Manhood For Amateurs by Michael Chabon

Today I’m doing a review with my pal Kelly over at The Written World. And it’s for an incredible book; Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon. A book that I think should be read by everyone. Certainly not only by men. We each gave each other three questions to answer about the book. You can click on over to her blog to read the answers to the questions I asked her. Here are my answers to her questions:

1. If this the only Chabon book you have to judge by (and I think it is) what do you think about his writing? Will you read more by him based on this collection?

It is the only Chabon book I’ve read! And it certainly will not be my last. In fact, I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship. Honestly, I was scared to death of Michael Chabon before reading this book. He won a Pulitzer. That alone makes me scared of an author. But I’ve always just assumed that his books are too smart for me. And that is absolutely NOT to say that his books are not smart. This book was very smartly written, but so well presented. The language just flows perfectly. I’m glad I started with a work of non-fiction with Chabon. It gives me a sense of his true voice. This is a collection of essays, short essays. His tone goes from whimsical to comical to philisophical to absolutely beauty in a matter of sentences. It worked just perfectly for me. Felt almost conversational at times. He painted beautiful pictures in my head that made me laugh aloud at times, took my breath away sometimes with a couple of words – just in the way he would phrase something, and would bring a tear to my eyes at other times.

What I found I loved more than anything about Chabon’s writing is that as a whole, it’s wonderful. But he throws in little gems here and there that just catch you. Little special moments that just make you stop. And reread that one line over and over again. I remember going over a line a few times in this book and thinking to myself “that’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve read”. It’s like he can paint a masterpiece with a few words.

2. What was your favourite essay in this collection? Why?

Sorry, but I’m going to give you a total sell out answer here :p I can’t pick a favorite essay in this collection. I had many. Many, many favorites that stood out to me in this collection. For so many reasons that I’ll get into more in the next question. There was the essay on being assumed to be a wonderful father just because he had his son with him in the grocery store, the essay on circumcision and the reasonings behind it and on if it’s cruel, the night he took his son to the park when Obama was elected president and held him on his shoulders, the time he bought a man purse and enjoyed it, the essay on why men do not use instruction manuals and the deeper philosophy behind it, the evolution of legos, his first sexual encounter with an older woman and the feelings associated with it (not what you might expect). I loved this mans thoughts. I really did.

3. This was supposed to be a book for manhood. Did you learn anything?

I don’t know that “learned” would be the right word to use here, but I was so happy to have read this book. Because I related to it so much and it felt good to see a man be so open and honest about his feelings. We live in a world that is so divided by gender and it seems to become more and more divided by gender. All of the -isms seem to be focused on the differences between each other, when it’s been my view that it should focus on how we are similar. How we are and should be equal. Of course, no two people are going to share the same interests. I understand that, but this book made me a little more comfortable with myself and I thank Mr. Chabon for that.

It’s become acceptable these days, not just acceptable, but expected, that men fit a certain role. And personally, I think it’s a disgusting role. I see it so much all the time…we all do. A guy is expected to find a nice little girl that’ll take care of all his needs, in the bedroom and out, give him bragging rights to his friends, get drunk and make an ass of himself and it’s cool, you’re supposed to LOVE sports, you should probably love hunting and fishing, baseball caps, drive a truck, etc. I’m NOT saying here that I have anything against anyone who likes any of the above things. What I do have a problem with is societies expectations that men SHOULD love all of the above things. And if you don’t, then you’re a freak, or not a real man.

Personally, I don’t like many of the above mentioned things. Chabon does like a lot of the above mentioned things. At least he likes sports and I know he’s gotten drunk quite a few times. I’VE gotten drunk quite a few times and like my fair share of sports too. But guess what? I also like long baths, I like to read, I like nature, I’m trying to learn to crochet. And what I loved more than anything about this book is that Chabon challenges these stereotypes of “maleness” too. Over and over again in this collection. And I thought he did it wonderfully. In a way that all men and women can relate to. I don’t think this is a book just for men, though I think it is a book that any man can benefit from reading. I think this is a book for anyone that is human to read. After all, isn’t that the one thing that we all have in common?

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31

03 2010

Mailbox Monday and Bad Bloggers

I thought I’d go ahead and post all of the Mailbox loot before it got up to 30 books this time :p So here’s what’s walked into my house lately:

1. Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers – There’s potential for Nymeth to get LOTS of points in the future for Ms. Dorothy Sayers. You see, I got this book after all of her wonderful Sayers reviews. I’m a sucker for reading books in their published order when it comes to series, so I’m starting with the first book in the Lord Peter Wimsey series. And many say that this is her “worst” book…well I’m in love with it, so if I continue to love it, I can see poor Nymeth gathering many points for Sayers :p Her first point comes for this one. (Bought it)

2. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood - This one just sounds so good and I absolutely LOVE the cover!!! I heard about this one over at Becky’s blog and whenever she says that she “love love loves” a book, I know I have to read it :D And she love love loved this one. So she shall get a point for it! (Bought it)

3. Growing Wings by Laurel WinterRobin over at A Fondness for Reading read this one as a warmup for the Once Upon a Time challenge and I just thought it sounded so cool!! So I checked Paperback Swap and they had it :D Point to Robin! (Paperback Swap)

4. Sugar by Bernice McFaddenEva at A Striped Armchair recommended this one when she did her POC post awhile back and it just seemed to jump out at me! So I put it on my wishlist and now I have it!! Looks like a really wonderful and powerful book. Can’t wait to read it. Point to Eva! (Paperback Swap)

5. Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison by Brandon Mull - And so my beloved Fablehaven series must finally come to a close. This is the last book in the series. I bought the first book in this series the day it came out. So I’ve been following Brandon Mull’s career since the day it started. I would’ve never thought that along the way I would’ve had the chance to interview him twice! I hadn’t even started blogging yet when I first started reading him. Can’t wait to see how this one ends. (Bought it)

So that’s it for now…more to come…did you ever doubt that?

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29

03 2010

Enchanted Night by Steven Millhauser

I have PLENTY of books that need reviewing at this point, but I just finished my first Once Upon a Time read and enjoyed it so much that I want to talk about it right away. Enchanted Night is a very different book in both it’s format and it’s content. But I do mean “different” in an good way. A very good way. Would it be silly of me to describe this book itself as enchanting? Because I do think it’s the perfect word for it.

There is no true plot to this short novella. What it encapsulates is the events of a summer night. A night where anything might happen. When magic is in the air.  A writer who holes up in his attic leaves to visit a friend for an adventure, four girls break into homes leaving notes saying “WE ARE YOUR DAUGHTERS”, strange flute music plays throughout the night and enchants children from their homes, dolls awaken in attics, a mannequin breathes and a man falls in love with her, lovers lay on a beach. These are just a few things that happen on this enchanted night.

The book is written in a series of very short chapters. Some chapters as short as just a couple of sentences or four short lines of poetry…a song. Millhauser’s writing is something that is just a pure gift to readers. I prayed for it not to end, just as I prayed for the night not to end when I was reading this book…dreading the rising of the sun, just as the characters in the book did. As the pages start to thin in your hands, there becomes a sense of urgency…that the book is almost over, that time is running out. And you truly don’t want it to end.

Millhauser does such a fantastic job of putting us into the book. Having us actually feel the magic, the enchantment of this special night where the moon goddess has come down and touched everything. Call me crazy, but I so wanted to just go lie in the grass in my backyard after reading this one and soak in the moonlight. It’s a reading experience I won’t soon forget. This was the second Millhauser book that I’ve read and I think I’ve found a very special author in him. The first book I read by him was Martin Dressler. You can read my thoughts on that one here. I loved that book and still think of it to this day, but I loved this one even more. This was a fantastic start to Once Upon a Time!

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28

03 2010

What’s Going On In My Book World

I was going to write a couple of reviews tonight but I’m really not feeling up to it right now, so I’m not :p Instead, I thought I’d just chat about books right now. That’s always fun, right? What I’m reading, what I’ve read, what I’m looking forward to…that kind of stuff.

I have a few books that I NEED to review right now. Ever since I started book blogging, it drives me nuts when I finish a book and don’t review it. It’s something that constantly just sits in the back of my mind until I get it done. I used to literally review each and every book I read the second I turned the last page. But now it may be a month after I read a book before I get around to reviewing it. Is it just me or does everyone else go crazy when they have books to review?

Right now I have three books to review. One of them is in the works, and that’s Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon. I’m co-reviewing that with Kelly from The Written World. We’ve exchanged questions, now we just have to answer them. I loved that book so much. I didn’t know what to think of Chabon before reading that and I’m so glad that I finally got up the nerve to read something by him. I also finished This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer in two sittings and need to review that one. No surprise here, but I loved that one as well :p More when I review it. And finally, I finished Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein tonight and wow what an awesome book! I know everyone is sick of hearing about it after the recent blog tour, but you’re just going to have to hear me rave about it some more. It was just a solid book and I really enjoyed it.

Right now…believe it or not, I’m down to only reading ONE BOOK!! Which I haven’t done in ages. I’m still reading Aurora Leigh by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I had put it aside to get some other reading done and just picked it back up tonight. My plan is to read one “book” of it a night for the next 6 nights. So I’ll have it finished by the 28th. I don’t do well with reading large chunks of classics at a time, so I’m taking it in baby steps. I think I’m also going to read The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan tonight. It’s a graphic novel and I haven’t read one of those in awhile.

Last thing I wanted to talk about is all of the cool books that are coming out soon!!! I was looking at my Amazon wishlist the other day and just realized how much I have to be excited about! Look at all of this stuff:

1. Instructions by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Charles Vess – After the beauty of Blueberry Girl, I can’t wait to see how the picture book collaboration of Instructions comes out between Gaiman and Vess. I’m sure it will be just as incredible! I’ve already pre-ordered my copy :D Actually, I’ve already pre-ordered all of the above books :/

2. The Beastly Bride ed. by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling – In the spirit of books like The Coyote Road and The Faerie Reel comes, The Beastly Bride, tales of “the animal people”, animals in myth and folklore and fairy tales. This one is just going to be so amazing!! Peter Beagle, Tanith Lee, Jane Yolen…among others….yeah…

3. The Hurricane Party by Klas Ostergen – One of the Canongate Myth books. I’ve only read the Penelopiad in this series, but I want to get and read them all. So I’m excited about this one :D

4. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – Duh..last book in the Hunger Games trilogy. Can’t wait to see how this one concludes!!

5. Puppet Master by Joanne Owen – This one actually came out in hardcover a couple of years ago and I’ve been wanting to read it. Mariel reviewed it and I’ve had it on my radar since then. But I LOVE the paperback cover, so I’m really excited about it :D

6. Stories: Ed. by Neil Gaiman – A short story collection edited by Neil Gaiman??? I’m all there!

7. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Leviathan – You better believe that I preordered my copy!

8. Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness – Possibly the most anticipated book of my life.

So what am I missing here? Are there any books that you know of that are coming out that I should be super ecstatic about that I don’t have on my list? Or are there any books that you’re super ecstatic about that you feel like chatting about? Let me know! Hopefully I’ll have some reviews coming soon.

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22

03 2010

Push by Sapphire

This book, originally published in 1996, has had a sudden resurgence in popularity due to the movie Precious which is based on the novel. And I only hope that more and more people read it. It’s not an easy book to read. And I don’t think that I can watch the movie after reading the book. I don’t think I can go through the experience again. But I’m glad that I did go through it once. This book is full of pain, but it’s even more full of strength and determination. But the pain is so raw.

Push is the portrayal of a young black girl named Claireece Precious Jones who has lived under circumstances that most of us would consider unimaginable. But they are real, nonetheless to many people all over the world. She lives with her mother, a woman who is mentally unstable and highly abusive under the welfare system in Harlem. Precious is raped repeatedly by her father until she becomes pregnant by him and delivers his baby at the age of 12, giving birth to a child with Down’s Syndrome. Instead of supporting her, her mother calls her a whore and worthless and Precious continues to live a life of abuse and molestation until she becomes pregnant again by her father and then decides to make a change for herself. She enrolls herself in a school for underprivileged people in her town. She cannot read or write and with the help of an amazing teacher, she begins to learn while finding her own self in the process.

Push is never an easy read. Even at the end, it is not a happy book. But, my God what an amazing book it is. It’s filled with a quiet, underlying hope. A brightness that overflows from Precious. A determination to never give up, to never give in to the darkness that constantly surrounds her that would be so easy to just fall into. What I loved more than anything about this book is that paints a picture of trauma so well. It shows what dissociation looks like in the midst of a traumatic event as Precious drifts off into a more pleasant place that she’s created for herself to escape. As she loses time and gets confused and doesn’t realize how she got from one place to another. It helps the reader understand how people can possibly cope with such horrendous things.

Precious herself has a heart of gold and I just wanted to reach through the pages and hug her so many times. She’ll make you laugh out loud at times, but she’ll make you cry too. Much of this book will bring you to tears and that’s something I should warn you about ahead of time. There’s a lot of graphic sex in here and a lot of language, but that’s reality. It’s true to this story. And I hope that doesn’t stop anyone from reading this. Yes, it’s a hard read, but this could just as easily be a work of non-fiction. People actually go through Precious’ story every day and it’s time we became aware of it and talked about these things more.

I’d really like to read more of Sapphire’s work now. She hasn’t published much, but I’d like to read what I can find. She’s a poet and I’d imagine that her poetry is amazing. This book was like a work of poetry and Precious herself becomes a poet throughout the book. There were certain lines that just jumped out at me and just stung me…in a good way. I hope that you can experience that too.

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19

03 2010

It’s Once Upon A Time Time!

I’m so very excited :D If there’s one thing that can jumpstart me and really get me back into the swing of things when it comes to blogging, it’s the Once Upon a Time challenge, hosted by one of my very favorite bloggers, Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings. Carl’s one of the first bloggers that I met and his very first Once Upon a Time Challenge was the first challenge that I ever joined. So I’m thrilled to join it again for the fourth year in a row! It celebrates what will always be my favorite genre of books – fantasy, folklore, mythology and fairy tales. Just those words put a huge smile on my face!

I’ll be doing Quest the First which is to read at least five books that fit into any of the categories that Carl offers for the challenge. As for a pool, I leaving my options WAY open. I’m sure I’ll find books throughout the challenge that aren’t listed here that I want to read. But here are a few that are on my TBR list that really stood out that I want to read:

1. Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith
2. Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
3. Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor
4. Goblin Market and Other Poems by Christina Rossetti
5. Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
6. Transformations by Anne Sexton
7. The Onion Girl by Charles De Lint
8. Fables Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham
9. Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Collection by Francesca Lia Black
10. The Book on Fire by Keith Miller
11. Skellig by David Almond
12. Bone Vol. 3 by Jeff Smith
13. Ash by Malinda Lo
14. The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson
15. Black Juice by Margo Lanagan
16. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
17. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
18. Weight by Jeanette Winterson
19. The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia
20. Lux the Poet by Martin Millar
21. His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik
22. Voices of Our Shadow by Jonathan Carrol
23. Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo
24. Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu
25. Hidden Warrior by Lynn Flewelling
26. The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman
27. The Tempest by William Shakespeare
28. Lud in the Mist by Hope Mirless
29. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
30. The Watermelon King by Daniel Wallace
31. The Green Man ed. by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
32. The Faerie Reel ed. by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
33. Enchanted Night by Steven Millhauser

So I’d say that should get me through about three months at least, eh? lol…Where do you think I should start??

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18

03 2010

The Einstein Intersection by Samuel Delany

I already feel like I’ve failed Samuel Delany by even thinking about how to write this review. Here’s the problem. The Einstein Intersection is incredible. I want to buy everyone I know a copy and tell everyone I know to read this book. I know that this book is about being different. And discovering what being “different” means and becoming comfortable with that. With the quest for finding meaning in that. It’s about that journey. It’s about mythology. It’s about our ties, our connections and how others can help us along that journey in finding ourselves while we think the journey may be about something else entirely. I know all this. But at the same time, I feel that this book is so much more than that and I can’t do it justice :( What I can tell you is that I plan on reading everything that Delany has written after reading this book.

In Neil Gaiman’s introduction to this book, he says he first read this as a child. I wish I would’ve first read this as a child. I find that there are books that I go back and read now that seem “difficult” that seemed quite easy to me as a child. There’s something about the world that starts to cloud our minds, complicate our minds as we grow….that we can’t accept a story for what it is. Or maybe it’s the opposite. That we finally understand and face what we didn’t know we had to face as a child. Either way, I wish I read this as a child like Mr. Gaiman had.

On it’s surface, this is a work of speculative fiction. But don’t let that shy you away from it if you think “oh, I don’t like sci-fi”. Let this be the novel that shows you that the word “genre” does not have to limit your enjoyment of a novel. It’s set in the future where a different race of people have taken over our planet. Humans have long left earth and this new race now lives in the shell we left  behind. The use the term “lo” for males, “la” for females and “le” for those beings who are neither as a prefix to their names. Lo Lobey is our main character and when his friend dies and he goes in search for her, we find that he is really on a search to find his true self.

He finds that the world is more than his village. There are others like him. Others who are “different”, more different than him. There are people who reject the terms Lo, Le and La for gender. As I said before, it’s a novel (a short novel) that’s so important to the issues going on today despite the fact that it was first published in the 60s.

The edition that I have has a wonderful introduction by Neil Gaiman that explains the importance and beauty of the novel (without spoilers) much better than I ever could. It also has author notes throughout the book direct from Delany’s personal journals that record his thoughts as he was writing the book and I enjoyed reading those just as much as I enjoyed the book itself.

I wish I could convey how much I really enjoyed this book. What it all meant to me. I feel like it was a true epic packed into a short 150 or so pages. There was so much written in between the lines and I don’t know that I even fully grasped it all. It’s one that certainly deserves a reread or two. But I’m glad that I finally gave this one an initial read. It’s one that’s been on my list for awhile now!

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14

03 2010

Not Quite The WORST Bad Bloggers Ever, But…

I’ve done worse….I remember a Bad Bloggers post once where I had 30 books that I had to dole out blame for. It’s not quite that bad this time, but it’s not great either. There’s 24 books that I’m about to present to you. The good thing is, I got rid of 80 BOOKS a couple of weeks ago!!! When I go into these funks I start to get really bothered by clutter. It’s a mental thing. So I just went through my shelves and said “what can I live without” And I discovered that 80 books is what I could live without. So 80 out 24 in is not so bad, right? Anyway, here’s what came into the house:

1. Popular Music From Vittula by Mikael NiemiChartroose reviewed this one ages ago and really raved about it and man I’ve been wanting to read it like crazy ever since then. And I finally got myself a copy. I miss Chartroose a lot :( But after this last episode, I totally understand the need to take some time away from blogging every now and then too. A point to Ms. Chartroose though! (Paperback Swap)

2. Alcatraz Vs. The Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson – This book just sounds like a lot of fun. And I know I’ll like it based on the cover alone. And I’m not entirely convinced that I don’t have my own evil librarians at my library. Why are some of them so MEAN??? Thank got for librarians like Nicky (stormfilled) and Ana the future purple librarian to balance those out! Oh, and a point totally goes to Becky for me acquiring this one! (Paperback Swap)

3. Aurora Leigh by Elizabeth Barrett Browning - Jason over at Moored at Sea recommended this one to me and to be honest with you I was SCARED TO DEATH of it! Totally out of my comfort zone, but it sounded so intriguing. It’s a 19th century novel written in verse that deals with a lot of womens issues. I started it two nights ago right after I had finished Push by Sapphire (which was mega intense) and couldn’t get into it right away. Well I went back to it last night and I’m loving it!! The language is so beautiful and the story moves with such ease!! Really enjoying it. Point to Jason! (Bought it)

4. Maya Running by Anjali Banerjee -  After I read Looking for Bapu, I just had to read everything else she’s written! And I plan to start with this one :) It sounds amazing and I can’t wait to read it!! I just can’t wait to read more of anything that Anjali has written. Looking for Bapu was just such an incredible book.

5. Looking for Bapu by Anjali Banerjee - So excited to have my own copy of this one now! The copy I had before was a library copy. Now I have my own!

6. Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein - I was sent this book to review by the publisher and I feel horrible that I didn’t get it reviewed by the time I was supposed to :( Total #chrisfail. I just haven’t had the time, the motivation, the energy with everything that’s been going on. I’m over halfway through it though and what I can tell you is that I’m seriously loving this book!! It’s even better than what I was expecting it to be. I’ll still have my full review up as soon as I finish it. Just feel really bad that it wasn’t up when it was supposed to be :( (From the publisher)

7. Beyond the Night by Joss Ware - I’m so excited about this book :D The reason being is that Joss Ware is a pen name of Colleen Gleason, the author of The Gardella Vampire Series, one of my favorite series. Not only is Colleen an amazing author, but she’s just an amazing person too. Can’t wait to read her new series!!! From what I know, it’s a post-apocalyptic series with zombies!! And a touch of romance of course. AND, to make this even better, my wonderful friend Nancy sent this to me along with the next three books I’m going to mention :D I don’t know what I’d do without the Bookfool!!!! (Gift from a friend)

8. Lunchtime Enlightenment by Pragito Dove - I don’t even know much about this book! But Nancy knows my tastes and my interests well and she knows I like this Eastern meditation type stuff, so I’m guessing I’ll enjoy this one :D (Gift from a friend)

9. If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko – Now even though Nancy gave me this book, she’s getting a point for it too :( Sorry Nancy, isn’t it unfortunate how that works out? ;) Why? Because her review of it made it sounds so good! It’s a young adult book that deals with race issues and sounds like just the kind of book that I love! (Gift from a friend)

10. The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova – When Nancy sent me her ARC of this one I nearly had a heart attack :p I’ve been dying for Kostova’s next book ever since I read The Historian!!! I doubt that this will live up to the love I have for The Historian, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy it none the less! (Gift from a friend)

11. What is the What by Dave Eggers – Just because ever since reading The Wild Things I want everything that Dave Eggers has ever written. I’m convinced that the man is a freaking genius. (Paperback Swap)

12. Wait Until Twilight by Sang Pak – Another one that I can’t remember entirely what it’s about but that I became obsessed with wanting as soon as Joanne at Book Zombie reviewed it. I just remember she did an incredible review of it and the cover is so intriguing. It reminds me a lot of Ishiguro’s Never Let me Go in the cover with just the blank face. (Paperback Swap)

13. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, adapted by Peter Kuper – So as soon as Amanda reviewed this graphic novel version of The Metamorphosis, I knew I had to have it. I LOVE The Metamorphosis. It’s one of the things I read in high school that I actually really loved. And then she flat out offered me her copy!!! So Amanda, sadly this is yet another instance where I have to inflict a point of blame on you even though you did a charitable thing :/ Sorry. (Gift from a Friend)

14. Precious (or Push) by Sapphire – I hadn’t heard of this book until the movie Precious came out. I wish I was aware of it before that. But I’m glad I’m aware of it now. I hate these movie tie in versions where they change the title, but the book is the same. I’m not going to tell you about it now because I plan on reviewing it in full, but damn it’s good and damn it hurts and damn it’s powerful. You can just get it now! (Paperback Swap)

15. Supermarket by Satoshi Azuchi - I’ve just been wanting this book forever…ever since it was first announced. It’s a fictional look at Japan around the time that supermarkets were first introduced to the country. Interesting (Bought it) By the way, all of the following books (or the next 8 were all bought from book closeouts :p)

16. Hero by Perry Moore – Yes!!! I finally have Hero!!! I’ve been wanting to read this one for ages, but especially ever since Ana over at Things Mean A Lot reviewed it however long ago that was. So she gets a point for this one. It’s about a gay superhero. (bought it)

17. Warhorses by Yusef Komunyakaa – A point to Lu at Regular Rumination for this one!!! I asked her for poetry suggestions awhile back and this is one of the poets that she suggested to me! Really looks like an incredibly awesome little collection. (Bought it)

18. My Mistresses Sparrow is Dead ed. by Jeffery Eugenides – A fine looking collection of love stories from throughout the ages. I first heard about this one from Eva at  A Striped Armchair! If I recall there were hits and misses with her with this collection, but it just looks like such a unique and interesting collection that when I saw it at such a good price at bookcloseouts.com I had to have it :p Point to Eva! (Bought it)

19. Fidelity: Poems by Grace Paley – Can I give points to Nancy’s future Daughter in Law? :/ No? I’ll just give another point to Nancy for this one :p Nancy’s future DIL recommended this one to her. She said that it’s her favorite poet and favorite book and Nancy seemed to really enjoy it too. And I found it at a great price, so I thought I’d check it out as well! Looking forward to it. (Bought it)

20. The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams – I’m SO excited about this book!!! It’s about a boy who is “different”. He plays soccer and everything else but finds that he likes to sew and wear dresses. And the book is marketed to children which makes it even better in my eyes. Can’t wait to actually read it. (Bought it)

21. Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith – Part of the Canongate Myth Series. And Ana reviewed it and gets a point for it. And I’ve just been wanting to read it FOREVAH!! (Bought it)

22. Mojo: Conjure Stories by Various – Just looks like a really awesome short story collection that includes a great short story by Neil Gaiman among a few other cool authors and many authors that I’ve never heard of. But I love stories in this genre. Can’t wait to check it out!! And isn’t the cover image awesome? (Bought it)

23. The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan – I pre-ordered this one and It’s here! It’s here!! The companion novel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth which I absolutely loved last year. Hope this one is just as good if not even better!! (Bought it)

24. This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer – Phew!! Finally, the last book! I don’t think this book is supposed to come out until April! But Amazon shipped it to me already :p SQUEE!!! Why am I so excited? Because I freaking love this series!!! Can’t wait to read the third “moon book”. (Bought it)

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13

03 2010

Hello My Dear Friends!

I could just call this post “Bad Blogger” and be referring to myself. Because that’s what I’ve been lately. Life has taken one of those unexpected turns where it’s decided to fill up a bucket full of as much excrement as it can possibly find, pack it in as tightly as it can and then dump it on top of my head. At least that’s how I’ve felt. Ok….well, that’s a bit dramatic. But to put it less dramatically, I’ve been going through a few personal things lately which explains my absence in the blogging world. I just had to step away for a couple of weeks and I’m sorry that it went unannounced. But today, for the first time in two weeks, I feel like blogging again. And I just wanted to say hi to everyone.

I’ve missed this so much. I really have. I miss the interaction with all of my friends. I miss visiting everyone’s blogs and commenting. I’ve still been reading everyone’s blogs thanks to google reader on my iPhone, but it’s not the same when I don’t have the motivation to comment :( There’s no interaction. But for now I’m marking all as read and starting fresh tomorrow. Blogging has come to mean so much to me over the years. I’ve realized that more and more over the last few days, the last two weeks. I’ve craved the interaction with everyone, wondered what everyone has been up to, wanted to share things with everyone. But unfortunately I was just lacking motivation to do that. Depression…it sucks.

While I was away though, I read some amazing books! One that was written by a friend that I won’t be reviewing publicly, but that I hope that I one day can. I also read The Einstein Intersection by Samuel Delany which I’ve been meaning to read for literally years which was AMAZING! I seriously think I’ve found a new favorite sci-fi author in Delany. Today I finished Push by Sapphire. That book just absolutely blew me away and brought me to tears so many times that I lost count. I don’t even think I’ll be able to watch Precious, the movie that’s based on the book…it would be too hard. What an absolutely amazing book though. Can’t wait to review those two. And I’m reading Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein, one I’m sure you’ve ALL seen reviews of already :p I’m really enjoying it though!

And on top of all this, you’re going to have a um….really bad bad bloggers post coming from me soon. Like, seriously bad. I was down in the dumps, ok??? That’s my excuse :p But yeah, it’s gonna be bad.

Anyway, just wanted to let everyone know that I missed you all so much and I should be back to commenting and reviewing and writing and everything else now!!! How’s everyone been?!

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12

03 2010

Mare’s War by Tanita S. Davis

So here’s a book that I just had a feeling that I was going to love. I totally judged this book by the cover. Something about that cover that I just love. I love the colors in it, I love the representations of the different generations, and I love the story that the cover alone tells. Oh but the story inside the covers is just wonderful. Mare’s War is a book that not only let’s the reader fall into it’s story, traveling along with it’s characters, but it also teaches. And isn’t that the best kind of book? I learned so much from this book and fell in love with it’s characters at the same time.

Mare’s War is the story of a journey. Of a pair of journeys really. One journey is a car trip cross country that two young African American girls, Tali and Octavia are taking with their grandmother, Mare. The other journey is the story that their grandmother tells them. And what a beautiful, tragic, strong, admirable, courageous, and ultimately humbling story it is. But Tali and Octavia don’t see it that way at first. They see their grandmother as old and eccentric, trying to be younger than her days are. Living in a world that is not theirs. But they take the journey with her and learn with her.

Mare grew up on a farm and had her own sister to look after while her mother kept a boyfriend who was abusive to the two sisters. When the opportunity came for Marey (Mare’s name) to go off to war, a new opportunity for women of color, she signed up and left, promising her sister a better life for the two of them. What unfolds in Mare’s story is an awe inspiring story, a story that likely many women of color actually shared in the 40’s. Something that I was not aware of before reading this book!

This is a time period in African American history that is often overlooked and not often discussed. It thrilled me to learn a little bit more about this time period. It broke my heart as well to hear about the amount of hatred that still existed and the amount of ignorance that still existed as well. Though of course much of that hatred and ignorance still exists today. But through reading books like this one by Ms. Davis, we can get to talking more. We can get to knowing our history more. Get to understanding each other a little bit more. Pick up this book, read it and then hand it to some one else to  read. It’s a beautiful book and a beautiful story and it left me laughing and tearing up so many times throughout. Another one that I wish I wouldn’t have gotten from the damn library but would’ve actually bought for the keeper shelves.

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27

02 2010