Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart

This is a great little book that suffers from a cumbersome, awkward title ... I'd love to recommend for people to read this book, but I can't ever remember the name of it!

It's a quaint little book about life inside the Tower of London. The yeomen (also called beefeaters) are required to live inside the walls, and some of their families adjust to the demands better than others. Like any little village, the Tower's got its share of eccentrics - and some are the ghosts of former prisoners. Essentially, it's a quirky, cozy story of community and relationships.

The main storyline follows Balthazar Jones and his wife, Hebe, who are still grieving the loss of their young son. Since his death, their picture-perfect marriage has started to show cracks. And the things carved into the walls of their tower home by former "residents" aren't helping anybody's sanity.

I loved this book, and highly recommend it. It's the kind of small, goofy story that's heartwarming without being sappy, and you'll quickly become endeared to it's oddball characters.

Monday, October 11, 2010

You Suck: A Love Story by Chirstopher Moore

This, the second in Moore's vampire series, is completely stolen away from the vampire protagonists by a human. But not just any normal - their new minion, teenage goth girl Abby Normal.

Abby's got all the best lines and the biggest laughs. And I've got to give HUGE KUDOS to Susan Bennett for her narration of this audiobook. To switch from Abby's voice, to the 800-year-old vampire Elijah, to the former cheddar queen of Fond du Lac Wisconsin ... well, that's real talent.

This book is classic Moore dark comedy. Excellent.

"Much like the toaster, I control the darkness."

Monday, October 4, 2010

High on Arrival by Mackenzie Phillips

Surprisingly, this is a well-written, thoughtful and extremely interesting look at the ups, the downs, and all-around upside-down life of a famous family through the eyes of a actress/daughter/addict.

When this book was published, the media immediately latched on to Mackenzie's stories of incest with her famous father, Papa John Phillips. I was going to skip past that part, avoid the infamous drug stories ... and go directly to what I was searching for (I was interested in one particular ex-boyfriend). But I was surprised by how quickly I got wrapped up in the storytelling: I ended up going back to the start and reading the whole book, despite the fact I'd picked it up just to read a couple pages.

She's smarter than I thought - or had an excellent ghost writer. Either way, it's a great look at rock-and-roll excess and the trials of a junkie.