Sunday, March 28, 2010

Arcadia Falls

Arcadia Falls

Carol Goodman

Meg Rosenthal and her daughter Sally moves to storybook Arcadia after her husband dies and leaves them with nothing. She has lucked into a position teaching at an elite boarding school for artists. This is a dream job for Meg, as her dissertation will be on the fables written by the schools founders Vera Beecher and Lily Eberhardt. The school already has it's superstitions and an accident at the beginning of the year only reinforce the ideology of the school. 

Part fairy tale, mystery and historical fiction Arcadia Falls is a surprising gem. The characters are deep and interesting. They make the enchanting school of Arcadia even more realistic. Arcadia itself seems real, like the sleepy towns everyone dreams about at one time or another. The mystery itself is a little lack luster, but the information that is conveyed through Lily's journals is interesting and transporting. The projects the children do paired with the artwork and the Changeling Story give the artist atmosphere room to thrive. 

The structure and writing style wasn't perfect, and sometimes the twists seem overworked and a bit contrived but all in all this was a really fantastic read. I was very sorry for it to end. Definitely worth checking out if you're into fairy tale situations, historical fiction and a little tinge of mystery. 

My Rating 4/5

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book

Neil Gaiman

Nobody Owens lives in an old graveyard. Lives is the operative word. When he was two his family was killed by a Jack, but by chance Bod survived and was protected by the ghosts in the graveyard. Every time he leaves he invites danger and the possibility that Jack will return and finish what he started in his infancy.

This is one of the more interesting concepts I've come across in ages. I never read Gaiman (Coraline, Stardust) when I was younger and wasn't sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. Nobody, Bod for short, was a boy full of life. His livelihood pops against the majority of the people he came across, seeing as how most were dead. The dead all had their amusing stories and snippets of advice that everyone could use. I was a bit hesitant about picking up a book with pictures and was glad to see a visualization of ghosts done in a formful way. Once again I've found that not all YA/Children material is actually written for children. In short The Graveyard Book was a suspenseful, heartwarming story that left me with the advice to "leave no path un-taken". Would have been worth spending the $17 on, but I got it from the CPL.

My Rating

Also, My ratings have been higher than normal lately and I'm chalking this up to the amazing reviews I've been reading over on livejournal and all a dash of luck.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife

Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler's Wife is a different kind of love story. Clare and Henry meet when she is 6 and he is 43. Henry is a Time Traveler, moving in and out of his past and sometimes future, and those of his loved ones.

I'm having a hard time writing anything about this book. I read Niffenegger's latest book, Her Fearful Symmetry last fall and fell in love with it, but The Time Traveler's Wife didn't seem like something for me. About two weeks ago I was really in the move for something like chick lit with more substance, and picked it up. I loved how fully Clare and Henry's stories were intertwined and I loved both of them as characters. They were both flawed, but were good for each other. I loved Henry's past and it's complexities. However, as they aged (in real time, not Henry's moving time) Clare seemed more dependant, and Henry seemed more sheepish.

It was a good read, well written and well organized. These characteristics saved the book, as it could have been a hellish experence of sorting out where in time Henry was and if it was real time or not. It was definitely worth the time spent reading, but in hindsight I would have rather just picked it up at the library and saved the $13

My rating:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Writing Frenzy

I was not able to complete a book this week due to the large amount of homework I had to finish before tomorrow. On the plus side my roommate and I did update our cooking through college blog over at, and I have half of a feature length screenplay written.

But since spring break is coming up, and I am broke here are a list of books I hope to finish over the next two weeks.
-The Time Travelers Wife (which I hope to finish before I leave for Michigan on Thursday)
-Arcadia Falls (If it comes in the mail before I leave)
-Jane Eyre
-The Graveyard Book (If I make it to the library before I leave)

Other than missing this week, I've been reading a pretty consistant pace this year, averaging about a book a week, I've been reading things that have been published over the past five years and have tried out a few Y.A. books that I wouldn't normal have picked up.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

American On Purpose

American On Purpose

Craig Ferguson

You may recognize Ferguson from The Drew Carry Show or The Late Late Show with Craig. This is his life story, from a boyhood in Glasgow to a brief stink in New York and eventually to L.A. Craig recalls his drunken escapades in a way only a now sober comedian can. He pokes fun at his own previous stupidity and life choices, recognizes his own faults and his role in the failure of his relationships. Through all these recollections Ferguson manages to be hilarious and insightful. Underneath all of the drugs and alcohol it is really a story of a boy who just wanted to live in America. He made me both proud of my country and a little sadness that myself and many others forget that it can be more than political rivalries and shouting matches. You don't have to be a huge fan to find his story entertaining, and his personal growth is moving. This isn't exactly high brow literature, but it's fast paced and entertaining. Definitely worth a stop at a library (or a friends bookshelf) for.

My Rating