Books 5/12/04

Wow I’m behind. (On posting, not on reading. I’m actually ahead on reading.) To catch up, here are the recent books in order:

Book Lust by Nancy Pearl: I think maybe you’re supposed to pick your way through this book, since it’s all catagorized book reccomendations, but I just read it straight through, marking titles that look interesting. There are suggestions for topics I’d never think of, and now can’t wait to read. (If I ever go back through and get any of those books.)

The Paths of the Dead by Steven Brust: Another great book in his series. Hilarious, great character development, highly enjoyable.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl: My mom never read this one to us when we were little- different from the movie but highly enjoyable. The commentary on class difference is more evident in the book, and Charlie’s dad isn’t dead.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension by Earl Mac Rauch: Someone needs to tie up Mr. Rauch somewhere and make him write more books. I love Buckaroo, and this book has a great pulp fiction feel. Like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this one had a movie made of it- and while the actors were perfectly cast, the movie has so much left out that it’s almost a different story.

Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Phillip K. Dick: Ok, this is funny, I didn’t realize I had been on such a movie tie-in run. Even more than Buckaroo, this book is completely different from the movie. Very well written, thought provoking, and depressing as all get out, this book has a completely different undercurrent than the movie. Class struggles, questions of identity, faith, and ownership are all strong themes of the book, while the movie concentrates on the concept of the meaning of humanity. I need to watch it again.

Election by Tom Perrotta: Unlike the previous books, the movie made from this book is almost spot on. Wickedly funny at parts, this book is also depressing in its portrayal of Tracy, who wants to succeed so much that she alienates everyone around her. Maybe it was more depressing as I read it in one sitting directly following Blade Runner, so I was already in a hopeless mood about the state of the world. Either way, I have to admire the casting of the movie version of this as well.

Bandbox by Thomas Mallon: I had a little trouble starting this book. I expected to instantly love it, and when I didn’t it took effort to get into the story. After a rough beginning however, I got sucked into the crazy, convoluted world of publishing in the 1920s. Reading more like a pulp novel than the Dorothy Parker I was expecting, the story’s huge cast of characters race through more adventures and mishaps than I thought could fit in a book of this size. This actually would make a great movie. =)

Better than Beauty by Helen Valentine and Alice Thompson: This is a great find, an etiquitte and behavior book originally published in 1930 something. Highly enjoyable for its novelty, its also quite wittily written.

Lord of Castle Black by Steven Brust: About halfway through the Vlad Taltos series, Brust started off on a path that was inevitable but quite sad, and I sensed beginning this book that it would be no different. I admire Brust for the fact that he doesn’t spare his characters, they are always true to themselves, no matter where that leads them. The story is great, the writing is great, the ending knocked me on my butt, but really couldn’t have happened any other way.

Sethra Levode by Steven Brust: I’m still mad about this book. Whereas in Lord of Castle Black the ending had to happen the way it did, things happened in this book that weren’t neccessitated by character, and I’m quite mad about them. Thats all I’m going to say, because I’m mad.

Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked by Catherine Orenstein: This is a facinating look at the history of the Red Riding Hood fairy tale and its sociological influence over the years. For such a short book it is quite extensive in scope, looking not only at French court during the Sun King, but at werewolves, the history of rape in courts, and current versions of the story. It’s gotten me in a fairy tale analysing mood- next up I’m reading Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales, and then another book on the history of Red.

Current Count:42
Just Finished: Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked by Catherine Orenstein
Next Up: The Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde

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