Llew's Reviews

Archive for May, 2005

Book #20 Ida B by Katherine Hannigan

Thursday, May 19th, 2005 by Miss Laura

In the interest of becoming a more well-rounded bookshop girl, I am eating more ice cream. I’m also having to catch up on my Young Adult selections. The subtitle to Ida B is “and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World.”

It is a cute, especially for girls who have semi-recently graduated from Junie B Jones books. However, I’d rather have a book that saved me a brownie than the world. I’m selfish like that these days.

Book #19 Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

Sunday, May 15th, 2005 by Miss Laura

Well, I figured I ought to read one of this years Booksense Book Of The Year winners before the national booksellers convention in less than a month. Heaven knows that I’ll have to do hand exercises before I can even lift Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, much less read it.

Chasing Vermeer is illustrated by Brett Helquist who I once briefly stalked until I discovered he lived in Brooklyn. As I’ve said about Ben Marcus, I would follow him to the ends of the earth, but I put my foot down at Brooklyn. Ew.

But I digress.

I’m smitten with Brett Helquist’s illustrations – especially when they’re of a raven curly haired girl in glasses. XO, Helquist, XO.

The book is now available in paperback, but if you buy it you simply MUST get the hardback. When you remove the lovely illustrated dust jacket, you find the two Vermeer paintings central to the plot of the novel are the cover art. (One on the front, and one on the back. No title or anything else marring the show.)

Although “Chasing Vermeer” isn’t the type of young adult novel that I most love, I can definitely see why it’s become so championed. It’s about two children who are new friends to each other who, through a series of puzzling “coincidences” piece together the mystery of a recently stolen priceless Vermeer painting. It’s well written and fun.

However, I must confess: puzzles bore me. Well, except for the one about people STILL wearing white jeans. That puzzle terrifies me to the very marrow of my bones.

Book #18 Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata

Saturday, May 7th, 2005 by Miss Laura

What is it with these Japanese authors killing themselves? If they commit suicide right after writing a book what’s to keep me from thinking of doing the same after reading it – especially when they compare a woman’s lips to a row of leaches?

By the time I got into Snow Country it was halfway finished. Not to say that it wasn’t good. It’s just that at first I wasn’t smitten by the writing style as I’ve never been a fan of short choppy sentences. I believe this is what the book blurbs on the back call, “Beautifully economical”. Oh Times Literary supplement – how you make everything so poetic!

The ever-so-foxy Tara sent me this so I figured th…

Thursday, May 5th, 2005 by Miss Laura

The ever-so-foxy Tara sent me this so I figured that this blog would be an apt place for it
Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Character? If any of members of The Basic Eight were real I would have been arrested for stalking years ago.

The last book you bought is?
It was a present for someone and you don’t want me to RUIN that here do you?

The last book you finished is
These Demented Lands by Alan Warner.

What are you currently reading?
“Arundel” by Kenneth Roberts and “Snow Country” by Yasunari Kawabata.

You’re inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book would you burn?
Nicholas Sparks oeuvre

Five books you would take to a desert island?
Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past/In Search Of Lost Time (all volumes)
Pynchon’s Gravity Rainbow
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
100 Years In Solitude by Marquez
The Bible

I figure with these books that I’ve been trying to read for years but haven’t ever been able to finish most of them that I’d have no choice but to desperately find a way back to civilization ASAP.

Which book would you memorize if you were on a desert island?
The bible. Yet, nothing like being a raving but delightfully tanned lunatic screaming bible passages to fish to pass the time.

Book #17 These Demented Lands by Alan Warner

Thursday, May 5th, 2005 by Miss Laura

For whatever reason, I can never remember the title of this book so I keep referring to it as “The dismemberment Plan.” Couple that with my “Cesspool, Ca” mishaps and I’m just one of those senile old ladies who smears on the lipstick not realizing that her lips disappeared a decade ago.

This was Alan Warner’s second book and the third of his I’ve read. It was also my least favorite. Not that it was bad per se. It’s just the others were SO good. Of course, what novel will ever be able to hold a light to one about naughty Scottish school girls?

This one has really great weird characters, including Morvern Callar who you can’t help be smitten with and scared of all at once. The story is also told by a man who claims to work for the department of transportation as an aircrash investigator. He’s always looking for and piecing together the remnants of a decade old plane crash. He and Morvern befriend each other. I’d tell you more of the plot except for that was definitely the weak point of this novel. Like it had the fun characters with dry humor conversations, but it didn’t seem to be really going anywhere. Or at least no where that I particularly wanted to join them.

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