Thursday, July 30, 2009

Shelf Monkey Challenge Book #1

A while ago I found a contest on Shelf Monkey about reading 7 books that you would normally not read. Taken from his blog:
The point of Critical Monkey is very simple: take a book (or author) you've always avoided, for whatever reason, and force yourself to read it. Then, post a review, link to it in my comments section, and once a month I'll post an update for all participants. We're going for seven reviews over the course of a year, to correspond to the seven stages of grief:
  1. Shock (one review)
  2. Denial (two reviews)
  3. Bargaining (three reviews)
  4. Guilt (four reviews)
  5. Anger (five reviews)
  6. Depression (six reviews)
  7. Acceptance (seven reviews)
So, being someone that has snickered at romance novel covers in the grocery store, and scoffed at mass market mysteries and legal dramas, I decided maybe I should give this a try.

My first entry in this challenge is actually a set of two novels

Generation Dead
Generation Dead: Kiss of Life

Okay, judging from the cover art, its pretty obvious these books are meant for teenagers, but while wandering around Walmart waiting for my oil to be changed, the cover-art caught my eye and I happened to pick it up. The book wound up in the cart and then in my suitcase on my Seattle trip.

The Story: Zombies are real! Across the world, newly deceased teenagers have started to come back and instead of chewing on some fresh brains, they really just want to go to school and "live" their lives. One living girl, Phoebe, takes an interest in an undead football player and things get interesting from there.

My initial thoughts: Honestly, the first few chapters were pretty hard to get through. The writing really isn't stellar, but once I used my "Twilight"skills and turned on "skim-mode," I was able to skip the Teen speak and get right to the heart of the story.

Final Thoughts: I became kind of addicted. So much so, that after I finished Gen. Dead, I put the next book on hold at the library, and finished that one in a matter of days. Both do a really nice job of showing the struggle for basic human rights, and like the best fantasy, we realize this mirrors the struggle minority and BLGT students are in right now.

The author does a really nice job of fleshing out this zombified "universe," even going so far as to talk about interviews with pro & anti-zombie factions. There are several segments with realistic portayals of families that have had their child "come back" and the consequences of their decisions. The more liberal families welcome the child back with open arms, but others refuse to acknowledge "its" existence. A lot of time is spent detailing the lack of rights for the "differently biotic." Zombie Hate Crimes run rampant, and with no representation in the government, this is a group who have no voice.

Would I recommend them: I'd say yes. I would recommend implementing ye olde "skim mode" to get through the teen angst, athough this had WAY less than some better known teen books. These aren't meant to be Shakespeare....or even J.K. Rowling for that matter, but they are a interesting and engaging read that help open the mind of the reader using new and creative ways.

Plus, any novel that has zombies is pretty cool in my book. ;-)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Updates and Good Memories

Wow.......let's just say I've been busy.

Some updates then:

1. No new animal urination to report (although Brenda was pooped on by a bird while waiting for Harry Potter
2. One week long trip to Seattle completed. Three words. Beautiful. Fun. COLD!
3. Half week trip to Chicago completed.
4. Sister married to a great guy.
5. Good friend married too...and the wedding actually made me cry.
6. Work sucks big time.
7. Transformers 2 also sucked big time.
8. Harry Potter was pretty sweet.
9. Total books read: 10
10. And I'm just coming off a really great, much needed, relaxing weekend.

So since I'm not even sure where to begin, I'll just talk about this weekend, because I can't remember a time I've been this happy with one.

Friday night was really just absolutely lovely. And coming off a horrible workweek, it made it all the better. After eating Mexican food at Los Compas, we headed over to Craig's apartment and we just sat around, chatting, playing a few games and watching some random stuff on television. Sounds lame, right? Except it wasn't. It was wonderful.

I have missed hanging out with boys. I know that I live with two boys, but I suppose that's not quite the same. Three years ago, I barely even had any girls TO do things with. Brenda lived in the Burg and Nikki hadn't moved here yet. Back then, all I ever did was hang out with my guys. My best memories are of us hanging out at Alex's or Tom's apartments, playing Guitar Hero and watching movies. I do pretty much exactly the same thing with my girls now, being with three boys gave me a chance to enjoy the "guy" conversations.

So thank you Craig, Kevin, and Daniel for letting me in on your guy time, and giving me some more good memories.