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A place to talk about the books we love, hate, and are randomly thinking about reading!

What's Buzzworthy? Smart Chick Lit

Posted By Entertainment on Apr 29, 2007 at 6:59AM

After I reviewed The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, user jadenirvana put in a request for more books that fall into the elusive "thinking girl's chick lit" category. I thought that sounded like a great Buzzworthy Challenge — after all, that's one of my favorite book genres, too.

I usually bristle at the phrase "chick lit" (much like "chick flick") because I think it's come to refer to lighthearted beach reads that lack any real depth or substance. But Girls' Guide writer Melissa Bank and others prove that books about and for women can still be intelligent, well-written literature. I'd love to know which books on your shelf fit into this category. To get you started, I've bookmarked Girls' Guide along with Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld, a smart novel about a small-town girl at a prestigious East Coast boarding school.

Using BuzzSugar's cool Buzzworthy bookmarking tool, just find the books you love on the Web, bookmark them as Buzzworthy, and tag or title your choices with the phrase smart chick lit. Then, I'll post some readers' favorites next week.

To find out how to create a Buzzworthy bookmark, read more

Book Review: The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing

Posted By Entertainment on Apr 27, 2007 at 12:00PM

I'm excited about a lot of the movies premiering at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, and Suburban Girl is near the top of my list. It's based on two of the short stories from Melissa Bank's collection The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, which was one of my favorite books when it came out in 1999. It had been a while since I'd read the book, so with the movie looming, I decided to drag my old paperback off the shelf and see if the book still holds up.

And it does. Bank's books (she also wrote The Wonder Spot) are great examples of what I like to call "upscale chick lit" — well-written stories with central female characters who are intelligent, witty and unafraid to speak their minds. In Girls' Guide, the focus is Jane Rosenal, whom we first meet as a 14-year-old realizing, as she watches her brother's relationship with his girlfriend slowly disintegrate, that the quest for true love really sucks.

Jane never stops looking for love, but as she grows older she also starts trying to piece together the other components of a fulfilling life. Those interests intersect fiercely in the two stories on which Suburban Girl is based, so read more

New Harry Potter Book Cover Breathlessly Revealed

Posted By Entertainment on Mar 28, 2007 at 12:34PM

Let the rampant plot speculation begin! As reported by the AP, U.S. publisher Scholastic Inc. today revealed the cover of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and last book in the Harry Potter series. According to the word picture painted by the AP, the cover features "a dramatic gold-and-orange sky and a teenage boy in eyeglasses reaching upward."

The book, which will be released to clamoring mobs on July 21, has Harry looking a bit disheveled and gaunt, if I do say so myself. To be sure, that's quite purposeful:

"The structures around Harry show evident destruction and in the shadows behind him, we see outlines of other people," David Saylor, Scholastic's art director, said in a statement.

What do you guys think about the new cover? It looks a bit lackluster to me, but I'd be interested in hearing what clues you think it imparts about what's inside.


Book Review: Little Children by Tom Perrotta

Posted By Entertainment on Feb 27, 2007 at 10:35AM

Little Children didn't win the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay; that honor went to The Departed, which was merely adapted from another film script. But translating Tom Perrotta's novel to the screen is almost as much of a no-brainer: This book was just made to be made into a movie.

Now a critically acclaimed film starring Kate Winslet (who earned an Oscar nod for the role), Little Children pays homage to the adult suburban dystopias imagined by authors like John Cheever and The Ice Storm author Rick Moody. But here, the story is told entirely with an eye toward children, from toddler play dates threatened by a child molester to grown-ups behaving like children.

Fittingly, the storytelling style leans more toward parable than novel, which is precisely why it's better suited to film, so read more

Book Review: The Time Traveler's Wife

Posted By Entertainment on Dec 26, 2006 at 8:08AM

Though having completed "only one" novel, Audrey Niffenegger has achieved with The Time Traveler's Wife what many veteran authors have not even achieved through a collection of works: a solid, thorough, well-researched, and gorgeously told love story. She weaves the lives of Henry and Claire, a couple destined to be together throughout their entire lives, as Henry, due to a genetic quirk, defeats the confines of time and space, shuttling back and forth between his past and present. The concept is not easy to sum up quickly, but once the reader understands what Henry does, it is impossible to doubt that this is a reality. Niffenegger tells the tale from both Henry's and Claire's perspectives, and her writing is rich and vivid, poetic and visceral. The lovers' experience is ethereal and other-worldly, yet the characters themselves are achingly human and emotional creatures with whom you find yourself feeling a kinship. If you are looking for fluff, this isn't your book. But if want a love story that is both identifiable and larger-than-life, you will be changed after reading this work.

Book Review: Holidays on Ice

Posted By Entertainment on Dec 22, 2006 at 11:04PM

Because he is one of my favorite authors, it surprises me how many people still don't know about the awesome hilarity that is David Sedaris. If you’ve never read anything by him, Holidays on Ice is a great introduction, and if you’re already a fan, now is a great time to revisit some of his older (and seasonal) work.

In this collection of essays, Sedaris alternates between his own dark and funny non-fiction and purely fictional holiday-themed humor. If you’ve ever resented that “perfect” family and their annual letters probably filled with half-truths, “Seasons Greetings to Our Friends and Family!” is a highly satisfying read, presenting the downward spiral of the fictional Dunbar family in the form of their increasingly deteriorating annual Christmas letters. In “Santaland Diaries,” Sedaris describes his experiences working as a Christmas elf in a department store, highlighting in a funny/sad way how some parents view their kids as tiresome accessories.

To hear about my personal favorite essay, read more