I would not pay $20 something dollars for By the Book. It is fun in spots, but probably better as a column to catch of a Sunday, flying past the Arnol...moreI would not pay $20 something dollars for By the Book. It is fun in spots, but probably better as a column to catch of a Sunday, flying past the Arnold Schwartzengers and such. I just don't much care what Arnold is reading these days. David Mitchell's interview made me love him more than ever. Anne Patchett and he can be my best friends any day. I did pick up some good titles to check out. This is more the sort of book I would buy remaindered or at a Friends of the Library sale. (less)
Excellent! Ms. Nabb's writing is far beyond many in this genre. The depth of character development is impressive. Marshal Guarnaccia is one of the bes...moreExcellent! Ms. Nabb's writing is far beyond many in this genre. The depth of character development is impressive. Marshal Guarnaccia is one of the best developed, most human crime series sleuths around. The setting is used not used as a hip prop, but works on several levels. Suspenseful, even though it was pretty clear who did before hitting the middle. (less)
Why in the world did I read Stargirl? It was laying there for three weeks on my coffee table. Same reason that at nine I read a book about WWII tank w...moreWhy in the world did I read Stargirl? It was laying there for three weeks on my coffee table. Same reason that at nine I read a book about WWII tank warfare in North Africa. And, Alexander Hamilton: Portrait in Paradox at 10. A book lies around long enough, I read it. Besides, people have told me I am Stargirl. Well, yes, and no. I am not at all an extrovert. Instead I am a recovering selective mute pretending to be a extrovert. However, I am a nonconformist, though not as dramatically, as extravagantly so. So, Stargirl. I do not typically read YA fiction written after about 1977. When I do, I am usually disappointed. It is usually so lacking in substance. Too pat in its certainties. Too formulaic. Driven by codes of five year chics cycles. Currently, dystopias. Tomorrow? Angels? Who knows. I teach middle school so from time to time I read what they are reading. I found Spinelli's writing style appealing. His book posed more questions than it answered thus passing the Chekov test. The character Stargirl seemed over the top, yet I have met some of Stargirls as over the top, though none seemed to radiate her well being or unawareness or their impact. In fact, they were ultra aware of their impact, posing, not being. Stargirl's change to ordinary seemed odd except she did like people, and people who like people like to be liked in return. Leo's infatuation and cowardice reads with a piercing honesty. It is the best thing about the book. I would not balk at reading Love, Stargirl if it found its way to my coffee table and sat for a bit, nor, another book by Spinelli. Oddly enough I have been reading a book about another Pied Piper, Randle McMurphy of One Flew Over a Cuckoo's Nest. (Star rating is based in comparison to other YA books, not adult literary fiction) (less)
The draw for me to Mary Alice Monroe's Seabreeze series is the setting. I was a Sullivan's Island "summer girl." My grandmother's house was on the oth...moreThe draw for me to Mary Alice Monroe's Seabreeze series is the setting. I was a Sullivan's Island "summer girl." My grandmother's house was on the other side of the island, on Myrtle Ave While Carson, Harper and Dora come to visit their affluent grandmother in one of the island's grand old home, I, the privileged child of the son who made good, came to visit my grandmother in her sagging bungalow. My grandmother might well have "done for" Mamaw. She took in laundry and made lunches for the soldiers to support her tribe of gorgeous, but unruly, children. She had been the daughter of a prosperous Portuguese immigrant family who had been cut off from the family when she married against her parents wishes. So she ended up at Sullivan's Island where her husband was stationed. And stayed. Thus, I ended up there during the summers. And my heart has never left. Sullivan's Island, especially the Cove and marsh side get under your skin. You can't shake that scrubby place no matter how many beaches you visit. Take this from someone who has swam in the shadows of Mt. Olympus. On the shingled beaches of Corinth. In the pristine azure waters of Capri. Mary Alice does an excellent job conjuring up the effect of this little low country island. Perhaps, it is one of the best things about the series.
Also, she does a fine job delineating her characters. She creates characters that seem imperfectly real. I can fully believe in them. Their scenarios are entirely believable, even though the set-up isn't. Three half-sister, sharing a father in common, but each with a radically different mother. Then, one is blonde, one dark headed and the youngest, ginger. Reminds me of a truly horrifying story my mother use to read to me about these little princesses and their ponies that get stolen, same hair differences for the girls and their ponies. Anyhow, back to The Summer Girls. The grandmother lures them all to The Island to reconnect before she sells the family home. That and some of the solutions to some scenarios are a bit too pat. Plus, the style can be not quite right. Forced? Amateur?
Yet, I can forgive Mary Alice these things because she has created a host of characters that have become part of my mental family. I really can't believe I have to wait a year to find out if Carson _____ and if Harper ____. And will Mamaw really sell Sea Breeze? To whom? (less)
Well written and intelligent though at times cliched. Reeks of Chandler, but in a good way. Characters are well developed and mostly believable. Very...moreWell written and intelligent though at times cliched. Reeks of Chandler, but in a good way. Characters are well developed and mostly believable. Very suspenseful. Humor handled well when not bordering on juvenile. 95% of the time I was reading I was enjoying it, but other 5% I was doing some mental eye rolling. (less)