how i live now

How have I missed this book?

Admittedly if I tried to summarize it I wouldn't be that interested in it. A war story, a love story between two cousins – it just doesn't do it for me, not something I wanted to read. Plus the original cover left quite a bit to be desired, but I like the paperback cover. I was feeling guilty for not reading it since it was a Printz winner, and I felt like it was my professional duty so I finally did.

This book is brillant. It is amazing. You have to love a book that describes a garden as "Walt Disney on Ecstasy". Or a main character who says "I don't get nearly enough credit in life for the things I manage not to say." I raced through because I couldn't wait to get to the next sentence, not because of the plot but because I loved the language, the view, the way the words fell onto the page. But then I'd have to put it down, take a deep breath to get past the sadness and the tragedy, the shock of the violence. I could not wait to finish it, and I wanted it to continue.

I want everyone to read this book. I knw people have problems with the incest (first cousins) but I just didn't care. On every page there is a sentence, a line that sings. ". . . it might be considered impolite to crash around in another person's innermost thoughts . . ."

Seriously – read this!

"Everyone else stayed home and used the Internet, less worried about the quality of information than about suicide bombers."

Vacation Reading

Having spent the past six days on a Cay that was no more than a third of a mile long and a quarter of a mile wide I found myself with not much to do but read. Oh don’t get me wrong, there was some snorkeling, some napping, and some blissful gazing at aqua green water but really there was quite a bit of reading.
I started with Sight Hound by Pam Houston. I enjoy Houston as a writer but probably less so as I get older. I barely tolerate whiney women without men in their twenties, I definitely do not have patience for those in their forties. But she still writes a mean dog voice, and by mean I mean good.
I followed that up with Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner, the “quality” chick lit writer. Let me take minute to mention that as much as I love a good chick lit for teens, I am not so patient with the 20 something set. Bridget Jones made me roll my eyes and I never finished it. And perhaps it is because I was annoyed by the Rae from Sight Hound but I wasn’t particularly fond of this narrator either. I wanted to shake her and tell her to get over b. just like her friends. She broke up with him for crimeny sakes! and while I get the regret angle – 250 pages of it was a bit much.
In order to keep a student happy I spent time reading Sabriel by Garth Nix. I am not much of a fantasy reader _ I get annoyed when I can’t mentally pronounce the names of people and places. And frankly making it up just doesn’t work for me, the stumble over a name always is a mental jolt out of the world of the book. But Sabriel was a good read with enough adventure and realism to keep a non-fantasy reader like myself interested. The good thing is now I can give a better recommendation since I often suggest it and mention that other readers like it. Now I can say I do too.
Another fantasy type book I read was the follow up to A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels. This is my type of fantasy – chick lit/magic/historical fiction. It crossed genre boundaries with ease. I liked the first one better, I think because it was so unexpected but this was a solid follow up. The secondary characters annoyed me (can you see a theme?) and I wondered why Gemma put up with Ann and Felicity but overall it didn’t really matter. And the insight into Felicity towards the end helped me feel more charitable.
Just Listen is Sarah Dessen’s new one was typical Dessen but probably my favorite of the what I read. I wasn’t surprised by Annabel’s secret and I doubt that anyone else will be either but it doesn’t really matter. I thought Dessen handle the melodrama very well, not allowing it to overwhelm the story and not spending more time than she needed to in the secondary characters stories other than the impact on the main character.
As a Meg Cabot fan it is a little surprising I haven’t read the Mediator series yet, but since I haven’t I took the opportunity to get started. As I suspected with Cabot her pop culture references date her but are still appreciated. I was a little distracted by the description of the car ride between the San Jose airport and Carmel because the scenery was inaccurate. I used to live down there – I know. Bit in general I love Cabot’s breezy style, and hot ghosts don’t hurt either.
I also read How Opal Mehta etc. etc. but recent events have made me consider a whole new entry for that. Perhaps this weekend.

Sight Hound

It is unusual for a book to make me cry thirty pages in, especially to the point where I have to put the book down until I can see again. And I guess I should have known because a dying dog will pretty much get me every time. And I read Pam Houston because of the way she writes about her dogs. its like every dog she owns has a part of my dogs in him, like Jackson who was so crazy about getting in the truck you could be 30 miles out and “get in the truck, Jackson” would make him go just a little bit wild. I know a dog like that.
I am a dog person. Don’t get me wrong I like cats I just don’t own them. I do however have two dogs. Izzy, the little white “princesa” who doesn’t come when she is called, barks at animals on the tv, and sleeps between my feet so I can’t turn over at night. And Sergio, the big, black, klutzy clown who wants more than anything to be a lap dog, howls with the sirens, and drives you nuts everyday at 4:30 until you feed him. They have very distinct personalities and nowhere is that more clear than at doggie camp, but that is a whole different story.
In Sight Hound Dante, is the enlightened one determined to teach his human to love, or more to the point to have faith in love and leave her in good hands. There are multiple narrators and as always with multiple narrators I find myself liking some more than others. I liked Dante, but I preferred Rose (the other dog), and I really liked Stanley, the cat. I liked Darlene, tolerated Rae, and didn’t like Howard until the end. Brooklyn started out strong,but faded, and so did Dr. Evans – who made me cry.
It took me a while to get to this book, had to finish with Quick Picks and then I had forgotten about it but I was glad to find it again and get back to it – even if it made me cry on an airplane 30 pages in.