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books

Dec 27 2013

All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion, the

author: 
Flagg, Fannie

Fannie Flagg novels always go down easy and are southern charming as all get-out. All-Girl centers on a 60-year-old woman who finds out she's not southern, at least not in the southern way of knowing who your people are a few generations back. It's also about Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs). Unless you're a real crankypants, you should be moved by protagonist Sookie Poole's evolution, the WASPs accomplishments, or both. I sniffled quite a bit reading about the titular event while riding a New Jersey transit train home from Jewish Christmas.

reviewdate: 
Dec 25 2013
isn: 
978-0-8129-9463-6
Dec 26 2013

Teatime for the Firefly

author: 
Patel, Shona

The publisher is Harlequin MIRA, but it didn't occur to me when I originally read a review of this book that it was a romance. I'm still not sure if that was the intent, because, finding the protagonist and her love interest annoying, I put the book down 200 or so pages in. The MIRA imprint is meant to encompass literary and genres aside from romance, for women.

reviewdate: 
Dec 23 2013
isn: 
978-0-7783-1547-6
Dec 22 2013

Behind the Mountains

author: 
Danticat, Edwidge

Danticat tells a story similar to her own, but set about twenty years later and with plenty of other elements to differentiate it from a fictionalized memoir, about a Haitian girl, Celiane, moving to the US and reuniting her family.

reviewdate: 
Dec 19 2013
isn: 
0-439-37299-2
Dec 22 2013

Bone Season

author: 
Shannon, Samantha

In an alternate history clairvoyance is unnatural and a crime. Clairvoyants have to hide their power or risk being consigned to The Tower. It turns out there's something even worse than The Tower, an alternate government in Oxford, run by Rephaim, which Wikipedia and other sources define as giant spirits from the netherworld.

reviewdate: 
Dec 17 2013
isn: 
978-1-62040-140-8
Dec 15 2013

Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy

author: 
Crawford, Lacy

She was already the daughter of a celebrity; an alumni connection could help only so much more. Why on earth hire an independent consultant, too? But then, there were Anne's clients: the parents who left nothing to chance. They refused to play with a deck that wasn't stacked. They'd raise a child unvaccinated before they'd consider letting him apply to college unaided.

Anne helps privileged (and one unprivileged) students get into college, mostly by working with them on their applications essays, but also a little bit by handling their families.

reviewdate: 
Dec 11 2013
isn: 
978-0-06-224061-3
Dec 08 2013

Dark Currents

author: 
Carey, Jacqueline

Carey's new paranormal series has a wide variety of magical creatures, including mermaids, norns (?) and your run-of-the-mill vampires and werewolves. The protagonist is a halfie, herself, a hell-spawn doing her best to not invoke her birthright and thereby destroying the world. She's also a file clerk at the local PD, doing supernatural detective work on the QT.

reviewdate: 
Dec 6 2013
isn: 
978-0-451-46478-1
Dec 01 2013

Unbearable Lightness: a Story of Loss and Gain

author: 
de Rossi, Portia

If you want to know what it's like inside an eating disorder, this is your chance. It's hardcore, but reading it, you understand how it happens. At least I could see it.

De Rossi (not remotely her real/given name) is a serious overachiever from childhood, the kind of kid who goes undefeated in classroom times tables challenges for years because she's drilled them so hard, even though she's not especially adept at math.

Quotations: 

Also, I was scared of lesbians. In fact, I would cross the street if I saw one coming toward me. One time I didn't cross the street and I ended up sleeping with a lesbian because I felt sorry for her.

reviewdate: 
Nov 30 2013
isn: 
978-1-4391-7778-5
Dec 01 2013

If You Could Be Mine

author: 
Farizan, Sara

Did you know it's easier to be transsexual in Iran than homosexual? According to the novel and Wikipedia, the only country in the world that does more sex reassigngment surgeries than Iran is Thailand, and many of the surgeries are subsidized by the government. Being born the wrong gender is an ailment, being queer is a sinful aberration. So that's what our heroine Sahar is dealing with as her best friend, who she has wanted to marry since the girls were six years old, gets engaged to a dude.

reviewdate: 
Nov 28 2013
isn: 
978-1-61620-251-4
Dec 01 2013

Night's Edge: Dancers in the Dark, Her Best Enemy, Someone Else's Shadow

author: 
Harris, Charlaine
Shayne, Maggie
Hambly, Barbara

I plugged the word "dance" into a search of ebooks available for checkout from NYPL, and this was the first result. Charlaine Harris's story, about a survivor of a brutal sexual assault trying to distance herself from her past is readable (as in fuckable). It's set in the same universe, or at least with the same rules about vampires as the Sookie Stackhouse novels. The protagonist is similar to Sookie, personality-wise, but doesn't have her mind-reading ability. Her vampire dance partner is a still-waters-run-deep Irishman.

Quotations: 

Special thanks got to Doris Ann Norris, reference librarian to the stars, who can look up the inner dimensions of a sarcophagus faster than I can whistle "Dixie." (Charlaine Harris)

reviewdate: 
Nov 27 2013
isn: 
978-1-4603-0265-1
Nov 24 2013

Attitude!: Eight Young Dancers Come of Age at The Ailey School

author: 
Fishman, Katharine Davis

Fishman follows eight high school dancers studying at The Ailey School, trying to discern what exactly talent is and what makes it go. She doesn't separately profile each student. Instead it's one narrative with themes (like eating disorders and weight, sexuality, race and friendship) explored by chapter. Although you can tell Fishman cares about her subjects, she manages not to get too sucked in. I like her researched but relatively casual approach.

reviewdate: 
Nov 24 2013
isn: 
1-58542-355-6