Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bringing Back the Dead!

Charlie Higson, you made my week! Not only do you write zombie books with enough pus, blood, and brains to actually keep my interest, you are also daring enough to kill teens in DROVES!! Hallelujah! I've been waiting for a teeth-gnashing novel in which the author isn't afraid to kill off some of his best heroes and heroines and I finally got one! Hurray! Usually the killing of tweens and teens is censored in some way....but not in Higson world! Oh no, we have enough biting, gnoshing, and flesh-eating here for everyone (and we're not even sorry about it). To be coming soon...a theme park based on this novel-- (those under 16...BEWARE)!

I'm the type that loves a good zombie film but finds most books on the subject totally and utterly boring. Even World War Z, which some laud as the finest in modern zombie literature couldn't keep my interest. And as I sit here writing this, watching a new zombie film from Germany that I received in the mail today (Hammbock: Berlin Undead), I can honestly say that I had not yet read a very fine zombie tale. That, my friends, is no longer the case. I am puffed with pride like a pus nodule waiting to explode.

So, welcome to the Enemy series, where anyone over the age of 16 has become one of the undead, and those under 16 must fight back or become the next chicken wing on some zombie stay-at-home dad's Sunday dinner plate. Fantastic. *licking of fingers*

Our protagonist, Ed, and his group of over-priveged private school mates fight hordes of zombies that have invaded England while the group strives to maintain their sanity amidst the hungry, cannibalistic chaos. Oh, and while steering clear of the religious zealots as well. (THE LAMB....THE LAMB...HOLD THE FLAG)!!!!

Bravo! Teens finally doing what they do best....hacking apart adults with fifteenth century axes from the Tower of London. Yay for depravity and truth! May the teens forever reign! Certainly will read the next in the series just to see how far Higson is willing to go.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

BCNU@WPL: Review: Lark by Tracey Porter

BCNU@WPL: Review: Lark by Tracey Porter

Review: Lark by Tracey Porter

This book is like a painted Easter egg; it's delicate, fragile, sometimes gorgeous, and/or a bit tacky depending on one's perspective of painted eggs.
The premise is similar to Sebold's "The Lovely Bones", although personally I never connected with that book and felt it lacked a certain something...a sprinkle of salt, glitter, and mozzarella cheese...what have you. The smells of home and of fresh bread baking in the oven. The rubber soles of boots. Grandpa's pipe.
I never felt firm in my conviction towards that book, and I don't with "Lark", either. There were foundation problems.
"Lark" is a quick read and suffers from the same ailments as Sebold's earlier work. While the writing and plot line appear fresh, the stories lacked a certain credibility and spirit that my yoga-minded, vegetarian omelet eating self couldn't quite connect with.
"Lark" is the story of a 16 year-old young woman who is taken against her will by a man who rapes and leaves her to die in the woods during the first big snowstorm of the year. The narrative of this book is told in three voices: Larks’, her no longer best friend Eve, and a young lady named Nyetta whom Lark used to baby-sit.
Eve struggles with Lark's death and the dark secret she was withholding from her which caused the demise of their friendship, while Nyetta believes Lark is trapped within the tree she was found under and claims to see Lark regularly. Enough so even, that Nyetta's parents finally find her an understanding therapist (enter April...the hippie therapist...anyone else sick of these people invading our fiction?) where she attempts to deal with Lark's horrible death and get our little Nyetta on the right track.
And if you lost me when I noted that Nyetta believes Lark's spirit is stuck within a tree, than most likely you are amongst the many readers who started this book and thought "What??!! Where did THAT come from??" As the whole concept is not clearly explained; nor does it really add any substance to the book. I'm just going to assume this particular author likes trees. Seems to be the sanest explanation.
The characters are not well drawn, the plot is shaky, and for the hugeness of the subject matter--(murder, death, rape, general drudgery), the novel is really too short.
So why 3 stars? Because it's fragile; like a baby bird waiting to spread its wings for the first time, or that moment when Michael Jackson held his baby over a balcony in Europe (gasp). With the right care and editing, this novella (?) could have been grand. And like that little chirping bird, the author shows promise and has a lyrical ability that not only made it palpable to read, but rather charming as well.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cairo's Crazy Cab Culture!

When was the last time you actually learned something in a taxi--but weren't starring on TLC's Cash Cab at the time?
In Egypt, a new initiative aims to improve the reading rates among the country's growing middle class. Approximately 200 cabs in Cairo have joined the "Taxi of Knowledge" campaign, which was launched by Alef Bookstores, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported. Alef lends taxi drivers five books at a time to place in their cars for free perusal. They can be exchanged for other titles at any time.

More than 10,000 books have been donated to the project. Taxi driver Mohamed Saber said, "So far it's been a fantastic idea. It has allowed me to engage in discussions with my passengers that aren't necessarily personal but carry meaning. At night I am also able to read the books myself and share them with my family."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

NYC's Mayor's Daughter writes YA Book.....

In “The A Circuit,” a young-adult novel by Ms. Bloomberg that just arrived in bookstores, the father figure, Rick Aaronson, is a blunt-talking Wall Street billionaire who lives in a Manhattan town house and “owns half of New York.” His older daughter, Callie, is an Ivy League graduate with a passion for politics. And his younger daughter, Thomasina, or Tommi, is an award-winning equestrian who chafes at her father’s expectations of a traditional career.

Mr. Bloomberg, of course, earned his fortune on Wall Street, lives in a Manhattan town house and is notorious for his candor. His older daughter, Emma, graduated from Princeton and went on to work for him at City Hall. And his younger daughter, Georgina, or George, is a professional horse jumper who has spoken openly of struggling to prove to her father that riding was a serious profession.

“She wasn’t afraid to say no to her father,” Tommi explains in the book, “even if half of Wall Street was.”

When she announces she will pursue a career in riding, rather than something practical, like the law, her father curtly tells her to “grow up.” He scoffs, “Nobody does that.”

As it happens, the real Mr. Bloomberg has occasionally grumbled about his daughter’s unorthodox profession, which, unlike his, tends to burn through as much money as it generates. Show horses can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Ms. Bloomberg owns at least six, which she keeps on estates in North Salem, N.Y., and Wellington, Fla.

Read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/01/nyregion/book-by-georgina-bloomberg-is-fiction-with-tell-all-references.html?_r=3&pagewanted=1&partner=rss&emc=rss