Sunday, August 8, 2010

Recent Reading and Whatnot

You know how when you read a bunch of books close together you often find unexpected synchronicities? Like I remember once being totally amazed when I read two books back to back, both of which used the exact same song lyrics as major plot points.

For the WinAnd several weeks ago I read For the Win by Cory Doctorow, which was quite a mind-blowing education about gaming economies and global labor movements—everyone should read it!—and a terrific, page-turning story besides.  Immediately afterward, I read Fire Will Fall by Carol Plum-Ucci, the follow-up to Streams of Babel, where the almost-thwarted terrorists have developed an even more terrible biological weapon, and are about to deploy it.  Less of a synch, but still both spent significant time on techy hacky computery moves that are supposed to sound impressive.  It was almost a shame to have read them so close together, because Plum-Ucci's book was hard to put down and all, but Doctorow's meticulous technical details are a tough act to follow.

And then today I read two books, both grabbed almost at random from the new book rack in the library, and they both turned out to be about terribly alcoholic parents and kids hiding dark secrets.  Happyface by Stephen Emond is about an awkward lonerish art kid who moves to a new school and is determined to not let on that there's anything wrong.  So he smiles so much that he gets the nickname Happyface (this made me cringe right through to the last page—stupidest nickname ever); he makes friends surprisingly easily, but they don't who know who he really is.  Of course eventually something has to give.  It's heavily illustrated Diary of a Wimpy Kid style. 

DawnDawn, By Kevin Brooks
Completely different tone and style, but there were so many similarities I kept getting confused and forgetting which book I was reading.  Missing fathers, heavy drinking mothers, awful family secrets that take most of the book to be revealed, unlikely new friendships.  And so on.  (Also, the girl in the cover illustration looks so much like an exact mix of Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz that it's distracting.  Right??)

And—awww!—my cat is curled up against my hip making sweet little sighs in her sleep.

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