A Note
By the way: We started doing this on August 11 of last year, which gives us another month before a full year is over. We're both over 50 books right now, so I'd say it has pretty much been a success.

Title: Princess in the Spotlight & Princess in Love (princess diaries 2-3)
Author: Meg Cabot
Genre: YA

They're just so CUTE! In the third one she falls in love, if the title didn't convey that. And you know, her dad is really awesome in the books. Not, like, super-dad awesome, but something I would enjoy writing awesome. He was clearly modeled after Prince Albert because he's this bald womanizer overcompensating for something. It's obvious why Disney just had him dead in the movies.

Title: The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials 2)
Author: Philip Pullman
Genre: YA

This book was the sequel to Golden Compass, and I actually found it uncomfortable to read. I mean, obviously this series is like, the anti-Narnia... but I never thought that Narnia was really THAT in-your-face about religion. I mean, yea, Aslan is Jesus, but mostly it's a fantasy book for kids about right and wrong and princes and talking horses and pirates and magic! In The Subtle Knife, they're actually putting together an army to fight God. And they call him God (or more commonly 'The Authority'), and they're partnering with fallen angels to go destroy Him. This isn't lions and unicorns and a couple of English kids becoming Kings and Queens, it's blatant blasphemy. And it was so shoving-down-your-throat, I could hardly read it.

Also the writing style just sucks. It's bland and dull and unmoving. Except there was one part where a bunny dies that I got a little sad.

Title: On the Road
Author: Jack Kerouac
Genre: Beat, Fiction

I'm not quite finished with this one, but I only have a few more pages so I'm adding it now. It was freaking fantastic and made me want to be a hitchhiker in the 1930s. It's pretty much just the story of this guy Sal, running across the country and back and having random adventures with these other characters, and they're always broke and mostly drunk and some of them are crazy. And it's excellent.

Books! Books!
Title: I Shall Wear Midnight
Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre: Fantasy
This is a Discworld book only it's not really meant to be a Discworld book, as far as I can tell? It's not mentioned as part of the series at least, I don't think, but it's set in Discworld. Don't make me explain that further. But! It felt a bit darker than most Discworld. It's about a young witch named Tiffany Aching who lives in a place called the Chalk, which has a baron, and she's the only witch around. There's also a ghost of a bad idea giving everyone a bad feeling about witches. So it takes on this theme of witch hunting, only it's a witch as the main character. It was really good. I hope there's more Tiffany Aching stories to come.

Title: The Princess Diaries
Author: Meg Cabot
Genre: Young Adult
I know, I know. But the elibrary had it, and it's young adult! So I read it. And you know what, it actually wasn't that bad. Very girly, but pretty cute actually. It's almost nothing like the movie, which made it more interesting for me. And I always wanted to be a princess. Having someone show up and tell me I'm the princess of a European country is like, second in my book of 'stuff that would be awesome' (with #1 being to get an acceptance letter to Hogwarts, naturally). I didn't realize there's like, twenty of these books... but for now I'm continuing with the second.

Title: The Billionaire Takes a Bride
Author: Who the fuck cares
Genre: Romance
I had never read a romance novel before. I had told myself I would read only romance novels after graduating, but I never got around to it. And then, checking out ebooks at the library, I couldn't help but notice that most of them are romance novels. So I checked out the first available one I found, which was this. The plot: smart girl breaks into handsome billionaire's flat (they're in England) to steal a disc for her best friend, who will apparently lose her job if she doesn't get this disc! Only the billionaire is THERE already! And she gets CAUGHT, and makes up this story about a LOST HAMSTER named HECTOR and there's sexual tension. That is seriously the whole book. The two worst parts are, 1. The author actually explained everything that was going to happen, right down to the TWIST at the end AND the sequel, in a letter to the readers before the book even began, and 2. there was NO sex in this book, whatsoever. I was under the impression that romance novels were erotic and had funny synonyms for "passionate parts" as Tiffany Aching would call them, but no. None. I was highly disappointed.

Title: Cat's Cradle
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Genre: fiction
It's typical Vonnegut, and I'm not sure much more can really be said. There's a guy who's a writer and prescribes to this religion Vonnegut made up called Bokonism, and he tells the story of his Bokonistic fate and a substance that could destroy the entire world. It starts out with him writing a book about the day the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It was great, and I actually liked it more than Breakfast of Champions.

Now I'm reading some Kerouac interspersed with more silly books.

Also, a quote, from the Kerouac: "Hell, man, I know very well you didn't come to me only to want to become a writer, and after all what do I really know about it except you've got to stick to it with the energy of a benny addict."

The fun part about this book is I found it on the side of the road, and its previous owner was very enthusiastic about writing notes in it for about three pages, then there's maybe a note a page, and the very last mark of all is a circled few words on page ten. Something about that really tickled me.

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Title: Animorphs v 3-10
Author: K.A.Applegate
Genre: sci-fi, young adult

I am reading these super fast but a lot of it is really repetitive so I'm just kind of skimming it.

I didn't realize how early Tobias gets stuck as a hawk ... it is actually pretty immediate. I think my favorite thing that has happened so far is Ax in human morph being weird on the bus, because now I can just pretend that all the crazy fucks I meet on public transit are aliens in disguise. AWESOME.

summer reading list
I want to make a summer reading list that I hold myself at least partially accountable to. In the absence of school I don't know what I constitute as "summer" but this list is kind of intense so it's probably not going to all happen in summer regardless of how long "summer" is. anyway, here we go:

the animorphs series
house of leaves (okay, I'm halfway through)
anathem - neal stephenson
gravity's rainbow - thomas pynchon
infinite jest - david foster wallace
some more china mieville, I'm thinkin' The Kraken first and I'll work from there

so, not a huge amount of books but anathem, gravity's rainbow and infinite jest are really long. I've been meaning to read gravity's rainbow + infinite jest for a while now, I'm not sure why but it feels like time. I don't always make the best summer reading choices (read: crime and punishment).

Title: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: YA literature

I finished the series a few days ago, and I read them all over the course of about five days, but I still can't quite figure out how I feel about them. I like the first one, and I really couldn't put it down, but I think it starts to all go downhill when they start up with the Quell in Catching Fire. Of all the directions to take things, why that one? Why the Quell? They could have gotten the same outcome if things had been done along their district tour or whatever it was called. And then the last one... well, I don't even know what to say. I thought the ending was lame. I also thought all of the books had an odd obsession with fashion that didn't really fit in?

But I'll still hand it to Collins: I couldn't put the books down.

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Title: The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds
Author: Paul Zindel
Genre: family drama, play

The used bookstore near campus used to have a free shelf - I guess people just left stuff there that the store wouldn't buy? Most of it was pretty shitty looking, but sometimes there was good stuff there. I grabbed this because a. the name is promising and b. the picture on the front is delightfully seventies.

I enjoyed it! It's about a girl who likes science, and her family (who kind of suck). I guess it won a Pulitzer too, so that's pretty rad.

Title: The Eyre Affair
Author: Jasper Fford
Genre: Steampunk? Almost?

I loved it. A world where everyone loves Shakespeare and there's a thin border between the realities of real life and fiction? Hells yes. I also kept wondering throughout the whole thing: how would it read if I hadn't read Jane Eyre before? I think it'd kind of be ruined for you, but Eyre Affair must have been even better this way.

Title: Watchmen
Author: Alan Moore
Genre: Graphic Novel

Also liked, though I'm still more of a Sandman fan.

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Title: The Walking Dead vol 11-12
Author: Robert Kirkman
Genre: zombie apocalypse

These really picked up again. The ending of 12 is was actually REALLY COOL. I think there's only one volume left, so we'll see how that goes.

Title: The Saga of the Swamp Thing
Author: Alan Moore
Genre: superheroes? comics

Alan Moore made the Swamp Thing really badass, as counter intuitive as that sounds.

Title: Hyperion
Author: Dan Simmons
Genre: sci-fi

So, this book! I finally finished it. It got off to kind of a slow start and I was really not that into it for the first ... hundred-fifty, two hundred pages. But I don't really stop reading things once I've started them and it paid off in this case!

Basically this is the far future, human colonies are on all sorts of far-flung worlds. Interstellar travel is a thing, but they also have this technology called a farcaster - so if two worlds have a farcaster portal, you can go between them immediately. Some people have homes where every door is a farcaster to another world. COOL.

The format of this is really rad as well. There are seven pilgrims who are going on the last Shrike pilgrimage - the Shrike lives on a planet called Hyperion, after an unfinished epic poem by John Keats. The Shrike itself is an epic sword beast. No joke. Anyway, a bunch of people have been turned down to go on this pilgrimage recently, so to figure out why they were all selected to go and to pass the time, they tell the story of why they tried to go on this pilgrimage. So it's almost just a collection of awesome sci-fi short stories that kind of explore different sub-genres of sci-fi, but they all share some themes and come together in the overall plot.

The ending felt pretty rushed, which was kind of disappointing after the slow build-up. Overall I really liked this though, you should check it out.

(no subject)
Title: The Walking Dead volumes 7-10
Author: Robert Kirkman
Genre: zombies, apocalypse

I only have I think three volumes left? Which is rad. It started kind of stagnating for a while; all of these characters are just living in this prison and nothing is really happening. People make really bad choices, evidently just to increase the conflict; it's aggravating sometimes but at least you can kind of write it off with the "they're just crazy because everything is terrible all the time" excuse.

Anyway, shit gets pretty real in volume eight, and in volume nine some new characters and some new direction are introduced so I think it's getting back on track.

Overall I am still digging this.

Title: America's Best Comics
Author: Alan Moore
Genre: superheroes, satire?

This is just sort of a collection of a bunch of random stuff - some Promethea, some Tom Strong, some stuff just kinda making fun of comics (and Moore making fun of himself). I enjoyed it because Alan Moore is a genius.


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