March 10, 2009

i don’t want to change the world

Posted in books tagged , at 8:21 pm by placeinthestars

I just finished reading The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Hilarious and adorable and smart and witty and did I mention hilarious?

This is the story of Gratuity “Tip” Tucci and J.Lo, the runaway alien with whom she ends up going on an epic road trip – in a HOVERCAR NAMED SLUSHIOUS – to find her mother, who’s been kidnapped by aliens. There are stops along the way at Happy Mouse Kingdom (the Nicest Place on Earth!) and Roswell, as Tip and J.Lo try to keep ahead of the Boov (the alien invaders, of whom J.Lo is one) and the Gorg, who want to take Earth away from both humanity and the Boov. Utterly captivating and inventive adorable and hilarious.

I love the relationship that develops between Tip and J.Lo, the sheer cleverness of the gizmos and gadgets in J.Lo’s toolbox, and the fun pop culture references and sly jokes (the urinal cakes!), as well as the commentary on colonialism, manifest destiny, and post-9/11 America.

Highly, highly recommended.


March 8, 2009

the city is a sorceress

Posted in books tagged , at 5:33 pm by placeinthestars

I finally finished The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (trans. by Lucia Graves), after having put it down for a long while for reasons which I no longer recall. I am not sure I got everything that happened, because I didn’t go back to the beginning to reread, but I retained enough to understand the major plot points.

I would recommend it – it’s the story of Daniel Sempere, the son of a bookseller, and Julian Carax, a mysterious author whose books and life Daniel becomes obsessed with, and the book follows him as he unravels the mystery surrounding Carax.

It’s very much a story of narratives, of truth and fiction and how we shape our lives as stories, and how the stories we tell shape our lives.

The writing is rich and evocative and full of vivid descriptions and elegant turns of phrase (some combination of original text and translation, I’m sure) and unexpected humor and sadness.