Saturday, August 15, 2009

In which the librarian quotes herself

At one of the random online sites I can be found, a friend mentioned how great it was that I'm bookish and am passing that along to my girls because it wasn't something that she had had growing up. I hope y'all don't mind if I quote my response and then just continue typing because I have a lot to say and I felt like I was changing the conversation so I'm taking my ramblings over to my blog (because isn't that what a blog is for?

That was something I never had to worry about. Everyone in my family is bookish - from my grandmother who borrows my mother's Janet Evanovich the moment mom buys the newest (and always returns it by saying "this was far too racy for me. When does the next one come out?") down to my 2 year old who used to ask me to read Foucault to her because it was low enough on the shelf and she could reach it (She didn't care what I read her as long as she got to snuggle close to me and listen to my voice and OH MY GOD THAT IS LOVE, Y'ALL!), but now can't sleep until I've read her her Yo Gabba Gabba book and will then try and con me into reading her Barbie and I kinda want to yell "CHILD I LOVE THAT YOU HAVE AN OPINION NOW, BUT IF I HAVE TO READ BARBIE AND THE DIAMOND CASTLE ONE MORE TIME ..."

But seriously, turning my girls on to books is one of the best things I've ever done. I have always refused to be one of those (IMHO) overly pushy parents who demands that their 2 year old learn to multiply. I want my children to enjoy their childhoods. That said, reading is one of the greatest pleasures that I have and I want to pass that along to them all. Because of the huge amounts of books that my book obsessed daughter now demands I read to her, she knew her colors at 20 months. She could identify every letter in the alphabet not long after that. She can count almost to 30 and has started telling me what sounds some letters make. She knows what sounds animals make and (this is a big one in our house) can tell the difference between Superman, Spiderman, and Thor (which, if you think about it, is pretty hard. They're all red and blue and kinda similar to the untrained eye).

I am so grateful to my parents for loving reading so much and passing that along to us kids. I am so grateful to my grandparents for loving reading so much and passing that along to their kids. I am getting overly sappy and should just hit post before I keep typing.

Friday, August 14, 2009

When you reach me - Rebecca Stead

When You Reach Me
Rebecca Stead
Grade 4 and up
In Stores Now

I have put off blogging about When You Reach Me for far too long. I have to tell you all about this book because it is just SO FANTASTIC, but I have no idea what to say because it is just so fantastic. I'm terrified that someone will read my review, find it lacking, and not pick up this book.

In When You Reach Me, Miranda spends 1979 helping her mother prepare to be on the $20,000 Pyramid, making new friends, mourning the loss of her best friend (who decided out of the blue that he didn't want to hang out with her anymore), and receiving mysterious notes from someone who just might be a time traveler. She obsesses about A Wrinkle in Time, fails to learn how to properly cut bread, and in general rocks.

This is not a book for everyone. You have to be ready to let the book completely absorb you. My coworker listened to it on CD and spent too much time (according to her) wandering in and out of the room and therefore didn't like it. This isn't one of those books. This is a book you have to pay attention to and think about and be patient with. This book draws you in slowly, but once you're hooked you're hooked.

This is a fantasy for people who don't like fantasy, but it is also a gateway to realistic fiction and historical fiction for people who only read fantasy. I'd give it to fans of A Wrinkle in Time, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, or The Wednesday Wars.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Speaking of spoilers ...

Can I just tell you how much I disliked Knowing? It about broke my heart the other day when Meg Cabot of all people blogged about how much she loved it?

(can I reiterate my spoiler alert? Ok - good.)

About halfway through the movie, Brandon says to me, "hey - you know what would be funny? If they don't stop the disaster! If the movie just ends with the world ending!"
I replied "yeah! That would be funny! Worst ending idea EVER!"
and we had a good laugh.

And then they didn't stop the disaster. And the movie just ended with the world ending. And we were all WTF!

So ... just a warning. Don't watch Knowing unless you're ok with the worst ending EVER!

Ash by Malinda Lo

Ok. I have put this off for long enough. I have important things to say*, so I am darn well going to say them! I got an ARC of Ash at ALA a few weeks ago, devoured it immediately, and am just now sitting down to tell you how fantastic it is. Don't hate! I'll regale you with tales of the kidlet's cuteness later in hopes that you will then forgive me.

*important to me, at least. Probably just me.

A word of caution - I will probably allude to how the book ends. I'm really bad about that. For me, though (especially in a book like this that is a retelling of Cinderella so you know somewhat how it turns out) it isn't about where the characters end up. It's how they get there. So read on with this review (and in general, this blog), but know that I am not afraid to let slip details from near the end.

So anyway - if you were going to write a book designed specifically for me it would be this book. Retelling of something from the 398.2s*? Check! Gorgeously seductive but ultimately terrifying faeries? Check! A world that is not heteronormative? Check!

*UGH - YES - I AM THAT NERD! I do think of them as the 398.2s (or sometimes the 398s if I'm feeling lazy) instead of as folk and faerie tales. I'm crazy.

For the most part I don't need to give you a quick summary - it's Cinderella with extra faeries and plus the awesome Huntress. Like I said - I rarely read books for the basic plot structure. my love of a book comes from the details and Ash is full of fantastic ones. The world is a growing and changing world. The old tales of faeries are completely not en vogue anymore, but Ash has grown up in a small town far outside of the capital city that still believes. Tales of the Fae are constantly being told between the characters.

It was in these tales that I began to realize that the world wasn't heteronormative. Do you have any idea how refreshing that is? Through out the tales women fall in love with men and women fall in love with women* and nobody ever says "oh my goodness lookie here that woman just fell in love with another woman and that is SO WEIRD!" When Ash starts to have a crush on the huntress, it seems impossible to her that she should have this crush because of tons of outside influences making it seem crazy (she's not good enough, she's a servant, etc.), but not one of those reasons is ever that to fall for a woman is bad. I love this. I can't tell you how much I love this. I know it's near impossible in realistic fiction for something like this to happen - we just don't live in the sort of world - but in this lush fantasy world that Lo has created, I would like to think that maybe some GLTBIQ teen who picks this up will let him/herself feel like maybe he/she isn't crazy for being the person he/she** is!

*I don't remember any men falling in love with men, but I think that is more because there are so few male characters and less because of any other reason.

**OY! ENGLISH! Can we please get ourselves a third person singular pronoun that is non gender specific for when we're talking about just some random person who could be either? Get on that, will ya?

So ... enough with my random soapboxing about my worldview. You want to know about the book, yes? Well let me tell you I loved it! Again let me remind you that I am a sucker for EXACTLY THIS KIND OF BOOK so I may be a hair biased, but please don't let that stop you from picking this up. It should be in stores September 1 and in your local library pretty soon after.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Kaylee and Pippa are both asleep

Brandon is out with friends. I have the apartment to myself. I could write up my review for Ash! Or When you Reach Me! or The Demon's Lexicon! Or any of a gazillion* books I've read recently ... but then I wouldn't be going to sleep right now, and that would be tragic.

Pippa is just starting to consistently sleep well. I forsee more blogging time in the near future. Watch for it!