Thursday, July 08, 2010

Now I'm making up for lost ground

Carpe Jugulum, by Terry Pratchett.  The Wee Free Men!  How could I have forgotten!  I knew this plan (or, perhaps, PLN) was a good idea.  There was actually a small character in Feet of Clay that seemed sort of like a Nac Mac Feegle prototype, but here they are, fully realized.
Minor errors continue to crop up, but I'm still in love.

First Contact, or, It's Later than You Think (Parrot Sketch Excluded): A Novel, by Evan Mandery.    This was a fantastic book!  I can predict that readers will either totally love it (like I did), or loathe it completely.  To be honest, I think most people will be in the loathe-it category; this book definitely isn't for everyone.  It's in a category with High Fidelity and Angry Young Spaceman-- on my list of lifetime favorites that I cannot recommend to most of the people I know.
I've been giving some thought to this: most of the characters (nearly all, and I suspect that the few names I didn't recognize are due to my lack of having completely watched the series run) are named after The Simpsons characters.  Do most readers notice this?  Are we supposed to notice it?  If so, what are we supposed to take away?  (Like High Fidelity and Angry Young Spaceman, I think this would make a fantastic book group book... for a book group for people under 40.)  Is the author making a point about The Simpsons' penetration into society, or was he too lazy to make up names on his own?  I don't know how I feel.

Summer Promise, by Robin Jones Gunn.    In weeding the YA section, I found this author.  This book is actually in the Juvenile section, but when I saw the author's name and then looked up series information on FantasticFiction, it all came rushing back:  I used to read this book all the time.  As I have mentioned, I was not taken to the library.  My school did not have a library.  So I got books as gifts twice a year-- Christmas and birthdays.  It didn't matter what I was given, I would read books over and over until they literally fell apart I was so starved for material.  This particular book was part of a 12-book series, and it turns out that I remembered it pretty acurately.
This is a Focus n the Family series, so there is a big religious component and it gets a little preachy, but not too bad.  It's not as if your average young teen normally talks about some of these big religious questions, and I doubt most kids have the vocabulary or reasoning skills to come up with these discussions, but they aren't so advanced that readers can't follow along.
The dialogue isn't always perfectly natural-- and it's pretty dated now-- but it's not outside the realm of possibility.  

The Dead and the Gone, by Susan Beth Pfeffer.    For so long, I was afraid to read this book.  The first one was so great!  Most second books totally suck!  I didn't want my impressions and memories tainted by a less-than-stellar sequel. But this book was fantastic.  I loved how religion was an integral part of some of the characters and their family life, but the book wasn't religious, it did not have a religious message.  This book was beautifully written and could not have been more perfect.  I can't wait to get my hands on the 3rd; I'm second in the holds list.

The Fifth Elephant and The Truth, by Terry Pratchett.    The Fifth Elephant was fantastic, hilarious.  The Truth was good, but it was one of the stories that isn't in one of the story groups; it has new characters we haven't seen before and won't see much of again, with only a few cameo appearances by some of the regular characters.  I don't like these stand-alones as much, because I'm not invested.  I don't feel connected to the characters as much.  But whatever; I'm pleased that The Truth had no proof-reading errors.

1 comment:

Ms. Yingling said...

The Dead and the Gone made me want to stock up on about 300 jars of peanut butter, as well as gin-- so that I could sell it and feed my family, of course. I am looking forward to the third one as well!