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Entries from Jan 2009

Linda Berdoll: Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife

27 Jan 2009 · No Comments

In case anyone wonders, here are the limits of my obsession with Jane Austen’s fiction, and my morbid curiosity about the recent swell of Austen-related publishing. Even though I know Austen herself would disapprove, I’m not intrinsically opposed to a novel depicting Austen’s characters in physical intimacies which her social mores, upbringing, and (most [...]

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Tags: b-author · historical · m-title

Wen Spencer: A Brother’s Price

25 Jan 2009 · No Comments

A Brother’s Price is a fantasy novel with a nifty feminist twist: it’s set in a world where male children are much rarer than female children. Spencer posits that this leads to a matriarchal society in which men are valuable chattel — or, in other words, occupy a similar role to women in the vaguely [...]

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Tags: b-title · fantasy · s-author

Ben Karlin (ed.): Things I Learned From Women Who’ve Dumped Me

25 Jan 2009 · No Comments

Things I’ve Learned From Women Who’ve Dumped Me has an impressive list of contributors with ties to institutions that I think are almost objectively funny and trenchant: The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Mr. Show, The Onion, even McSweeney’s. It even includes a pair of essays by guys in bands I almost like.
So I feel [...]

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Tags: k-author · nonfiction · t-title

Stephanie Meyer: New Moon

24 Jan 2009 · No Comments

I don’t know how useful it is for me to write about Meyer’s Twilight novels — I’m not exactly in the core audience. But it does go in my National Just Read More Novels Month tally. I liked Twilight, the first book in the series, okay and I think New Moon is weaker. They [...]

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Tags: fantasy · m-author · young adult

Louise Wener: The Half Life of Stars

24 Jan 2009 · No Comments

The Half Life of Stars is the novel with which I officially stop thinking of Wener as a the former front person of a band I liked who’s now writing books, and start thinking of her as a novelist who used to be in a band I liked.
It’s certainly not perfect — two chapters of [...]

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Tags: fiction · h-title · w-author

Mike Brotherton: Spider Star

17 Jan 2009 · No Comments

At the library the other week, the slightly goofy title and cover tease (”A dark-matter world holds the key to a weapon from the heart of the sun”) caught my eye. There was exuberant praise for Brotherton’s previous novel and lots of info on his real science cred, and I thought to myself, “I haven’t [...]

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Tags: b-author · s-title · science fiction

Louise Wener: The Perfect Play

11 Jan 2009 · No Comments

The Perfect Play is a novel about a young woman coming to terms with her abandonment issues via a quest for her vanished professional gambler dad. Audrey Unger is a mathematical genius, but her penchant for periodic drastic upheavals of her life has left her a chronic underachiever. As the clock seems to be running [...]

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Tags: fiction · p-title · w-author

Laurie Viera Rigler: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

11 Jan 2009 · No Comments

Even though I don’t think the novel is completely successful, I still find Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict’s premise enchanting. It’s basically Freaky Friday meets Jane Austen (although the amped-up drama is little more Brontë than Austen). Modern-day Courtney Stone wakes up in the early-19-century body of Jane Mansfield (har har) and has to [...]

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Tags: c-title · fantasy · historical · r-author

Kevin Brockmeier: View from the Seventh Layer

03 Jan 2009 · 1 Comment

It took me a while to warm to View from the Seventh Layer, but ultimately I was glad I persevered.
“The Human Soul as a Rube Goldberg Device” encapsulates what I liked least about this book. It’s structured as a “choose your own adventure” story that has the scope of a rather ordinary Saturday afternoon [...]

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Tags: b-author · fiction · v-title

Syrie James: The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen

02 Jan 2009 · No Comments

The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen is the most recent book to explore the fundamental seeming contradiction of Austen — how was she able to write about romance with such clarity and conviction, when her own life history appears to include no more than a youthful crush? It also takes advantage of several of the [...]

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Tags: historical · j-author · l-title