Friday, June 04, 2010

Book 4: Breathe My Name

Breathe My Name by R. A. Nelson

Well, shoot. I was just loving this book, and really admiring how the author had managed to keep such a shocking story from seeming sensationalistic, when it suddenly turned into a lurid melodrama. It's so disappointing, because everything other than that is exquisitely crafted. There's a believable romance with a sweet, funny guy and an atmospheric road trip and a lot of thoughtfully expressed, complex emotions. After that, the intrusion of an implausible plot twist is almost painful to read.

Still the best book I've read today.

314 pages
Reading: 2 hours
Blogging: 22 minutes

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back on that horse

After four (4)! failed attempts, I'm now in the middle Breathe My Name, which is the best book so far.

I've noticed that groups of books I choose or read often have unintended similarities. Today's unplanned themes have been:

absent fathers, often the spouses of mentally ill mothers

tragic sibling issues

morally upright boyfriends



bogged down

Have spent an average of 10 minutes each on three books I couldn't get into. Perhaps it's time for a break.


Book 3: My Double Life

My Double Life by Janette Rallison.

Alexia is pretty, bilingual, and on the honor roll, but she's too poor to make much of a splash in high school; her main claim to fame is that she looks like pop star Kari Kingsley. When Kari approaches her about a doubling job, Alexia discovers their resemblance is no accident: Kari's famous singer father is also the father she never knew, who never knew about her--or did he? Against her mother's wishes, she decides to take the impersonation job--less for the money than for the chance of meeting her father and uncovering the truth about her childhood. But trying to fit into the world of celebrity, conspicuous consumption and paparazzi is complicated, especially when she gets to know Grant Delray, a charming young rock star that Kari dislikes but that she's always had a crush on.

Written with a light touch, this is very much a feel-good Cinderella story, yet it has a bit of an edge that kept it from feeling like meaningless fluff. Alexia is quite naturally envious and angry about the contrast between her life and Kari's, as well as troubled by Kari's emotional problems. Most of the characterizations are fairly shallow--Grant is pretty much all hair and cheekbones--but Kari, a dumb fake-blonde who is very serious about her work, is surprisingly interesting. I felt that everything wound up a little too clean and a little too perfect, but would recommend it to readers looking for a wholesome fantasy that doesn't insult their intelligence.

265 pages
Reading: 2 hours
Blogging: 39 minutes

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it's a family affair...

My son is reading too, timing himself with a stopwatch. He wants to know if you get extra credit for going all three days.

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Book 2: The Tear Collector

The Tear Collector by Patrick Jones.

Damn, this book challenge is not starting out with a bang. The Tear Collector has a fascinating premise--its teen-aged protagonist is an emotional vampire, who thrives off the tears of humans--and it's certainly engrossing. But throughout the first half, I felt continually teased by snippets of information and mystery, and the second half, though ambiguous, struck me as morally repugnant. Which is rather odd for a story about a non-human learning to feel emotion. I would recommend this for lovers of mild horror, but not that wholeheartedly.

263 pages
Reading: 1 hr, 47 m
Blogging: 5 m

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Listening: Downtown Owl

I've started listening to books on my mp3 player, which means I got to eat breakfast and do housework this morning. It feels like cheating.

I've been enjoying about 2/3rds of Downtown Owl. It's told from the perspective of three characters, each read by a different person. Two of the perspectives, Mitch and Julia, are wry and crisp and funny. The third, Horace, bores me almost to tears. (Although today's Horace section, about him being taken by a con man, was actually interesting for a change.) This is the problem with audio books: you can't skim.

Listened: 10:15-10:45
Blogged: 10:45-10:49


Book 1: Everything is Fine by Ann Dee Ellis

Everything is Fine by Ann Dee Ellis

This was similar in style and theme to Ellis' first book, This is What I Did, and it might have had more of an impact on me if I hadn't read that one already. It felt like a retread. Not a bad book, but honestly, it didn't do much for me so I don't think I'll bother writing a lot but get on to the next book.

154 pages
Reading: 9:17-10:07 am
Blogging: 10:09 - 10:13

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and we're off!

I read This is What I Did for the book challege a few years ago and it was terrific, so I'm going to start with Everything is Fine. (I might as well start heavy, because based on previous experience, I will be begging for something light later.)

Just a reminder that every relevant comment will earn $1 for the local Friends of the Library.