July, 2006

July 2nd, 2006, 6:40 p.m. - The living dead

20. The Brief History of the Dead (Kevin Brockmeier)
In the world of The Brief History of the Dead, when people die, they don't go to Heaven or Hell. Instead, they go to a place known as the city, where they remain as someone still living remembers them. The city functions the same as earth, with people going about their normal lives, only without threat of death or harm (since the residents are, of course, already dead). However, a virus has wiped out most of humanity left on earth, so the city is clearing out of people who are being remembered. Eventually, the only people left realize that they are all remembered by one woman - Laura Byrd, who is stuck by herself in Antarctica. As long as she is alive, they can remain in the city.

The Brief History of the Dead is really an examination of how many people pass through our lives, both those who come and go quickly and those who remain for a long time. What's the significance of the people we remember? Why do we recall people who had seemingly no influence on our lives? What makes us forget others? And what does our forgetting mean for other people? It also examines the influence we have on others. For example, a girl shown kindness on earth shows kindness to someone else in the city. Does she remember the act of kindness shown to her? Did it turn her into a person she wouldn't have been otherwise? The Brief History of the Dead is probably the best book I've read so far this year. Not only is it well-written, but it's original and thought-provoking. Also, really, really creepy. And I may never drink Coke again.

Up next: Two Little Girls in Blue (Mary Higgins Clark)

10:01 p.m. - My new summer project!

Rock Star Supernova preview

July 5th, 2006, 11:38 p.m. - Insert rock-related subject here

"Let it Loose"

July 6th, 2006, 11:09 p.m. - From mountains in the north down to the Rio Grande...

"Don't Come Around Here No More"

July 11th, 2006, 11:23 p.m. - Seriously, I need that picture. And seriously, Josh, call me

"White Wedding"

July 12th, 2006, 11:03 p.m. - They shouldn't be singing Coldplay, but I can still use one of their songs as my title

"Fix You"

July 15th, 2006, 7:57 p.m. - It's like they have ESPN or something

21. Two Little Girls in Blue (Mary Higgins Clark)
Mary Higgins Clark is definitely fluff, but she's fun fluff. And though she's not the best writer, she's a very good storyteller. She also does her homework; she researches anything she's not familiar with so she can make it realistic. Two Little Girls in Blue keeps a fast pace throughout the novel; there's never a dull scene. Clark needs to stop including so many characters and put more work into her dialogue, though. People just don't talk like that. The book is about twin girls who are kidnapped; when one returns home, she continues communicating with the other through telepathy. Fortunately, Clark doesn't go overboard with that or make the book too supernatural. She also draws the characters very well, making it easy to distinguish between them, no matter how many there are.

Up next: American Bee (James Maguire)

July 17th, 2006, 6:01 p.m. - I accidentally traveled back in time to April Fool's Day, didn't I?


Also, no Veronica Mars until OCTOBER? Thanks a lot, CW.

July 18th, 2006, 5:53 p.m. - What, already?

Le Amazing Race 10 preview

July 19th, 2006, 5:41 p.m. - Join my new Go Away, Zayra Club!

"Shut Up"

11:22 p.m. - Ack, she's still around

"Like a Virgin"

July 25th, 2006, 11:06 p.m. - To join, send $5 to...

"Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers"

I kind of want him gone

July 26th, 2006, 11:58 p.m. - Scary

Happy Birthday, Erin and Jen!

So apparently if I wanted to join the Peace Corps, I wouldn't be able to because one of my wisdom teeth is horizontally impacted. Who knew that was a Peace Corps dealbreaker?

"It's All Been Done" - la cucaracha, la cucaracha...

July 29th, 2006, 5:17 p.m. - Spellbinding

22. American Bee (James Maguire)
Coincidentally, I bought this book the day that Kerry Close won the 2006 Scripps National Bee. She's featured in the book as one of five contenders in the 2005 bee. Maguire details the five teenagers' study habits, family life, and everyday activities as they prepare for the bee and attend the events surrounding it. While the book doesn't have the same intensity or suspense as the documentary Spellbound (which highlights the 1999 bee and which I highly recommend), it still gives an in-depth look at the extremely bright, hardworking, and dedicated teens and preteens who compete, some of them for years. It's as competitive as any sporting event (which is probably why it's shown on ESPN). I'm always interested in stories about spelling bees because I won my fifth-grade bee. Of course, I'm sure none of the kids I was competing against had memorized the Paideia.

Up next: The City of Ember (Jeanne DuPrau)

July 31st, 2006, 8:41 p.m. - And let Felicity Huffman take a swing at her, too

Rock on, James G. Robinson

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