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books

Nov 24 2013

My Life as a Silent Movie

author: 
Kercheval, Jesse Lee

A three-years-orphaned college professor loses her husband and daughter in a car accident, finds out she was adopted and goes off to find her roots. I don't want to give anything away, but I should warn you, everything in this novel takes forever. And if you're sensitive to misspellings and typos, stop being petty, but in case you can't, brace yourself. (What's up with the lax proofreading Indiana University Press?)

reviewdate: 
Nov 18 2013
isn: 
978-0-253-01024-7
Nov 17 2013

Bats or Swallows

author: 
Vlassopoulos, Teri

Canadian zine maker Teri's short stories are so good, and I don't even like short stories. (I can call her Teri because we're social media friends, and I've read most of her zines.) Her protagonists come from a variety of backgrounds. Most are young, but there's also a mother (of a stripper in his 20s), and one of them is male. I found all of narrators relatable and real.

reviewdate: 
Nov 15 2013
isn: 
978-1-926743-07-3
Nov 17 2013

Witches of East End

author: 
de la Cruz, Melissa

I put this book on hold at NYPL after watching the first episode of the TV series. I only made it through one and a half more installments of the show, but when my copy of the book became available, I figured I'd see how it compared. It's better, but not great. Some major plot points are surprisingly different.

reviewdate: 
Nov 12 2013
isn: 
978-1-4013-2390-5
Nov 10 2013

Ghost Bride, the

author: 
Choo, Yangsze

It is the rare piece of literary fiction that I can get through these days, but I sailed through The Ghost Bride. It's literary, also historical and magical. The story takes place in 19th century Malaysia and in heavenly realms.

reviewdate: 
Nov 7 2013
isn: 
978-0-06-222732-4
Nov 04 2013

Off the Rag: Lesbians Writing About Menopause

author: 
Lynch, Lee
Woods, Akia

My menopause book club with Kate Haas is about as regular as a perimenopausal woman's period, since we're on our fourth book since February. This mostly non-fiction anthology is my favorite entry so far. I liked one of the novels quite a bit, but Off the Rag is the first to get into what menopause is like, which is what drove Kate and me to start our club.

Quotations: 

I miss being a fertile woman about as much as I miss my wisdom teeth.

As a feminist I couldn't accept that I was a chemically-driven being!

It is my belief that a woman my weight (a little under two hundred pounds) could go into an emergency room with a bleeding stump and her detached leg in her arms and the doctor on call would prescribe a diet.

reviewdate: 
Nov 3 2013
isn: 
0-934678-77-4
Nov 04 2013

Hot Blooded

author: 
Carlson, Amanda

In part two of Carlson's Blooded series, the only female werewolf in the world is on a mission to rescue her mate, a werecat (of an as yet unidentified genus) with barely a cameo role in this installment. She's fighting a powerful goddess and there are stakes beyond saving her dude, like preventing a war between supernatural sects.

reviewdate: 
Oct 27 2013
isn: 
978-0-316206396
Oct 27 2013

Attachments

author: 
Rowell, Rainbow

Rowell's first book is an adult romance novel. Yeah, a romance novel (set in Iowa), but for a geek set. Since I don't read many romance novels, outside of paranormal fiction, I don't know what they're like, but can they possibly be as smart and funny as this?

reviewdate: 
Oct 24 2013
isn: 
978-0-525-95198-8
Oct 21 2013

Cooked Seed

author: 
Min, Anchee

You may recall that I was enthusiastic about Min's first memoir, Red Azalea and her novel Wild Ginger. I expected to like Cooked Seed twice as hard. It starts more or less where Azalea leaves off--at Min's emigration to the US. Somehow, even after the stories of Cultural Revolution privations, cruelties and humiliations in the first part, Seed is harder to take. I guess because you can blame Min's problems on her, or maybe because you have to blame some of her problems on the United States.


reviewdate: 
Oct 19 2013
isn: 
978-1-60819-424-7
Oct 20 2013

Fangirl

author: 
Rowell, Rainbow

Identical twin Cather (sister's name is Wren--get it?) writes popular slash fiction in the world of a Harry Potter like series where the lovers are the Harry-like character Simon Snow and his enemy, a Draco Malfoy stand-in Baz (who is also a vampire). Cath is also an introverted college freshman and virgin from Omaha at college in Lincoln. Her twin sister/best friend is blowing her off, their estranged mother is poking her head into their lives, and their dad is fragile. Plus there are some boy issues, what might be an anxiety disorder and a little schoolwork to worry about.

reviewdate: 
Oct 15 2013
isn: 
978-1-250-03095-5
Oct 13 2013

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

author: 
Fowler, Karen Joy

Fowler's first-person narration is like a lucid dream. The protagonist, Rosemary Cooke, is caught up, but self-aware and conscious of various versions of the past and present. This is kind of a spoiler, but if you read the book jacket you'll find out the same thing--that Rose spent the first five years of her life with a chimp for a sister. The two (two months apart in age) were raised together until the chimp, Fern, was sent away.

Quotations: 

Fair warning, as it turned out--kindergarten is all about learning which parts of you are welcome at school and which are not.

I can't believe that being called Fredericka my whole life wouldn't have taken a toll. I can't believe it wouldn't have mind-bent me like a spoon. (Not that I haven't been mind-bent.)

"When I get married," I say, "I want the wedding to be in a car in a car wash."

When I run the world, librarians will be exempt from tragedy. Even their smaller sorrows will last only for as long as you can take out a book.

reviewdate: 
Oct 12 2013
isn: 
978-1-101-59568-8