1

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999)

This is a book I’ve had on my to-be-read list for about 6 years, ever since I started working in a public library. It took a movie trailer to finally pick it up and, boy, am I glad I did! This gem is told through a series of letters written by Charlie and spanning his first year of high school. An observant introvert, Charlie is taken under wing by two free-spirited upperclassman, Sam and Patrick. Experiences are had, feelings are explored and drama ensues. It’s all very poignant and veracious and absorbing. It’s a quick read and I’m delighted that Chbosky has written and directed the movie adaptation. Charlie will be played by Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson, The Three Musketeers), Sam by Emma Watson (Harry Potter), and Ezra Miller (We Need to Talk About Kevin) will play Patrick. I’m very excited!

0

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick (2008)

It makes me really sad to see that Tiffany is still wearing her wedding ring.
And then suddenly Tiffany is hugging me so that her face is between my pecs, and she’s suddenly crying her makeup onto my new Hank Baskett jersey. I don’t like being touched by anyone except Nikki, and I really do not want Tiffany to get makeup on the jersey my brother was nice enough to give me–a jersey with real stitched-on letters and numbers–but I surprise myself by hugging Tiffany back. I rest my chin on top of her shiny black hair, scent her perfume, and suddenly I’m crying too, which scares me a lot. Out bodies shudder together, and we are all waterworks. We cry together for at least ten minutes, and then she lets go and runs around the back of her parents’ house (p 51).

I picked this up after seeing the movie trailer (starring Bradley Cooper, Julie Stiles and Jennifer Lawrence) and I’m glad I did. After spending years in a mental institution (referred to as ‘the bad place’), Pat Peoples, a former history teacher, continues to manage his mental illness while living with his parents. His mother provides care while his father’s moods are dictated by the Eagles. Desperate to end ‘apart time’ and struggling with memory loss, Pat’s sole motivation is his desire to be reunited with his wife, Nikki. Enter Tiffany, a young woman struggling with depression in the aftermath of her husband’s death. They may be exactly what the other needs.

It surprised me just how much I enjoyed this book. The subject mater is heavy and I felt strongly for Pat and, to a lesser degree, Tiffany. Now I have to wait until November for the movie. Arg!

0

Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay (2005)

“But although I was not really reluctant to rush to the rescue, I couldn’t help but thinking that we were asking a bit much of Dutifully Dashing Dexter this evening, weren’t we? No sooner out of it than I had to go right back in again” (185).

The Miami Metro Police are asked to step aside when a particularly gruesome Doctor Danco leaves a completely dismembered man alive but insane and completely helpless. Doakes, hard on Dexter’s heals, is connected to Danco through his former special forces military unit does and not escape the knife, freeing Dexter to unleash his Dark Passenger.

In the course of the book, Dexter finds himself engaged to Rita, quite by accident. Instead of explaining, he simply goes along with it. His normal guy cover is now complete. But what about Cody, Rita’s quiet but strange child. There is a Darkness there and Dexter is eager to apprentice him.

0

Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris (2010)

I didn’t know what to think about first: me seeing Claude naked, Claude seeing me naked, or the whole fact we were related and naked in the same room (p 165).

Amelia, the witch, moves out and Claude, the fairy, moves in. Eric’s maker shows up unexpectedly with another son in tow. Eric’s sibling is vastly different from the blong bomb. Alexei is dead Russian aristocracy and bat sh*t crazy. A lot of folks die at the end, but Eric is finally freed.

Sookie getes a little harder every book. Now she wants someone dead. Bill is less annoying now his sibling has arrived. Jason is shaping up to be a wonderful character. I’m almost through the series in time for the new HBO season!

Library copy | Large print ed. | ISBN 978-1-4104-2650-5 | Wheeler Publishing | Adult

5

Top 10 Book Boyfriends (or Girlfriends) of 2011

Confessions of a Bookaholic is hosting a Ten Ten event! Today, a look back at the top ten boyfriends/girlfriends of 2011. I’m going to take this to mean characters I couldn’t help but fall in love with… and not necessarily romantic love. But I came away very connected to the character, forgetting he is not real. Because that’s great stuff people.

  1. Stark McClellan (aka Stick) of Stick by Andrew Smith: I suppose it’s only logical the protagonist in my favorite book of 2011 is the one I cared for the most.
  2. Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger of A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin: Petyr steals the show… and I’m not even sure he’s mentioned in Dragons! He’s a cunning, devious man and I can’t help but love him. He plays the game like a master.
  3. Jon Snow of A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin: Being played by the very fine Kit Harington certainly helps, but Jon Snow’s compassionate nature, skill with the sword, and underdog status is enough. He’s a lover and a fighter and he better be back for The Winds of Winter.
  4. Will of The Ranger’s Apprentice: The Emporer of Nihon-Ja by Jon Flanagan: I just adore this archer who bumbles a marriage proposal to his girl, Alyss, at the conclusion of this excellent series.
  5. Horace of The Ranger’s Apprentice: The Emporer of Nihon-Ja by Jon Flanagan: The perfect counter point for Will. Just so straightforward and honest.
  6. Peeta of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins: This poor dude got the shaft. I know Katniss is one tough woman but Peeta is totally dedicated and he just seems to get the short end here, even though, technically, he gets the girl. Again, it helps that he is going to be played by the adorable Josh Hutcherson.
  7. Douglas Swieteck of Okay For Now by Gary Schmidt: I worry about this kid’s future and he isn’t real!
  8. Han Alister of The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima: Yum.
  9. Travis of Bluefish by Pat Schmatz: Just a great character and my heart went with him all the while.
  10. Xavier of A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheenan: Another character that proves to be a great man and he really got the shaft!

My all time favorites (and one isn’t even human!): Marcus Flutie (Megan McCafferty), Gen (Megan Whalen Turner), Bartimaeus (Jonathan Stroud), Brigan (Kristin Cashore), and Syaoran (CLAMP).

3

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips (2007)

ORIGINAL POST: August 17, 2009

I heard about this book from my younger (college student) sister. The gods only know how she unearthed it.

Published almost two years ago, Gods Behaving Badly follows the Greek gods living in contemporary London. Stripped of most of their powers for reasons unknown, the immortal family now lives in a fetid house. But they are up to their old tricks; plotting against each other and interfering with mortals, causing much grief to the objects of their attention.

The main characters include Apollo, Aphrodite, Artemis, Eres, a plain and kind mortal woman (Alice) who is in love with a plain and kind mortal man (Neil). In a Washington Post review, Ron Charles wrote, “[Gods Beaving Badly] hovers somewhere between Pride and Prejudice and an episode of ‘Bewitched’.”

It had moments of super-silly hilarity, moments of theological insight, and moments where I found myself diappointed. Overall, I wanted a more complicated satire. It had a lot of potential, but in the end, this was just a fun beach read.

I suppose I would recommend this to older teens, looking for something outside the YA genre (because, let’s face it, it gets boring reading about the same teen/high school problems) and to adults who have read Percy Jackson  and want to read something similar but for adults.

Library copy (print) | Jonathan Cape | August 1, 2007 | 277 pages | ISBN: 978-0224081320

UPDATED: July 8, 2011

According to Thompson on Hollywood, filming will begin for a movie adaptation later this month.  Alicia Silverstone will play Alice opposite Ebon Moss-Bachrach. Olympians will be played by Sharon Stone (Aphrodite, a phone-sex operator), Oliver Platt (Apollo, a TV psychic), Edie Falco (Artemis,  a dog-walker), Nelsan Ellis (Dionysus, a night-club owner), Phylicia Rashad (Demeter), John Turturro (Hades), and Rosie Perez (Persephone).

0

A Song of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (1996)

Drogo’s braid was black as midnight and heavy with scented oil, hung with tiny bells that rang softly as he moved. It swung well past his belt, below even his buttocks, the end of it brushing against the back of his thighs.

“You see how long it is?” Viserys said. “When Dothraki are defeated in combat, they cut off their braids in disgrace, so the world will know their shame. Khal Drogo has never lost a fight. He is Aegon the Dragonlord come again, and you will be his queen” (p 31).

In the mythical land of the Seven Realms, lords and ladies scheme, manuever, and betray to rule. Robert Baratheon has won the crown by overthrowing the cruel dragon king family of Targaryens, whose remaining heirs, Viserys and Daenerys, have fled the continent. In the cold north, Robert’s honorable friend Eddard Stark rules at Winterfell. To the west, the Queen’s family of ruthless Lannisters scheme from Casterly Rock. To the east, Jon Arryn, the King’s Hand, holds the Eyrie.

When word of Jon Arryn’s death reaches Winterfell, it whispers of murder, setting in motion an upheval that will bring the kingdom to war again only 15 short years after the fall of The Mad King, King Aerys II. While the Stark sigil (a wolf) flies against the Lannister’s (a lion), Daenerys forms an alliance with the Dothraki and dreams of recapturing the Iron Throne.

“The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends,” Ser Jorah told her. “It is no matter to them if the high lords play their games of thrones, so long as they are left in peace.” He gave her a shrug. “They never are” (p 196).

The reading of this book is not to be undertaken lightly. I used a full-page color map and several family trees just to keep all the characters and settings clear in my head. There is no graceful way to introduce the enormous cast of characters that populate a world roughly the size of South America. But once the reader is immersed, the reading is a delight and not just for the plot twists (I do love strategy and politics in my books!) but for the characters. They are flawed and wild and suffering in a world whose rules can change at any time, like the weather.

I admit, I picked this up because of the new HBO series. It’s held me hostage for a week but I’m glad of it. I haven’t read a book this demanding of my attention in a long while. And the HBO series is equal to the task.