Sunday, August 31, 2008

Rich kids? Not that interesting

Gossip of the Starlings sounds like it should be a good story -- boarding school, weird teenagers, pretty New England setting in the mid-80s. But it turns out privileged kids and their problems don't produce too many feelings of sympathy from me. So you did way too much cocaine and bad things happened? There's a shock. Nina de Gramont's writing didn't help much either, especially with the strange narrative shifts away from her first-person protagonist. I never felt like any of the characters had quite enough to them: Skye's character needed more development to explain why she did the things she did, and Catherine simply wasn't particularly engaging either.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Crowd follower

That's me -- I succumbed to the hype and read Twilight. And I did enjoy the first in Stephenie Meyer's series and probably will read the rest, though I don't have a problem waiting for my number to come up on the library reserve list (I believe I'm 332 at the moment). I liked that it combines somewhat realistic teen angst with supernatural elements, and her take on vampires and how they live is interesting and quite original, as far as I can tell. I didn't love Bella's character -- she seemed a bit too unbelievable at times. Yes, she's meant to be an atypical teenager, but she's still a teenager. Still worth having read it, and I'm glad to know what all the fuss is about.

Also rereading my way through the Harry Potter series: I will probably do more of that as things get busier in the next couple of weeks. Those are good for holding my attention when nothing else will.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Post-vacation roundup

How's that for an uninspired post title? I finished both of these last week and hadn't bothered to note anything about them until now.

Amy Bloom's Away is a book I had vaguely heard of but never looked into further until someone recommended it. I don't think I've ever disliked a book she gave me, and Away was no exception. Lillian's story draws the reader in and holds tight. I also loved the way Bloom finished the stories of the peripheral characters, even after they had drifted from Lillian's main story.

Girls in Trucks, on the other hand, was one of those books I finished only because it was a very quick read and I didn't have anything better immediately at hand. Katie Crouch's novel really ought to have been presented as connected short stories (in which case I would have avoided it, but at least I wouldn't have been expecting an actual novel). The episodes were just too disjointed, jumping back and forth in time and changing narrative techniques as well. It was readable, but not great.