“People with superhuman abilities are appearing all over the world. Did you see Vladimir Putin on the cover of Time last month?” … Putin had been bare-chested in front of the Kremlin, holding a car one-handed over his head. — “Ex-Patriots,” Peter Clines
I think more frustrating than reading a bad book is not being able to discuss why it’s bad. I recently reviewed “The Fairest of Them All,” by Carolyn Turgeon and it was a weak, simplistic, sanitized version of Snow White with plot holes and poor character development. The premise of the book — which was a nifty idea, just poorly executed — inspired last week’s post about re-imagining stories, tales and fables. “The Fairest of Them All” frustrated me, and I don’t understand why it has four and a bit stars on Amazon.com. I’m going to read those reviews after my own publishes and see what I’ve missed.
Anyway, I’ve moved on to zombies, which is as far away from Snow White as I can possibly get. (Although Snow White does come back to life at the end … hmmm….) “Ex-Patriots” is the sequel to “Ex-Heroes,” which I recommended as a summer vacation read. I’m not a big zombie fan, neither in film nor literature, but I’m getting into this series. I’ve just started book two and so far, so good, it’s a book with which you can settle down and get comfortable.
I do have actual book news: On Wednesday, country music legend Ricky Skaggs will be at the Valley View Barnes & Noble for a book signing. I’ve posted more information here.
Normally I do a book giveaway on the last Thursday of the month, but I’m out of the office at the end of this week on some much-needed time off. Keep reading, keep sharing your news and keep commenting; my awesome co-workers will be approving your comments in my absence.
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Tentatively, he reached out and touched my hair, grasped it in his fist. I could feel that touch. My hair was as alive as skin, as blood. I reeled back from the force of the feeling that spread through me. I could feel him. I knew him. — “The Fairest of Them All,” Carolyn Turgeon
A short post because I don’t have a lot of news to share today. I hope you have exciting literary adventures to share.
I finished “4,000 Years of Uppity Women,” and I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I learned new things, like women in Virginia sometimes were paid in pounds of tobacco and that Betsy Ross didn’t sew that big American flag for which she is famous. I absorbed some facts, that’s for sure. On the other hand, the entries about the women were so numerous and brief that I can’t remember names — such as the woman who really sewed that big flag for which Betsy Ross is famous. “4,000 Years” I’ll file away as one of those books that serves you lots of little hors d’oeuvres but leaves you to forage for a main course.
I’m now reading a young adult book for review, “The Fairest of Them All.” This is another spin on the story of Rapunzel. I read a take on the tale back in June, “Sold for Endless Rue.” I don’t have a big thing for Rapunzel or fairy tales, so I’m not sure why I opted for this one. I haven’t had many appealing books cross my desk at work, unfortunately.
What did my fellow bookworms read last week?
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Ever hear about television’s own patron saint — Clare of Assisi? (Why the TV industry deserves holy protection, must less a saint, is unknown.) — “4,000 Years of Uppity Women,” Vicki Leon
You know, considering the soaring popularity of Web-based programming, perhaps the TV industry really could use a saint. But I digress; I’m not reading a book about saints or the TV industry. Let me explain how I got to reading “4,000 Years of Uppity Women.”
It starts with Janet Evanovich. I’m giving away a copy of her latest book — you can still enter, I pick the winner Friday — and a co-worker thought maybe I should know what something about the author, especially as someone commented about the characters and I had no idea what she was talking about. My co-worker lent me “Lean Mean Thirteen,” a Stephanie Plum novel. I read the back and thought, “Eh, not my thing, but I’ll give it a whirl.” I was surprised how quickly I got into the swing of it. I like Stephanie Plum. I like what a giant mess she is. I like that she’s not some ultra cool, modern-day warrior woman. And I like that her hamster lives in a soup can.
I finished “Lean Mean Thirteen” in a couple of days. The title puzzled me because it wasn’t relevant to the plot, but Google helped me figure it out. I think I’ll read the very first one in the series and see if I want to work my way through them all.
The day I finished “Lean Mean Thirteen,” I happened to walk into Barnes and Noble looking for a birthday present. I had a question in mind, too, one posed by Herbal Tee in C’burg in July’s open book stuff thread about the power of a book’s cover to persuade (or dissuade) a customer to buy.
I was passing the bargain books section and it caught my eye by sheer chance. The words “uppity women” sprang out at me. I love books about uppity women. Uppity women are totally my thing. I made a mental note of the location as I followed the employee to the cooking section. On my way back, I grabbed it, read the inside cover, and thought, “What the heck?” I didn’t have anything else lined up to read.
“Uppity Women” isn’t bad so far. It’s very simple, a mile wide and an inch deep in coverage of various women who bucked trends. Vicki Leon doesn’t focus too much on famous women who are already the subjects of many books (Cleopatra, for example). There’s Mary Prophetissa, the alchemist who made breakthroughs in chemistry and invented the double boiler; and Hedea, Tryphosa and Dionysia, three athletic sisters who won various competitive games in first century Turkey. They’re women I’d never heard of who do cool things.
So clearly book covers have the power to compel me to buy! Thanks for raising the question, HerbalTee, I think I’ll explore it further in a blog post later this week.
What are you folks reading, and what book news do you have to share?