lisa's reviews

Reading is the only thing in the world I am good at. A lifetime of reading, fifteen years of working in bookstores, and libraries, and an obsession with the written word makes me qualified enough to talk someone's ear off about books.  Now I am getting more ARCs than I have room for in the house.  Let me get back to reading them!

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) - Mindy Kaling I am grateful to this book for being my relief reading while I was slogging through The People in the Trees, but a lot of it seemed really unnecessary, like her opinions on men's chest hair. Still, I like that she proudly talks about her parents solid marriage, and her mostly happy childhood. (I am sick of reading memoirs about people's so called dysfunctional upbringing; everyone had a weird family -- get over it!)
The People in the Trees - Hanya Yanagihara Finally got interesting, but it still feels like I'm wading through mud to get it finished......

Finished this book, but I feel like there is a lot to process. Some things that drove me crazy about it were the footnotes (what is up with novels that have footnotes; I find it very distracting) and the long hard march to the end. The first hundred pages were so horrible that I almost didn't read the rest of the book.
Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Style - Susan Brown If this book weren't so heavy I would carry it around with me every time I went clothes shopping. It is such an inspiration to see the evolution of fashion. One of the best and most concise fashion books I've seen, this book has the feeling of being timeless, unlike most books like it that go out of date in three years.
45 Pounds (More or Less) - K.A. Barson Although this book had a lot of plot and dialogue flaws, the bones of this story was incredible. It really makes you think about how body image and eating disorders are passed on without anyone realizing it until it's too late. As someone who is a sucker for a novel about a girl/woman trying to lose weight this one was somewhere in the middle. Not as good as Artichoke Heart's by Suzanne Supplee, but a zillion times better than Fat Cat by Robin Brande.
The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime - Judith Flanders Very dry. I tried to read the first 30 pages and got bored. I tried to skim the next 50 pages and got even more bored. I was excited to read this book but it was big let-down. Other books that are similar (but better) are The Beautiful Cigar Girl by Daniel Stashower, and The Suspicions of Mr. Which by Kate Summerscale.
The Goddess Chronicle - Natsuo Kirino, Rebecca Copeland This book was amazing. I don't know much about Japanese culture, or mythology, but this book was lots of fun to read anyway. The story was very well told, even though some parts were a little confusing (everyone switching places, and changing their minds about their intentions at the last minute), and the characters were well formed. I am not crazy about translated books, and this one had some flaws that were probably due to the translation, but it was better than most. I can't believe I have never heard of this series, especially since it features some of my favorite authors, but I can't wait to read the other books in it.
A Whole Lot of Lucky - Danette Haworth A good read for someone of the age group it was intended for (ages 9 to 12) but I found it somewhat boring, and very predictable. Still, if I were 20 years younger I would have enjoyed it.
In the Shadow of Blackbirds - Cat Winters This was exactly the kind of book I would normally dislike, but for some reason I loved it. I think it was the setting, America in 1918, just weeks before World War I ended, in the height of fear and flu. I have always been fascinated by Spiritualism and things such as the Cottingsley fairies, and Houdini and Doyle's feud over their authenticity. So even though the story seemed a little, um, odd, the mentality of the world at that time made it believable. I can't imagine being alive during such a horrifying time in history. The fact that Mary Shelley was in constant contact with her dead boyfriend was a little weird, even after she got struck by lightning (which was also a little weird). The slang she used seemed out of place in 1918 (did teenage girls get away with saying OK?), however once I started reading it I couldn't stop, and the whole story really captured the paranoia and grim hopelessness of the time.

Ai Weiwei: According to What?

Ai Weiwei: According to What? - Kerry Brougher, Mami Kataoka, Charles Merewether I had never heard of Ai Weiwei until I saw the film Never Sorry, but I jumped at the chance to look at this book of his art, with interviews and background.
Glaciers - Alexis M. Smith Sweet, and short. I won't remember the plot of this book in a week, but I enjoyed it while reading it. It felt exactly how Portland feels, vague, and hip, and full of treasures.
The Madman's Daughter - Megan Shepherd I liked this book until.... I didn't. I don't know if my mind started wandering because the story went south, or if the story went south because my mind was wandering, but about halfway through I started really disliking the direction of the story, and all of the characters. Juliet really made me nuts, with her back and forth about the boys. They were both lame, so what was the CONSTANT indecision about? The story really seemed to fall apart at the end when all I could do was question the motivations of the characters. As I got closer to finishing I kept hoping the author would redeem herself. I thought she was close to it in the very last pages, but she didn't.

Also, I thought in H.G. Wells' version Montgomery died. Why is he still alive? Because he's a hot guy? Is this book the first in a series?
The Minimalist Cooks at Home: Recipes That Give You More Flavor from Fewer Ingredients in Less Time - Mark Bittman Not my favorite Mark Bittman book, but not bad.
Decades: A Century of Fashion - Cameron Silver, Rebecca DiLiberto Beautiful pictures!
Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures - Amber Dusick Ok, when a friend sent me a link to this blog last year, I hated it. I still think the drawings are creepy, but after spending an hour reading this book (it's all you need, with this one) I have to admit, the whole premise is quite endearing. There were several stories that made me laugh out loud, and the love Amber Drusick has for her kids shines through even the crappiest of pictures.
If You Find Me - Emily Murdoch Decent YA story about an abused, kidnapped girl. Ok reading, nothing spectacular, or fresh, but ok.
Sisterland - Curtis Sittenfeld I always admire this author for writing complex, flawed characters. Both twins were so unlikeable, but in completely different ways, and their unlike-ability didn't keep me from enjoying the story. The ending was odd though. Not bad, not stupid, just odd. I still haven't decided what to think about it.