Monday, March 26, 2007

Ysabel, by Guy Gavriel Kay

The second book I started on the road trip -- and the one I'm reading right now -- is Ysabel, by Guy Gavriel Kay. When I first picked it up, it was mainly because Michael saw it at the bookstore and asked me to check it out from the library. I was expecting another Da Vinci Code knockoff, but that's not the case at all! Ysabel combines Celtic fantasy with reality, and likeable characters with an intriguing story. Every advancement in the plot has been almost totally unexpected, and I'm loving every minute of it!

The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells

Note: The image to the left links to an inexpensive paperback copy of the book.  If you prefer an ebook, you can download one free from Project Gutenberg.

I recently went on a road trip so my future in-laws and finalize our wedding plans, and so I'm a little behind on my book blog.

The first book I finished on the road wasH.G. Wells's The Time Machine. It's a fairly short book, only around 100 pages, so I was surprised by how closely the recent movie actually followed the book. Although I liked the movie better (primarily because there was more detail and therefore more of an elaborate storyline), the book is extremely good as well.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bitter is the New Black, by Jen Lancaster

I decided I needed a brief break from my steady diet recently of nonfiction and classics, so I'm now reading Bitter is the New Black, by Jen Lancaster. Although it's nonfiction, this memoir is told in light prose. It's a quick read and pretty darn funny.

The author is basically this stuck-up princess who loses her unbelieveable income during the post-9/11 layoffs. Although you can't help but laugh at the things she says about her co-workers, friends, neighbors, other dog owners, and her wedding, she's also the type of girl you'd love to hate: absolutely full of herself.

What I think is so funny about the book is that even though the reader knows Jen is a spoiled-brat-bordering-on-bitch, she's also saying things to the idiots all around her that most of us only dream of saying. There's something very satisfying about reading some of the things she says, and it's one of the few books I've read that makes me laugh out loud -- frequently.

If you need something really fun to read, look no further than Jen Lancaster's Bitter is the New Black!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Shirley, by Charlotte Bronte

Note: The image links to an inexpensive paperback edition of Shirley.  If you would prefer the ebook, I recommend downloading a copy from

For another book review, I am currently reading Shirley. This is the second time I have read the book, so I thought I could just skim through it, but it turns out there is a lot I don't remember.

I didn't remember, for one thing, how slow the beginning of the book is. It isn't until a third of the way through the book that Shirley shows up, and until then, the story wavers between interesting and not-so-interesting. However, once Shirley arrives, the pace of the narrative seems to speed up, and the plot becomes more interesting in general.

One of the interesting things about Shirley is that it was published the same year Charlotte Brontë's brother Branwell and sister Emily (author of Wuthering Heights) died. I have heard before that Shirley's character was patterned on Emily. Perhaps Shirley's late appearance in the book was because Charlotte was moved by her sister's illness to immortalize Emily in fiction.