June Book List

The Best Book I Read This Month

Poplorica: A Popular History of the Fads, Mavericks, Inventions, and Lore that Shaped Modern America by Martin J. Smith
My favorite non-fiction books are often ones that follow the history of something really random, like marriage customs or friendship or hats. This book was my favorite of this month because each chapter was a little mini-historical expose on something small but interesting! There were chapters on diapers, front lawns, dieting, product placement, and, my personal favorite, TV dinners. Did you know the first grocery store to buy TV dinners from the manufacturer did so, not because he was sure about this newfangled convenience food thing, but because he knew women would like to use the empty trays for storing buttons? This book was full of random, fun facts like that, and because each chapter had a different subject there was no time to get bored. A really great book to just read little snippets of when you have time, which was perfect for me this month!

The Worst Book I Read This Month

Okay, this one is a total tie. On the one hand, I think one is actually a lot worse, but at least it was bad in a way I enjoyed reading. That would be:

Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop
You probably don’t remember like a million years ago when I noted here that Anna Baron had tipped me one trashy romance novel for doing some last minute revisions to the one act I wrote that year. What I didn’t mention is that it is in fact THREE terrible erotic fantasy novels in one book. That’s 1200 pages of multiple attempted rapes and ridiculous genital jewelry. I have as yet failed in any attempts to read it until James Fox basically forced me to this month. I’m done with the first book and I’ve got to say: it’s so bad it’s pretty hilarious. I’m not even talking about the ridiculous plotting or the way the author claims it’s a matriarchal society but the men still seem to have all the power. I’m talking about the writing and how these people are described, because it is ridic. Every other character has “a voice filled with deep caverns and soft thunder” or “eyes filled with the summer breeze and lightning”. Plus, all of the supposedly attractive love interests have “glittering golden eyes” which can turn to “a hard yellow” when they’re angry. Gold or yellow, doesn’t matter, Anne Bishop: both are creepy and weird. In this first book the main character Mary Sue heroine is 12, which makes absolutely everyone being attracted to her that much creepier. Luckily the main love scene takes place in some kind of mental dreamscape where she is not only an adult, but also a feral unicorn maiden. So, you know, totally not sketchy.

So that book is terrible. But terrible in a way that’s hilarious and I actually enjoy, like Titanic II. This book however:

Twenty Times a Lady by Karyn Bosnak
The main character reads a magazine article about how the average woman has slept with 10 guys, and freaks out because she has slept with 20! Oh no, she’s a total ho! The only thing to do, to avoid going over the limit, is to make it work with one of those 20. So, since she’s just been laid off anyway, she goes on a ridiculous road trip across the country to “casually bump into them”. Of course, her OTL is really her cute Irish next door neighbor who totally helps her out even though she is clearly neurotic (who buys a DOG on a road trip?). If this plot sounds familiar, it’s because they’re turning it into a movie called What’s Your Number?. As bad as that trailer looks, I assure you the movie will still be 34 times better than this book. The book’s main character is stupid, bigoted, and selfish, haphazardly careening through her own life and totally unable to understand those around her. Not that I do either since most of them are ALL ABOUT her, despite her having no redeeming qualities whatsoever. This book actually made me feel insulted pretty much every minute I was reading it. Why do they think this character will appeal to women? “Oh, yes, instead of looking for a new job, I too have blown all of my severance pay to go on an unplanned roadtrip across the country just to check that all the jerks I used to date are still jerks because I’ve set some arbitrary limit for myself. After reading Cosmo.” That’s TOTALLY how women are, you guys. All the while her mother is pressuring her to find a man “because otherwise it means you’re a lesbian”–don’t even get me started on that–with the time limit of her younger sister’s wedding. A younger sister getting married before the older one? Horrors! Here is what I learned about my gender from this book:
1) Men are the single most important things in the entire universe to us. If we lack their approval, we are nothing.
2) Cosmo is the most respected source of information. Not our family and friends, not our own common sense. Cosmo.
3) Who cares about practical concerns? All we care about are our feelings! Our tumultuous, impossible to verbalize feelings!
4) When we tell other women that we’re not jealous or angry, what we really mean is that we are seething with subconscious rage.
5) So a guy cheats on you and makes you unhappy? So what! At least you have a man, without which you will never be complete as a person. So you’d better just stick with him anyway
6) A cool mom is a mom who’s okay with a interracial dating. But not homosexuality?
7) Being mistaken for a lesbian is the gravest insult society can throw at you. And it will happen if you’re not attached to a man at all times, so watch out.
So, yeah, this book, though more main stream than Planet Magic Jewel Dragon Girl, really pissed me off.

Also Reads

The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To by D.C. Pierson
This YA novel kind of had a slow plot, about a boy who can’t sleep and never has to, but I enjoyed it because the narrator, the boy’s friend, felt really realistic and practically self-interested.


Cinderella Ate my Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture by Peggy Orenstein
I will talk about what Disney Princess Culture is doing to our ideas about gender any day of the week, Peggy!

Circle of Magic: Books 2-4 by Tamora Pierce
You know you love it.

Narcissus in Chains by Laurell K. Hamilton
This was 10th in a series about Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, and I read it for book club. It was mostly descriptions of people’s leather outfits.

Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce
The first in the series about Alanna’s daughter! Can’t put my review up yet because (like every middle school project) the rest of my group is SO SLOW with doing their part.

Apocalypses: Prophecies, Cults, and Millennial Beliefs Through the Ages by Eugen Weber
The thing I most enjoyed learning from this book are the different ways people have (or haven’t) kept time throughout history.

2 responses to “June Book List”

  1. Brian says:

    “The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To” gives me hope that I can come up with some random wacky totally unpromising idea for a book and a YA publisher will actually pay me for it.

  2. Okay GOD I guess I’ll have to hurry up and finish my portion of the book report JEEZ

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