Monday, August 11, 2008

Updates and notes, August 11, 2008

  • I'm back from the beach, and had a wonderful time and perfect weather the whole week. I love reading on the beach; there's not much that's more relaxing than lying in a beach chair, reading a book, listening to the surf, smelling sand and salt water and caramel corn and Thrashers' french fries, and occasionally taking a dip to cool off.

    I had some great recommendations for beach reads, but I ended up buying two books that weren't on the list. (I look forward to reading some of your recommendations soon, though!) The first one was an adult science fiction book, Sojourn (Time Rovers, Book 1) by Jana G. Oliver, published by independent Canadian publisher Dragon Moon Press. I'm not going to write a full review, because my goal was to read something at the beach that I didn't feel like I had to review, but I will say that I enjoyed it. The characters were interesting, the plot exciting (time travel, Jack the Ripper, and shapeshifters!), and multiple subplots across two time periods were tied together well. The only thing I didn't like was some time-lag induced hallucinations experienced by the protagonist, which I found a little too bizarre for my taste. In spite of the shape shifting aspect, this is more science fiction than fantasy; when the shape shifting is finally explained late in the book, the explanation is more scientific than fantastical. The other book I read I won't mention by name, since I dont like to trash books publicly, especially when they weren't sent to me for review. But after 70 pages of mostly complicated, detailed backstory, I gave up on it.

    I got back from vacation to find two packages with review copies waiting for me. One of them was The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, a book which I've been wanting to read since I've read so many great blog reviews of it, and which I requested. The other was the mass market paperback edition of a luscious looking adult fantasy called Acacia, by David Anthony Durham. I've never heard of Acacia, but it looks great and I'm looking forward to reading it. Why oh why couldn't these books have arrived before my vacation? I started on The Hunger Games almost immediately, and I'm now 2/3 of the way through it and do not want to stop reading to do anything else!

  • A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the Brightspirit Relief Fund auction, a charitable auction in honor of a 10-year-old girl named Emmy Cherry, who died in the tornadoes in Arkansas earlier this year. I just received word that Rick Riordan has contributed some autographed books and a t-shirt to the auction! With items from superstars Erin Hunter and Rick Riordan,; as well as several other great authors, it looks like this could be a great auction! But we could still use more contributions. We'd love contributions of any auctionable items from anyone, but I'd especially love to see more contributions from authors and illustrators, since there's such a literary focus to this auction. Lynn, of Vintage Books in Russellville, Arkansas, the amazing woman who is my contact with the Brightspirit Relief Fund, also asked me to pass on that the fund is going to be set up as an endowment with a distribution fund under the Arkansas Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, which means that all donations will be tax deductible as charitable contributions.

  • I also recently posted about the distressing lack of monarch butterflies this year. I'm happy to report that it looks like the butterflies are back, at least in Ruth land. We returned from our vacation to find a monarch butterfly fluttering around our garden, and a mess of monarch eggs on milkweed plants throughout the garden. We brought some of the eggs in, and already have a couple of tiny hatchlings!

  • On School Library Journal, Bonnie Kunzel gives a great overview of the many excellent YA science fiction titles out there. As a long-time sf reader, I'm happy to see so many books in the genre being published for teens. Warning: a couple of the brief descriptions give spoilers.

Monarch butterfly photograph copyright 2008 Sheila Ruth. All rights reserved.
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