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I heart Ellen Emerson White.  Her books are so addicting that I keep thinking they’re fluff, but they’re not.  They’re awesome and well-written.  I even just ordered myself the complete Meg Powers set so that I can have them at my fingertips.  (I put my tuition on an Amazon credit card, and then I pay it off right away and get gift certificates, and right now I’m swimming in them since I just paid fall tuition.  When I was at Powell’s picking up my copy of Octavian Nothing last month, the clerk made a jokey comment about my Amazon card, and I told him if Powell’s did the same thing, I’d be all over it.  I just like free books.)  They’re totally the kind of books I’ll want to reread, because they’re engrossing and the characters are fab and always feel real, and there’s always so much tension that you can’t put them down.  Sure, it makes me a little tense, too, in a staying up till 1 am reading kind of way, but I love it.

I finished White House Autumn a few days ago.

White House Autumn White House Autumn by Ellen Emerson White

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the sequel to The President’s Daughter, but it can easily be read out of order – but why would you want to miss any of the books in this series? Here are a few of the things I find so compelling about White’s books in general: the characters are always down to earth, regardless of the extraordinary circumstances of their lives. The families act like real families with believable problems. When the characters do stupid things, you understand why, because the tension is very real. This, in turn, makes the books hard to put down, because you believe in the characters and their problems and you want to make sure they’re okay. But you also don’t want the books to end, because they’re also snarky and fun and intelligent. The teenagers feel like teenagers, the adults feel like adults.

The President’s Daughter is probably the lightest one in the series, in terms of content. In White House Autumn, the family is dealing with an assassination attempt, which heightens all the issues that the first book brought up, about how to be a family in the public eye, and how Meg feels about her mother being president. The next one, Long Live the Queen, is the most action and suspense filled installment, and then Long May She Reign goes back to the inner turmoil – and college life. They’re all gripping, and I will definitely go back to this series again for good, involving rereads.
View all my reviews.

This morning I finished Life Without Friends, which is pretty much the same kind of awesome, minus the politics.  Also, instead of a shiny new paperback with a great cover (I love the reissue covers!) I read a beat-up copy from 1987 with a cracked spine and a cover that looks slightly…chewed.  It didn’t really detract from the experience.  Oh, another thing I like about EEW’s books is that the characters wear sweatpants.  I was all about sweatpants (in 1987).  I was also six years old, but still.  They also eat a lot.  Or rather, a lot of their meals are described.  Life Without Friends is a sequel to Friends For Life, but no library in the tri-county area owns a copy.  At least I’ve still got beat-up copies of The Road Home and All Emergencies, Ring Super waiting for me at the library.  And I can always reread.

Oh, and here’s a link to an interview with EEW, by Liz B., which includes links to plenty of reviews and info and all that good stuff.

Just when you start to think that September will never stop being warm and sunny, you get a cool, cloudy morning that reminds you to appreciate that sunshine while it lasts, for crying out loud, and don’t start wishing you could wear that new sweater just yet.  Because it’s Oregon, and your wish will come true before you’re really ready.

I finished watching the second season of Dexter – I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like my kind of thing at ALL, but I have a soft spot for it.  Except I prefer the regular ol’ episodes to the Big Dramatic Season Finales.  Anyway, having gotten my fill of serial killers, I moved on to watching movies.  And I remembered why TV shows on DVD are really best for my schedule – when you don’t get home until after 10 pm, by the time you take a shower and fix some dinner and sit down, you don’t really have time for a 2 hour production.  Not that this ever stopped me from watching 2 episodes of any TV show in an evening, but I could still get to bed at a decent hour if I wanted.  With a movie, you’re stuck staying up late.  Oh well.

The other night I watched Atonement.  I loved the book – the only Ian McEwan that I was really enthusiastic about – and I felt a little trepidation about seeing it brought to life, as one often is with a well-liked book.  I really enjoyed the first section of the movie – the house, and all the clashing patterns in the upholstery, and the costumes – I love that kind of stuff.  It did a remarkable job, too, of portraying the inner lives of the characters through sheer visuals – remarkable because the book is so, well, word-based.  And focused on the thoughts and feelings of characters, rather than words and actions.  But it really translated well onto the screen.  But then it moved to the WWII storyline, and I got a trifle bored.  It lost the same sense of suspense – the “how will things go wrong?” tension that drove the first part of the story.  I don’t remember if the same was true of the book – maybe I didn’t feel the tension because I knew what would happen.  But I felt tense during the first part even though I knew how that would end.  On a completely different note, I couldn’t decide if I loved the typewriter-sounding score or not.

Last night I watched I’m Not There – the one that’s kind of about Bob Dylan.  The one that features Cate Blanchett looking eerily like Bob Dylan.  It was bizarre and oddly fascinating, but it turns out that it takes a bit more plot to keep my interest through to the end.  That said, I think it’s a love it or hate it kind of movie, and I’d have to fall more on the love side than the hate side.  If you’re someone who’s watched Don’t Look Back more than once, I’m Not There is worth watching just for laughs.

On a completely different note, I really enjoyed Ellen Emerson White’s The President’s Daughter, which was just republished.  The new covers for the whole series are pretty smashing – not just updates of dated late 80’s/early 90’s covers, but spins on classic paintings that really match the mood of the series.  I read the 3rd and 4th books a while ago – Long Live the Queen and Long May She Reign – while I waited for the first two to go back in print.  Now I’m eagerly awaiting #2, White House Autumn.  They don’t sound at all like my kind of thing – politics, sports, kidnapping, PTSD, etc.  But they’re so gripping – once I start one, I can barely put it down.  Not necessarily because of the plot, but because the characters feel so real – especially the family dynamics.  Meg is perfectly snarky – a kindred spirit with completely different interests.  This is definitely a series that I’ll reread – and I kind of want to own copies so I can have those nice shiny covers on my bookshelf all the time.  Also, I’m thinking about voting for Meg’s mom come November.

October 2021

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