SBD: this and that

Happy Monday!  I’m happy because I’m off today…which sort of makes up for the fact that I spent ten hours at the office yesterday.  But not really, since even on my day off I had to call in for a conference call.  (What’s the point of a 9/80 work schedule when I end up working 10/95?)

Anyway, it’s time for SBD!

I’m reading Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss, a YA book about a girl who is sent to boarding school in Paris for her senior year of high school.  In the fall, this book got lots and lots of review blog attention, but I didn’t pick up a copy until January (courtesy of  — thank you!).  And after that, it sat in the TBR for a bit.  

In many ways, there’s nothing new or different about this YA book.  There’s an uncertain heroine who has been essentially abandoned by her family (although being left at a spendy boarding school in Paris isn’t exactly a hardship, or as bad as being forced to live in the cupboard under the stairs and work as a house-elf); a potential love interest; learning about her new environment; building a new circle of friends while not completely losing the old; etc.  But Perkins is doing a pretty good job of reeling me in as a reader.  Even though I’m guessing that Anna Banana Elephant Oliphant will end up having a good year, I still want to follow along as it happens.

This description of Anna’s father is such a clear dig at several authors who shall not be named, that it just tickles me.  Because I hate that they are considered mainstream "romance" instead of the utter schmoop that they are.  (There’s nothing wrong with schmoop, but if you’re going to make a living at it, own it, don’t pretend it’s high art.)  

…[H]is dream of being the next great Southern writer was replaced by his desire to be the next published writer.  So he started writing these novels set in Small Town Georgia about folks with Good American Values who Fall in Love and then contract Life-Threatening Diseases and Die.

I’m serious.

And it totally depresses me, but the ladies eat it up.  They love my father’s books and they love his cable-knit sweaters and they love his bleachy smile and orangey tan.  And they have turned him into a bestseller and a total dick.

Also, I was fascinated by his clear decision about what he wanted to write.  There are genre romance authors who have made the same analysis, and who chose to write romance not necessarily because they think it’s high art or even their preferred reading material but because it is an area in which aspiring authors can actually make a living, compared to other (more respected, socially accepted, pretentious) genres. 

~~~~~

At the store today, in the book/magazine aisle, I noticed that there’s a graphic novel version of Twilight.  Really?  Was that necessary?  And sitting right next to that was The Harvard Lampoon’s parody, Nightlight.  I was almost tempted by the parody.  But not quite.

~~~~~

Um, other than that, not much on the reading front.  Except I’ve got two paper boxes of books to donate to the library.  Anybody want some of them?  Most of them are books I read and enjoyed but am never going to re-read; some had been keepers but have fallen off the list; others I’m not sure how I acquired them at all because the blurbs are not at all appealing.  But if you’re looking for some free books (and you are someone who has commented here before, please), drop me a line and I’ll either send a list for you to choose from or do a random selection, your choice.  The books range from m/m to urban fantasy to category to historical to suspense.

~~~~~

On the fandom front, I have to say that it drives me crazy to read blue-collar American characters using British slang in their every day language.  The canon is clear — Generation Kill could not be more working class and middle class American if it tried.  And still the characters sometimes use mobiles, or wear jumpers, or live in flats in fan fiction.  No.  Okay?  Just no.   A middle class Catholic boy from Baltimore would put on his sneakers or tennis shoes, not trainers; a dirt poor kid from Missouri would use a wrench, not a spanner.  That would be like having Dr Who talk about putting stuff in the trunk rather than the boot: not quite right and enough to drive a British reader crazy.

~~~~~

The US won its Davis Cup tie, and Spain won its tie.  Meaning they’ll meet in the US for the quarter finals in July.  Potential sites under consideration by the USTA (?) are in Albany, San Antonia, and Austin.  I have family in Austin and San Antonio, and I’ve heard good things about Albany.  Road trip?

Okay, back to reading about Anna’s year abroad.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “SBD: this and that

  1. I’m on my second Joanne Dobson mystery today….

    • What do you think of the series so far?
      I’ve been meaning to go back and do a re-read. The last one, released by a different publisher after a 3 year hiatus, didn’t seem as good to me as the earlier books. Not sure if I have fonder memories than the reality, or what.

      • I gulped down the first one, all the while being very pleased the 37-year-old heroine had not one but several men interested in her. I’ve been reading too much romance, clearly.
        I loved the narrative voice and the characters, and I never got bored. It was tough to make myself wait a day or so before I bought the next one. Not sure why I made myself wait! I’ve already bought the next one, or maybe it skips one – one of them didn’t seem to be available on Kindle, so I’ll have to get it in print, which takes longer.

      • I have the whole series in paper, pre-Kindle. If you’d like them, let me know and I’ll put them out of the donation box.

  2. That passage, which is fairly early in the book, on the second or third page, is what captured my attention. The plot is fairly average, but Perkins’ style and her narrator made the difference for this book.

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