Sunday, May 23, 2010

City of Bones

I added City of Bones by Cassandra Clare to my reading list, because my reading history is woefully lacking in popular books. I tend to avoid them, actually. Maybe it's the hype that turns me off. Maybe I'm the kind of gal who enjoys swimming in the opposite direction, or maybe it's just that I enjoy a deeper, more character-driven plot. I don't know.

Still, I mostly enjoyed City of Bones. It was fast-paced and interesting. Clare did a great job building the world of shadow hunters, vampires and werewolves into her hometown of New York City. What I liked about it most was the plot line. I learned what it means to create higher and higher stakes. Some of her plot twists, too, I thought were great. (For instance, when Clary's best friend Simon turned into a rat. Very imaginative!)

Main character, Clary, is a kick-butt kind of girl, the perfect protagonist for this type of adventure. She's willing to do anything and go anywhere. Nothing scares her, whether it's flying vampire motorcycles, crashing warlock parties, or fighting giant man-eating caterpillar demons. Her character works. Her main motivation is that she's trying to rescue her mother from the clutches of a very evil man, an excommunicated Shadow Hunter with a world-domination-type plan. She has to join forces with Jace, a teenage Shadow Hunter, in order to find her way around an alternate New York City filled with these other-world beings that have never been visible to her before when she had only human eyes.

What I didn't like so much about the book was the ending. I thought the plot wilted. And some of the characters did, too, in my opinion. Maybe it was because there were big plans to make this into a series, so they couldn't find complete victory at the end of only the first book, even though it was completely within the characters' reach to end it all. I still felt let down, though. Not to mention that I thought some of the big surprise twists were too heavily foreshadowed to be surprises.

There was also a review on the book jacket describing the book as "funny." I guess the constant sparring/flirting between main characters Clary and Jace was sometimes amusing, but after awhile I got bored. Especially when their lives and the lives of everyone they loved were in danger and they were still spouting off smart alec comments, I was tempted to reach into the book, slap them, and tell them to get on with it. I guess maybe it showed their fearlessness, but to me it seemed like they didn't care enough about what they were fighting for. I truly love humor in books, but this particular brand got old after awhile.

Overall, I liked City of Bones. I'm not planning to read any more in the series, but I did appreciate it for its entertainment value, and there were moments when I was delighted with the description and the language.  Thanks, Cassandra Clare, for a fun read!

Lucky Jim

I finished one of the shorter titles on my list, Lucky Jim over the weekend, and have posted my response at my main blog. I really enjoyed the book. It's funny, and a quick, easy read. Just what I needed for a lazy Saturday afternoon!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

On a mission...

I've decided that because I've been pretty slack in the gap filling of late, I need to set myself a challenge.

So here it is: I'm going to try and read Ulysses by James Joyce by Bloomsday, which is the 15th of June.

I'm pretty sure that this will turn out to be impossible, as most of my ideas are, but I solemnly swear to update on the 15th of June with my progress report at least.

Anyone else feeling brave/monumentally insane?

Review-I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

Another book I choose to read based on the title. I Was Told There'd Be Cake is a collection of essays by Sloane Crosley. A collection of humorous essays. Crosley is a single gal in New York but don't confuse her with any of the Sex And The City gals. Crosley is a coarse, pony collecting, forced Maid of Honor kind of woman. She stumbles through life, volunteering at a butterfly exhibit, investigating why her parents named her Sloane, and hosting dinner parties where guests poop on her bathroom floor.
Her stories are not outlandish, she's making this up stuff stories. Crosley weaves a certain realism through her stories so you feel like you are there. Each essay wasn't too long, perfect for a bus ride or a story before bed (although I wouldn't read about the moth before bed unless you want to dream about being eaten by moths). Crosley was a new to me author, but I'll keep my eye out for her other works.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ladies, Please

Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady (1985)
Florence King

What a crazy confluence of influences on this Southern Lady. Between getting molded by her grandmother and hardened by her mother and coaxed along by her dad and floundering among various sexual adventures, Florence King presents an entertaining read.
I had started it before and couldn't get into it the first time because I was looking for a different kind of humor. Not in a degree of funniness or observational power, both of which are present here, but in the presentation. Many of the scenes seem to be a set-up for someone's witty remark at the end as a stinger. Once I'd resigned myself to that, it moved along nicely and turned out to be a fun read.
Here's the first and last sentences of the prologue (which don't giving away too much and yet give away everything).
There are ladies everywhere, but they enjoy generic recognition only in the South. [...] No matter which sex I went to bed with, I never smoked on the street.

Ko-Ko, Pooh-Bah, and Nanki-Poo

The Mikado, or, The Town of Titipu (1885)
Gilbert and Sullivan

Luckily it's silly. The names and the setting and the action are so over the top, it ought to be an operetta. Oh, okay. It is. Otherwise, sheesh.
I was going to write that everything in it is improbable, but that word isn't strong enough.
It's a fun spoof on overwrought lackadaisical bureaucracy. Ludicrous situations, fun songs.
What more does a growing boy need?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Review-The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemmingway

So my quick and dirty review of The Sun Also Rises: Blah, blah blah, blah, great description of a bull fight, blah blah, blah, the end.
I read Old Man and The Sea in high school and don't remember anything about it. I added 3 Hemmingway novels to my FITG list because I felt I should try to read a few of them.
The story follows Jake and his friends while they vacation/live in Paris and go to bull fights in Spain. Honestly none of the characters caught me as interesting. All rich, somewhat unhappy folks. Maybe if I had more back story I might have been more interested. I got bored about 100 pages in. I kept at it since I heard Hemmingway starts slow and finishes strong. And I got to it around page 200, a beautiful description of a bullfight. I didn't need the 200 pages before it though.
I think this book went over my head. I missed the point.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


I have always wanted to read this book. A friend at work got me this book to read. I will always treasure this book as a gift. This is an 80th anniversary edition, so this makes Pooh 80 years old! Amazing that a silly old bear could live this long. But Pooh is immortal to people of all ages. He is certainly one of my favorite characters. This would be a great book to read to your children. It is broken up into chapters and the illustrations are beautiful. Exactly like I remember the characters, Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eyeore, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga, Roo and of course Christopher Robin. There is a beautiful illustration of the 100 Acre Woods on the inside and backsides of the book. If you have a chance and see this book, pick it up. It's awesome!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Housekeeping, Need your opinion!

Hey all,

I'm not very technical minded so bear with the following poll. Many of you may have noticed that FITG is being spammed through comments section so I'm thinking of having comment moderation.

Which is a complete pain in the arse to be honest, as I prefer things to be 'flowy' rather than moderated. . .

So, I'm putting it to a vote because this is a community if you'd like to keep it as is so conversation can flow etc or have me moderate comments to stop the spam.

Should the posts be moderated for spam?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Review-Luxe by Anna Godbersen

Luxe intrigued me based on the cover. Such a gorgeous dress! I knew going in it was about society girls and boys in New York in the early 1900's. I do love historical fiction especially a good romance.
Luxe is the story of Elizabeth Holland, one of society's best. Elizabeth is involved in a love triangle. Although when you factor in all the player I guess it's actually a love pentagon! He loves her, she's betrothed to someone else, he's in love with someone else, and she used to be his lover. Sounds confusing but it isn't. Luxe is a light romp through these girls' lives. It's fun and not serious at all. Perfect beach book.