Back at work, steadily plugging away, very very grateful that the long holiday weekend turns this into a very short work week! Only two and a half days until the weekend again -- well, no, less than two now, since I already survived most of today. And so, in the spirit of survival, a reading recap of the last three days.
1. A Great and Terrible Beauty
by Libba Bray -- Historical YA about a 16-year-old Gemma, raised in India and sent to a cold boarding school in Victorian England after her mother's mysterious death -- an event she somehow witnessed in a vision. Who is Circe? What is the Order? And will Gemma make any friends? I liked this, and had to keep myself from racing through the plot to enjoy the writing. Good, solid YA, that could easily be read and enjoyed as adult literature.
by Tucker Malarkey -- Billed as a female Da Vinci Code
, but much much MUCH more literary and intelligent, this novel also features a protagonist named Gemma reeling from the death of a parent -- this time, her father, whose unexpected demise in Egypt while on the trail of a mystery he promised would change their lives leads Gemma to leave post-Blitz London for the heat of Cairo, and the exciting search for the Gnostic Gospels. So very much better written than The Da Vinci Code
, and a more satisfying mystery for being based on actual facts -- the early Christian church's removal of the gospels they deemed unacceptable to their teachings, thus codifying Christianity as a religion with laws, hateful of women -- the very opposite of what the Gnostic Gospels, rediscovered, told Jesus preached against. I finished this on the beach on Tuesday, and it lead to an actual discussionn with my mom about the church. Interesting.
3. Girl in Development
by Jordan Roter -- After that heady stuff, I read the frothy and completely forgetable Girl In Development
, about a recent high school grad whose uncle gets her a Hollywood internship, where she -- gasp! -- falls in love with the wrong guy, makes some stupid mistakes, makes some friends, goes shopping, and writes a brilliant treatment for a movie. Nothing new, just fun.
4. Salaam Paris
by Kavati Daswani -- Then, on the train home last night, I read Salaam, Paris
, about a Muslim girl from Mumbai who watches the classic Audrey Hepburn Sabrina
, falls in love with the idea of Paris, spurns an arranged marriage, and falls into supermodel stardom on her way towards happiness, with a detour through family disapproval. Again, frothy fun, but well written, with an insightful look into an unfamiliar culture, and a chick lit heroine who doesn't drink, smoke, or believe in premarital sex.
Over the course of the long weekend, I also watched Hustle & Flow
, Superman Returns
(as noted previously), The Perfect Score
, Dark City
, the first half of Crash
before I turned it off as hateful and annoying, and the cheesy and I think miscast The Cutting Edge 2: Going for the Gold
. It's amazing I got anything else done!