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48 Hour Book Challenge, Update 2

June 5, 2011

Red Glove by Holly Black

  • So good. Even better than White Cat.
  • In terms of plotting and worldbuilding, White Cat was outstanding and I did really like the book overall. The first person narration didn’t always work for me, though. There were times it felt a little too forced, too specific. In Red Glove, perhaps because we dive straight into the story already knowing about how cursework works and Cassel’s family, I had no problems with the narration and the plotting was just as excellent as it was in White Cat.
  • Red Glove is simply outstanding.
  • And there were some parts that had me thinking, “I don’t remember White Cat being this funny.” Not that Red Glove is humorous by any means, but there were some lines I found quite amusing.
  • Also, so much crossover appeal for adults who don’t usually read YA.

To Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story by Casey Scieszka and Steven Weinberg (YA Non-Fiction)

  • Oh, this was a fun read. Scieszka (yes, she is Jon’s daughter) narrates and Weinberg illustrates their experiences working and traveling around the world.
  • Very personable, engaging, likable narration. It’s like reading the really awesome blog of a person you’ve never met, but would love to be friends with.
  • They met in Morocco, where both were spending part of their junior year of college. Stayed in touch, had a long-distance romance. And even though neither was sure exactly what they wanted to do after graduating, they did know they wanted to go abroad again, be creative, and be together. First stop: teaching English in China.
  • The China section? Hilarious. Their students!
  • The Mali section? More depressing, but also more affecting.
  • Visually, I sort of wish the font used in the book was less traditional and looked handwritten instead. And in terms of the narrative, that we learned more about the countries they spent time in (there are some incidental mentions, where history and politics are mentioned briefly because, for example, they’re in Mali during a presidential election). Or maybe I’m just saying this because the last travelogue I read was Ian Frazier’s (excellent) Travels in Siberia.
  • More for older teens, because I think some of the themes would resonate more with them. Uncertainty about what the future holds and who you really are and what you want to do. Plus, the romance of living overseas and the actual romantic relationship between Scieszka and Weinberg. Also, some profanity and lots of beer drinking.
  • Mostly positive experiences, but don’t shy away from discussing the bad ones.

Food in History by Reay Tannahill (Adult Non-Fiction)

  • I started reading this a couple of weeks ago and have been gradually working my way through it. It’s actually very readable and extremely fascinating; I just deliberately paced my reading until last night, when I decided to finish the rest in one swoop.
  • Reading this reminded me of how I don’t think some fantasy and historical fiction utilizes food enough in their worldbuilding.
  • Or maybe I just like to read about food.
  • I blame Little House in the Big Woods and the Boxcar Children for that.
  • Anyway, if I ever, for whatever reason, hit my head or get swept off a boat or whatever and find myself traveling through time, between this book and Poop Happened, I have decided that medieval Europe is the last era I want to end up in.
  • (Although that picture—engraving? etching?—on p. 183 of the 1989 paperback edition of Food in History is hilarious. Not from or about the medieval period, but funny nevertheless.)
  • My second most undesirable era would be as poor person during the Industrial Revolution.

Reading time: 8 hours 3 minutes

Blogging time: 54 minutes

Total 48 Hour Book Challenge Time: 15 hours 42 minutes

Source of all three books: public library.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2011 2:43 am

    The first two books on your list are WAY, way, way, way bumped up on my TBR. The last one sounds fab; the last non-fic history book I read was about the Victorian history of poisoning each other, so hey! Food history will be a much nicer topic.

    • June 5, 2011 1:29 pm

      Okay, I’m intrigued. What is “the Victorian history of poisoning each other”?

  2. June 5, 2011 10:22 am

    I put To Timuktu on my list when I first heard about it ages ago–I’m glad to know I really do want to read it!

  3. June 18, 2011 3:57 pm

    I bought To Timbuktu when I was in NYC recently at Books of Wonder and the two authors were there signing and they were so much fun to listen to! They were what motivated me to buy the book and I’m so glad to hear it lived up to its premise.


  1. My take on two new translated books, « The YA YA YAs

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