Saturday, March 27, 2010

In My Mailbox (6) or Why I am Obsessed With Dystopian YA Literature

So right now I am reading the Nought's and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman and I am loving it. It's basically a retelling of the civil rights movement in America, only it is set in England and the Black people (Crosses) are the ones with all the power, while the White people (noughts) are the ones who are struggling for civil rights and equality. So interesting! Blackman does not go easy on the reader, there is a lot of death and violence and although the main characters are all very well developed, at times they are all extremely unlikeable. However, as unlikeable as they can be, I never stopped caring about them and about their stories, which I think is a true testement to Blackmán's incredible writing and storytelling.
Which leads me to the books I got this week, I went on a kind of insane dystopian book buying amazon binge. Now, I love my bookfair, but it's hard to beat amazon marketplace, especially for these older books which my store doesn't carry anyway. So here goes:

The entire Nought's and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman including:
Black and White (this is the American title of the first book)
Knife's Edge
Double Cross

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

The Children's Story by James Clavell

Flux and Fixed by Beth Goobie

Genesis by Bernard Beckett


Sapphique (The sequel to Incarceron which I ordered from the UK!) by Catherine Fisher

Additionally, I somehow managed to end up with three copies of Knife's Edge... so if anyone wants one just leave your email in the comments section and I'll mail it to you.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

In My Mailbox (5)

This is a weekly post inspired by Kristi from go check out her new blog layout!

This week I bought a few books:

The Secret Under My Skin by Janet Mcnaughton
Keep Sweet by Michelle Dominquez Greene
Pedro and Me by Judd Winick

And as I mentioned last week I got a bunch of books for review from my store:

The Billionaire's Curse by Richard Newsome
Sincerely by Courtney Sheinmel (I loved her first two books, Positively and My So Called Family)
Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
The Steps Across the Water by Adam Gopnik
Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore
Home is With Our Family - by Joyce Hansen
Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel

well that's it for this week! Thoughts?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Well, this book was certainly a trip. It was kind of like watching The Sixth Sense and Fight Club at the same time. A lot has been said about the two different covers of the book. Bloomsbury sent out the advanced reader's copies (arc's) with the cover on the left, but there was such an outcry of rage, considering the main character is Black, that they changed it the cover on the right. (even though that model looks nothing like the way the main character Micah describes herself) The main point of this book is that you can't trust anything Micah says, and it is really hard to read a book where the narrator never tells the truth. One of the interesting things I thought about the original cover, is that that since it depicts Micah as white, does that mean she is lying about being biracial? Larbalestier says no, she says that her race is on of the only things Micah actually tells the truth about and while I am all for a larger range of POC (people of color) in YA fiction (and everywhere) I think it would be extremely interesting if that was something Micah was in fact lying about. It is confusing, at points, trying to figure out Micah's racial identity. I am thinking specifically of a point towards the end of the book. Now I can't really go in to what happens without giving away a HUGE SPOILER, so if you haven't read the book and you plan on it, and you hate spoilers, stop reading.

When she is talking to Pete, the new wolf that goes to live with her family upstate, she mentions that she is the only Black wolf on her father's side and the rest are white, even though her father is Black. Huh? I am pretty sure that her whole "I and generations of my family before me are werewolves", is a huge delusion and she is really just a psychopathic killer trying to justify murdering her boyfrienD and the entire story pretty much takes place in her mind. So if that were the case, she would basically be saying she is the only Black person in her family which I'm pretty sure is biologically impossible. So what does it mean?


Is she lying about her race? Larbalestier says no, but that's the great thing about literature; once a book is published, it becomes open for a million interpretations and responses from the readers, some which the author might never had intended. Does that make them any less valid? That depends on which literary theory you believe in, and if you believe in reader response than my response and analysis is just as valid as anyone elses. But that's a whole other discussion. This is a great book, but it is very confusing. Read it if you are willing to scratch your head numerous times and go huhwhat?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

In My Mailbox (4)

This week I bought The Immortal Life of Henrietta Sparks by Rebecca Skloot about the woman behind the immortal HeLa cells and what her family went through. I also picked up a bunch of books for review, however I left work early because I was sick and I left them there. So instead of posting about them, I will post about five upcoming books I am really excited to read that are currently sitting on my shelves waiting for me.

1. The Enemy by Charlie Higson

2. The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

3. The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell

4. The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell

5. Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

So that's what I am excited about and next week I will do a double post about what books I got.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Truancy by Isamu Fukui

Ok so listen up: when I first started reading this book I looked at the author's name and naively assumed it was a translation of some middle aged Japanese author. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I totally love all middle aged Japanese authors. But I was wrong. Surprisingly, Fukui is a college sophomore (!) at my alma mater, NYU. He wrote this book when he was 15 but the only hint that the author is not all grow'd up is that he actually manages to completely, and perfectly capture the disenfranchised teenager voice.
In "Truancy," an evil mayor of a nameless city rules the city and subsequently the educational system with an iron fist. Reading about how the students are treated by their teachers made me cringe, and I had HORRIBLE school experiences. Combating the evil government are "The Truancy" who will stop at nothing (even mass murder) to end the current regime. Caught up in the crossfire is Tack, who after the death of someone close to him, joins up with the Truancy to exact revenge. And holy moly does he kill a lot of people. This book is not for the faint of heart. As evil as the goverment, and as much as they deserve the horror rained down upon them by the Truancy, at times all the violence seems a bit excessive, which is something Tack realizes early on. This book is dystopian to the nth power and reminds me of my absolutely favorite book, The Hunger Games. I can't wait to read the sequel "Truancy: Origins" and then the third book comes out in August of 2011 (so far away!) I love this book so much it has inspired a new label. Top Book. I will hencetothereforth give this label to any book I consider an absolute must read for anybody, anywhere, anytime. I can't wait to keep reading.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

In My Mailbox (3)

This post is inspired by The Story Siren and it shows some of the fun books I got this week.


Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler
Broadway Lights: Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita

For Review

Kiss It by Erin Downing
The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood
Take Me There by Carolee Dean

That's about it! Time to get ready for the Oscar party!in

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I'm not sure anyone reads this, but I'll ask for help anyway. I want to get a 7th grade boy a bunch of books for a bar mitzvah present, nothing to innappropriate 9for example, no sex of any kind, but romance is ok but not above say, the hunger games.)

Any suggestions woudld be great!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Heidi Chronicles by Wendy Wasserstein

Kelly picked this one, 13, 13. So lucky number 13 led to The Heidi Chronicles, which is an excellent play about one woman's journey through feminism from the 1960s to the 1990s. The play really captures the changing face of feminism and how it was much more ardent and intense in the '70s than in the '80s. Although the play mostly focuses on Heidi and her female friends, it also examines her relationships with two men, her gay best friend Peter and her sometimes paramour Scoop. I have read this play ALOT. It seems like any class I took in college that had any relation to women, homosexuality, feminism, culture in the 1970's or '80s, drama, or any combination of these topics made us read the book. It wasn't a huge problem for me because the book is so engrossing and it lead me to read Wasserstein's first (and only) novel, 'The Elements of Style.' I would recommend this play to any woman, from age 14 until 104. Heidi's voice really resonates with me and I think this is probably a must read for anyone interested in women's studies or women's history in any way. Also, it won a Tony award and a Pulitzer. Holler.