Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Recent Reads: We Need to Talk About Kevin, Fairy Bad Day and The City of Ember

I have come out of my reading slump, and fingers crossed that means I come out of my writing slump. I'm a little bit excited because for the first time in three years I'm not editing during NaNoWriMo, I need to WRITE. That's right, book three of Lharmell, Blood Queen, needs some serious attention. I don't know how successful I'll be as work is about to get loco, I have 10K to write for an anthology and it's my birthday month. I'll be happy with anything between 20,000 to 30,000 words rather than 50,000. We'll see, shall we?

Here's what I've been reading and loving the last two weeks.
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. Wow. This was written by a MAN? Just astounding. I was warned by my friends not to read this late at night, but I did anyway. I only regretted it once. It's not a horrifying book. The subject matter could have been violent and gratuitous. But it wasn't. For those who haven't come across this book, it's written, in a series of letters to her estranged husband, by the mother of "one of those Columbine kids". The movie has just been released and I wanted to read it before people started talking about it and spoiling the story. My advice is DO THAT NOW, as from what I've heard about the movie it's miscast (except for Tilda Swinton, she seems perfect), the father is portrayed all wrong and Kevin is a B-movie demon-possessed kid. This book is basically 80% internal dialogue and I can't imagine how all the nuance and motivations could be brought across on screen. Highly recommended read. I couldn't put it down.

Let's do a u-turn and talk about Amanda Ashby's Fairy Bad Day. Amanda's one of the most enthusiastic people I know and she did some major encouraging while Blood Song was approaching maturity. Fairy Bad Day is her second YA novel. You might remember the hilarious Zombie Queen of Newbury High from 2009. Fairy Bad Day is just as funny, but goes deeper and darker than her former novel. Emma is a demon slayer at Burtonwood Academy, about to receive her assignment to kill dragons, just like her dead mother. But then it all goes wrong--she's assigned to fairies, and Curtis Green--handsome, irritating Curtis Green--gets dragons. Emma has to convince the principal of his mistake without getting expelled, which is all the harder when a GIANT EVIL UBER-FAIRY that only she can see shows up and starts terrorising the school. Get yourself a few packets of Skittles to chew on while you read this book.

Finally, The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. One of the many books I picked up in New York in May that are sitting in a pile by my bed. (Oh TBR, you get no smaller when I celebrate finishing a book by buying three more, do you?) This one reminded me of a cross between The Giver by Lois Lowry and Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder. The writing style is almost childlike, like the narration of a Pixar movie or the like, but that only seems to enhance the dire straits the city is in. They're running out of light bulbs. They're running out of everything, really. And no one knows what to do. Then Lina finds a mysterious set of instructions, and piecing them together might prove to be their way out. A very cute and exciting read, and I recommend it just like the other two. Unlike We Need to Talk About Kevin, I can totally see this as a movie. Has anyone seen it?


  1. Lionel Shriver is a woman. And I LOVE that book!

  2. Haha NO WAY. Well that makes much more sense of the childbirth scene now!

  3. LOL.

    i need to read that kevin book (have actually had it out from the lib a few times but always had to return it...)

    city of ember is GREAT as a movie :) my kids all love it (haven't read the book though)

  4. Definitely give it a go Nomes! And I think I'll have to check out the movie of Ember.

  5. I did like the Ember film, but not as much as I liked the book. Cute, though. And Bill Murray as the Mayor was a veeeery good choice.