This Week

November 6, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Posted in Fiction, History, Nonfiction, Young Adult Fiction | 3 Comments

A quick synopsis of some super books I read this week (and how I found out about them):

Fat Vampire – Adam Rex.  One of the best YA books I’ve read in some time.  A screamingly funny satire of vampire novels with some great characters.  This deserves to be a series (TV or print) or at least a movie.  We read it aloud, I had a terrible time trying to do half a dozen different accents, and it was one of our best Family Reading Hour picks ever. (Amazon Book of the Month)

Skippy Dies – reviewed below, adored, definitely helped keep my Booker momentum going. (Booker long list)

The False Friend – Myla Goldberg.  No, I haven’t read Bee Season yet, though it’s on my shelf and I know I’m going to love it.  The False Friend was a gripping account of suppressed childhood memories, family loyalty, and adult romance.  For such a slender book it packed a powerful punch.  This would be a great book club pick. (Indiespensable)

I Curse the River of Time – Per Petterson.  I fell in love with Out Stealing Horses and had to grab this.  It’s still settling in my system.  The protagonist is a working-class man who turns down a chance to go to college to be true to his Communist ideals, then stumbles his way to a rapprochement with his dying mother.  It’s sad but honest.  I might benefit from a rereading. (Indiespensable)

Trespass – Rose Tremain. This author won the Orange Prize for a previous book.  Trespass is a story of dysfunctional families, class conflict, crime, antiques, real estate, and lesbian sex.  In other words, it’s a great airplane read, about eight notches above The Slap but still bloody and kinky.  It’s also very short if you have a rainy night that needs dealing with.  (Booker long list)

Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse – James Swanson. This is history the way it ought to be written – approachable, level-headed, and chock-a-block with research and photos.  I learned things about Civil War history that I never expected to, and got a bit of a crush on the marriage of Jefferson and Varina Davis.  Plus I got to see a picture of a pillow with Lincoln’s blood on it.  (Actually, come to think of it, I could have done without that part).  (Amazon Best of the Month)

Now I’m tackling Long for This World by Sonya Chung for the third time.  It’s impossible for me to believe a book under 300 pages can have so much in it.


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  1. James Swanson is the author of Manhunt, right? I have a severe author-crush on him. His writing is terrific. I really admired the cutting and pacing in Manhunt.

    • Yes, and after reading Bloody Crimes I felt like I wanted to rush right out and read it!

  2. I am super psyched you liked the Swanson book. I read “Manhunt” about a week ago and ran out the day I finished it to buy “Bloody Crimes”…which I was fortunate to score at Half Price Books. I was also super crushing on Swanson. His writing is so powerful it was almost a turn-on. :)Can’t wait to read it!

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