Monday, August 3, 2015

Book Bingo, Second Card, Third Row

HORROR: Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk [Recorded Books audiobook: 7.5 hr, narrated by Richard Poe].

I've been meaning to read something by Palahniuk for a long time. What I expected was dark satire and that's pretty much what I got with Lullaby. The premise is that a journalist investigating crib deaths discovers that there's a culling song in a book of collected poems from around the world. The song has the power to kill. The journalist has rage issues. Do you see where this is going?

There's also a realtor who flips haunted properties. "Blood running down your kitchen walls? Well, of course you shouldn't have to live with that." (Nor a severed head that bounces down a stairway at night, nor a biting phantom doberman, nor a severed hand that crawls out of the garbage disposal...)

The realtor's secretary is a flaky new-ager. Mona made a Hopi medicine bag using a design in a book called Traditional Tribal Hobby-Krafts. "The fun part about primitive crafts is they're so easy to make while you watch TV," Mona says, "And they put you in touch with all sorts of ancient energies and stuff."

I listened to the first 15 chapters in audio, but then switched to the print book for the rest. The first person narration in the crass voice of a boorish man - "she had a decent little pooper in tight jeans" - was a bit too full-on with the addition of audio's visceral quality to the reading experience. In the end, I was surprised by how much I liked the book.

HISTORICAL FICTION: Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass

Here's another book that surprised me, mostly because the cover doesn't do it justice. ("With an Ugly Cover" is actually one of my categories on this bingo card, but I found one that was even worse than this. Stay tuned.)

Canadian author Karen Bass set this realistic page-turner in post-WWII East Germany, where a 16-year-old boy dangerously rebels against the Soviet occupation in Leipzig. My YA book club will be discussing this soon, and I've heard positive feedback from other members already.

WRITTEN BEFORE 1700: The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare [Arkangel Complete Shakespeare audiobook: 3 hr, full cast recording].

The reason I chose to listen to this play in particular is because I saw that Jeanette Winterson's new book coming out in October, The Gap of Time, is a retelling of The Winter's Tale.

In Shakespeare's version, there's a king whose jealousy gets so out of hand that he imprisons his wife and orders their newborn daughter killed (because he believes she is a bastard). And another king who gets bent out of shape because his son has fallen for a shepherd's daughter (who is actually the baby princess, all grown up). The shepherd's daughter is so beautiful and so well-mannered because of course her royal breeding comes through. (Yeah, right.) Anyway, it's entertaining and even the tyrants get to live happily ever after.

Full cast audio recordings are the best, by the way. I felt like I was at the theatre, totally engrossed in the fancy language. Music between scenes was a nice touch.

A PARODY: Fun with Kirk and Spock by Robb Pearlman.
(See previous Book Bingo post.)

BY OR ABOUT A CELEBRITY: The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae [Simon and Schuster Audio: 5 hr, 50 min, narrated by the author].

Authors narrating their own memoirs are also the best, especially when they are like Issa Rae, who has oodles of comedic talent. Her essays in this book draw on her experiences growing up in the USA with an African American mother and Senegalese father. Check out her show on YouTube.

More book bingo posts can be found here.

No comments: