August 28th, 2009

yay top 5s!

I made a post like this a year and 10 days ago! so i thought i would do a variant of it again. :D 'I love top 5 lists. Here are some. They are totally self-indulgent. FEEL FREE TO SHARE YOUR OWN!'

5 books I've read over this summer that I absolutely freaking loved but have not had a chance to talk about
(even though i love them and think you should all run out and buy them omg):

1.
    The Demon's Lexicon by sarahtales!!! (which btw is a freaking IndieNext selection this month, awesome.)
    we've all heard about this one, and i don't know what i can say that really adds to the buzz, but: i mean, i keep coming back to this book and thinking and thinking and thinking about it and there's something about it that i can't let go of. Which is amazing and rare for a book, I think, and also Sarah's writing made me cry. And also also, the characters are marvelous. I loved them all, especially Jamie, who I just wanted to wrap my arms around and coddle. I loved Nick, the main character. I have this whole post I want to write about Nick and language and communication, and how he's an Everyboy, in a sense, while also standing apart as a completely different kind of hero from the YA fantasy standard; I think he is maybe even a feminist one. But I want to reread it again first before I bite off more meta than I can chew. In short, I love this book so much that every time I go to Barnes & Noble lately I have been switching out the display cases when no one is looking so I can put it on the front row. Hey, I haven't gotten caught yet!* No ratting on me, either, you lot.


2.
    Paper Towns by John Green
    jskfsj; holy shit this book was so fabulous. just so not what i expected it to be. i haven't been a huge fan of John Green's "disaffected" teens in the past, really, because i'd well, compare his teens to the ones I tutored and see little to no resemblance; but this book piqued my interest when it won an Edgar, of all things! So I gave it a shot and holy crap i loved it. The pacing was fantastic, the plot was ace, the story was one you zoomed through, and paper towns themselves are so intriguing and mysterious and fascinating and just, neat. I loved it.


3.
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman which shut up i have never read before and which easily jumped up to claim the ranking of favorite Gaiman novel besides Good Omens. I am kind of like: oh, this Neil Gaiman, the guy behind the ridiculous sunglasses and black leather and windswept publicity photos and self-mocking blog and interviews where he sardonically talks about how his tweets would make great t-shirts. This guy, this guy who writes dreamscapes and urban fantasy in soft layers and coded quests and vivid, rich characterizations, him I finally recognize. Him - oh, I remember now; him I like.


4.

    Silver Phoenix by cindypon.
    - I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. I seriously raced through this book in a day and a half, gibbering to people about it the whole time. "HEY DAD, SHE NEARLY KILLED ME, DO YOU THINK ARMING HER IS A WISE IDEA?" "OMG SON HUSH AND BE QUIET, HERE, YOUNG LADY, TAKE THE DAGGER! OH AND HEY, HAVE SOME TEA!" ":DDDD OMG WEAPONS!" "HI, MY NAME IS LI RONG, I'M HOT AND FLIRTY AND I'M GOING TO STRIP DOWN FOR YOU AND DO MARTIAL ARTS WITH MY EQUALLY HOT BROTHER, RIGHT HERE IN THE BLAZING HOT SUN." ":DDDDD OMG HOT BOYS! OMG WEAPONS! OMG I LOVE QUESTS!" and there are GODS and IMMORTAL GARDENS and DRAGONS and AMULETS and actual horrifying monsters, none of these piddly werewolf-vampire things, and holy shit YA fantasy that is also teeming with gender issues and sexual politics and meticulously researched settings and beautiful writing and descriptive imagery and ahhhhh, I freaking loved this book so much, it is fantasy exactly the way I always want fantasy to be and to feel. Silver Phoenix is my favorite read of the summer so far. I cannot freaking wait for the sequel. Even though I have to wait like a year. Lots of time to reread, awesome. :DDDDD


5.

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson, and sequel, The Girl Who Played with Fire, which i am currently reading.
      I am of two minds about this book. One mind wants to gibber happily, and the other mind is that I can't, that first I have to maybe make excuses for it.

      Which is upsetting, because I would be making excuses primarily for loving a kickass female heroine who takes no bullshit and is strong and capable and independent and vulnerable and so three-dimensional that I spent the whole book trying and failing not to develop a great gay crush on her while at the same time wanting to cuddle her and stroke her hair like a child. Oh, Lisbeth Salander, you are the best thing to happen to my fictional dating calendar in ages. But: I know that on the one hand there's something problematic about the way this book adamantly decryies violence against women, while positing our heroine as the strong Laura Croft-like punk hacker extremist who can fight back by using violence, technogeekery, and power plays as her way of leveling the playing field. On the other hand, she's wresting away traditionally masculine attributes and making them her own; on the other, this is a universe where the only way to keep from being taken advantage of by men is to give into the inevitability of violence as power; and in so doing, give the white male geeks their video game-girl fantasy. on the one hand, there is a Wasteland, Watchmen-ish feel to the misogyny in this book that can and does bother me; no less because in the beginning of the sequel, as a way of tapping into her new sense of empowerment? Our heroine, amazing amazing Lisbeth, gets a boob job.

      Yeah.

      But on the other hand, holy shit this book is 550 pages and i read every single one of them in one day. it's been ages since i read something this impossible to put down, ages since I was this gripped by a plot and impressed with all the layers of storytelling and just so eager to know what happened next. So I am torn and probably will continue to be, even as I'm racing through the 2 final books in this fantastic triology.


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    * unlike the AAM this weekend, where I nearly got kicked out; to which all I have to say is, look, Smithsonian, if you don't want me to sneak into the folk art wing to see James Hampton, don't close the wing.