Monday, September 04, 2006

I've been reading a lot while I convalesce, and I figured I should do a quick rundown to bring things up to date. First up was But Enough About Me: A Jersey Girl's Unlikely Adventures Among the Absurdly Famous by Jancee Dunn. I liked her voice and the writing was nice and breezy whether talking about her sisters or freaking out about meeting Madonna. And I loved the interviewing tips between chapters.

Next was Witch Hunt by Ian Rankin, which I think he actually published previously under a different name. It felt a little flat to me. While I enjoyed the characters, especially the two new agents, I kept wishing for more development for them. This kind of book could have been an epic spy story, but it felt like he was holding back, making it smaller than it should have been. I definitely prefer his Rebus books.

I saved A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore for when I felt like I could laugh without reopening an incision. Good thing too, because it's one of his best. I liked the blend of genuine emotion and slapstick he's mastered since Lamb and I hope that he is indeed working on the promised sequel to Bloodsucking Fiends.

After that one I switched gears completely and read Od Magic by Patricia A. McKillip. To be honest, it was a little disappointing. It was reminiscent enough of her Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy to invite comparison, and suffered as a result. Maybe if I hadn't read the trilogy I would have loved it, but as it was all it made me want to do was pull those out and read them again.

I knocked out Brent Hartinger's Grand & Humble in an afternoon which, while interesting, ultimately struck me as a sort of teenage version of Sliding Doors.

Next I read Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs, a collection of autobiographical essays. As always, he knows how to make even the most commonplace event worthy of a smile or a laugh. I especially enjoyed the punishment his friend came up with for those who committed certain traffic violations. I'm still laughing about that one.

And last of all we have Ballerina by Edward Stewart, one of Daisy's favorite books from when she was kid that she insisted I read after we watched both Center Stage and The Company. It was... well, is there anything beyond melodrama? Because that's where you'd find this book. It was a total soap opera, the writing was bad, the ending totally predictable, and I loved it anyway. It's got the overbearing mother, living out her dream of being a successful ballerina through her daughter; the scheming company director, determined to recapture his inspiration; the gossipy company, jealous and backbiting; the playboy principal dancer sleeping his way through the corps; and the ingenues: long time friends forced to compete. What more could you ask for in a trashy novel?

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