Recently read (and listened to)

It's been awhile since I've mentioned what books I've been reading - and listening to since I now utilize a local library's online audio library.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman: I'm not sure how I missed reading this years ago. Creepy and fantastic, I would have adored this as a child (I've always liked dark and scary things!). The illustrations would have sent me reeling and now that I've seen what the film is looking like, I'm a little torn. The film previews look stunning, especially having worked in stop-motion myself, I have a good idea of just how dedicated these artists are. If you need 'keys' for the previews, go here.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken: Another classic author that I missed out on. Our library had an old edition, and I can't turn down anything with an Edward Gorey cover... sadly he did not illustrate the inside. A little tough to get into, but a rewarding story where the characters actually do suffer hard times and scary situations - very victorian, but far more action packed! I'll be reading more of Joan Aiken.

Big Little by Leslie Patricelli: Adorable board book, one of a series of really successful and simple (as they should be!) board books. Let's all remember that board books should NOT be a shrunken best-selling picture book, even though the big booksellers really want us to buy into that new notion.

Ba Ba Ha Ha by Zimm (aka Robert Zimmerman): Gloriously simple and engaging board book, reissued (and lovingly self published) by Zimm. I can't wait to hand this first book off to my baby - and to give this as a gift to other new mommies. I loved reading about how the book became a wanted item after it's initial publishing run, and how Zimm made all the efforts to reissue a safe-to-chew version.

Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer: Ok, so admit that I did read all 4 of these, along with every other teenage girl in the nation. And many of us a bit older... Sure, they were entertaining, and as a complete series I can't really complain. However, that first book had me cringing all the way through at the controlling, misogynostic vibe I got from the lead's 'true love'. What a let down girls will have if they expect this is what love is! I felt like Bella was just a broken horse by book 2 (which was probably my favorite, dark person that I am!) I don't want to spoil much for those few people who haven't yet read the books, but I will say that I think the author could have made the final book a bit more tragic - just to offset the syrupy sweetness of other moments.

Morningside Heights by Cheryl Mendelson: Back to some adult reading... Light but engaging novel about an area of Manhatten near Columbia University, and the families that settle there. Part of a series of 3 books (I started with the second book Love, Work, Children somehow, and am now on the last, Anything for Jane) Sometimes I truly miss living in an urban area and these books let me wish-fulfill without moving or losing the peace and quiet of rural/suburban life. She builds great characters that you want to follow across the generations.

Sofie Metropolis Series, 1 - 3: And here begins what I've been listening to while working. I like to listen to campy chick-lit/mystery - yup, that's right! If it's lively and theatrical in production, I can follow along. Otherwise, I drop off to sleep when I should be painting with vigor. There is such an art to the audio book. My biggest complaint is that they switched the reader by book 3. I was so attached to the first reader that it took me quite awhile to adjust. Fun private-eye mysteries, greek style. I wish that 4th book would come out on audio already!

Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot: Fun first book in a series by the author of Princess Diaries and many many other YA and Adult books. Well read, and enjoyable - if you like Nancy Drew and grew up with Tiffany and NKOTB - you'll dig.

Body Surfing by Anita Shreve: I adore Anita Shreve books, but I'm not sure how I feel about 'listening' to her. As a listen, this was not one of her best novels. She's had a few misses over the years, perhaps this was one of them. It was by no means terrible, perhaps just a little too sentimental and dreary for my tastes. I'm never a fan of 'weak' central female characters and this one headed that way for me - widow or not!