Odds and Ends for the End of the Weekend

Well, blogfriends, I am creeping ever closer to the 500-post mark. And you know what that means! Some of you do, anyway. Fun times up ahead.

Let's talk books: I slogged my way through a YA book that was due Friday--and before anyone dings me on the librarian-hypocrisy thing, I totally disagree with the no-renewals-for-holds policy (there oughta be a 3-day extension at least)--and I have mixed feelings about it. I had put it on the ordering list for next year for school (and we're not gonna even think about whether I'll be there when the books arrive) but now I'm not sure.

It's called Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. It's her first novel, and while that is evident, it did raise some interesting questions about the nature of death, and even the theory of purgatory, surprisingly. I'd describe the story as what would happen if you put Mean Girls, Groundhog Day, and one of those YA-chick-lit high school series by her or her in a blender.

I don't want to give away too many details that would spoil it--I think I'd recommend it as a fluff/beach read--but it is in the Amazon description that main character, Samantha, is down to her last day on earth and she winds up reliving it seven times for reasons that are not clear at first. One thing I found really thoughtful about the story was how Sam's perspective on her way of life, her friends, her boyfriend, and her family relationships changed in light of her realization of her own mortaility. She wasn't exactly a super-nice person, but she never saw that, because her popularity validated her. Once that reappraisal of herself happens, every aspect of her life, and every aspect of her final day, is viewed in a different light.

The only scene that gave me full-on pause was the re-lived day she decides to be absolutely horrible (because nothing counts and she'll wake up on her last day again--sound familiar to anyone who's seen Groundhog Day?). She's got a hottie math teacher and I think you get the idea. I don't think that part was essential to the story, and I'm not sure I'd deem this appropriate for our school library. Other people's MMV and all that, but we've got young and good-looking faculty of both genders who AFAIK don't even entertain that sort of stuff, so the fact that the teacher acquiesced so quickly to Sam's advances was (1) outrageous and (2) really disturbing. So I have to ask my co-librarian what she thinks about that part.

Other books I'm trying to finish (and in some cases start): Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life; House of Tomorrow; Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy. Kind of a random-appearing group, I guess--stemming from things referenced in blogs and magazine articles. The last one also has something to do with just how I've been feeling lately and also a possible audition that I'm not going to discuss just yet.

In other news: It is ridiculously hot in my apartment and shows no signs of cooling down. Part of the problem is that I haven't gotten the dining room AC looked at yet. The fan doesn't seem to be bringing as much cool air in from the bedroom AC as I'd hoped. Maybe it wasn't wise for me to make a little pasta and stir-fry some chard (it was part of a farmer's market veggie bag from school--Moosewood cookbooks have all the answers about veggies) because that generated some heat, too.

Of course, The Cat is fine with the lack of AC, because she doesn't like the full effects of AC and right now is hanging out under the ceiling fan. She would never admit that 78 is a bit too warm for her, but she is spread out like a strip of bacon on the floor.

Relief (maybe in the form of a storm) is supposedly on the way, but it's still going to be warmer than usual for this time of year. I don't have much of my warm weather clothing out, so it's a bit of a hassle. But I'll take low 80s over high 80s in any event!

Gotta go get ready for tomorrow--last week with the seniors before they start internships--but first a little good-natured teasing for CCR: Go Flyers!


maggie said…
My sister just told me that the bookstore workers at the store next to her job ALL recommended The Maze Runner. (YA, I think) You heard of it? I'm putting a hold on it, but it sounds like one of those dystopian bummers everyone is loving right now.
ccr in MA said…
Hey, I would never tell you not to root for your team! Just like *I* won't stop saying Go Bruins!

I haven't read Before I Die, but your description made me wonder: did you read If I Stay? Not exactly similar, but I wonder what your take would be. I liked it, but I don't have the school background or exposure to kids that you do.

I also have to get summer clothes out. It was much too warm for jeans yesterday!
Kate P said…
Maggie: I had not heard of it--mixed reviews, it looks like, among the school library magazines and such that are saying, "Read 'Hunger Games' instead." And the premise is awfully similar to "Incarceron," which I really liked except for the abrupt ending. . . but they're all planned trilogies nowadays so what's the difference? I'll have to see if there's any other buzz around it.

CCR: FLYERS! Hee hee hee. I haven't read "If I Stay," either. It didn't appeal to me, but the WSJ did a big article on "dark" books like that for YA and why they're so popular. Being the library-nerd that I am, I just checked the circ stats on our copy (from home--nerdy!) and it has circulated twice since we got it in Sept. I blame part of that on our inability to keep new books visible once returned.

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