Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I've been eking through a few books this month, doing just enough not to feel like a total deadbeat but too little to write any kind of substantial review. It's been that kind of rainy season, I'm sorry to say. I dropped the ball on Black History Month (and how regrettably so after The Help's success at the Oscars!), missed out on writing some Valentine's Day Poetry, and after watching a blithering Billy Crystal this past Sunday, realize I also ignored the chance to write about all of the fantastic books the Oscar nominated films are derived from -- Hugo, Warhorse, The Descendants, Moneyball, My Week With Marilyn, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo, Albert Nobbs: A Novella, and etc.

But you know what?
I'm not sorry. Not really.

I had a good month. I relaxed. I worked my way through Ian McEwan's glorious novel, Atonement (another Academy Award Winner), and listened to a couple of fantastic audiobooks: The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta (a 2011 NY Times, NPR, and Washington Post Notable Book of the year) and Road Dogs by Elmore Leonard. For me, both captured what's essential about the audio book: they were easy to listen to--read by great readers--and effortlessly exciting in such a way to keep you sitting in your car long after you've pulled into your driveway, trying to finish out the last few discs. It doesn't get any better than that.

Next month, I'll be better, with Reviews of NON-FICTION titles by Douglas Brinkley, Edward O. Wilson, and John Lanchester... I promise!

Monday, February 6, 2012


WHY A? There comes a time in every adult reader's life when, whether it be because of his/her kids, popular movies, or that nostalgic desire to fall back into the fictional worlds of your youth, a person finds him or herself engrossed in children's literature. You see it all the time. Cynical lawyers tearing through Harry Potter books on the ferry, parents reading a The Hunger Games volume while waiting in the doctor's office, and so on. And you know what? It's pretty awesome. Children's literature, or YA, as it goes by these days, has easily got some of the most creative, fun and readable books on the shelf. More complex than many children realize, always exciting, and always oh so clear as far as characters and plotting are concerned, if you haven't picked one up recently -- you should!-- a YA book might be just the thing you've missing.

On that note, here are few of our favorite new Y.A. books:
Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (Feiwel & Friends, $14.39, 400 pgs) -- In one of the coolest debuts in recent memory, Tacoma native Marissa Meyers takes that Cinderella tale we all know and love and throws it for a loop the size of a NASCAR track. For starters, Cinderella isn't even human. She's a cyborg. And a mechanic. And she lives in New Beijing in the midst of a terrible plague which threatens the future of the planet. Abhorred by her stepmothers who won't tell her about her mysterious past, Cinderella lives the life of a second-class citizen until one fateful day when her life becomes inextricably intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai's. Caught between love and duty, family and the future, Cinderella suddenly finds herself cast into an adventure of unimaginable scope with not only her future, but the whole planet's hanging in the balance. Think Star Wars meets The Brothers Grimm, and you're halfway there. A really fun, really thoughtful read for you or your teen! And bonus!: The author is speaking at the Poulsbo Branch of the KRL Wednesday February 8 at 3 p.m.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Dutton Juvenile, $14.39, 272 pgs) -- When you think of cancer you don't...think of love stories...especially not when the cancer-stricken are teenagers. But when two teens meet in a cancer support group held in a church basement, it happens: Gus who's lost part of his leg and is on a rollercoaster ride "that only goes up," and Hazel, whose thyroid cancer has put a satellite of metastases in her lungs and makes her feel like she's drowning, fall for one another. Finally having met someone who understands their doomed fates, the two young (and doomed) protagonists take us on a love story that's more poignant, funny and harrowing than anything I've read in years. A truly tender story wrought with a sharp pen and warm appreciation for the human condition, there's no reason to miss this #1 NY Times bestselling book. Great read for kids and adults alike. 

Lastly, don't forget -- we offer free help setting up your e-readers (Ipads, Nooks, Sony E-Readers, etc.) to download e-books from us. Stop by any Friday morning before 12 for free coffee while you get help!