Thursday, December 4, 2008

I have finished four books this week

Notice I say "finished" rather than "read." This is because one of these books I actually started on Thanksgiving (Thursday). So to be fair, I've only started and completed three books within this week. But that sounds a hell of a lot less impressive. This is also less impressive because two of them were Young Adult books.


I was skeptical at first. But I have read all her other "Tudor" books, beginning with The Constant Princess and ending with The Queen's Fool. Or is it The Virgin Queen? Anyway, I had read all the others and was resigned to this one.

It is a recreation of Mary, Queen of Scots exile in England. Not allowed back to her kingdom in Scotland, or to her in laws in France, she has no court but many follwers. Told from the point of view of Mary, Queen of Scots, and her two prison keepers/hosts, Bess and George, it is compelling, if only because of Bess. She has worked her way up from being a poor widow's daughter to a Countess. All of this is threatened by Mary, Queen of Scots who attracts Bess's husband George while emptying their treasure rooms with her needs.

Oh, the conflict!

Monday, I read All We Know of Heaven.

It is also the title of a Sue Ellen Bridges book I read when I was in junior high. That was a tale of love gone completely wrong. This book is the tale of two high school students, best friends Bridgett and Maureen, who look incredibly alike in pretty much every way.

So when Bridgett, reckless driver extraordinaire, offers to drive Maureen's truck because Maureen's leg aches on the way to the cheerleading competition...well, things go incredibly wrong. There is a fatal car crash. The truck crosses the midline.

The two girls are mistaken for each other. They look so alike. People expected Maureen to be driving. "Maureen" is dead and buried before the doctors realize they have made a mistake. Dental records don't lie, and chipped teeth don't repair themselves.

Major tear jerker. Very embarrassing to read on the metro.

Tuesday brought Twilight.

This one took the least amount of time. From the moment it was in my possession to the moment I turned it back in, time had elapsed six hours. Really, I probably spent three of those seriously reading the book.

Classic vampire love story? Yeah. Enjoyable to read? Of course. Inspiration to scream madly whenever anything Twilight related comes on screen? I don't see it, personally, but that's just me. I enjoy the read and realize why girls/women love the vampire love story.

The vampire is just a bit dangerous. He's beautiful. He bites. He's generally about three times as old as his love interest, and because he's a vampire, he's super interesting. There are probably very few people on the planet that would be less interesting than a vampire. And this vampire is interested in an ordinary girl/woman.

The interesting part to me was that the major vampire battle scene took place "off camera." Instead, there's lots of anxiety about this. But we don't see the action. This is primarily a romance. I'm reading the second one soon, but as it stands I've checked out three other books from the library that I'll read first.

Thursday (today) I finished Assassination Vacation.

This book is kinda up my alley. Or at least Sarah Vowell is up my alley. In my teen years, most of my family vacations were historically nerdy. I visited Laura Ingalls Wilder homes. I went to Gettysburg. The same trip as Gettysburg we visited Hershey, Pennsylvania. We toured the factory but did not go on the rides. Instead, we visited Hershey's museum, which had artifacts like his ticket for the Titanic (he ended up not being on the ship after all) and Native American knick knacks he had picked up. Hershey wanted to preserve history along with make sweet, sweet candy.

Vowell also mentions her favorite website, FindAGrave. I was obsessed with this website when I was a teenager.

The only issue I had was that there were no footnotes or endnotes. She does cite a few books within the text, and says a lot of the information comes from historical sites or pamphlets, but still. She knows a lot. How can I go back and replicate her research?

I have started Water For Elephants. Its the first NaNoWriMo novel to be a best seller.

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