30 June 2007

Reads & Listens, June 2007

Reads:

This Is Not Chick Lit: Original Stories by America's Best Women Writers ed. by Elizabeth Merrick
Some really excellent stories here. Sadly, I was more embarrassed to be seen reading it than I ever was with any actual chick lit piece. I would have loved this better were it not for the title and its hot pink lettering.

The Professor's Daughter written by Joann Sfar (illus. by Emmanuel Guibert)
Graphic novel set in Victorian London about a girl who has a romance with a mummy. Nonsensical little read with rather lovely illustrations.

Cast In Shadow by Michelle Sagara
First book in the Cast series, this is essentially the story of a girl who grows up on the wrong side of the tracks, escapes, and then returns to Make Good. You can also read it as a detective or romance novel masquerading as fantasy. It doesn't really matter how you read it, just as long as you do.

Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot: Being the Correspondence of Two Young
Ladies of Quality Regarding Various Magical Scandals in London and the Country
by Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer

Yes, I have read this before. Yes, I will read it again. Yes, it is that good.

Listens:

Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis (read by Lynn Redgrave)
When I was a kid, this was my 2nd to least favorite Narnia story (1st was The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe). Alas, I was out of library audios and had to settle for what I already owned. Lynn Redgrave did a bang-up job reading this novel and made me like it a whole lot more. Definitely, a reader to keep an eye out for.

Lolita by Nabokov (read by Jeremy Irons)
I was mostly revolted by this novel -- not so much because of the pedophilia (I don't think is glorified in the way I had previously believed) -- but because it was so full of the most beautiful descriptions and cunning phrases that I nearly forgot exactly what Humbert Humbert was describing (usually inappropriate lust, nymphets, etc).


I think, in some ways, Nabokov has described mid-girlhood sexuality pretty well. Based on my own experience, 12/13 year old girls are brimming full of sexuality and crushes and cruelty and Dolores seems not unusual by herself. Even after Humbert Humbert rapes her/enslaves her/loves her, her behaviors still seem realistic. It's because everything is seen through the distorted lens of HH's story that it all becomes .. revolting.

Reading Lolita in Tehran by (read by Lisette Lecat)
Overall, I liked the audiobook a lot, but I do think it tried to be three different stories all at the same time. The story I appreciated least was the one about her students -- they seemed more like vehicles to extend her storytelling that actual people. Sometimes, it actually made me think of Plato's Dialogues -- philosophical essays masked by the conceit of conversation. Or something.