You are currently browsing the daily archive for April 28, 2009.
I think I’m finally getting my shelf of library books under control (although I suspect it won’t stay that way for long). Now, if I could just get my pile of “currently reading” books down to a manageable size, I’d be in business. There are a few that I’ve been “reading” for quite a while, like The Forsyte Saga, which is too big to lug around and sits next to my bed. Or The Long Winter, which I started reading back during Artic Blast ’08 and never finished. Then there are the ones that I started but had to return to the library, since they were on hold, and which I’m still waiting to get back – The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey and the newish edition of Pippi Longstocking illustrated by Lauren Child.
I’m actively reading just a few books – I have the third Maisie Dobbs, Pardonable Lies, on audio in the car, and I just picked up Sandra Gulland’s Mistress of the Sun. There might be something else lying around. I just finished Marcelo in the Real World last night – one of those YA books that could be marketed just as easily to adults as teens. I definitely recommend it, and I’m trying to digest it a bit more before I review it. It’s early in the year for predictions, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it popping up on awards lists later.
In food news, I’m roasting a chicken – my first. I’ve done a few whole chickens in the crock-pot, which is pretty failproof, so this is a fun adventure. Just thinking about it is making me hungry – it hasn’t even started smelling good yet. I’m really enjoying this whole post-Lent, eat whatever you please phase – a few weeks of rice and beans makes a fried egg or a roast chicken or a slice of cheese just heavenly. Sometimes, it’s actually hard to remember what I like to eat – it’s easier to just incorporate a few foods at a time. Last week was homemade pizza (with spicy Italian sausage, red pepper, mushrooms, and sauted onions) and this week is the chicken. I’d like to try baking some new things – I’ve made lemon bars (for Easter dinner), brownies (for a fundraiser) and banana bread, but none are all old favorites.
Ooh, the chicken is starting to sizzle and smell good. Time to go drool over it.
rating: 4 of 5 stars
This sat on my shelf for ages because I suspected it would be a tough read. A teen with cystic fibrosis? But I was pleasantly surprised, because rather than taking advantage of every opportunity to wring a tear from his readers’ eyes, Halpin treats the majority of the book as a smart, thoughtful YA story. Sure, Brianna spends time thinking about her own mortality and her illness, her role as a mentor to a younger girl with CF, and her own mentor who recently died – but it’s also got all those classic high school moments, which serve to emphasize how Brianna’s life is different without turning the whole thing into a pity party. Then there’s her love of math, and the fascinating conversations she gets into with her math teacher – they don’t require remembering anything you learned in high school, and my eyes didn’t glaze over from the geekdom, but the story doesn’t shy away from the fact that Bri is looking forward to going to MIT and being surrounded by math nerds. And this is really an important part of the story, not just a fact about Bri to make her seem unique. AND it didn’t make me cry until right at the end, which I appreciated.
It’s a quick, easy read without sacrificing any thoughtfulness – recommended to teens who like realistic stories.
One mild spoiler – I couldn’t help but wonder what the story would’ve been like if it cut off before her death, leaving the reader knowing that she’ll die before too long, but without actually writing the death scene. I don’t think it would’ve made the story any less sad, and I’m not saying that a death scene is easy to write, but it would be refreshing to read an illness story that doesn’t actually end with the death (or maybe I’ve just read too many books like this). Regardless, I think it’s a great example of the genre.
rating: 4 of 5 stars
It sounded cute, and I put off reading it. And then, of course, I liked it. Despite Mibs turning 13 at the beginning of the story, I think this is a story for slightly younger readers. It’s got its sadness, of course, with the father in the hospital, and it’s not afraid to mention realities like a homeless man on the street, and there’s just the tiniest little smidge of romance. But it’s a sweet story about finding your place in the world, combined with a little bit of fantasy and an (unintentional) road-trip. I had a strong sense of all the characters, but it was the chatty, folksy tone that really sucked me in.