Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (by Alexander McCall Smith)*

I'm listening to audiobooks again on my commute and this was the first one: the latest in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. (Although I think I accidentally skipped one, because there were a lot of references to events that I never read about. Oops.)

These books are always sweet and low-key and charming, always more about hanging out with the characters and drinking Red Bush Tea in Botswana than about any sort of crime or investigation. That said, I enjoyed the plotlines in this one: the case was fun (though its resolution was really ridiculous), Mma Makutsi's love life plotline was cute, and I empathized with Mma Ramotswe's love for her tiny white van.

Just a really delightful entry in the series, exactly what I was in the mood for.

Monday, September 27, 2010

An Abundance of Katherines (by John Green)

I loved Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns, so I wanted to read more John Green, and picked up this one. (I think the only one left is Will Grayson, Will Grayson, right?)

I admit I was resistant to this book because of the premise: a 17-year-old boy, who is fairly socially awkward, has dated 19 girls in a row, all named Katherine. I mean, come on. Three Katherines, sure. Five Katherines, okay. But NINETEEN? Maybe if the name were, like, Jennifer or Emma. But really, I've only known one Katherine in my entire life. I DON'T BUY IT.

Apart from that bit of UTTER IMPLAUSIBILITY, I found the book charming, if a bit familiar. Green likes to play around with the formula of slightly awkward boy, awesome best friend (Hassan is really awesome, and I love that he's Arabic) and almost-too-good-to-be-true super smart, super funny lead female character. But he does it in a way that keeps it fairly fresh from book to book.

Basically, a nice comforting YA book was exactly what I could handle reading this weekend. If you have any recommendations for Green-esque YA fiction, I'm all ears.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Repotting Harry Potter (by James W. Thomas)

Playing Lego Harry Potter led me to re-read the series, which then led me to want to read about the series and order this book. I was looking for something like Graeme Davis's analysis, except as applied to the whole series. But it was really disappointing. Focused on puns to the exclusion of almost anything else, so desperate to sound "fun" that the writing is just annoying (worst offense: nicknaming Dubledore "Dumby," for the love of all that's holy), lots of typos, just in general a mess. I'm sure this guy's Harry Potter class at Pepperdine is fun and all, but this book was Not My Thing.