Sunday, June 03, 2012

notes from my Nook.

yo, dudes!  sorry for the lapse.  The library is in the midst of strategic planning, budget cut from the city (grr.), and 2 of my 5 part-time reference positions are open, with 1 more leaving mid-July.  Also, we just submitted a grant, taking the lead for the other 5 libraries involved; Adult Summer Reading started 6/1, and Youth SRP looms (school is out 6/12).

These first two reviews are super old, like super, super duper old.  I downloaded them from Simon and Schuster's Galley Grab program, and after reading them, I emailed the guys and S&S to see what I ought to do.  Did my review even belong to me?  I've been bitten by that before.  (How can my own original content not belong to me?  Anything to say, Disney?)  Well, they never got back to me, and it seems they've fallen off the face of the planet entirely.  Many people haven't received the e-newsletter from them in months, and they didn't respond to an email from me weeks ago (although I can hardly say I'm surprised).
So I realize these reviews are a little late, as the books have been out for 8 months or more already.

God, No!: Signs You May Already be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales, by Penn Jillette.  818.607.  This book, despite the title, is not about religion, or at least, not only or not mostly about religion.  Not only are there many things in this book to offend many people, but I'm quite sure the author is trying very hard to be as offensive as possible.  This is a book that will be appreciated by very few people, but the people who like it will love it.
There were some parts I thought very interesting.  I will include them to give an idea of what you'll be coming up against, should you choose the book. (NOTE: quotes from galley, *not* checked against published edition.)
"It's amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government take money by force through taxes to give poor people money is compassion.  Helping poor and suffering people is compassion.  Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immortal self-righteous bullying laziness.  People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we're compassionate we'll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right" (pg. 173).  You can agree or not, and I don't intend to debate this one way or the other, but this stuck me because I've never heard it put like that, or thought about it like that on my own, before.
And, "Government should do nothing beyond protecting individual rights (and 'rights' doesn't mean 'anything that would be nice to have')' (pg. 175).  Apparently he was on a roll in the 170-pages. 

The Man Who Couldn't Eat, by Jon Reiner.  biography (n-z).  I thought this book would be interesting, but it was poorly written.  So much of it seemed stream-of-consciousness when it didn't fit.  I frequently wasn't sure if parts of it were remembering, actual history, or hallucination.  Based on the galley, don't buy the book.

I have now signed up for NetGalley in place of Galley Grab and have already downloaded 3 titles.  Additionally, the people at NetGalley encourage me to post my own review in as many places as I like.  Thanks, guys!

Transplant, by D. B. Reynolds-Moreton.  I don't do it frequently, but I love going hard-core sci-fi, back to the genre that really got me into reading.  It's kind of like suddenly hearing music by the band that inspired you, made you speed and take up an instrument, go to your first concert.  This book is that hard-core sci-fi: off-earth, generational starship, alien landscape, cultural extinction.
The book actually seemed too short.  It was good, it was interesting and suspenseful, but there could have been more to the story.  It isn't a YA novel because there are no teen characters, but would be good for young readers moving to adult fiction.
Downloaded from OverDrive (?), read on my Nook.

Perfect Square, by Michael Hall.  A picture book!  A frequent patron at the library, mother of 2 boys-- youngest just older than mine-- and board member for the Friends, has been recommending picture books for us.  She advised to borrow Where's Walrus?, and she suggested this one as well.
When I first brought it home, the boy asked if it was How Are You Peeling?, because of the big smile on the cover.  It has the painted, torn-paper illustrations we both like, and we read it several times, although it did not become a favorite. 

Death of a Snob, by M.C. Beaton.  I think I read these because they are so slim that I can get through them extremely quickly.  They give me a feeling of accomplishment, like I'm actually getting stuff done.  It's like taking a break from making socks to make a washcloth.  Read the print.

Hitching Rides with Buddha, by Will Ferguson.    915.204!  I have only intermittently been attending the library's book club.  This is one we read, ooo, a few months ago now, but it took me forever to finish it.  I'm trying to psychoanalyze why it took me a month to finish a book I profess to love, and I've got nothing.  The book is very good, interesting with a likeable narrator and the language is superb.  Read the print.

Love in a Nutshell, by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly.  I don't know anything about this writing partnership, have sought nothing out, in fact.  All I know is, it works.  You get the flavor of Evanovich, the flair and writing style, but she is held in check.  No insane antics, no over-the-top characters, no explosions.  Great stuff, watch out for sequels.  Read the print.

Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan.  I re-checked this out from OverDrive and... didn't actually finish it, but by choice this time.  If it's on your shelf, by all means read the first two chapters (apples and tulips).  In the third chunk, the section on marijuana, the author goes all over the place (perhaps appropriately enough, intended or not), and can't stay on track.  I skipped the second half of that section, and just couldn't get back into it for the potato chunk. 

The Last Werewolf, by Glen Duncan.  I recently read a review of the second book (Talulla Rising) and was so impressed by the review that I sought out the first in the series (downloaded from OverDrive to my Nook).  This is amazing and unique and not what you would expect from a werewolf novel.  First, the author is a guy; I can't think of any paranormal novels with male authors.  Second, the main character is also male.  The book is fairly long (~300 pages, but that could have been the rendering to my device) and doesn't rush through the story.  It's paranormal tinged with horror (not fully in the horror genre, but enough to make me shudder), and it can be graphic and dark; definitely not for every reader, but very, very good.

Rabid, by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy.  I only made it to page 79; downloaded from NetGalley.  The book didn't seem to focus; it meandered around, on and off topic, and, within the pages I read, didn't share anything I didn't already know. 

Leaving Lancaster, Kate Lloyd. Also a download from NetGalley.  I've never gotten the fascination with the "bonnet rippers" so figured to be fair and give it a try.  I must have only read 3 chapters.  It wasn't clear which character was going to be the focus of the novel; in whom should I invest?  In many ways, written much like a traditional romance.  Not enthralling.

Crucible of Gold, by Naomi Novik.    I'm very glad I was able to get this from NetGalley, since my library has only the first two and the circ does not justify me catering to my own whims.  I find myself compelled to read this series; there will definitely be another, the story left open at the end of this volume.  But I do continue to wish that the author would have stopped after three or four.  Things are getting to out-there, too crazy.  Maybe whatever comes next will be the last?

I have some other NetGalley titles on my device, which I probably won't get to before they expire; Adult Summer Reading started 6/1, and by the rules I set up, only books checked out from my library (including OverDrive) count for the program. Titles on my device that have expired: Apollo's Angels, Body, Inc., Neurogastronomy, and Meander.

India Black, by Carol K. Carr.  Started 6/1 on my lunch break and therefore my first entry for SRP!  I've had this one written down and on my to-read list for quite a while.  I'm glad I've gotten around to it, and I will be seeing about the sequel tomorrow as well.  It has the same excellent period-feel as Carriger's Soulless series; excellent on the suspense, but straight-up historical fiction, no paranormal.

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