The Ant King and Other Storiesby Benjamin Rosenbaum 2008 (228 pgs)
Wonderful magical stories ranging from the title story featuring a modern day Orpheus and Eurydice wandering through ant tunnels that are possibly hidden in a video game, to the strangest Austen story you’ve ever seen set in a cottage on a precancerous mole, a manor carved into a rotten molar, and the perilous journey in between. My favorite was Start the Clock, where a gang of 9 year olds (who’ve been 9 for 25 years after a virus freezes everyone at the age they were) shop for real estate in Pirateland. But every one of the stories was fun.
Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughan (#4 in the Kitty Norville series) 2008 (326 pgs)
When her mom calls with a cancer scare, werewolf DJ Kitty breaks her banishment from Denver and risks the wrath of her former Alpha to rush to her mom’s side. And then things get complicated. Kitty finds herself smack dab in the middle of not just a werewolf power struggle, but a vampire one as well. Kitty has to figure out who’s pulling the strings; how to keep from becoming anyone’s pawn; and keep herself, her boyfriend, and her family alive in the process.
When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris 2008 (323 pgs)
In Sedaris’s newest collection of essays, even the dust jacket is funny. In fact, get it just for that. Sedaris touches on why you should never take your parents to an art gallery, the perils of talking to your neighbors, the angst of being the worst student in your language class, and how quiting smoking can kill you, among other topics.
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach 2008 (319 pgs)
Roach writes the best kind of science- compulsively compelling and delightfully accessible. In her third book, she delves into the history and current state of sex research. With short sections ranging from artificial insemination of farm animals to the study of rats in polyester pants (really!). Extremely informative, occasionally shocking, often hilarious, and always entertaining, Roach knows how to present science in a way that keeps you coming back for more.
Clementine’s Letter by Sara Pennypacker, with pictures by Martha Frazee 2008 (150 pgs)
Clementine is back for her third high-energy, low-attention-span adventure. She’s just getting the hang of third grade and all its rules when her teacher announces he may be leaving for Egypt. He’s nominated for a study abroad program, and all the students are asked to write letters saying why their teacher should be picked. So Clementine write a doozy. And then she sits back and hopes her anti-nomination letter will convince the judges not to send her teacher away. Meanwhile, she’s stuck with a new teacher whose rules she just can’t understand. Bring on the hijinks.
Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman’s Skiff by Rosemary Mahoney 2007 (273 pgs)
Enjoyable travelogue of a woman’s frustrated efforts to row solo from Aswan to Luxor. She wants to experience the Nile they way ordinary people have for milennia: by self-powered rowboat. It’s an interesting shift in focus; she’s not preoccupied with the architecture and historical sites. She’s looking to connect with the everyday people who make their livings within reach of the Nile as well as make her own connection to the river. Along her journey, she ruminates on the epic force of this life-enabling river throughout history and touches on historical travellers experiences, which makes for an interesting read.
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Communists by Gideon Defoe 2006 (176 pgs)
A re-read of the hilarious third adventure of The Pirate Captain and his stalwart crew- including The Pirate With the Scarf, The Albino Pirate, and The Pirate With the Nut Allergy. Hijinks ensue as they try to rescue Karl Marx (he of the alarming hairyness) from the mysterious statuesque blonde women who seem determined to blame the Communists for drowning kittens and bad weather, among other things.