Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chocolate picks for 2010

It's the time of the year where The Lists start showing up. You know the ones I mean... the best and the worst, the most popular, etc, etc. Much of the time these lists are a Serious Business. They discuss which books were most worthy to merit our attention, or had something important to say. As I read more for enjoyment than education, I am alternately bored or intimidated by these lists. For my top picks, I decided to pick based solely on the enjoyment factor. Think of these picks like chocolate. Chocolate has virtually no nutritional value, but we love to eat it anyway. These picks may have no deep literary value, but they sure were fun to read. So here are my top two chocolate picks for 2010 in the young adult category.

Dark Life by Kat Falls

Ty lives in a community on the bottom of the ocean. He is forced to team up with a girl from the topside, when outlaws start threatening his home.

Why I loved it. The action is fast and made me feel like we were deep under the ocean. And a hint of the paranormal, made for a truly unique storyline.

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Violet uses her ability to sense murder victims to try and track down a serial killer.

Why I loved it. The combination of a creepy ability and a love story made for a chilling thriller, and a great romance. The end result made an addicting read.

So what are your top chocolate picks for the year?


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Birdology by Sy Montgomery

As a seven year old child, a green parakeet named Jerry awed future naturalist, documentary scriptwriter and radio commentator Sy Montgomery from first chirp.

Flash forward to midde age and Birdology - a study of seven avian species explored with a scientist's eye and a novelist's touch. Follow the author from backyard hummingbirds to fierce 150 lb. dinosaur-like flightless cassowaries in tropical forests of Australia and New Guinea.

Interspersed are tales of heroic pigeons from ancient eons to modern eras and their vital forays for military reconnaissance, a dancing parrot of YouTube fame and a look at the fascinating world of falconry called by writer Thomas McGuane "one of man's oldest and most mysterious alliances in the natural world" replete with its own language, traditions and predators possessing the sharpest vision of all living creatures.

I kept Birdology aways from my cat and devoured it quickly.

Hope you will too.

Find it at your library


Edited to fix link Jan 4.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Him Her Him Again the End of Him by Patricia Marx

There's no question about where the plot's going in this tale of free-range narcissism and devotion unrequited -- the title tells it all. She is an American graduate student studying (apply this term loosely) in Cambridge, he is a bounder and a cad majoring in Ego Studies. She's obsessed with him. So is he. She realizes it's not working out when he marries someone else (it takes her that long!) so she jettisons her aimless studies and returns to New York and an equally aimless career writing for television. He reappears, with a wife and child. She's not as over him as she thought. It doesn't go well. But hang on: as the title implies, this is where it gets interesting.

Patricia Marx is a contributor to the New Yorker, a former writer for Saturday Night Live, and a funny, funny author. Her characters bristle with eccentricity and her descriptions will make you laugh out loud. Don't read this book for deep insights or intricate plotting, but if you're up for a satirical, witty and very entertaining quick read you won't go wrong.


Find it at your library

Monday, December 20, 2010

Running Books

New Year's Resolution season is swiftly approaching, and I have visions of lettuce leaves and tennis shoes dancing in my head. More often than not, I vow that THIS will be the year that I'll get myself in shape to run a half marathon. So far that hasn't happened, but I have, at least, come across a couple of fantastic books about people's running adventures that have inspired me to keep on trying...even if I wouldn't want to run under the same conditions that some of these athletes faced!

The Coolest Race on Earth: Mud, Madmen, Glaciers, and Grannies at the Antarctica Marathon is a story of endurance (and, perhaps, a little bit of lunacy). The athletes in this race come to run in the most desolate place in the world, with some of the most difficult conditions. Their stories are humorous and inspiring, and they're interwoven with tidbits about Antarctica and marathon history. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen is another book of running adventures, this time focusing on a journalist who sets out to become a great runner. He goes to Mexico to train with a tribe of reclusive Indians, the Tarahumara, who are considered the world's greatest long distance runners. Both books contain a cast of colorful characters that will stick with you, even after their stories end.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Going in Circles by Pamela Ribon

I always thought that getting married was the beginning of "happily ever after." Well, that's the general idea...for the first year of marriage at least, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case for Los Angeles resident and newlywed Charlotte.

With the awkward dividing up of friends that ensues after a breakup, Charlotte reaches out to make new friends at her office. In walks Francesca, whose smart mouth and purple bruises introduce Charlotte to the world of Roller Derby.

Share the many ups and downs of life, relationships, and roller derby with Charlotte in this fun and heartfelt read!

If this mention of Roller Derby has sparked your interest, be sure to check out our local Tucson Roller Derby girls!

~Roller Derby Librarian

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Seventeen-year-old Ruby has always been just fine on her own, thanks. She and her mom don't need help from anybody. Then Ruby's mom disappears, and Ruby is sent to live with her much older sister and brother-in-law. In the course of her senior year of high school, Ruby learns that asking for help doesn't mean admitting weakness. Instead, it's the beginning of strength.

Ruby, of course, is the center of this novel. With her shields firmly in place and her clear vulnerability underneath, she's immediately recognizable. Dessen also populates the novel with rich secondary characters. From Cora, the sister who once abandoned her, to Nate, the boy next door who seems to have the perfect life, nobody's what they seem on the surface, maybe not even Ruby.

This isn't a book with an overly complex plot or lots of explosions. The pace is leisurely and reflective, and the story centers around the quiet change in a young woman adapting to a new life and becoming a new self.

Find it at a library!

- Maureen K.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President by Josh Lieb

When Judd Apatow and Jon Stewart write blurbs on a teen book, you know there's something wicked going on. Imagine if the world's most powerful and wealthy person is really an 8th grade evil genius? Oliver Watson has the money and power to topple governments (and does so on a whim), so you would think winning the 8th grade student council presidency would be a breeze. But sometimes, being an evil genius can backfire on you. Shenanigans galore, for teens and adults.
Find more at the PCPL website!
~More Books

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wintery Reads

The colder weather always makes me want to curl up with a cup of tea, a cat and a book. In our temperate Tucson climate, I especially love books with a cold wintry setting.

One of my favorite genre's is re-told fairy tales, and many of these combine a fairy tale with a winter setting. Here are a sampling to send you to a fairy wintry world:

East by Edith Patou is a retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon set in a frosty Icelandic world.

If you like this fairy tale, Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George, and Ice by Sarah Beth Durst are also retellings. You can find the original tale in the Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang.

Beauty by Robin McKinley is my absolute favorite retelling of Beauty and the Beast. You may also want to try Beastly by Alex Flinn, retold in modern day New York from the Beast's perspective.

Beast by Donna Jo Napoli is also from the Beast's perspective, set in Persia.

Lastly, Ash by Malinda Lo gives a GLBT spin on the traditional Cinderella story.

Confessions of an Ugly Step-Sister by Gregory Maguire is another unique spin to the Cinderella story. Maguire creates a beautiful setting in this 17th century Netherlands.

Feel free to share in the comments your favorite retold fairy tale or winter book!

~ That One Girl