Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I recently read two very good books by unfamiliar authors, both from the point of view of a child.

In the first, Asta in the Wings, by Jan Elizabeth Watson, the reader is drawn through Asta's world as it expands dramatically. In the second, When We Were Romans, by Matthew Kneale, nine year old Lawrence tries to make sense of his paranoid mother's actions.

What makes these books work so well, is how pitch-perfect the first person narrative voices are. Both authors have captured the mind of a child - I think - by revealing so trickily what the child doesn't know, without the character even realizing it. And by revealing that gap in knowledge, you are pulled further into the plot. It's just so fun to read. Another wonderful example of this is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, by Mark Haddon.

All three of these titles had an air of mystery to them (Haddon's actually being a murder mystery of sorts), all because the world of a child is full of the unknown, and the strange doings of adults. All three are gripping, enjoyable and the sort of book your sad to see end.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Funny Southern Ladies

Maybe it was a childhood (and young adulthood) spent watching Gone With the Wind and Designing Women, but for some reason, I have always been a huge fan of funny Southern fiction. I still count Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, by Fanny Flagg as one of my all time favorite books. My fandom particularly encompasses funny Southern women, who get to tell people off using great vocabulary words and run on sentences, and a tone that makes you forget for just a second that you are actually being told off. They also seem to point out the most ridiculous of truths, and also tell stories that are just plain funny.
Here are just a few of my very favorites:

Usually the titles, alone, are enough to get a snicker out of me.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fashion Kitty!

I just read the latest in Cherise Mericle Harper's Fashion Kitty series, Fashion Kitty and the Unlikely Hero. Okay, I know what you're thinking - Fashion Kitty?! Sounds a little pretty princess, froofroo, right? Well, Fashion Kitty is the exact opposite! She's an independent minded kitty, with a mouse for a pet, and an eerie ability to hear when someone is having a fashion emergency. With her major empathy and flying skills, Fashion Kitty takes off the save the day by encouraging other kitties to dress the way they want, to try new styles and to not be a slave to fashion, but to your own creativity! This series also features fun, comic-style illustration with humor a grown up can get a kick out of.

In this installment, the principal (who is afraid of leaving her fashion comfort zone) enforces uniforms on her students. Fashion Kitty and her friends don't know what to do, especially when a kitty who wears flip flops with socks starts acting very strangely. Also included in the book are some pretty sweet paper dolls, but, as I had a library book, I refrained from defacing them.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hi there!

Welcome to my second little blog! This one's just about books - what I've been reading, what looks good, but I haven't got to yet, what's really bad and I never even finished - that kind of stuff. As a librarian (and why, yes, even before that) books and reading are a very important part of my life, so fully integrated that it only makes sense to devote a little blog time to literary things. I'll read anything - fiction, non-fiction, kids, teen and adult.

That being said, I'm just about 20 pages away from the end of Edna Ferber's Giant, which I have loved. I don't know why I haven't read more of Ferber - I read So Big back in high school, when I was obsessed with all things western historical American. Her style is plain but very readable, and I identify very much very Leslie, the main character of the story.

Marrying into Texas in the 20's she faces monumental culture shock in her new marriage and surroundings. What's hooked me in the plot is seeing how her curiosity, love of her husband and unwillingness to back down,drive her to acclimate to a Texas of racism, misogyny and misuse of land. I can see myself in her when she has a freak out about being told not to take part in men's talk. I can see myself in her when she rails against the way things are, when no one wants to acknowledge them, much less change them. She's a wonderful, complex, strong female character and very fun to read about.

Not sure what I'm going to pick up when I'm finished, though. On deck I've got Jill Conner Brown's American Thighs (the latest Sweet Potato Queens type book), The Oxford Project book or a collection of short stories that came in with new books at work this weekend. I'll let you know what comes up to bat!