Thursday, February 20, 2014

Used Book Store GOLD!

My copy!
I was browsing the COOLEST used book store, RECYCLED BOOKS in Denton, TX today, and came across an old copy of The Giver, by Lois Lowry.  Thought it was high time I gave it a read, and at $2, I was sold!

Imagine my THRILLLLLLL when I opened it up, and LOIS and behold, Ms. Lowry herself had signed this copy -- and in 1994, the year she won the Newbery Medal for the book. Check this out:
Found on inside cover!
Happy dancing! Happy dancing! I think she'd be pleased to know that this copy is still out there and her message is still being read in full force.  READ MY BOOK REVIEW and SEE THE MOVIE TRAILER.

Tenth of December

by George Saunders, published by Random House, 2013
Adult short stories

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

What a contrast after reading ten juvenile short stories in Guys Read: Funny Business!

I had never read anything by this author and got interested by the rave reviews and clever posting I saw beneath its display at Book People, in Austin, Texas.

Many of the reviews and praise for this book mentioned its humor.  Truly, I didn't find much in it very amusing -- the characters and stories were so heartbreaking and real that I found myself feeling a little melancholy over the state of our world.  I didn't laugh at all because the characters were just so pitiful or pathetic; it seemed wrong to find their situations funny.

The stories were creative -- very creative -- and each interesting enough that I wanted to finish it; however, the narration styles were a bit repetitious, heavy on internal monologues and dialogues and very abrupt endings.  Sometimes the endings worked for me and made  powerful statements, sometimes not.

My absolute favorite was "Sticks," which was only two pages long, but it packed more meaning into it than any other story in the book. When I finished that one, I actually said an out loud "WOW."  My second favorite, due to the sheer irony and plausibility of what should be a ridiculous concept, was "The Semplica Girls Diaries." 

Of the ten stories, I'd say five I liked (2 REALLY liked), 3 I felt neutral, and 2 I didn't like at all.  There are some great lines and some very interesting characters, and Saunders does a great job of making you have definite feelings about the characters.  He is clearly a gifted writer and a keen observer of humanity.  Too bad the humanity he observed in this book is such a mess.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Guys Read: Funny Business

stories by

I gave this book 4 out of 5 Stars on GoodReads

I am not sure it's fair for me to rate this book, given the audience is more like 5th grade boys; however, having raised four sons, I feel like I have a pretty good grip on what amuses them: gross stuff? CHECK. bodily harm to friends? CHECK. Brotherly scheming? Payback? Superheroes? CHECK. All told by eight outstanding authors in ten short stories.

This book has all the necessary elements to entertain young males -- the intended audience, and I did enjoy listening to them with a variety of narrators. I found myself chuckling out loud in several stories, but more than the laughs, I found some surprising poignancy. My favorite stories (YOUR QUESTION FOR AUTHOR HERE, ARTEMIS BEGINS)and another (UNACCOMPANIED MINORS)probably have more appeal to adults, as they seem more reflections on childhood.

I don't think most of the stories are ROFL level, but they will entertain and possibly get that reluctant reader to try another book. And THAT is the point of the book.

Parents be advised that there is LOTS of gross-out stuff in this book, both physically and emotionally abusive adults, bad behavior and poor role models, and violence. All of which means boys 9-11 will LOVE it.

This audio book was downloaded free of charge as part of AudioBookSync Summer 2012 promotion.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics Vol. 1: The Paradigm Shift

FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics Vol. 1: The Paradigm Shift by Simon Oliver, Robbi Rodriguez (illustrations)

I gave this book 3 of 5 stars on Goodreads.
Adult, graphic novel
Publication date: February, 2014

The premise is a very interesting one -- that the "laws" of physics we've all known are basically failing. I was fine with the graphic novel not giving us the particulars of why, for example, gravity is failing or dark matter is showing up in row houses. Oliver did a good job of setting the concept forth in such a way that readers could just accept that in this world, physics fixes are a needed norm.

What I didn't like were the illustrations. The colors were great and really contributed to the sci-fi, funky vibe; however, the drawings were just a little too sloppy. For example, I really wanted to have a good, lasting impression of how the main character, Adam Hardy, looks. Other characters are somewhat more defined, but Adam is. . . messy.

I felt like the ending was a bit abrupt, but overall, this series has potential, and with six more installments, things could get even more interesting.

This is an adult graphic novel, but I think mature and sci-fi loving young adults would enjoy it. For those readers, be aware there are sexual situations, pot smoking, and some strong language.

Thank you to Vertigo Comics and NetGalley for this free ARC.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

101 Reasons Why Cats Are Better Than Kids!

I Gave it 5 out of 5 Stars on Goodreads!

Tiedtke, L. (2013). 101 reasons why cats are better than kids! NY: Page Publishing, Inc.

101 pages
Adult Humor

Even though there are five children (and just one cat) in our household, I found myself nodding in agreement to many of the 101 reasons why cats are better than kids. ("You don't have to drive a minivan." cough, cough.) The book highlights the expense, inconvenience, and sheer madness parents of humans must cope with in raising them to adulthood.

Great for cat lovers and possibly those struggling with the question of whether to start a family! 

NOTE: Don't recommend the Kindle version at this point because the formatting is off and detracts from the flow, but hard copies to give as gifts are better anyhow.

BAM! Got my signed copy!