Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Current state of reading and a prediction

I am proud of one thing that I did this holiday weekend;I finished three books and started two more more-woo to the hoo! You might not be impressed but if you saw the massive piles of books stacked neatly(and catagorized in a system that works for me)in my room and one of my chairs,I could get at the very least a high five.

The three books I completed were Hand Me Down by Lee Nicols,Carpe Demon by Julie Kenner and The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe. I prefer Rona's older novels(particularly Mazes and Monsters-even saw the TV movie version with a pre-Bosom Buddies Tom Hanks as the troubled youth who took his pseudo Dungeons-and-Dragons role-playing game too far)to her more recent ones-they just don't have the same zing,feel too updated.

Carpe Demon was pretty good-the subtitle of the book is"The adventures of a demon-hunting soccer mom" sums up the plot nicely. Not bad but I'm in no hurry for the next in the series(yes,it's gonna be a series)but am more anxious for the next Kim Harrison book after "Every Which Way but Dead". I like my vampire/demon hunter stories to be a bit more sexy. Still like Laurell K Hamilton despite the Skinamax styling of her last couple of Anita Blake books(no body minds the rampant sensuality of the Merry Gentry series but then again,it was worked into the plotline with much more logic)-a guilty pleasure should be both guilty and pleasuarable,after all.

Ok,enough of that-time to go over my current reading :for Braincandy,I'm reading The Frog Prince by Jane Porter(so far,so good),just started Popco by Scarlett Thomas and am making head way in a real intriguing title,The Town That Forgot to Breathe by Kenneth J.Harvey.
Harvey is a Canadian writer who is making his US debut with this book(available in October)-the story takes place in the island community of Bareneed,where the citizens are having visions of drowning victims and coming down with a mysterious illness that makes them literally forget to draw breath.

First off,I love the name Bareneed-you have to admire the subtlity. Also,the characters are well defined and feel realistic(which is tricky to do in a supernatural story). The publishers describe the author's writing style as "Stephen King meets Anne Proulx" which is fine but I would rather know more about the plot,people! Just saying. Fortunately,the book is very readable(hence the Stephen King reference)and sets a good sinister tone that doesn't broadcast what's to come next so you really have to keep reading . This book should do very well when it comes out,particularly if it gets good reviews and positive word-of-mouth ,which I am already to provide.

Popco is a UK novel also coming out in October(one of the best things about working in a bookstore is getting to read books not yet available-it's like having a sneak preview all to yourself) and is also a US debut for the author. Popco is the name of the toy company where our heroine,Alice,is working on creating the ultimate teen product. She's also deciphering a manuscript left by her grandfather that may lead to buried treasure or something even more valuable. I must confess that I grabbed this book mainly due to the title(also am a sucker for British writers)-Popco has a catchy sound that you can't help wanting to say. I like it so far and since it'll be out in paperback this fall,it has a good chance of selling. Folks tend to take a chance on a paperback with an unknown(to them)writer than a hardcover. There are excepts(The Historian is already high on the bestseller lists,I'm happy to see)but it does help new writers to have the first couple of books be more accessable,price wise.

For nonfiction,I'm reading Bait and Switch by Barbara Ehrenreich. It's her follow-up to Nickel and Dimed,only this time she checks out the plight of white collar workers. I usually don't read sociopolitical books but Nickel and Dimed wasn't preachy or statistic driven. Ehrnereich walked the walk and talked the talk which made the book so compelling. Bait and Switch is quite a hoot-at the part I'm reading,Ehrenreich is consulting"career coaches"who are supposed to help her find the right job but insist on giving her multiple personality tests,one of which the "coach" uses Wizard of Oz characters to demonstate different personality types(he even has dolls,I am not kidding) and being uberperky in a Stepford Wives sense. Kimberly(the coach that Barbara really,really can't stand)gives her such career advice as "don't you feel 37?" as a reason to lie about her age and to network by asking anyone she has contact with(such as her doctor or the doctor's receptionist) if they know of any job opportunities.

These "coaches" charge $600 and up for their services-only in America,folks. This book is gonna
be a winner,mark my words. Oh,and here's my prediction:War of the Worlds will not do as well at the box office next weekend as it did for the Fourth of July. From all the feedback I'm seeing at various posting boards,many people were disappointed by the movie and bad word of mouth will bring the profits down. This bodes well for the Fantastic Four-gonna be clobberin' time for Spielberg and Co.

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