30 January 2007

Reads & Listens, January 2007

Reads:

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Rather funny coming of age novel featuring a road trip, hinky math, and too many girls named Katherine.

College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer
A delicious Christmas present from The Husband. Billed as a sequel to A Scholar of Magics, this novel works just fine as a stand-alone novel (and thank god for that as I'd forgotten a lot of what happened in College). Anyway, a good read and recommended for anyone who enjoys genteel alternative History ala The Enchanted Chocolate Pot.

The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgewick
Having already lost one brother to the War, seventeen-year-old Alexandra runs away to France to save her brother from the terrible death she foresees for him. Fascinating (and horrifying) amounts of historical detail caused me to devour this book.

London Calling by Edward Bloor
Martin's grandmother dies and he inherits a World War II-era radio which allows him contact with Jimmy, a boy who lived during the War and who desperately needs Martin's help. This is an excellent novel full of history, turmoil, and redemption. I would have loved this book when I was thirteen.

The Female Thing: Dirt, Sex, Envy, Vulnerability by Laura Kipnis
Irreverent and insightful if not quite new or ground-breaking. I wouldn't recommend reading it all at once -- makes the eyes roll -- but it was quite good when taken in pieces.

Fruits Basket: Volume 1 by Natsuki Takaya
Cracktastic. Seriously, I am probably too old to be reading this kind of thing.

Talking With My Mouth Full: Crab Cakes, Bundt Cakes, and Other Kitchen Stories by Bonny Wolf
A dissatisfying little collection of essays. Most of the pieces read like fleshed-out newspaper columns and the recipes did not rock my world the slightest. I mean, the title and cover art where the best parts.

Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi
All I know is, I am desperate to get me some chicken with plums.

My Last Skirt: The Story of Jenny Hodgers, Union Soldier by Lynda Durrant Historic novel about the petticoat soldier, Albert Cashier.
Fascinating, but I could have done without the whole Frank Moore affair and the way Albert/Jenny goes crackers at the end of her life. Chock full of detailed descriptions of war manoeuvres and camp life trivia, it was like literary candy for my brain.

Listens:

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters (read by Juanita McMahon)
I was absolutely chuffed to find this audiobook on the library shelves as it is one of my favorite novels. McMahon does a brilliant job -- all of the characters sound real and (more or less) the way I expected them to. Her sharp esses take a bit of getting used to, but otherwise a brilliant reading.

The Alienist by Caleb Carr (read by Edward Herrmann)
I loved this novel about a serial killer loose in 1896 New York when I read it ten years ago, but I could not stand it as an audiobook. Gave up at the end of the second disc -- I don't know if it was Herrmann's voice or reading style or Carr's writing, but it was unlistenable.