020) Unorthodox Practices by Marissa Piesman, finished March 5
    Roached religious observanceI picked this book up for 50¢ at Big Lots when I saw I had a long, long wait ahead of me. I read it in line, then stuck it in the car. It's since seen three cars, and has just finished duty as my in-car reading.

    And I'm sorry to say I'm not sorry to see it go.

    Curiously, like the last book I finished, it's a genre book with lots of chick-lit trappings. And like the last book, for all its merits, it's just not very good.

    My copy is the 1989 mass-market paperback (with as ugly a cover as you might expect). The link above is to the current version. (Yes! It's in print! And there are more Nina Fischman mysteries available!)

    The story is one of murder for Manhattan real estate. It's one of randy Jews (both orthodox and irreligious). It's one of conveniently mysteriously missing roaches. It's one more interested in clever observations than story. In fact, the mystery is pretty tame. Or rather, it's fine, but the final unraveling is a disaster. But mysteries are story. That's their point. Which is why this would be better read as protochicklit than as hardcore thriller

    I didn't hate this book. But what am I going to do with it now? I don't need to keep it. And you can ask Lady Steed: that's not something Theric says. Like, ever.

    two hundred eighty-eight days

019) Happy Hour at Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta, finished March 4
    Latina VampireOkay. I hate to dis a local girl, but this book was ridiculous.

    I also hate to dis humorous novels because they get the shaft all the time and if there's no such thing as a well-written humorous novel, then I'm in the crapper.

    Anyway, the book had some sound ideas. This is the freshest take on vampires I've read in . . . a long time, anyway. And there were some genuinely funny parts and some genuine pathos via her mother Regina and this and that. But never seen so many dei ex machina come screaming out of nowhere--and not just in the final chapter, but in the obscene epilogue, truly absurd things occur. Like the cops realize that the Satanic ritual killings had actually been done by a cougar. I kid you not.

    This book has been popular among the teenage girls in my class, and I guess I don't find that surprising. For all its faults, it does have these appealing qualities:

      1. Hot (and really weird) sex (and not just the act, but a sense of sexuality the protag gives off that would be quite enlightening for a pubescent of either sex)

      2. The Latina hero is a truly interesting glimpse into Latin culture and never stops being interesting or genuine from that angle

      3. Pretty things (there are plenty without any dull expositional description)

      4. Melodrama (in terms of plot, characters, everything)

    Anyway, I cannot in good conscious recommend this book, nor will I read the second although it is in my class's library, but if genetic "vampires" on a lovely Northern California ranch drinking goat blood and fighting off a racist PAC called CACA (Corporate Americans for the Conservation of America), a front for the Old World vampire-hunting club Chalice of Blood, with help of bikers and hackers sounds fun, well, you deserve what you get.

    Sorry. That sounded really snotty, didn't it?

    at most a month

018) A War of Gifts: An Ender Story by Orson Scott Card, finished Leap Day
    Big world, big bow.This bite-sized delight takes place in the Enderverse. It is hard for me, as a reader of all the books, to say how this would read if you haven't read any others, but I imagine it would be a lovely starting place. Like First Meetings, it's a brief tale that presents Card's deeply moral universe in a miniature form.

    All this small talk is very true--the book is short with lots of white space. It's an afternoon delight you can safely share with a niece or a nephew.

    a few days

017) Watership Down by Richard Adams, finished February 26
    The Black Rabbit comes.Like most people, I've been meaning to read this book for years. I finally have. And it was excellent.

    The promises of bunny sex and bunny violence were a little disappointing on the sex side, but in every other way, this was that rare heralded book that lived up to my expectations. I was even startled to be moved by the religious denouement.

    Rabbits are freaking AWESOME.

    Anyone know if the movie's any good?

    as much as a month

016) Old Boy Volume One by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi, finished February 25
    Lock me up no more.This was my first reading of real manga-manga with the traditional look and size and backwards-reading. I picked it because it was the source for a Korean movie from a few years back that is apparently so awesome even Harry Knowles was constrained to say it was (nearly) better than Return of the King that year.

    The book was a breezy read and, as it was only the first volume, hardly a substitute for the click. Which I still really want to see. (Sorta. I'm not much of one for really violent films, although watching violence is rarely as bad as imagining watching it. Fight Club? Not really a big deal to watch. But before I watched it? Hoo!)

    I found this at the library and putting the other seven volumes on hold doesn't really appeal to me (much simpler just to put the movie on hold). And there is NO WAY I'm buying these suckers. Most comics don't take as long to read but you can excuse their higher price because they are beautiful objects. Manga? Not so. And these flimsy doodads come in at $13 a pop. That's Over a hundred bucks for the lot. No wonder I always see teenagers reading and scattering manga throughout the Barnes and Noble.

    Anyway, reading backwards was a breeze and the structure of the storytelling was quite interesting and the book was pretty good. The concept's strong, even if some elements were just silly. But a little silly never hurts anyone. Except for buxom virgins, of course. I bet she doesn't end well.....

    twenty minutes or so



  1. Watership Down, the animated movie, is awesome. It also also seems to be out of print on DVD. Don't let that discourage you, though. Search your libraries, rental stores, wherever, but you must see it.

    Also, you might try BookMooch for your Unorthodox Practices book. There's bound to be a Nina Fischman devotee out there somewhere...

  2. .

    That's a very good idea, DL. I hadn't thought of that as I never get rid of books. Usually.

    I was just checking out eBay, and if people really are spending that much on the WD movie, the studio who owns it is insane not to put together a nice edition. Or to at least keep the plain one in print.

  3. Watership Down. From what I remember, it was kind of weird. The movie, I mean.

  4. .

    Have you read the book?

  5. So I just noticed that you linked me when discussing absurd epilogues. That makes me most happy. :)

  6. .

    I'm glad. I will always think of you.

  7. I'm clearly wasting lots of time since I just barely finished a book for the first time in ages. I so need to change my priorities.

    Have you read Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert? I really, really liked it.

  8. And I loved Watership Down. I read it in jr high and then again in high school. I think I'd have a different perspective on it now.

  9. .

    I bet you would. I wonder if that hill is near you at all--?

    I have not read it. The reviews I read are so mixed and I had chosen to believe all the negative ones. But you liked it? Crap. I hate reconsidering my conclusions.