19 April 2007

Books Read Since March 29

• A Great and Terrible Beauty, Libba Bray

I was caught up enough in this book about Victorian girls at a posh boarding school who become involved with magic to buy the sequel, although I do agree with the reviewers that all the characters are self-centered. However, most girls of that age are, and wealthy girls were brought up to be self-centered. I can't say the leading character is altogether likable, but she is absorbing to follow.

• Trouble in Spades, Heather Webber

I don't usually read second books in a series first, but I found this on the $1 spinner at Dollar General. It's about a woman who does landscaping who has recently been divorced, her prima-donna sister, and assorted other crazies. I found this cute but nothing special. I usually don't have problems with a multiple cast of characters, but all the players in this one made my head spin. Also it seems there were too many weird neighbors to go along with the weird relatives.

• Animals in Translation, Temple Grandin

I've seen this in paperback at the store, but this particular volume I found in hardback at the Smithsonian on discount. I was fascinated, not just due to the examination of how animals percieve the world differently, but also by the fact that the author is autistic, but has learned to cope with the chaotic (to her) world of the non-autistic. I have a friend with an autistic child, but his condition is more serious than the author's and it gave me an insight into his world.

• I started reading the Civil War mystery A Grave at Glorietta (another $1 spinner acquisition, since I'm not much of a Civil War buff), but I ended up forgetting it at the bank on Saturday morning and it wasn't worth going back for.

• The Rocking Chair Reader: Coming Home

This is a feel-good anthology of Chicken Soup for the Soul-like stories about people's memories of growing up and returning to the small towns where they either grew up or spent a lot of time (with grandparents or other relatives). If you have similar memories, or just want to see what it was like, these are sweet stories, but I didn't like them well enough to keep the book.

• Re-reads: Henry Jenkins' Textual Poachers and Camille Bacon-Smith's Enterprising Women, both about fan fiction, although Jenkins and Bacon-Smith both discuss "songtapes" and Jenkins addresses filksongs. These are two 1992 classic texts about fandom and fan fiction. I also have Jenkins and Tulloch's study of Star Trek and Doctor Who fans, which I have not re-read lately. I would like to get some of Jenkins' (and others) books about fandom in the age of the Internet.

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