My brother owned a copy of This is London as a child (perhaps he still does). Along with his copy of Anatole, these were highly coveted objects. In thMy brother owned a copy of This is London as a child (perhaps he still does). Along with his copy of Anatole, these were highly coveted objects. In the London book there is a picture of a man, in a park, up a tree, and he's sawing off a tree branch: the one that he's sitting on!
How quaint that seems now. I'd love to have all the original books, or reprints of same, in theory. I'm worried that the judicious choice of snippets for this book might have some possible basis in the idea of excising images or text that would be broadly offensive now. There is an emphasis here on Anglophone interests, and nothing, I think, on the native people of any location. Really, it can't deserve the word "world" without anything from Africa, Asia, or South America, just to name a few glaring omissions.
Anyway, I loved it. The art is so sixties, and so cool, even now it remains distinctive and attractive. It may be a safe nostalgia, but it was good.
You know, it's really hard to say what makes a book good. Of course, it's not the same for every kind of book, either, but generally, I like complex characters, a mix of action and thought, a mix of comedy and tragedy, I prefer my dialogue to be amusing and pithy, and the character's actions to be revealing. I really like to see people being kind to one another, particularly as a route to love (no one has been as good at showing this since Austen).
Yeah, so Marchetta has all of that in spades. She has also given us a past that still reverberates for everyone, and more twists in the spaghetti than you can count. Dizzying, in the best possible way, because she might do anything now to anyone, and in a hundred pages, she'll change in entirely.
The main thing here is that a horrible war/curse took place thirteen years ago. Dreadful things were done by people and to people, and that guilt or shame remains.
A great book, because Marchetta never tries to tell us anything, she always finds a way to reveal the depth of conflicting emotions in her characters through their actions.
Annabel has traveled from New York, NY to Sydney, Australia to meet her new step family for the first time. There is conflict, there is a risky adventAnnabel has traveled from New York, NY to Sydney, Australia to meet her new step family for the first time. There is conflict, there is a risky adventure, bonds are formed. And then Annabel gets more family. Annabel is self-assured, even a little cocky, but not really prepared for a new family, and she believes she can talk her dad out of leaving them and coming home. Apparently, twelve is a delusional age. I'd expect it to go over well with fans of Moving Day.
Slow going at first, but when Taylor finally puts everything together, the reader is nearly as invested as she is. Part mystery, part boarding schoolSlow going at first, but when Taylor finally puts everything together, the reader is nearly as invested as she is. Part mystery, part boarding school tale, with a huge heaping of horrible things that can happen to kids. I understand why this won the Prinz, but I wouldn't recommend it to everyone. Sad and satisfying, it evoked tears, but didn't feel manipulative. And the references to To Kill a Mockingbird were appreciated....more
French settled in a wildish section of Australia many years ago, putting her in a fabulous position to observe wombats. Since then she's devoted someFrench settled in a wildish section of Australia many years ago, putting her in a fabulous position to observe wombats. Since then she's devoted some time to rehabilitating wildlife as well as observing and writing about it.
Fun nonfiction for the critter-lover; a good interim book for kids who aren't yet ready for Herriot, but are past primarily picture books. Wombats are adorable and troublesome, and her anecdotes are well delivered and engaging on a level suitable for elementary school kids as well as older fans of the species.
It's a classic set up: a group is out camping in the wilderness and comes home to find something horrible has happened. In this case, Australia has beIt's a classic set up: a group is out camping in the wilderness and comes home to find something horrible has happened. In this case, Australia has been invaded and the families are all being detained. It's a perfect war scenario in that 1) we never do learn who the invaders are, so there's no noxious stereotypes 2) the detention of everyone else gives the would-be heroes free rein for destruction with zero non-combatants to fret over injuring 3) there's no nasty ambiguity or questionable motives.
To be clear: this is the perfect setting for a video game version of war, something that has no connection to real war. Not only do we never find out who the invaders are, it is literally impossible to speak to them, no one being able to identify their language. Guerrilla warfare is the only option, and the teens show aptitude. As action/adventure goes it is enormously satisfying and fun to read. There's nothing realistic about it, which makes it guilt-free. I can't wait to read the rest.
[I should mention that the copy I read has one of the least-appealing covers ever. Seriously ugly, I can't imagine anyone not being embarrassed to be seen with it.]...more
Nobody else writes quite like Moriarty. They are very realistic, believable stories about a fairly ordinary cast of high school students, and then graNobody else writes quite like Moriarty. They are very realistic, believable stories about a fairly ordinary cast of high school students, and then gradually you realize something is really wrong, and ride along with the characters as they figure out what's wrong and what to do about it. Although there is a mystery at the core, it isn't a conventional mystery format. Likewise her characters will face serious issues in their disparate lives, but it never becomes an Issue Novel. And somehow she manages to throw a little romance and a lot of good strong friendship in there. And the humor, too.
AS a life-long cat-lover, I had a hard time getting going here. The author is a journalist/features writer in New Zealand, and she tells how it was thAS a life-long cat-lover, I had a hard time getting going here. The author is a journalist/features writer in New Zealand, and she tells how it was that she, definitely NOT a cat person, acquired a small kitten, and how that kitten brought her family through the trauma of losing a child, and then a marriage, and growing-up, and finding love, and illness.
Cleo, the cat, living a surprisingly long time, so Brown is able to hit many of the great emotional events in life through her lens. Established cat lovers will totally understand the role Cleo plays in her life, and the not-yet-confirmed will, I think, see how important a loving pet can be to helping one weather the slings and arrows.
My only complaint with the book (other than the slow start) is that the photo on the cover is of an adorable kitten, nothing like the big-eared, bug-eyed, ratty little creature they adopt. I suppose not everyone has the foresight to take baby pictures of their hideous new pets.
It's a good book to remind us, all of us, of what is important, and how to get through. Nonetheless, I expect it is particularly popular as a gift to anyone going through an especially rough patch.
Loaned from my mother (who's cat companion is named Blaze)....more
Adorable. Veronica read it first and thought it was very like Sarah Dessen, and I agree. Amy Lee is sixteen, living with her mother after the divorceAdorable. Veronica read it first and thought it was very like Sarah Dessen, and I agree. Amy Lee is sixteen, living with her mother after the divorce in a second-hand shop, hanging with her best and only friend Rebecca. And then she finds a locket, meets a ghost and everything is changed.
Well, of course I loved the extensive references to the 80s: the music, the movies, the clothes. Fun stuff. And I loved the relationships: Amy's devotion to Rebecca, her interactions with other Asians at her school, her closeness with her mum (despite the lack of hugging). But even more than that, I loved the skeptical approach she takes toward the new ghost in her life. I love that her friends and her mum seeing her going through a weird phrase and do something about it, I love that she questions the existence and motives of the ghost as much as Hamlet does.
There is charm here, and the sweetness of daily life, and the difficulties, and an ending that doesn't try to tie up everything in a bow. I didn't actually get to blow out any candles, but for my birthday wish I want a new book by Marr every year....more
Another entry in the up-all-night category. Three girls celebrating their last day of school, staying out all night looking for love, adventure, excitAnother entry in the up-all-night category. Three girls celebrating their last day of school, staying out all night looking for love, adventure, excitement. Do they find all this and more? Of course. Are there ominous bad guys? You betcha. Lives are changed, relationships are begun and ended, and there's plenty of time to talk about art, too. Lots of visual art, and poetry as well.
I love this kind of story, and this rates up there with Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick. And let me just say that I'm happy to see that in the more recent novels, it isn't the Manic Pixie Dream Girl who's causing all the trouble (although I love those 80s movies, too, like Into the Night and Desperately Seeking Susan).
In a Sunburned Country - Bill Bryson What Bill Bryson taught me about Australia: everything wants to kill you, whether or not it is animate, let aloneIn a Sunburned Country - Bill Bryson What Bill Bryson taught me about Australia: everything wants to kill you, whether or not it is animate, let alone conscious.Everything. And all of the critters are weird, many adorably so. We’re big on quakkas at my house. And Bryson is at his funniest describing a deep and embarrassing sleep he fell into. Oh, and the country is too damn big to see more than just a tiny bit, especially since the most inhabited parts, that is, the cities, are all dotted along the perimeter, and the middle is all desolate wasteland filled with dragons. No, wait, the dragons were from Novik. When I got to that description of Bryson sleeping, I felt compelled to read some aloud to Veronica. When she later read the same book, she was compelled to read part of that aloud to me.This might be an important finding about compatibility, or humor, or something....more
This is a book about zoonoses, diseases that come to humans from other animals. It is scary, sure, because there are always new microbes out there reaThis is a book about zoonoses, diseases that come to humans from other animals. It is scary, sure, because there are always new microbes out there ready to go rampaging through our vast society. It is also rather comforting, both the methodical search for vectors and reservoirs, the details of transmission and treatment, the stream of breakthroughs that enable researchers to locate and sequence. And through it all, Quammen maintains a casual, light conversational tone, reassuring the reader that sure, horrible new diseases can (and will) spring up seemingly out of nowhere to spread around the world, but that also we have been pretty good at controlling those sorts of outbreaks.
There's quite a lot about Ebola here, written before this summer's outbreak. It should prove very comforting to everyone whose loved ones are not currently infected. I heap praise upon him for pointing out that it isn't nearly as grotesque as Preston painted it in The Hot Zone.
The only part I really disliked was the pure fiction of The Voyager, which was too long and added nothing. This was particularly annoying as I was nearing the end and racing to finish quickly before the future biologist usurped in entirely.
I don't usually comment on covers, but I will say that Chip Kidd managed to make a very disturbing one....more