Sunday, February 28, 2010

Short Extension

Okay, kids, I'm going to extend this for 24 hours and pick the winner tomorrow, because I think there's someone else who's planning to enter but doesn't have internet access on the weekends. Sorry to tip the odds like that--tomorrow evening, we will have the Grand Drawing! Get your entries in now!

And this extension does mean that you can get your significant others to post, too, for double-duty chances. Thanks to all contestants--I'm excited to see who wins!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My Own Worst Enemy

Okay, first: don't miss the free book drawing in Sunday's post. Leave a comment on that post and win a book!

Today I'm gloomy because I accidentally spoiled the book I'm reading for myself. Well, I say accidentally, but I did flip to the end and read the last two lines. I don't suppose I can blame anyone for that but myself. But in my defense, that very rarely actually ruins anything!

But in this book it did. I have to say, I'm torn between whether to tell you the book or the ending--clearly I can't tell you both. Since presumably you can see from my sidebar what I'm reading, though, I'll manage to restrain myself regarding the end.

The book, then, is Secrets of Eden, by Chris Bohjalian. I wasn't expecting a mystery, which it turns out this is--at least in structure. Of course, it's much more about the human drama than about the mystery. Still, though it's already clear to me that the ending is a big reveal, and I'm disappointed with myself.

Happily, I'm still enjoying the book, maybe more than I expected to. Strangely, I feel like I was anticipating a Jodi Picoult book, and the slight sense of redundancy and overwroughtness that comes with it, and am finding myself pleasantly surprised.

I'm experiencing deja vu. Have I said this about Jodi Picoult and Chris Bohjalian before?

Anyway, don't forget to enter the drawing!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

On My Mind, or Oh Look, a Contest!

I don't buy books. That's the reason I don't have a Kindle; if I can't check books out of the library, what's the point? I don't want to be confined to reading books that I'm sure I'm going to like. Also, I'm cheap. It causes me guilt, since I'm part of the demise of publishing, but there it is.

So I only buy about five books a year, and they're almost always books that I've read before. With the very occasional exception, the rule is this: if I read a book--from the library or borrowed from a friend--and enjoyed it, and then find myself, weeks or months later, thinking about it, wanting to read it again, wanting to lend it to people, that's when I buy it.

I wish I had more time to reread. But just knowing it's on the shelf and I can pick it up when I want to is a pretty big deal.

Lately, there are a couple of books I've been thinking about. One was Chalice, by Robin McKinley. I really can't say that there's anything about it that stands out--in a lot of ways, it's a pretty standard fantasy novel. But it captured a mood, a quietness, that really drew me in. The world-building is really excellent. There are some details of the backstory that are left mysterious, which works really nicely. Plus there's beekeeping, which I rather liked as well.

Besides rereading, I like to lend out books. That's why I think I might have to buy Fool, by Christopher Moore. It's such a clever book--in plot, in language, even in pacing--that I can't be sure that it'll be as great to reread as it was the first time. But I do know that I'm going to shove it into the hands of almost everyone (Kris, I'm looking at you), and that the only way to do that is to own a copy.

And then there's The Family Man, by Elinor Lipman. I'm sure I've said this before, but Linden and I used to say that it was too bad that, when you come to love the characters in the books you're reading, you always have to read about the trials and tribulations they go through, and that you can't just read about good times. Sometimes people write books like that, and they're mostly bad. But this one--The Family Man is about a staid life getting shaken up, but not in an upsetting-but-ultimately-for-the-best way. Really, it's just all kind of startling, funny adventures.

How, though, am I ever going to get a chance to reread one of these books? I have no idea.

Hey, I know! A contest. Readers ahoy: leave a comment on this post. In a week (because I'm a slow poster and I assume I have slow readers), I'll pick a random number and that commenter will get the book of their choice, of the three listed above. I don't promise it will be brand new, but it will be in excellent condition. People I'm married to are excluded from the contest, even if they comment. First time readers welcome, so feel free to (ahem) tell your friends. One comment per poster, please!

It won't help me reread them, but it will spread the joy. And here at LibraryHungry, we're all about spreading the joy.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chicken Out a la King

I couldn't resist going with the pun for the post title, though I wouldn't say I'm exactly chickening out. I did start to listen to The Gunslinger, though, and I am going to stop listening to it now.

I never read any Stephen King till after college. One day I just realized I'd never read any, and I thought, what the heck. So I checked out a couple. I started with the old stuff, which was a good move on my part, and I enjoyed a lot of them. I even have a couple of favorites--I really loved The Stand, Salem's Lot, and Pet Sematary. A lot more of them I liked but didn't love--Needful Things, It, The Dead Zone. Overall, a good ride.

But then, I sort of got caught up with what he's been writing lately, and woah, Nellie, does that man need an editor. Thousands of pages, not to tell sweeping epics, but to describe every single thing in minute detail. I'm not even going to go into it here, because it makes me tired just thinking about it.

Unfortunately, he still tells a good story, and I really kind of want to read Under the Dome.

But The Gunslinger, this is old stuff. This is from his heyday (did I use that right? Heyday?), and it should be tighter, it should be better storytelling.

Sadly, I'm just not loving it. It's not just horrifying--though there is something especially horrifying in listening to his lingering descriptions of gore being read out loud. It's also kind of boring. I'm about 15% of the way into the book, and all I know is that the Protagonist is chasing the Antagonist through a wasteland that's turned into desert, and that something bad happened in a small town that involved the Antagonist reanimating a dead guy. That's literally everything I know about the story. Oh, except that it's dry, and there's grass, and everyone is craggy and sullen and amoral and mean and that there's no beauty in the world, and little water.

I'm tired of it. I think I'm getting too old for this stuff. I feel like a big mope. I need a good audiobook. I'm taking nominations.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Two for Two

I can't believe it took me this long to start reading Children of God. For anyone who has read The Sparrow, run out and get this book.

What turned me off initially was--well, without giving too much away (I hope; please someone tell me if this is too much of a spoiler), you find out at the beginning that someone you thought was dead in The Sparrow is not dead. That seemed like such an annoying change in history to allow a sequel that I just couldn't credit it.

This time, I knew that going in, and it didn't bug me. It makes sense that this character could still be alive, and it was the only annoying thing about the story. It all makes sense, and is, like The Sparrow, so thoughtful and intelligent that I'm really caught up in it. It's a rare book that has such an excellent balance between story, character, and--theme? meaning? philosophy, I guess.

Absolutely loving it.