29 January 2009
Author: Graham Greene
Length: 247 pages
Genre: literary fiction
Plot Basics: Newspaper contest man, Hale, is murdered in the seaside resort town of Brighton. The crime does not go unnoticed and Ida Arnold, who only met Hale briefly, takes it upon herself to find justice. Her quest runs into Pinkie, the juvenile leader of a local gang/mob, who is determined to get away with him crime. Pinkie's single-mindedness runs afoul of his mob and one crime leads to another...
Banter Points: Word Nerd LOVED this book in college when she had to read it in "Valuing through Literature" class. In fact, this book turned her on to all of Graham Greene and she's read most of his famous works since then. This is the first one, though, that she's gone back and reread. She didn't like it as much the second time through -- maybe because she knew one of the big twists. It was still good, and a remarkable piece of writing.
Bummer Points: This book felt less accessible than the first time Word Nerd read it. Of course, the first time was right after being forced to read Tess of the D'Urbervilles and ANYTHING can be more accessible than that, in Word Nerd's opinion.
Word Nerd Recommendation: If you want to tackle Greene, this isn't a bad place to start, but not necessarily his best.
26 January 2009
22 January 2009
Jasper Fforde of the Thursday Next and the Nursery Crime serieses (serieses? ... oh boy...) has a new book coming out in July that has nothing to do with either of those storylines.
Word Nerd will now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
14 January 2009
For Merriam-Webster, the word of the year was "bailout," a sure sign of the financial/political times we're in.
The release and the other top ten words can be found here.
The Oxford New American Dictionary crowned their own 2008 word of the year, and it's also a sure sign of the times. Their top pick is "hypermiling." Word Nerd knows, she's never heard it either. According to the dictionary's website, "hypermiling" means: to attempt to maximize gas mileage by making fuel-conserving adjustments to one’s car and one’s driving techniques. Rather than aiming for good mileage or even great mileage, hypermilers seek to push their gas tanks to the limit and achieve hypermileage, exceeding EPA ratings for miles per gallon.
Can somebody bailout us out of this crazy lexicon lesson?
12 January 2009
Title: Backup: A Novella of the Dresden Files
Author: Jim Butcher
Genre: urban fantasy/paranormal
Length: 70 pages
Plot Basics: Thomas Raith, Harry Dresden's full-vampire, half-brother, gets to take the leading role in this novella. He's got the inside scoop on the latest trap that Harry's going to walk into, but if Thomas lets Harry in on what's going down, it's likely Harry will start another war. Thomas decides to take care of things from behind the scenes.
Banter Points: Word Nerd has always liked Thomas (ok, from the point in the series we readers find out he's Harry's bro), so seeing him as the leading man was awesome. If anything ever happens to Harry, Thomas could easily become the full time protagonist. In addition to the great writing, the book had several awesome illustrations from graphic novel great Mike Mignola.
Bummer Points: The story was only 70 pages, or about 12,000 word (so said the book jacket.) Word Nerd would have gladly read another 100,000 words about Thomas in a full-length novel.
Word Nerd Recommendation: Dresden Files fans, you can't miss this book.
09 January 2009
So far, they have made some good catches with a few timeline problems and some transitions that aren't clear, but overall (and not to get too excited here), they are responding positively to the book.
Word Nerd's taking a look at the book again herself and getting ready to dive back into full-on editing mode. She visited an old set of characters during the Christmas holiday just to keep writing. It was a fun side jaunt, but she's really ready to get back to her novel and the characters she's created there.
08 January 2009
05 January 2009
Author: Alison Rushby
Genre: chick lit
Plot Basics: Dicey seemed to have it all -- booming pajama business and a gorgeous husband. But somewhere it all goes wrong. Her sister, Titch, isn't having any luck getting pregnant with IVF and their best friend Sally, breaks her foot in a night of partying. The three decide to return to their cow-themed hometown of Moo to get away from it all. Once there, they are roped into helping with a Girl Scouts-like group and the group's activities force them to take true stock of their lives and rediscover their dreams.
Banter Points: This is a light, breezy read, which when Word Nerd picked it up, was exactly what she wanted. Looking back, the characters seem 2D and the plot sort of slow, but at the time, she didn't notice it.
Bummer Points: See above.
Word Nerd Recommendation: If you need a break from mysteries or suspense or something and like chick lit, this will do the trick.
02 January 2009
Word Nerd started reading his series about the bungling thief John Dortmunder a few years back and thoroughly enjoyed it.
The full story about Westlake can be found here.
Here's the final tallies.
2008 YTD Grand Totals
90 pages/day yearly average