March 23rd, 2009


Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot

Title: Size 12 is Not Fat
Author: Meg Cabot
Series: Heather Wells
Genre: Mystery, chicklit, fiction.
Pages: 345, plus a reader's guide.
Copyright Date: 2006
Cover: A red dress with no wearer, twisted in the middle.
First line: "'Um, hello. Is anyone out there?' The girl in the dressing room next to mine has a voice like a chipmunk."
Best part: Very funny, especially the characters.
Worst part: Sometimes just a bit slow.
Grade: B-.
Recommended for: Those tired of skinny-chick fiction. Fans of funny mystery.
Related Reads: Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella, Agnes and the Hit Man by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer.

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Heather Wells is remarkably philosophical about the turn her life has taken. She lost her recording contract, she caught her popstar boyfriend in bed with another popstar, her mom ran away with her manager and her life savings, and she gained a few pounds and a few dress sizes, too. But that's okay, life goes on - now she lives rent free with her ex's hunky brother and is writing her own songs while she works as an assistant director at a local residence hall. All is going well until one of the dorm girls dies. Everyone thinks it is a tragic elevator surfing accident, but Heather knows better. Can she get to the bottom of the mystery?

This is a light and charming diversion by the author of The Princess Diaries. Sometimes Heather made me roll my eyes, but mostly it was good fun.

The Last Embrace by Denise Hamilton

Title: The Last Embrace
Author: Denise Hamilton
Genre: Mystery, historical fiction.
Pages: 384, plus a reader's guide and an interview with the author
Copyright Date: 2008
Cover: A black cat sits on a white-sheeted bed, staring at an old-fashioned telephone. A glamorous red dress hangs in the background.
First line: "It felt like she'd been running for days."
Best part: Really impossible to predict whodunit.
Worst part: The ending was perhaps a bit unbelievable.
Grade: B-.
Recommended for: Fans of noir.
Related Reads: The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe (a fantasy revisioning of noir), The Book of Air and Shadows (set in modern times, but with a strong noir feel), The Genius by Jesse Kellerman (a mystery with some of the same qualities of glamour and surrealness).

Lily Kessler has no place. She lost her family long ago. World War II took the life of her fiance. The war's end took her job as a successful covert operative. Trying to find a life to reconnect with, she travels to meet the family that would have been her in-laws. But here, she finds more questions than answers. His sister is missing in her native Los Angeles, and his mother thinks that Lily is the one who can uncover the truth. LA's glamour and glitter mask webs of intrigues and jealousy. Will Lily's wartime skills come back in time to save her life?

Great setting, great time period, believable characters, interesting and sometimes funny dialogue, and a true plethora of plausible suspects. It's fascinating to see noir done with this mixture of modern sensibility and authentic feeling. B-.
All I Have
  • leirda

Book Reqs Please!

Hey guys!  I'm wondering if anyone knows of any books that explain why we have religion, with the answer being aliens?

This is kind of hard to explain.  I'm looking for something FICTIONAL.  Something where, the answer to why we have religion in our world is because we have confused aliens, with angels/demons.

Does this make sense?

My mom says there are a lot of books that do that, but couldn't name any.

Thanks guys!
Sorry for the ambiguity.

Finnegan's Wake

Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce
628 pages

This was, by far, the worst book I've ever read. Over six hundred pages of nothing, words strung together in a way that made no sense whatsoever. No plot and no characters, nothing but a big headache. I feel like I have to teach myself to read again after this; after reading so many tampered with words, I started to second guess words that were real and correct ("Vanilla? What the...oh...wait..."). But, my two months of misery are finally finished, and it's time to move on!

Books read this year: 7
Books read on the 1001 list: 42

(no subject)

It's been a really long time since I've posted in this community, but here are the books that I've read this year. The ones in bold are especial favourites, while the ones with in italics I didn't like.

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The total comes up to about 47 books, to date, which isn't bad. But now I want something really fun and easy to read. Recs?

(no subject)

BBC reckons most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliott
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Gold
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
lost//sawyer geek


Hey, sorry if I'm being a totaly idiot here, but can anyone tell me the name of the comm that challenges your to read 15000 pages in a year? I've seen some people reference it on here, and I know it's probably really obvious, but could you guys help? Please? :)

The Sunday Philosophy Club & The Right Attitude to Rain

The Sunday Philosophy Club & The Right Attitude to Rain are from Alexander McCall Smith's Sunday Philosophy Club series of detective novels, swopping Botswana for the coffee shops and art galleries of Edinburgh and starring the Scottish/American 'detective' Isabel Dalhousie. Isabel is a thinker and a tad on the nosy/inquisitive side, and this gets her into trouble because she has a bad habit of becoming involved in other people's affairs.

I found Isabel a slightly difficult character to warm to. A single woman in her early forties, she has inherited a large amount of money from her mother, enough to allow her to hire a housekeeper (Grace) and work only part-time for a tiny amount as the editor of the philosophical Review of Applied Ethics. She spends a lot of time taking long lunches and walking about Edinburgh inbetween editing a few essays for an hour or so. When you are having to read inbetween working full time this tends to cause jealousy :) I felt jealous of her beautiful niece Cat too, who is also wealthy and has been able to afford to buy her own flat and delicatessen. Having said that, I really enjoyed reading the books and laughing at Cat's slimy boyfriends.

My favourite character was Grace the housekeeper, who is fiercely loyal to Isabel and also full of firm opinions - "Grace had gone, but had left a note on the kitchen table. Somebody phoned. He did not say who he was. I told him you were asleep. He said that he would phone again. I did not like the sound of him."

Isabel has a very active and lurid imagination, coming up with all sorts of scenarios to explain the behaviour of the people around her, such as cover-up murders, golddigging, infidelity or organised crime. Some of these turn out to be right, and others are not. The plots are often wildly unlikely, but as Isabel muses to her cousin Mimi - "'Novels have nothing to do with real life?' 'Very little,' said Mimi. 'And that's what makes them such fun.'"

Someone at a book group I went to suggested that Kate Mosse has an American character in her novel Sepulchre purely for commercial reasons, as an American audience may prefer to buy books with American characters. I don't know whether this is true or not. Could this be why McCall Smith has given Isabel Dalhousie American connections, is pressure put on authors to do so? I don't like to think of books as written like that, but realistically maybe they are.

Manga recommendations for the newbie?

Hi, all.

So, I've always been a fan of graphic novels and comics in general, but I've never gotten into manga, mostly because the stuff I've come across has to do with magical card games or cute little animals beating the crap out of each other, which doesn't appeal to me at all. I'd really like to see what's out there, but I have absolutely no idea where to start-- the genre's bloody massive! O.O I'm open to anything with strong plotting and memorable characters (and striking art is always great), but which hopefully doesn't involve some kind of competition. Any recommendations would be much appreciated!