Tuesday, June 28, 2011

YA Books are on Fire!

Sorry I have not been posting, have had a very rough personal month, but things are starting to get back to normal. There have been some things on my mind. One thing, has been all the talk about the WSJ article about YA books. (article here) I think that life is full of happiness and sadness. Not all YA books are dark and dangerous. Children now a days are exposed to a lot of information at a young age and I think they understand a lot more than I certainly did when I was younger. I think there are a lot of choices for everyone to choose from and if a parent wanted to find a book for their child, they could with a little research and effort before going to the store.
Also, I am extremely excited about all the YA books that are currently either being filmed or have been optioned. Of course The Hunger Games, The Mortal Instruments & Wicked Lovely to name a few. And who could forget the final movies of Harry Potter and The Twilight Saga. YA books are on fire right now and I am proud to say I am addicted to them. Happy Reading! -Tanya

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Review: Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love - Andrew Shaffer

From the publisher (Harper Perennial):
"Few people have failed at love as spectacularly as the great philosophers. Although we admire their wisdom, history is littered with the romantic failures of the most sensible men and women of every age, including:

Friedrich Nietzsche: "Ah, women. They make the highs higher and the lows more frequent." (Rejected by everyone he proposed to, even when he kept asking and asking.)
Jean-Paul Sartre: "There are of course ugly women, but I prefer those who are pretty." (Adopted his mistress as his daughter.)
Louis Althusser: "The trouble is there are bodies and, worse still, sexual organs." (Accidentally strangled his wife to death.) "

As Blaise Pascal said, "The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing." Interestingly enough, he is not among the 37 philosophers whose, often amusing and sometimes shocking, love lives are featured in this quick read of a book. The layout is more like a Who's Who than a thesis, with each philosopher getting a 2-4 page "entry" which includes a brief (shallow) mention of their life and work and how they "failed" at love. There is a lot of the multiple marriages, mistresses, and illegitimate children we are used to in today's society, but there are also some outrageous pairings, taboo relationships, and odd neuroses among other tales which make this book very interesting and entertaining. It is clear the author approached the subject with a sense of humor and was really not looking to judge (also illustrated by the fact that when he signed my copy he also stamped an anatomical heart and a large red "FAIL" across the title page - see picture below). For those of you who want to brush up on your philosophy, this is not the book for you.  It is however, the book for anyone who wants reassurance that even the greatest of minds are as confounded by love as the rest of us are

Ratings: Book:  4/5   Cover: 3/5

Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Judge Away

I don't think the phrase "You can't judge a book by its cover" was ever meant to be used in reference to actual books, because not only can you do exactly that, but it is done all the time. and without remorse. I'm pretty sure I've bought a book simply because I liked the way it looked. Who wants to be seen reading an ugly book? So, I don't care what anyone says, I'm about to judge lots of books by their covers.  Here are my picks for best and worst book cover design. 

note:  I have not actually read most of the books on this list, nor have I viewed the covers of all the books out there.  I'm sure there are prettier and uglier ones in existence.  Please feel free to suggest other ones I should include.  Maybe I'll do a "part II" best and worst list some day. 

THE BEST (in no particular order):

I love the use of the "Peanuts" font and the iconic Charlie Brown shirt design

There are a bunch of recent YA covers that I love, but I think this is my favorite.

They say you aren't supposed to have white covers on books anymore because they don't stand out enough on Amazon.com, but I think both Jurassic Park and its sequel pop just fine. 

The book may have turned out to be a not-so-true "memoir", but I still love the concept of the cover.

Love the font and the Shel Silverstein drawing.

What could make you feel more like you should be sitting in a nursery reading this to a child?

I've been lucky enough to only have had 2 migraines in my life,
but I'd say this is a close representation of what my head felt like then.

This cover gets bonus points for putting in the effort to not only put the dog upside-down,
but cut out as well.


I didn't know Beethoven was a pedophile.

I actually read this one.  I think they've since changed the cover. I wonder why?

I get it is supposed to be teaching kids about death,
but did you have to use creepy Halloween-y font and put the dead bird right on the cover?

This is just one of many bad romance novel covers.

When I first saw this cover I thought it was a sci-fi book about aliens with exceptionally long legs and big feet.  It's not.

Bill, do you have to be on the cover of all your books?  And putting the price right on the front of the book isn't tacky at all.  Nice comb-over, by the way.

The not-so-human centipede?

I don't really have a specific reason, I just hate the cover of this book.  A lot.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A YA Extravaganza indeed!

Last night, my fellow bookcase blogger Tanya and I attended Oblong Books' YA EXTRAVAGANZA with Maureen Johnson, Sarah Mlynowski, Sara Shepard (those three pictured above getting excited about free books!) & Anna Godbersen in Rhinebeck, NY. This was the first event of this type I've attended, and wasn't sure what to expect. I was more than impressed; every minute was thoroughly enjoyable. (And this is coming from someone who is a bit chagrined to admit has never read any books by any of the authors there!) It was obvious the authors were quite fond of each other, what they do, and all their fans. I don't think there is higher praise than a teenage girl who is so passionate about a book that she gets red-faced angry with the author for doing something she didn't like with a character. And that happened more than once! 

The stand out of the night was Maureen Johnson, who was so deadpan-hilarious that I wanted to buy every one of her books just to get to hear a bit more of that humor. Tanya and I both are seriously considering joining twitter just to be able to follow her on there (she made more than one comment about not comprehending anyone who doesn't communicate through twitter).

At the end of the evening, I had added 4 new books to my ever-expanding "to-read" pile, including one unexpected ARC giveaway.  Thanks to the Hudson Valley YA Society and Oblong Books for a great night! I look forward to the next event (which happens to be a Survivor-themed night July 8th with Libba Bray, Michael Northrop, E. Archer, and David Levithan)!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Excited about starting something new

I worked in the local used bookstore for 10 years and I miss it. I miss the customers, the books, the store. The customers became my friends, people who I could talk books with. I began to know each customer by book categories. I could recommend new authors to them when they came in, I knew what books to keep an eye out for as my customers were waiting patiently for a copy and in turn they would give me their reviews of the books they were bringing in. I discovered a lot of new authors working there. Some authors I probably would not have given a chance had it not been from a customer recommendation. I am hoping with this blog I can have that again. A community of book lovers that I can share my reviews about books with and in turn they can share with me their views. I think this is the start of something fun and exciting and I can not wait to see where it takes me.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

a beginning...

"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers."  - Charles W. Eliot, The Happy Life
Whenever I begin to read a new book, I always feel excited and just a bit apprehensive. What if I spend all this time reading it, and I don't like it? But, luckily, that feeling is almost always gone by the end of chapter one, and then the book starts to feel like a friend. Appropriately, starting this blog is creating that same feeling which is 99% excitement and 1% apprehension. I'm hoping after a post or two all the nervousness will be gone, and I'll be left with a few new friends. One can never have too many.

I will have a review for you shortly, but for now I thought I'd give you a short list of some of my favorite books. Maybe we have one in common, and if not, maybe we will soon. Either way, thanks for visiting our brand new site!


Some of the favorites (for right now, anyway) in my bookcase:
  • Favorite adult fiction book: Different Seasons, Stephen King
  • Favorite young adult book (read as a young adult): A Wrinkle In Time, Madeleine L'Engle
  • Favorite young adult book (read as an adult): Catching Fire (Hunger Games series #2), Suzanne Collins
  • Favorite biography: It's Always Something, Gilda Radner
  • Favorite non-fiction: (tie) The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Carl Sagan, and Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Mary Roach
  • Favorite children's book (read as a child): (tie) The Lorax, Dr. Seuss, and The Monster at the End of This Book, Joe Stone
  • Favorite children's book (read as an adult): Interrupting Chicken, David Ezra Stein


Thanks for stopping by.  We're just getting started, please check back soon for new posts!

- Tanya & Laura