So I ended up taking a few more books than the original four I had planned on, but nothing insane. And I actually only ended up reading 3 (and a half)– kept getting distracted by my travel journal and the landscape, etc. But I was sure glad to have those books! There wasn’t a whole lot to do in our cabin, and we couldn’t even go outside because it was freakin’ HOT. And since I didn’t want to stare at the TV, and I didn’t have a computer to surf the web on, I read (and wrote in my journal).
I actually didn’t have that hard a time being unplugged as I originally thought I would. That first day– Saturday– was a little tough, since I kept looking around for something to Google on after coming across an interesting tidbit in a book. But there wasn’t anything, and so I just got twitchy for a little bit. By Sunday I was completely fine, and even sort of gloating about not needing to check my email any longer. On Monday, on the way back home, I got twitchy again thinking of all the emails I missed (78) and feeds that had updated in my absence (200+ new posts). I’m still kind of twitchy now, because I can finally Google everything I wanted to Google over the weekend, but I’m also feeling somewhat less dependent on my computer than I was before my unplugged weekend.
Anyway, I thought I’d do some mini-reviews on the books I read over my vacation.
135. Monster by A. Lee Martinez
Publication: Orbit (May 11, 2009), Hardcover, 304pp / ISBN 0316041262
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Read: June 18-19, 2010
Okay, so technically I finished this the morning before we even left for the cabin, but I’m counting it anyway since I MEANT to take it with me. I just…sort of got caught up in the story! And it moves really fast, too, which is partly why I finished it so quickly. Well, that and the fact that it’s fun. It’s got a quick plot, quirky characters, and an intriguing world with the possibility for sequels if the author is so inclined (and I hope he is). Sometimes I thought it took shortcuts explaining certain character backgrounds, but then other times I was just glad it didn’t bog the main plot down with side info. I wish Judy had gotten more of the spotlight but the book is called “Monster” and so I can understand why he was the main character instead of her. But I really liked her. I hope she gets a book of her own.
136. Off the Map by Kika Kat & Hib Chickena
Publication: Crimeth, Inc., Ex-Worker’s Collective (June 2003), Paperback, 144pp / ISBN 0970910134
Genre: Travel Memoir, Non-Fiction
Read: June 19, 2010
Off the Map would have been a book I’d have absolutely loved when I was a teenager and prone to thinking I was an anarchist, and while reading it now I don’t appreciate it in the same way my 15-year-old self would have I can see why it’s a popular travelogue for those who walk a different sort of path from the majority of Western society. And I can still appreciate it for other things than its anarchist/radical leanings; it’s a good travel memoir, about two girls going around Europe together and trying to figure out who they are and how they can best relate to each other and other people. It’s light on the repetition of who-what-where and heavy on the philosophical thinking, which isn’t for everyone, but for me was really refreshing after reading so many travel books about basically the same thing.
I also really liked how they traveled in a way so completely different from how I want to travel. They had practically no money, slept in squats and in fields, depended on the kindness of strangers for food and rides to and from places, and they didn’t even try to do the typical tourist-y things. Plus, their book was originally a zine they wrote in a squat in Italy and self-published! I admire people who make zines.
(But how horrifically ironic is it that a publication written by anarchists and published by an anarchist group is being sold on Amazon, where I in fact bought my copy? Is that funny, or scary? Both?)
137. The Salem Witch Tryouts by Kelly McClymer
Publication: Simon Pulse; Original edition (August 22, 2006), Paperback, 272pp / ISBN 141691644X
Genre: Urban Fantasy, YA
Read: June 20-21, 2010
This is a cute book, and I mostly enjoyed reading it. It had some serious issues with slang, though (does anyone even say “kewl” anymore and mean it?), and there wasn’t enough about the OMG BIG SECRET thing to interest me in reading the next book. We got hints and foreshadowings and yet nothing really happened in the actual development of that plot point. Annoying! I did like that the protagonist was a popular kid trying to be popular in her new school as well, instead of the awkward teenager trying to remake herself like every other moving-to-a-new-city YA book seems to have. Pru’s a snob, and she has such a horrible name I’m not even sure how she got popular in the first place (surely she would have been teased for that), but she’s fun to root for and if the “kewl” bombs have slowed down in the second book I might read it after all.