Read in May 2010

1. Gingerbread, by Rachel Cohn
S'okay. Quick and fairly fluffy. The narrator has a strong voice which I didn't love. Interesting to read a YA treatment of abortion, though. Also, I must give this correction as a native San Franciscan: "Ocean Beach" is not the name of the neighborhood. Ocean Beach refers to nothing but the beach itself. The neighborhood's called the Outer Sunset.

2. Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith, by Eric O. Jacobsen
Satisfactory introduction to New Urbanism? Yeah, I guess so. Relies heavily on anecdotal support. And by the time I was halfway through this book, I was FED UP with hearing about Missoula, Montana. I don't care about Missoula. Why could he not draw examples from Real Cities? This is partly me being a snob, partly methinking that he doth protest too much (Missoula is a Real City! Missoula is a Real City!), and partly me being real. Missoula has a population of 65,000. Seriously, Eric O. Jacobsen.

3. The Salt Flowers, by Travis Ian Smith
See here.

4. Dangerous Neighbors, by Beth Kephart
This is historical fiction with a funny little incidental flavor of fable or myth. The chronological structure works well (one day + flashbacks) and the narrative offers some very compelling images that are still in my head. Twins make for such interesting stories. I was thinking that maybe this is because most of us can relate to feeling two sides/aspects of ourselves in opposition...

5. A Little Friendly Advice, by Siobhan Vivian
I could tell by the prose that this was her first book, if you know what I mean. Not to be catty; it just did seem not quite mature. Original characters. Too much description of clothing. Made me want to take lots of polaroids (or in my case, instax minis).

6. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
Strange but (/and?) entertaining. Didn't really stick with me, but I quite enjoyed it. The movie makes more sense to me now.

7. Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
Fun and smart. YA.

8. Milkweed, by Jerry Spinelli
I've read a lot of children's/YA fiction about the Holocaust, but never anything set in a ghetto before. So that was enlightening. It was a good read, compelling and fairly unique. My main gripe is with the character of Janina, who was incredibly irritating. Enough so that she actually made it hard to keep reading at points.

9. Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen
I read most of this with my contessoration at college. I expected the whole thing to be some madcap Gothic satire; it was actually pretty typical Jane Austen fare except for maybe...the third-quarter of the book. That was the Gothic satire bit, which was excellent to read after Jane Eyre. I liked the male hero and the protagonist, Catherine Morland, quite a lot. She's the youngest and silliest of Jane's heroines that I've read so far, but in a likeable way. The whole book is, under the surface, kind of a love letter to people who like fiction a bit too much.

10. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, by Sherman Alexie
Oh, my. Contemporary short stories focusing on Native American experiences. Lyrical in the "what did I just read?" way. Powerful where you can understand it, kind of moving even when you can't. Not terribly accessible, but worth a slow reading.


Maya Ganesan 6/06/2010 7:32 PM  

You read Dangerous Neighbors?!?!?!??!!??!?!? You lucky duck!

Shannon 6/06/2010 9:06 PM  

"The whole book is, under the surface, kind of a love letter to people who like fiction a bit too much."

Quite possibly the best line anyone has ever written anywhere.. Must look for milkweed now.

The Pieces 6/07/2010 5:58 AM  

I hadn't heard of that Rachel Cohn book, I love her other books so I will add it to my list :)

Beth Kephart 6/08/2010 5:20 PM  

hey, feel honored.

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