Monday, January 5, 2009


I Love You, Beth Cooper
by Larry Doyle

Okay, so most of us spent at least part of our adolescence pining over That One who was totally out of our league. But most of us didn't declare that love during our graduation Valedictory speech. Denis Cooverman did. And what follows is a romp. Or a caper. Or one of those wildly funny, profane, sad, hopeful coming-of-age comedies that show up every once in awhile. I Love You, Beth Cooper made me laugh out loud several times, and I enjoyed it enormously, though I have a feeling that it'll seem just a bit twee on a re-read. So I'm not going to reread it. Only complaint: I really disliked the line drawings at the beginning of each chapter. I found them distracting, downright ugly, and hard to ignore.

by Neil Gaiman
Here's another coming-of-age story, though this one is a literal fairy tale for adults (or slightly more grown up kids- there is a bit of profanity, and a shade more naughty than you might want to read out loud to your eight year old). Tristran Thorn, another young man in love with someone out of his reach, makes a promise that he can't actually keep, though he tries mightily to do so. It's a lovely adventure, and a delightful and surprising read, by a writer who never disappoints.

Nature Girl
by Carl Hiaasen
If you've ever read anything by Carl Hiaasen, then you know pretty much what to expect from Nature Girl, though this book is a little darker and more somber than his others, with heroine Honey Santana suffering from a (treatable) mental illness. You have your odd characters, your beautiful women, your laughs-out-loud, your beleaguered hero(ine), your plucky kid, and your great outdoors, woven into a story that you'll believe even as you're not believing it. The heart of the book, as with nearly all of Hiassen's work, is a love letter to Florida.

The Given Day
by Dennis Lehane
I'm not sure what to say about this book- it's so much easier to be snarky. But I have no snark when it comes to Lehane- he's a flat-out amazing writer, and this long, and sometimes difficult, book is wonderful, and was well worth the wait.

Ghost Story
by Peter Straub
I bought my copy of Ghost Story from BOMC, back in '79 when it came out, and I've reread it about once a decade since then. I still think it's overwritten, and a tad overwrought, and the style is fairly dated now, but it's also the second scariest book I've ever read, and the chills translate to this century just fine. I'm not entirely certain that Peter Straub isn't another of Stephen King's many pseudonyms (see what I mean about snark?)

What are you reading these days?


Geek Knitter said...

Stardust is on my list of all-time faves, no doubt a book I would pack if I were heading off to a desert island.

I really must reserve that new LeHane at the library, although I must admit to a wee bit of poutieness about it not being about the Boston duo.

bobbiet said...

Your list gives me some ideas-just what I need for the winter months to come.
I have been reading a series of murder mysteries based on the periodic table. Camille Minichino has written the Hydrogen Murder, Helium Murder, and so on at least through nitrogen. As a high school science teacher, I find these books very entertaining.

gayle said...

Gaiman is one of my all-time favorite writers! Love his work. (And if you haven't read "Good Omens" which he wrote with Terry Pratchett, run run run to the bookstore now to get it! Knock people down if you have to. Seriously.)
I've read several Hiaasen books, though not that one. I'll look for it next trip to the library.
And Peter Straub is always good for a read.
I'll have to check out the others.
I've recently started reading Connie Willis - great writer.
And Charles De Lint - a wonderful storyteller. "The Onion Girl" and "Widdershins", and "Jack the Giant Killer"
And Jasper Fforde. Be sure to read his in order!
And Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy. Best books ever...

JackieLemon said...

My favorite read for 2008 was Laura Lippman's "What the Dead Know". I just finished "American Wife" by Curtis Sutterfeld. If "Ghost Story" is the second scariest book you have read, what is the first?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the book reviews!!!

Kathleen Taylor said...

Geek Knitter- Dennis has said that he's done with Kenzie and Gennaro, but we can always hope.

thanks for the suggestion bobbiet

gayle- I love Connie Willis- Passages, Doomsday Book, Bellweather, To Say Nothing of the Dog... all wonderful

JackieLemon- I loved What The Dead Know. And the scariest book, for me, is The Shining. It still gives me the chills.