect for reading aloud to inquisitive little (or big) minds

The Runaway Princess by Kate Coombs
The King of Greeve (as suggested by the Prime Minister) offers Princess Margaret's hand (and half the kingdom) to the prince who can rid Greeve of a three evils(a dragon, a witch, and some bandits). Obviously, Princess Margaret is not chuffed by this and (with the help of three companions) sets out to save the three "evils" and make her own place in life. A funny and very charming young adult novel.

Listens:

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis (read by Alex Jennings)
This is part of the HarperChildren's Audio's unabridged The Chronicles of Narnia audio CD boxed set which was so beautifully illustrated and charmingly packaged I felt compelled to buy it last Christmas. Also, they are read by some very talented people (Michael York was a total let-down, alas). Anyway, The Horse and His Boy? Excellent story (if you suspend your modern thinking and ignore all the racist/colonialist overtones) with a nice balance between swashbuckling adventure and good moral lessons. Alex Jennings does a bang up job and I wish he'd read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, too.