Book Seventeen: Mistress of the Art of Death

Mistress of the Art of Death, Ariana Franklin

I really had a hard time getting through this book. I did like it, I honestly did. But the beginning really dragged along for a while. Too much medieval talk that was a bit sludgy. The plot is essentially a female CSI-type in 12th century England, solving the "case of the dead children" at the behest of King Henry II. I enjoyed reading about a "strong female" character in the olden days, but at times it felt like a bit too much. For all the complaining, though, it's not really that bad, and a nice little mystery, too. Throw in some bodice ripping stuff, and it was generally an entertaining thing to be reading for the past three weeks.

Book Sixteen: The Last Picture Show

The Last Picture Show, Larry McMurtry

The most interesting thing about this book was our book club discussion about it. I have a feeling everyone really liked it, but there was such a wide variety of takes on the story and the characters. Some loved the characters, some hated them, some thought they were stupid, some admired them. I, being the moderate lady that I am, fell somewhere in the middle. I found it undeniable that this is a real downer of a book, but there was such a mix of good and bad in everyone (we're all human, right?) that it was compelling and fascinating and ultimately, a downright amazing book.

I know I've seen the movie--and even less than five years ago--but I have no recollection of it at all. Even while reading the book I would have flashes of familiarity, and yet I couldn't place anything that happened at all. I'd like to rewatch it, because I can't imagine how the movie can do such a good job as the book at getting inside everyone's head. The book is remarkable in that one sentence to the next you are seeing flashes of each character's motivation and then jumping to the next character. That seems impossible with film, no?

Oh god, and don't even get me started on the all the sex! Holy cow! (Pun 100% intended.)

On a completely unrelated note...

... I am keeping a new blog over here. It's a place for me to ramble on about all the things I love in the world. Trust me, there's a lot. So if, in addition to reading my pithy comments about books, you also care about what I think about baking, gardening, quilting, eating, and other sweet things, then swing on by!

Book Fifteen: Kick Me

Kick Me: Adventures in Adolescence, Paul Feig

Oh, poor poor Paul Feig. If even 50% of what he says about his childhood is true, it must have been 100% torture. And if you were a fan of "Freaks and Geeks", you probably have some idea of what this book is like (imagine Paul Feig as Sam Weir). Seriously, you need to take a deep breath and brace yourself before reading the chapter "The Gym Class Archipelago, Part I: The Worst Game in the World." And, if you're astute, you'll be even more horrified when you realize that there's going to be a Part II. And it gets even worse. But you'll love it, I swear!

Book Fourteen: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Ok, seriously. Best title ever. Best cover ever. Best opening line ever ("It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.") Best author bios ("Jane Austen is the author of Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Mansfield Park, and other masterpieces of English literature. Seth Grahame-Smith once took a class in English literature.") I had been anticipating this book for quite a while, as I'm sure all the other Jane Austen and zombie lovers out there were, waiting for the two to come together at last, as they inevitably should.

But here's the deal. You don't need me to tell you that this isn't the best book you'll ever read. It starts out hilarious, and then as you get past the initial joke, it becomes just a little less funny. That's okay, though, I'm not too bothered by that. I was happy for something funny and silly and a place to get another Jane Austen fix. And a zombie fix. At the same time.