Showing posts from March, 2009

mailbox delight: smart girls marry money

Smart Girl$ Marry Money is not normally a book I would seek out. Nomadreaderboy and I are getting married, and it's safe to say neither one of us is marrying for money. We are definitely in it for love. Still, I'm intrigued by this book. The subtitle of the book is How Women Have Been Duped into the Romantic Dream-- and How They're Paying for It. The opening lines of the press release are: "Why does society applaud a woman who falls for a guy's 'big blue eyes' yet denounce one who chooses a man with a 'big green bankroll'? After all, isn't earning power more a reflection of a man's values and character?" I know my economic views are left of most everyone, and I think it's more often that earning power often stems from the absence of value and character. It's outrageous to think income is a reflection of value and character. Don't we all know plenty of teachers, librarians, clergy, non-profit workers, and social workers w

picture book review: the house in the night

The House in the Night is a wonderfully simple nursery-rhyme-like story with beautiful pictures. The story, inspired by an actual nursery rhyme, involves a young girl reading a book about a bird and then imagining she is flying on the bird's back to explore the universe. The pictures appear almost like etchings. They are predominantly black and white, but each picture includes selected areas of yellow. The book literally illuminates the universe by looking at the size, shape and scope of objects. It's a book whose power lies in the simplicity of words, the beauty of pictures, and its seemingly endless ability to incite the imagination of children and adults alike. It's the perfect book to read before going to bed.

book reviews: heart sick and sweetheart by chelsea cain

I read Heart Sick on the recommendation of Stephen King, with whom I don't always agree. He had these two novels as one slot in his Top 10 of 2008. I'm also intrigued by female serial killers, especially given their statistical rareness. Heart Sick introduces readers to brilliant and beautiful serial killer Gretchen Lowell. Gretchen managed to kill 200 people, mostly in Portland, itself almost a character in these books. She posed as a psychologist helping the task force, and she managed to kidnap and torture Det . Archie Sheridan, the task force leader. Mysteriously, Gretchen held Archie for ten days but did not kill him. In fact, she called 911 to turn herself in. Archie is physically, emotionally and psychologically scarred from the encounter; Gretchen is in prison. Quirky reporter Susan is doing a profile piece on Archie for the Portland newspaper. Archie and Susan both offer first-person narratives. These damaged characters are emotionally compelling, and although there ar

book review: beat the reaper by josh bazell

Beat the Reaper is one hell of a gritty, engrossing, hilarious, but at times disturbing, mystery novel. I winced more than once at it's graphic depictions of death and medical procedures, but my heart also warmed to the unlikely hero, Peter Brown. Peter Brown is a resident at the worst hospital in Manhattan. He's in the witness protection program because he used to be a hit-person in the mob. The story takes off quickly: someone comes into the hospital and recognizes Peter. The patient assumes Peter there to kill him; Peter assumes his cover is blown, and the patient is there as a rouse to kill him. For the rest of the novel, Bazell alternates chapters between the present day drama and the story of how Peter became involved with the mob. Bazell somehow managed to have simultaneous cliffhangers. Throughout the entire book, I was thrilled with the story unfolding in the chapter I was reading and impatiently waiting to return to the other time of the story. Even though a few sc

wish list: things i want but cannot afford

Allison Moorer is one of my favorite singers and songwriters. She's also a talented designer who sells her organic creations online. I am completely enamored with this scarf , but I do not have a spare $90. At least I can stare at it online and not actually feel its softness in person.

orange prize long list announced

Orange Prize for Fiction 2009 Long List: Debra Adelaide The Household Guide to Dying Gaynor Arnold Girl in a Blue Dress Lissa Evans Their Finest Hour and a Half Bernardine Evaristo Blonde Roots Ellen Feldman Scottsboro Laura Fish Strange Music V.V. Ganeshananthan Love Marriage Allegra Goodman Intuition Samantha Harvey The Wilderness Samantha Hunt The Invention of Everything Else Michelle de Kretser The Lost Dog Deirdre Madden Molly Fox’s Birthday Toni Morrison A Mercy Gina Ochsner The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight Marilynne Robinson Home Preeta Samarasan Evening is the Whole Day Kamila Shamsie Burnt Shadows Curtis Sittenfeld American Wife Miriam Toews The Flying Troutmans Ann Weisgarber The Personal History of Rachel DuPree Although I've only read one of the long list books this year, Curtis Sittenfeld's brilliant American Wife (my review is here ), I love this list. For those unfamiliar with the Orange Prize for Fiction, t

periodical perusing: us weekly

I shamefully, yet joyously, read US Weekly each and every week. The never ending pile of magazines to read by my beside never has any US Weekly issues in it. I can't explain why I find the news more pressing in it than The New Yorker , but I do admit I often read magazines on the verge of sleep, and my sleep-ready mind can always handle celebrity gossip, but I hate to start an article in The New Yorker I won't have to finish before sleep catches up with me. Despite my familiarity with US Weekly , I am still regularly mesmerized by some of the sentences formed. I don't have literary expectations for this periodical, but I am still amazed at the style choices they make. For once, I am not speaking of their attempts at witty photo captions. This sentence was in the middle of a paragraph of an extended article: "On a night when Jolie and Pitt would ordinarily be the full center of attention toasting their great year (two Oscar noms ! Twins! General hotness!), the actors