November 25, 2009

October-November Reading Roundup...and a Funny Story

I'm going to try to keep this short. Know why? Because I cannot seem to motivate myself to sit down and get caught up, no matter how many bizarre ploys I attempt in order to make the job quicker (FAIL, by the way) or the product more interesting (possibly successful if it hadn't made things more complicated). I'm talking here about my ludicrous idea (see my earlier post) to audio-record my thoughts on the books while riding the exercise bike, which has to be one of the weirder types of multitasking I've ever attempted, and then transcribe them, ideally having made my job easier by doing the thinking first. Unfortunately, I evidently forgot about the fact that I really hate transcribing stuff. I also did not relish the idea of listening to myself gasping for breath as I semi-coherently blathered into the recorder.

So, instead I'm just going to limit my thoughts to a few sentences about each title, and call it a day. And I shall valiantly attempt never to descend to quite the same nadir of weirdness as the one which spawned the above wastage of (quite literally) breath. And now we shall never speak of it again.

Zoe's Tale: A later book in the Old Man's War series by John Scalzi, this installment makes a particularly good crossover book because the narrator's a young woman--and Scalzi's pretty darn convincing with his first-person depiction. Zoe, at seventeen, is the adopted daughter of John Perry (the narrator of Old Man's War, and their family's part of a colonization landing party for a brand-new colony world. Unfortunately, their colony, Roanoake (har), is also the center of an intergalactic dispute, and the actual colonists are caught in the middle. Not only that, Zoe's importance to the situation is a tad bit...complicated, as she's sort of...a role model for an entire alien race. Again, good space adventure.

Katman: In this graphic novel about a misfit teenage boy finding his place--and finding friends (both feline and human), Kevin Pyle manages to tell a story that's both edgy and endearing. Kit is fifteen and doesn't feel like he even fits into his family, let alone at school, so he takes to feeding stray cats, which leads him to meet some interesting characters and creates some meaning in his life. The nearly-monochromatic, somewhat jagged illustration style fits the story well, and the subtle use of one or two colors throughout does a lot to enhance the emotion behind the story. AND, there's a crazy cat lady. This one's also a 2009 Cybils graphic novel nominee.

Peeps: This is by no means a NEW book, but that totally never stops us from posting reviews around here. Though I love Scott Westerfeld (his BOOKS, people, his books), I had put this one aside for a while because of my general non-love for vampire books. However, I'm happy to report that it goes into the "good vampire books I actually like" pile. In Westerfeld's scenario, vampirism is a contagious parasite, and Cal Thompson--a carrier--has unwittingly infected a bunch of ex-girlfriends. Now he has to hunt them down before they go all bonkers-crazy-homicidal. Fun (and somewhat gruesome) suspense, including many informative factoids about real-life parasites that you probably never wanted to know. I may even read the sequel.

Skulduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones: You may remember our recent interview with Derek Landy, quite bodacious author of the Skulduggery Pleasant series, whom we fawned over most embarrassingly. This third book in the series continues to raise the stakes for both the skeleton detective and his protege, the young Valkyrie Cain (formerly known as Stephanie Edgeley). Some of the ongoing plots continue to thicken in this adventure; meanwhile, Valkyrie and her friends go up against some of the creepiest bad guys yet. Packed with action and humor, it's surely not going to disappoint fans of the series.

6 comments:

R.J. Anderson said...

I really enjoyed PEEPS too, in spite of my own general indifference to All Things Vampire. It's a very fresh take on the idea, and I loved the parasitology tidbits at the beginning of each chapter.

tanita davis said...

Fawned? There was no fawning. There was swooning. There is no shame in swooning.

Just wait 'til we start fawning/swooning over John Scalzi. *sigh*

tanita davis said...

Also? I am *still* laughing at your audio-multi-tasking. STILL.

a. fortis said...

All I can say is, it seemed like a good idea at the time...

adrienne said...

I tried the record-audio-and-then-transcribe thing once, but I am a faster talker than I am a typist (notable, as I am a pretty fast typist), and I think I got through a paragraph before I was like, "I am so never doing that again." Sometimes my BFF and I like to ponder what superpowers we'd like, and being able to type with just my brain is one of my favorites. That and the ability to make groceries appear in the refrigerator by blinking my eyes or something. I have pretty modest superpower goals.

a. fortis said...

Being able to type with just my brain would be an AWESOME superpower. Transcribing interviews (which I hate) would suddenly become very easy.

It would be such a handy superpower for a writer!