Dec. 21st, 2010

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It's been a bit, but in my defense, I haven't really been on much the last week. Anyways, I've read three books since.

I am Legend, by Richard Matheson: Another of those classics of speculative fiction I'm trying to crack away at. And it was quite good. Foretold pretty much the entire zombie genre, even though it's about vampires. And quite an ending. The copy I read had ten more short stories afterwards, (Hell House was not one of them) which were a mixed bag. It seemed that the shorter the story, the better it was. I skipped the last few entirely.

Soup: A Global History, by Janet Clarkson: This is part of a series I've been reading on: Edibles, published by Reaktion Books. All of the books are very similar: 100-150 pages of pretty solid and very readable history of one particular food item, nicely illustrated and written by somebody knowledgeable. The covers all look about the same, too. The more I've read previously on a specific subject, the more I can see how it's just scratching the surface (Spices, for example, was more than a bit vague in spots.) but it's good for an introduction or for food items for which there is no more comprehensive history. Pancakes, for example. I'm obsessed with food history, so I read a lot of books like this.

Skin, by Adrienne Maria Vrettos: The other books I've seen by the author fall into the realm of the fantastic, so this seems quite a departure to me. The main character is the younger brother (Donnie) of an anorexic girl (Karen) whose death scene is the first chapter. Then we're shuffled back in time to (almost) watch the progress. This is the only YA book I know of that deals with the issue of eating disorders from the perspective of a close family member, not the person dealing with it. Which is a good thing, and a bad thing. A book from this perspective was sorely needed, and when it deals directly with Karen it's very, very good. But Donnie is flat out obnoxious. I don't want his perspective, because I don't want to deal with him. His issues (many of them of his own making) distract away from what I felt should have been the main point of the book: Karen, how it affects his family (this also hamstrung by a breaking-up-the-family plot with a pretty nasty father), and what happens after she's gone. When the book is focused on that, it's excellent, and makes a good counterpart for Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls, which was probably the best YA I read all year.


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September 2011

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