Thursday, November 19, 2009

good reading

After a rather lengthy famine in the reading area, I have been enjoying the bounty of new fall releases.

First up, was Derek Landy's third Skulduggery Pleasant book The faceless ones. I had forgotten how funny (sarcastic? biting? witty?) Skulduggery can be and he had ample opportunity to let the sarcasm fly in this book. Skulduggery is a well-dressed, well-spoken, intelligent detective who just happens to be a skeleton. He and his teen-aged sidekick, Valkyrie Cain, are fighting the of forces of evil (often in the guise of the gods and goddesses of Irish mythology) and this time, the results are not in their favor. The long-feared Faceless Ones are threatening to invade our dimension and the only thing standing between them and the invasion of the world as we know it is an idiotic, egotistical teleporter who doesn't want to play by the rules. I must admit I let out a loud gasp and an anguished "oh, no" at the end of this book. How many days must I wait for the sequel? (Even if the next book came out tomorrow, the wait would be too long!)

Next was Trenton Lee Stewart's The Mysterious Benedict Society and the prisoner's dilemma where Reynie, Sticky, Katie and the ever-so-aggravating (in an endearing way) Constance Contraire again aid Mr. Benedict in saving the world as we know it (are you noticing a theme here?). Mr. Benedict's evil twin brother, Mr. Curtain, is once again trying to steal the Whisperer (a mind-controlling computer application) for his own nefarious reasons. Again, the incredibly intelligent, resourceful and contrary (dear Constance, of course) children use all the resources (and when they act as a group, that is a formidable amount of brain power) available to foil his plans. This is the last in a trilogy, though I sense a tiny ray of light that may mean another volume in the future, and the least satisfying of the three volumes. A bit too violent, a bit too long in getting to the point but a necessary read, nonetheless.

In a completely different vein, I am currently reading Born round: the secret history of a full-time eater by Frank Bruni. Bruni is the restaurant critic for the New York Times and has spent a lifetime enjoying food...and regretting the physical effects of his enjoyment. His descriptions of holiday meals with his family (turkey, ham (in case someone does not like turkey), lasagne, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, baked sweet potatoes, 3 kinds of pies, cannolis (in case someone does not feel like eating pie) and on and on) made by jaw drop in awe. Bruni ate it all and struggled with yo-yoing wait throughout his teens and twenties. He was just starting to gain control of his food obsession when he was offered the restaurant critic's column. What to do, what to do.

I just started a new by-the-bed book last night, a birthday present from cherished friend FF, and it has revved by feelings of longing to travel in England into high gear! It is Bill Bryson's Notes from a small island and is off to a delightful start. He starts with a visit to a pub where he innocently asks one of the local for directions to an area landmark. The conversation is off...and I was laughing and laughing, wishing I were there (instead of reading about it while snuggled up in my bed). I can't wait for tonight's installment!

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