Thursday, July 27, 2006

I am getting over a nasty summer cold. And since I am a bit (ha!) of a hypochondriac I have a tendency to sit and listen to my rattling breath and imagine my early demise. The cure for that is a good book. If I can forget about my ailments while I am reading then what I have is not life-threatening (as if it anything I get ever is).
So I read John Green's "Abundance of Katherines" last night. I liked it a whole lot. Colin Singleton is a child prodigy, who is no longer a child having just graduated from high school, when his current girlfriend, Katherine XIX, breaks up with him. (Colin seems to have a "thing" about girls named Katherine.) His best friend, Hassan, talks Colin into going on a road trip and they end up in Gutshot, Tennessee. Colin and Hassan get jobs there and Colin tries to come up with a formula to predict who will dump whom in any future relationship. There's a sex scene that moves the plot along so I guess this book is for more open-minded teens and there are a lot of "geek" jokes and footnotes. What is it about all those footnotes lately? There are footnotes everywhere in popular books. I blame Jonathan Stroud for that.

Whoohoo! The ordering drought is over and I have a pile of new-to-me books to catalog! I LOVE new books. Love, love, love, love those new books. So, bye, now.

Monday, July 17, 2006

"Octavian Nothing" by M.T. Anderson starts like a period piece fantasy but it is a searing look at personal freedom at the time of the American Revolution with no fantasy involved. I read the ARC and I can't tell you when the book is due to be published but it is the first of two so I have to wait doubly long for the sequel- DRAT!
Okay here's the set-up. In the 1760's or thereabouts Mr. Gitney who prefers to be known as 03-01 has set up a College of Lucidity for the purpose of studying Science and the Arts. Octavian and his mother, Queen Casseiopeia (not her real name) are two of the College's "specimens" or subjects. The entire College is known by numerical designations except for Octavian and his mother. Octavian is taught to Observe. He learns Greek and Latin. He is tutored in the violin which he plays like an angel. His food is weighed and so is his excrement. His life, until he is 11, is a mixture of luxury and peculiarity. And then, he learns the truth about his status in 18th century America and his situation and that of his mother change drastically.
The writing is a credible imitation of the florid style of the time period so if you like short pithy sentences avoid this book. However, the story of Octavian and his "scientist" masters is fascinatingly bizarre.
Good book! Read it when it comes out.