books, check 'em out

and i need a job, so i want to be a paperback writer

Oh, Hai 06/21/2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimbolee @ 7:52 AM
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I’m going on month 3 of unemployment (not as fun as you’d think), so I thought about blogging again.

I’ve been reading a lot of Charlaine Harris, and little to none of children’s and YA. I think this is indicative of two things: 1) my mental capacity right now and b) the segue into a new part of my career and my life.

So, cozy mysteries are about all I can handle right now, though I’ve been throwing in some nonfiction to try and keep my brain functioning (‘Born to Run’ by Christopher McDougall, since I have started running, lazily, and ‘Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live,’ since I have been wistfully reminiscing about my comedy days.)

Three Bedrooms, One Corpse
Charlaine Harris
Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1994

I started ‘Three Bedrooms, One Corpse,’ which is Book 3 in Harris’ Aurora Teagarden series. When I checked the book out, the clerk at the library saw the title and started laughing.
Quote: “Mysteries are so crazy! I mean, look at this title: Three Bedrooms, One Corpse. If there’s a corpse in one bedroom, what do you think happened in those OTHER bedrooms?”
I told her I’d come back and let her know when I was done.
Oh, and by the way, Aurora is supposed to be a “librarian” but she really is a library clerk. Aurora Teagarden did not go to library school and does not know about “Boolean logic.” She also doesn’t do library programming, cataloging, or collection development. She checks out books and reshelves them, which means she is an integral part of a library’s front line staff. Not a librarian. Front line staff are important, but they are not librarians. Not everyone who works in a library is a librarian. I don’t mean to be elitist, but I did not spend two years of my life and thousands of dollars to be lumped in with everyone who works at a library. I have a master’s degree and therefore I am a librarian. Okay, thanks, bye.

Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
Christohper McDougall
Knopf, 2009.

This book is about crazy people who are crazy and run mega miles in sandals. But apparently they don’t get running injuries like the rest of us so maybe we are the crazy ones.
Side note: My shins hurt like they’ve never hurt before.
Second side note: I am getting old.
Third side note: This is the kind of nonfiction I really like.

Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, as Told By Its Stars, Writers and Guests
Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller
Little, Brown and Company, 2002.

I suggest reading this book if you want to hate men in comedy!


Revolution 12/16/2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimbolee @ 8:24 AM

Jennifer Donnelly
496 pages
Delacorte, 2010

Um, hello. This is the best book I read in 2010, hands down (and I read a lot of books in 2010).

It’s historical fiction, but it’s the kind of “historical” “fiction” that tricks you by really being set in the present, and then taking you back in time through a diary. Jennifer Donnelly is a trickster!!

Basically, Andi (main character) is depressed about her younger brother’s death, which she feels is her fault. So, she stops doing her schoolwork. Except she goes to a really prestigious school in NYC and her father (a super-genius geneticist who cares more about DNA than his own children) simply won’t stand for that! So he whisks her off to Paris (sooo awesome) and tells her she has to write her senior thesis or ELSE! And then Andi discovers the diary of Alexandrine Paradis, the companion of the dauphin of France, and begins to read her first-hand account of the revolution. And that’s where the real fun begins! (Seriously, it is very wonderfully great).

Anyway, I don’t really want to say a lot about this book because I’m afraid if I think about it too much then I might not like it as much as I do right now. And this book, I want to keep loving.

I’ll just say that if you’ve ever had any interest at all in music, the French Revolution, and the fate of Louis-Charles (or even if you haven’t), then just read the dang book already!

Also, I should note that this novel has a bibliography. ‘Nuff said!

Also also, the cover is beautiful and I like to look at it.


Countdown 08/23/2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimbolee @ 8:12 AM

Countdown (The Sixties Trilogy Series)
Deborah Wiles
New York: Scholastic, 2010.
400 pp.

First thought: Ahhh! This book LOOKS SO COOL. I think the term “documentary novel” (or, as I like to call it, “docu-novel”) is being tossed around about this book, because Wiles intertwines her story with images, advertisements, speeches, and song lyrics from the early 60’s. My short attention span was so grateful to have black and white photos with large bold text to look at in between (short) chapters. This book is absolutely a joy to flip through.

The story is set in 1962, where our narrator, Franny, is learning to duck and cover at school, for the Cuban Missle Crisis is in full-swing. In addition to worrying about being blown up by the Soviets, Franny has other issues to deal with — her PTSD-stricken uncle, who is stuck in the trenches of WWI, her budding flower child older sister, running away to secret meetings and joining the Civil Rights Movement, her perfect younger brother who cannot tell a lie, the cute boy down the street who actually talks to her, and her (former) best friend who has completely turned her back on her and starts openly mocking her in school. A lot to deal with. And, oh Franny, it’ll all be okay.

I really like Franny. Franny may have been catapulted into my top 10 favorite young girl narrators. I want to give Franny a hug. And I applaud her for not losing her mind despite the mess she’s in.

I wonder though, if children will embrace this novel as fully as I have. I think this is definitely a niche novel; it’ll appeal to a certain type of reader, but I’m not sure if it has that universal appeal that makes a novel truly great (in my opinion). It’ll be interesting to see this novel’s progress. Some kids might be turned off by the images strewn throughout the book (it may be too much of an interruption; too “nonfiction-ey”.) This kid was not.


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Movie 08/18/2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimbolee @ 6:51 AM

A great post over at A Fuse #8 Production (one of my top 5 blogs) about the mysterious new girl in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Movie. I’m glad I’m not the only one who was confused by her presence. Betsy Bird does it again!!!


Little Piggie Cat 08/11/2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimbolee @ 4:45 PM

I rescued a baby kitten from our garage about a month ago. His names are: Little Baby Cat (for he is a wee thing), Donut (for he is like a favorite character from The Wire, always stealing cars), Benjamin Button the Cat (for he is graying, and frail, but is getting stronger with age!) and Little Piggie Cat (for he enjoys noshing on everything). Anyway, that doesn’t have anything to do with Books, but he likes to sit with me when I read so that counts for something. Here he is with his big brother cat:


Other Books I’ve Read Recently 06/21/2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimbolee @ 7:42 AM

White Cat by Holly Black.
Curse Workers, Book 1.
320 pp.
Margaret K. McElderry, 2010.
Young Adult

I listened to this on audio on my super-long solo drive down to Gulf Shores over Memorial Day weekend (which, apparently, was a great time to go, seeing as how to oil arrived on the shore the following weekend). Jesse Eisenberg (of Adventure– and Zombie- land fame) narrates, which was weird for me when I rewatched Zombieland last week because I kept assuming that the movie was about Cassel (the main character of White Cat). Cassel comes from a family of curse workers (magicians, if you will), but he doesn’t have any powers! For shame! Except…he keeps sleepwalking and ending up in all sorts of compromising positions. And this white cat keeps showing up randomly in his dreams! And that’s all I will give away about this awesome book.
Anyway, this is the first in a series and was highly interesting and entertaining. I liked the new take on the supernatural; it’s none of this tired vampire and/or werewolf and/or zombie buisness. It kinda makes me wish I had magical powers and lived in a world where everyone has to wear gloves for fear of touching someone/having someone touch you and getting cursed. Thumbs up.

Fat Cat by Robin Brande
336 pp.
Knopf, 2009.
Young Adult

Oh look, another cat-titled book! Not on purpose, I promise. Fat Cat was one of those books that took me by surprise, mostly because I didn’t pay attention to the synopsis on the cover (there is a fancy word for this but it escapes me currently). Anyway, I like it better that way. Cat, our “fat” narrator, gets stuck with an interesting year-long project for her science class – she decides to change her habits and live as the hominids did. To as much of an extent as a millenium’s child can, at least. She starts walking to school, gives up her phone and television, eats natural foods. I thought the book had a great message – not that it’s bad to be fat, but that maybe we ought to reexamine our habits and see if we can’t better our lives.
Of course, Cat gets the boy in the end, her former best friend whom she stopped speaking to years ago because she overheard him calling her fat or something, but to me that was a) bound to happen anyway and b) harmless/not over the top.
As far as girly YA books go, this wasn’t exactly Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants or Gossip Girl. Fat Cat stands on its own, a neat little subgenre of fat literature where the protagonist spends less time hating herself (she’s unhappy with her body, but aren’t we all) and more time trying to be proactive and not whiny. Thumbs up.

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
298 pp.
Harper and Row, 1964.

This was a really delightful re-read of one of my absolute favorite books from 5th grade. It was also the first book I read on my new, wonderful Sony Reader, which I was worried about purchasing because I wasn’t sure if I would like it. Well, I like it. I like the flexibility of checking out a book whenever I want to and not having to worry about returning it on time. Returning books on time isn’t really an issue at my library since I am there every day and can monitor my circ records…but if I happen to check out a book from another library, then sometimes I have issues.

Anway. Harriet, as the title suggests, is a spy. She is also an extremely interesting narrator — great thoughts, great observations, uninentionally hilarious. She keeps tabs on everyone she knows in her notebook, which gets her into mega-trouble when she leaves it at school. Everyone ends up hating her, and Harriet has to learn to deal with that. She’s not a Mean Girl…she just has yet to realize that the truth is sometimes hurtful, and a little fib (or keeping thoughts to yourself) is necessary now and then.

I will always, always love Harriet. She got sent to a child psychologist for Pete’s sake! 14 million thumbs up.

Okay, have you heard of Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars on the Disney Channel? Here’s a great review from educating alice. And here’s the trailer. Sigh.


Stop what you are doing

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimbolee @ 7:11 AM

And go listen to ‘The Maze Runner’ by James Dashner on audio right now.

You can read the book, alternatively, but I highly suggest the audio.

Okay, bye!