Friday, March 7, 2014

For the love of art

Amanda Palmer: Ukelele Anthem

Grasshopper Jungle

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa. To make matters worse, Austin's hormones are totally oblivious; they don't care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He's stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it's up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition. (BN|GR)

I couldn't wait for my libary to get this. It just sounded too weird and quirky and I wanted it in my grubby little paws. I went out and bought it.

I'm so fucking glad I did.

The entire time I was reading this book, it just made me so fucking happy. It's so good. It's different than anything else you've ever read (I promise, even if you're a MiƩville fan), has a unique voice that stands out and yet serves the novel, and is really just all around Fucking Awesome. That's right. Capital F. (Unrelated: this is still fucking confusing.)

This is not a review. If you want one of those, go read this one over at The Book Smugglers. I agree with everything in it (even the criticisms), and it is very well written and encapsulates the book completely. I can't top that review. (I also have no interest to.) What I want to do is reiterate that you need to fucking read this book. Sorry. Capital F. Trust me. Read it. It is hysterical, and heartwarming, and I promise you will fall in love with it, and want to keep it forever. It will be one of the books you grab as you run out the door to escape the apocalypse.

This is the first Andrew Smith novel I've read. Winger is already on my TBR list, so I may have to check that one out next. Here is his website and twitter.

Update: Soooo... this also happened!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Irrepressible Library

It's been a while since I've had one of these, huh? Well, rest assured my TBR list has kept growing the entire time. I still toss books aside if they don't immediately catch my attention, but either I've been picking up really good books or I've found more tolerance for books outside my usual area, because I've been finishing more titles than usual. I've tried to include links to where I first discovered the book, but I had to search and it was a bit difficult to find everything. Here's what I'm currently dying to read!


Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Letham

Lionel Essrog is Brooklyn’s very own self-appointed Human Freakshow, an orphan whose Tourettic impulses drive him to bark, count, and rip apart our language in startling and original ways. Together with three veterans of the St. Vincent’s Home for Boys, he works for small-time mobster Frank Minna’s limo service cum detective agency. Life without Frank Minna, the charismatic King of Brooklyn, would be unimaginable, so who cares if the tasks he sets them are, well, not exactly legal. But when Frank is fatally stabbed, one of Lionel’s colleagues lands in jail, the other two vie for his position, and the victim’s widow skips town. Lionel’s world is suddenly topsy-turvy, and this outcast who has trouble even conversing attempts to untangle the threads of the case while trying to keep the words straight in his head. Motherless Brooklyn is a brilliantly original homage to the classic detective novel by one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation. (BN|GR)

This book was just mentioned in today's Publisher's Lunch, because Ed Norton is directing the movie. I have to say, the book sounds phenomenal, but I can't help but hope it isn't another stuffy Literature book that Says Something, when in all actually it's just super boring. I am ruthless, and I am not sorry. I'm also interested in this because one of my many started-but-not-finished manuscripts was about a schizophrenic girl getting mixed up with the mob. (There was magic too, but I bet this one doesn't have magic.) I reserved it at the library, hopefully it arrives quickly before my interest wavers.


Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the storyof how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa. To make matters worse, Austin's hormones are totally oblivious; they don't care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He's stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it's up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition. (BN|GR)

I can't remember where I first heard of this, but I think I read an article or a recap of a conference, and it mentioned that Penguin was handing out free copies of this book and they ran out because everyone wanted one. I couldn't find that original article, but I found this review that was quite good, even if it did get a little spoilery at the end. I have to say, it sounds pretty fucking awesome. Weird and wonderful. It's not at my library (the horror!) but I really want to read it and may end up buying it.


Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But... they are brother and sister.

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.
(BN|GR)

I am just... so intrigued. I first read about it here. The thing that stuck with me the most is that even though it's this horrible taboo subject, the story is presented without judgement. Miss Page Turner explained it best when she says "Tabitha Suzuma made me realize that nobody should be judged by their feelings, because feelings do not always equal society's expectations." There are two other stories that come to mind with an incest sub-plot, and I was impressed how deftly the writers handled the subplot and how it worked and was totally fine for the siblings to fall in love because I knew their stories and it made sense. I won't mention them here because I don't want to give those awesome stories away, but trust me they are so good. (I'll tell you if you contact me and really want to know, either for a trigger warning or because you're curious.) Currently on hold at the library and it needs to get here faster. If you're interested in another great book that flips a taboo on it's head, check out Unteachable by Leah Raeder.