Monday, January 09, 2012


I almost don't know how to find things to read anymore.  For more than two years, my method has been to write down titles that look interesting while I am doing my ordering, or to pull out titles that look interesting when I am going through new books or while helping a patron in the stacks or while weeding.  I haven't been doing most of those activities lately, so it's as if I've forgotten how to find books that I want to read.  If I don't read Booklist or Publisher's Weekly, how do I know?  So I feel that I haven't read much this past month, but I did find some. And I've been at my new job for a whole week, and I'm looking forward to starting ordering and all those various lovely duties.

The Rhino with Glue-On Shoes (and Other Surprising True Stories of Zoo Vets and Their Patients), edited by Lucy H. Spelman and Ted Y. Mashima. 636.089.  I was looking for something else, books on tree identification and pruning, I think, and this caught my eye nearby.  Now, nothing about this is a typical-me book: nonfiction, animals, compilation.  Totally not my usual thing.  But I really enjoyed this.  First, it was really well written.  Although there were many different authors, the editor did a good job of helping their writing styles converge, or maybe just arranging them in a way that was not jarring or abrasive.  Second, it seems like all of these contributors are tops in their fields, so they have some really unique stories.  Definitely a good book.

Go the [explitive] to Sleep, by Adam Mansbach; illustrated by Ricardo Cortes.    I saw this one all over the place in the professional literature; I'm sure everyone knows about this book, except rock-dwellers.  I had no intention of going out of my way for this, certainly.  But (before I started work), I was visiting the library with my son, and this was on display in the Parent Center, so I checked it out.  There must have been big (anticipated) demand, because when I went back the next day, the audiobook was on display in the space I had vacated.  I can't imagine how this would work in audio format.  Isn't the point of a picture book the fact that the illustrations tell nearly/at least half the story?  You can't audio-ize that.

Anyway, I thought this was a funny book (but you won't think it's funny if you don't like/can't ignore the language).  I've certainly felt the way the author seems to feel.  My criticism comes from the fact that I thought the book could have been better written.  Yes, the author conceived of the idea of the book as a joke.  But you can write a joke book, and silly or un-serious book, and still do a good job in the writing.  It felt to me like the rhymes were too easy or predictable, like there wasn't a lot of finesse or sophistication in the poetry.  Which is fine, this isn't meant to be a great work of literature obviously.  And the illustrations are very nice.

Terry Pratchett: The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld, compiled by Stephen Briggs.  Note to me: I saw the audio of Going Postal back in Tech.  Place on hold!  Squeee! 
This was kind of odd to me.  I have a little notebook where I write down the quotes that I think are really noteworthy, that I definitely want to have and be able to reference.  I usually have at least one, sometimes several, from each of Pratchett's novels.  And that's pretty much what this compiler did: took his favorite/funniest/deepest parts from each of the Discworld novels, and put them in the book.  Almost every single one, I couldn't even remember.  They definitely weren't the parts of the books that spoke to me or were memorable to me.  He didn't include the one about a lie running around the world before the truth can get its boots on (from... well, curses.  I can't find my little book.  There is a huge amount of stuff that, after a month, I still can't find.  It's not like it's in a box.  All the boxes are unpacked.  But if my husband unpacked it... I'll probably never see it again.  He probably put it somewhere totally insane.  Not on the shelves, not in the desk, not in a car, not in a tree, not on a train, Sam, let me be!  There are sooooo many things that I haven't seen since we left Indiana.  There must be here, somewhere: the Indiana apartment was empty, the moving truck was locked all the way cross-country, the moving truck was emptied into the house, so it must be here, but ¯\(°_0)/¯.  I dunno.  And anyway).
Yeah, weird compilation, not the bits I would have chosen, as I said, but gotta have it on hand for the fans.

Courting Emma Howe, by Margaret A. Robinson.  I weeded this one from LPCPL because of it's terrible circ, but stuck in my locker and read it little by little for the first few chapters.  Then I finished more than half of it in one go over the weekend.  I really like it, the story and the style.  I felt a little cheated because it seemed like we were just getting to really know the characters, they were experiencing some growth, and then all of a sudden it was over.  The book could easily have been twice as long.  And it isn't that there was too much set up or intro; the beginning was very good.

The Long (and Short) of It: The Madcap History of the Skirt, by Ali Basye.  This definitely isn't a complete history; it's a pretty little book (like, it's dimensions are small, only like 4x6).  The style is also a little flippant, not quite plain silly but punny and light.  That said, it is pretty informative (and in a fun way!) and I have no reason to believe the information is inaccurate. 

Whiskey Sour, by J.A. Konrath.  I picked this up as an ARC oh so many moons ago that I don't even remember where.  It is a good mystery.  I might even venture to say very good.  But still, mysteries are not my thing and this wasn't my character.  I guess the author is playing to the stereotypical mystery reader in her choice of main character (most of the mysteries I can remember reading from the last year or two featured slightly older to very older female leads); the main character felt realistic enough but the supporting roles were very shallow and most were pretty stereotypical (the fat cop; the greasy PI).  This starts a series that was pretty popular at my last library; I don't know yet how it is doing here. 

(Fearless) Kill Game, by Francine Pascal.  This is a continuing series (based on earlier series).  Although the main character is supposed to be the same, she feels very different to me.  Maybe I am not remembering correctly, but even the writing style seems different. 
The main character is supposed to be 20, 21-ish, but feels 17 if that.  She lacks the maturity of post-college, especially considering she should have had dozens of books in which to have much-needed character development.
This reminded me alot of the CHERUB (Muchamore) series, but I liked those better.

Wild: Stories of Survival form the World's Most Dangerous Places; edited by Clint Willis.  Now this seems like something I should totally love, right?  This is totally my thing.  But I'm so not into it.  The intro was crap; it seemed really random, the paragraphs didn't fit together; it was just all over the place.  I was trying to get in to the first story, but the author wasted so much time on set up.  He called this poet he knew to see if he wanted to go a trip to the Amazon, and here was there conversation; repeat 6 times until he can find someone who wants to go on the trip with him.  By 10 pages in to a short story, we really need to already be in the Amazon, not some bar discussing whether or not we should be going at all. 

1 comment:

Ms. Yingling said...

I had to request the skirt book! Oh, I don't know what you should read, Bluestocking. I guess the best thing to do is to decide on a focus and go from there? Picture books for the little one, perhaps? Hope all is well.