April 16th, 2010



I managed a few more books this week and number 31 for the year to date was Invisible City by M.G. Harris and it was a pretty good boys' adventure story. I found it intriguing as part of the Joshua Files, which may be a series, and I particularly liked the Anglo-Mexican setting, including an unremarked on bilingual boy.
Then I read a book that I remembered from my childhood. I think I read it when I was about 11 or 12, though I don't know if I owned it or borrowed it. Still, it was good to reread The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. It is a classic of children's literature, and though dated and aimed at girls, it nonetheless told a good and well constructed story.
Book 33 was The Crossing by Mandy Hager in which a dystopian post-apocalyptic world has a religious group, explicitly drawing on Christianity, to exploit, abuse, enslave and murder chosen girls. It reminded me of Juno of Tardis which I read a few weeks ago, but intriguingly there was no clear happy ending. Perhaps there is a sequel...
Book 34 was Ishq and Mushq by Priya Basil started in India, moved to Nairobi in Kenya, then Kampala in Uganda and then settled in London. The unlikeable mother was manipulative and caused problems for her family at every stage. It was interesting that the family were Sikh, and a few days before hand I'd watched Bend it like Beckham which also dealt with a Sikh family in Britain and in which the father had left Kenya. I find myself enjoying the 'exotic' of the familiar British life seen through the eyes of a different social group.
Book 35 was Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien, which was frustrating to think about: there were issues worth talking about with students.
Book 36 was A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. Aspects of the story are themes in Harry Potter, but it was set in a girl's school, in late Victorian or Edwardian England. Still the theme of magic and escape was important. A good read.
So 36 books, and 9967 pages turned over so far. That is an average of 276.9 pages a book. I kind of aim for 300 page books but the teen fiction tends to be short.

Books 38 and 39 / 100

38. Collapse:  How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed - Jared Diamond
           About the destruction of the environment leading to the destruction of societies.  The first section details several societies which "mysteriously" disappeared, such as the Maya, the Easter Islanders, and the Greenland Norse, which Diamond states were caused by the environmental destruction and unsustainable practices.  The next section is devoted to discussing current societies that are destroying their environments.  There is also some discussion of different industries that are destructive and what people can do as consumers to help save the environment.
          I didn't know what this was about before I started reading, but it was good.  Some people I know complained about "Environmental Determinism," but I never felt that Diamond was trying to make a claim about environment being the number one deciding factor for all societies, ever.  And he directly states on several occasions that he isn't a proponent of Environmental Determinism.         
         Useful reading, although, I don't know anything about the topic, so I can't critique.
39. Iphigenia at Aulis - Euripides
                 A play about Iphigenia before she is sacrificed.  Takes place before the Trojan war.

3. Dad's Nuke by Marc Laidlaw

Book #: 3
Title: Dad's Nuke
Author: Marc Laidlaw
Year: 1985
Genre: Science Fiction/Cyberpunk
# of pages: 255
Rating: 10/10

This is a bright and beautiful Cyberpunk classic from back in the day! I just finished this book for the second time after first reading it about 20 years ago. Laidlaw's writing shines with satirical wit and hilarity similar to the style of Philip K. Dick or Rudy Rucker. The novel depicts a nightmare suburbia of the future. William "Dad" Johnson decides to install a personal nuclear reactor in the garage. His neighbor and nemesis, Jock Smith, has a missile launcher in his back yard. It's a world where citizens get regular growth spurt shots, children are born in time-bake ovens, the community doctor offers renovated vaginas, and families go on Plug-In vacations. This book is a real underground Cyberpunk classic, one of the greats, and one of my favorites of the genre. I'm surprised it's not more famous. I rarely see copies of it available at the bookstore. If paranoid visions of an apocalyptic suburban future are your cup of tea, then I highly recommend this novel.
Jongkey on stage

Book #13: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall
Rachel Hawkins

My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Back of the Book:

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father - an elusive European warlock - only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of the her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all; an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Read My Review Here