eruthros: X-Files: Mulder in glasses, text "sexier in glasses" (XF - Mulder sexier in glasses)
[personal profile] eruthros
It's free book time again! What this means is that [ profile] m_shell and I finally sorted through various BEA books. (Yes, it's been two months. Look, there were a lot of books.) Books and other things listed behind the cut are free for the taking; we'll happily mail them out to you book rate. We're both broke students, though, so we won't say no to anyone who feels a need to send us cookies or pay for postage or whatever.

Claim the books you'd like in the comments (or by IM or email), and send one of us your snail mail address if we don't have it. Feel free to request as many books as you'd like; part of the point of this is to get them out of our apartment. Go ahead and ask even if someone has already claimed something; we have two (!) copies of some of these.

The Interpretation of Murder. Jed Rubenfeld. September 2005. Freud + serial killer + amnesia woman + kinky sex. I talked about this book briefly here; it's got some fairly big problems but is, as [ profile] m_shell says, "kinda cracktastic." Problems include a wonky POV, where the author attempts to hide facts from you even when in the POV of a character who should know said facts -- entirely a cheat. And yet! Kinda fun.

The Looking Glass Wars. Frank Beddor. September 2006. The True Story of Alyss in Wonderland. The tagline is "you know the myth ... now discover the truth!" It's one of those, yes; Alice in Wonderland but ... darker! More cynical! Spelling Alice "Alyss!" Featuring Lewis Carroll as a character! Alyss is the true heir to the throne, is kicked out of Wonderland into Victorian London, and has to go back and fight to be queen. I think the writing is pretty darn clunky, but several of my friends found the whole book tremendously fun and didn't object to the prose. YMMV. It's certainly going to be well-publicized; Frank Beddor is the producer of There's Something About Mary, and he already has a website up here.

I Could Have Sung All Night. Marni Nixon with Stephen Cole. September 2006. Before I even get to the cut-tag: Marni Nixon is the singer who dubbed for Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. The Buffy writer/producer is Marti Noxon. Okay, now that that's over with: Marni Nixon and the Golden Age of the Hollywood Musical. The book is done in a very chatty style, including no shortage exclamation marks and parenthetical comments, so it's a fairly easy and quick read. There's a bunch behind-the-scenes stuff, for those of you interested in the makings of musicals or the workings of Hollywood, but it's certainly no tell-all. (There's also a fair amount of the author's personal relationships and difficulties.)

Bliss. O.Z. Livaneli. October 2006. Turkish morality fable? Livaneli was a political prisoner, and then exile, from Turkey in the mid-70s to 80s; he's now a member of the Turkish parliament. He's very much into the Campaign against Violence and the Turkish-Kurdish peace movement, which might be part of why this book reads a little like a human-rights morality tale. Meryem is raped by her uncle and then ostracized by her community for shaming them; said uncle sends his son, Cemal, to take her to Istanbul and kill her; Cemal can't do it, and they end up living with a probably-gay professor who is taking some time off. So we hit honor killing, rape, women's rights, complexities of culture in Turkey between village and city, etc. The translation's a little flat, but the bones of the book appear to be decent -- I skimmed, haven't really read it. Bliss has received a lot of attention; it's an international best-seller, already translated into fifteen languages, has hit its 28th edition in Turkey, and has been named book of the month by the French private libraries.

Friends of Meager Fortune. David Adams Richards. February 2007. Love and Lumber, here, are the big topics: Owen Jameson runs the expeditions to harvest timber in the mountains after his brother dies. He falls in love with Camellia... who is the wife of a man Owen saved in a WWII battle. And she likes him, too. So: messy romance, fate, passion, tragic love, all that. The style is neat, if a little too reliant on the passive voice. Richards is a big deal author in Canada, I'm told, where the word most used to describe his writing appears to be "stark." Seems right.

Comrade Rockstar. Reggie Nadelson. June 2006. Reissue. During the Cold War, an American wanna-be rocker can't make it big in the U.S.... so he tries Russia. And becomes a huge hit with the kidlets and a huge propaganda tool for the politicians. I haven't even skimmed this, so I refer you to the review. As I understand it, it's part biography (with no shortage of interviews that haven't appeared in other places) and part memoir, as Nadelson describes her trips to East Berlin etc.

No God In Sight. Altaf Tyrewala. August 2006. Reissue. Fifty connected first-person shorts, of varying lengths, about individuals in Mumbai, each connected to the previous story. For example, the first is a five-sentence meditation by a housewife who feels she has lost something; the second from her husband, who feels like they don't know each other any more; the third from their son, who wants to be somewhere else; the fourth from their daughter, who is having an abortion; the fifth is the abortion doctor musing on his isolation, because he performs abortions and because he is Muslim; the sixth is the father of the abortion doctor, thinking about the way he accidentally disowned his son; the seventh is the owner of the shoe shop where the abortion doctor works. And so on. There are a lot of struggling characters, a lot of people who don't seem to have any hope. The idea is that the vignettes will, all together, draw a picture of life in Mumbai, which they do decently well. No person's life or issues are dealt with for more than a few pages, but the concept and the spare style are kinda neat.

Julius Winsome. Gerard Donovan. October 2006. Yet another one I haven't read! Plot seems to be largely: Julius lives with his dog in the woods in Maine. He reads his father's collection of books and doesn't interact much with people. A hunter shoots his dog, and he goes kinda nuts and wants revenge. (I somehow doubt that the publishers would like the book to be described that way.) Stylistically, fairly spare again. The dialogue, what there is of it, is entirely without quotation marks, which I find a fairly good indicator of certain styles of writing.

Crispin: At the Edge of the World. Avi. September 2006. Crispin: not as cool as Charlotte Doyle, but still fun. This is an Avi book, the sequel to the historic adventure novel Crispin: The Cross of Lead. What more needs be said?

Leven Thumps and the Whispered Secret. Obert Skye. October 2006. So it's obvious from the cover that it's a Harry Potter rip-off but hey, it's a mildly entertaining Harry Potter rip-off. This is the sequel to Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo, which was also a HP rip-off, and also mildly entertaining if simplistic. The writing does very little for me; tons of that "the battle for Foo was far from over" sort of thing that always makes me feel like I'm reading a direct transcription of Buck Rogers. I mean, look, Mr. Skye, that sort of thing is ridiculous in comic books. Also, I want to thump the author on the head with the show-not-tell stick. Lots of kids seem to like the series, though.

Three Shades of Night (World of Darkness). Janet Trautvetter, Sarah Roark, Myranda Sarro. Haven't read it, haven't skimmed it, don't know anything about it. Except that it's three novellas -- the same story from three different POVs? -- and that the cover art is godawful. Also, World of Darkness is one of them White Wolf Game things, with Vampire and Werewolf and Mage and probably other things.

Typecasting: On the Arts & Sciences of Human Inequality. Stuart Ewen and Elizabeth Ewen. September 2006. I haven't read this, but [ profile] m_shell has, and she describes it as a dense, intensively cross-referenced tome that attempts to outline the entire history of western "scientific" support for racism and ethnocentrism. She also says that it does "a pretty good job" of exploring said literature. When I asked if there was anything she didn't like: "What I remember thinking is that they said a lot about people's motivations for propagating stereotypes that they didn't back up that well. I think they did a good job of describing the stereotypes, showing what purposes they served in the era when they were most popular, but I tend to think it's difficult to say 'this is why people of a historical era thought XYZ. But I did think overall it was good. Also very dense."

Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery. James Benn. September 2006. This one snuck up on me; I knew it was a historical mystery/thriller, like the Poe mystery or the Freud thriller, just from the title, but guess what? It actually fits into that category even better: Billy is the nephew of Dwight Eisenhower. And working for him during WWII. Could be neat; it's supposed to be more mystery and less thriller, meaning that Billy should have more to do than get attacked by spies. And he gets to think and have theories and hey, even if he's not bright in the non-detecting arenas, that's an improvement over lots of mystery novels. The problem is that the book starts off very shakily; it's all Irish South Boston cop stereotypes, and nepotism, and inept set up. It improves a lot after the first chapter.

>Abadazad: The Road to Inconceivable. J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Ploog. Part-graphic novel. June 2006. The Abadazad comics turned into part-diary part-graphic novel here. There's a bit of narrative, a bit of diary, some spot pictures and some entirely graphic sections. The author of Abadazabad stories (something like Oz) writes an appealing set of kids' books that Kate reads to her brother. And then her brother disappears while she's watching him, and she abandons the stories until her neighbor tells her that her brother is still alive. Kate is the best part of this, hands-down. Guilt-ridden, nicely drawn as not totally cute, skeptical and awestruck and hopeful all at once. Sadly, her diary entries are a little silly, but I imagine that everyone's reading this for the graphic portions.

Peter and the Shadow Thieves. Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. July 2006. Sequel to Peter and the Starcatchers. We've done Oz and Alice, so let's hit Peter Pan next. Peter and Tink go to London, meet a new villain, and try to track down Molly. The best part of this, conceptually, is the idea that stealing shadows steals people's personalities: it adds layers to the whole "boy, why are you crying?" bit. The worst part is the bit where we just have to shove J.M. Barrie into the story. (It pisses me off when people who "reinterpret" big-deal books feel the need to put the original authors in. Usually as people who just didn't get what was really going on. Even if it's only a two-paragraph deal. GRRRR. I understand that other folks don't have the same visceral reaction to this that I do.) Nonetheless, smoothly written, mostly, and fun.

Escape From the Carnivale: A Neverland Book. Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. October 2006. A book-for-younger-readers in the Peter and the Starcatchers series. From the POV of a girl in the Mollusk tribe, who's not allowed to do anything fun, because she's a kid and a girl. So naturally she tries to have adventures and gets into trouble and gets her mermaid friend kidnapped. All the usual. Probably intended for 7 year olds.

Here, There Be Dragons. James A. Owen. October 2006. Only skimmed it -- it's YA fiction set in the early 20th century. An Oxford professor dies because of a book of Atlas of Imaginary Geography, which he gives to his student for safekeeping. So the undergrad and two of his friends flee pursuing Bad Guys on a boat, and end up going to places described in the atlas. The problem with this book is that it's got a kick-ass reveal, but is really hard to describe without spoiling the reveal. (In fact, if I send this book to you, don't take the tape I used to cover part of the back cover off until after you've read the book, because the back copy writer had no such compunctions.) Suffice it to say that the three students are real people, which should piss me off (see: Peter and the Shadow-Catchers) but manages not to.

Little Fur: The Legend Begins. Isobelle Carmody (author of the Obernewtyn Chronicles). Haven't read this one, either. I imagine it's in the same style as Carmody's other books. This is the first in a new series featuring Little Fur, a half-elf, half-troll plant healer. The publisher describes it as eco-fantasy. (The description is sadly Fern Gully-esque, though I imagine the book itself doesn't read that way: people want to destroy trees! Little Fur must go into the human world to stop them and save the trees and the Earth Spirit!) The style in the first couple pages is simplistic; I'm guess that it's geared to ten year olds.

More follow in the next post.

Date: 2006-07-31 12:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The Freud book and the Richards both sound interesting. I feel like I *should* be interested in the one set in Maine and the one in Mumbai, but am somehow not ;-)

Date: 2006-07-31 12:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
hmm! I'm still curious about The Looking-Glass Wars (clunky prose notwithstanding :) , and Here, There Be Dragons....

Would happily send postage / chocolate / whatever in exchange. ;)

Date: 2006-07-31 01:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm interested in Comrade Rockstar, No God in Sight, Billy Boyle, and Abadazad. I would love to send you postage or restaurant gift certificates or whatever. ::g::

Date: 2006-08-01 04:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I would love to claim Abadazad if none other has done so yet. I can paypal you some postage. ^_^

Date: 2006-08-03 04:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ah well, that's what I get for doing theatre so much that I don't get to check LJ ever. ;)

Date: 2006-09-12 06:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The Interpretation of Murder, Jed Rubenfeld - looks pretty interesting, if there's a copy left. Thankee!


eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)

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