Monday, November 12, 2007

Perfectly Imperfect

You may not have noticed, but there’s a list to the right called “Books I’ve Loved Lately,” BILL for short. Topping it right now is Slummy Mummy by Fiona Neill, a laugh-out-loud slice of the London life of a thirty-something mother of three boys. Lucy Sweeney is meant to be a very imperfect heroine---and I did find it almost too annoying that she constantly lost credit cards and keys, ran out of gas in a car that should have been condemned as a heath hazard, and more than fantasized about Sexy Domesticated Dad, a parent at her sons’ school. She was a walking disaster. I wanted to scream, “Do some laundry! Make a list! Stop dithering!” But the pros of the book far outweighed the cons. What parent cannot identify with the thrill of finding Luke Skywalker’s inch-long light saber after months of searching? What married couple’s romantic rendezvous hasn’t been interrupted by a terrorizing toddler? The supporting characters in the book each have key roles to play, and I spent much of the night snorting with laughter (and gagging once) as Lucy mismanages her life.

I read a lot, but put very, very few books in the BILL category. Books that land there don’t have to be perfect (see above), but they must have an indescribable something. There. That’s clear as mud. What book is on your BILL list?


Hellie Sinclair said...

This book sounds hilarious. Bridget Jones has children.

Lean Mean Thirteen made your list? *agog* Man, I've had rabid fans tell me not to bother. I haven't even bothered to read the poor book yet. I'm sure it's good as her usual fare, but she admitted she's never going to change the dynamics of anything! Ugh! That'd drive me crazy!

I saw the Smoke Thief...and it looked very interesting and I wondered if the Dream Thief was just as good.

Lately, for me: Girl's Guide to Witchcraft & Sorcery & the Single Girl, by Mindy Klasky. Also: Hester Browne's book--Little Lady Agency novels. Hilarious. And British!

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Y'know, Evanovich consistently makes me laugh. There may be no surprises, but she's a comfort read for me. Torn between being a babe and a cupcake, it suits me perfectly well for no decision to ever be made. *g*

Stephanie J said...

Ditto on Klasky's books! I read the first in the trilogy awhile back and I've been waiting for Sorcery and the Single Girl so you can imagine it's on my BILL.

Haven't read it quite yet, but planning to read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil since I'll be heading to Savannah later this year! I've heard great things (about the book and the place!).

Still need to check out Evanovich

Hellie Sinclair said...

That could be the problem. I'm a Babe all the way. Morelli has his charms, as it were, but being no one's character's arc evolves, he's still that "woman-stays-home-and-makes-supper" guy chauvinist and will never help Steph be anything else. Steph is a walking nightmare and does need a keeper, however Ranger is obviously aware of that--but he doesn't try to change her or put her in a place. He just tries to teach her enough to keep her from being killed. He lets her be her own person more; more accepting without expecting or wanting anything from her. That's why I love Ranger.

Possibly why Ranger doesn't exist. He's too selfless where Steph is concerned.

Hellie Sinclair said...

But on the whole--those books always make me laugh. I just wish there was more sex with Ranger.

Tiffany Clare said...

Hellion... All Shana Abe's books are amazing, capital A!

I'm not a huge fan of campy fun books... I'm not a campy fun person... I like dark brooding heroes, that's my problem.. I'm living in a fantasy world...

No idea what's on my bill...probably a lot.

Janga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janga said...

Eloisa James's An Affair Before Christmas is at the top of my list right now. I loved the characters, which for me is the acid test. I also think EJ does something new in this one in creating a portrait not of monstrous evil that personifies nameless fears but of the kind of distorted soul that wreaks unmeasured damage in real life.

Another recent addition to my BILL is Katha Pollitt's collection of personal essays/meditations, Learning to Drive and Other Life Stories. Pollitt is a poet among other things, and her gift shows in the care with which she crafts her sentences. I found myself reading sentences aloud for the sheer pleasure of the language. One example: "Sometimes I think I would like to be a word -- not a big important word, like 'love' or 'truth,' just a small ordinary word, like 'orange' or 'inkstain' or 'so,' a word that people use so often and so unthinkingly that its specialness has all been worn away, like the roughness on a pebble in a creek bed, but that has a solid heft when you pick it up, and if you hold it to the light at just the right angle you can glimpse the spark at its core."

Terri Osburn said...

Janga - that passage is wonderful.

I can't make a BILL because that would require brain cells and I don't have any of those functioning right now. I've read the first Plum book and have to say I'm probably more in the Babe category but just knowing there isn't more sex with Ranger makes me loath to read the rest.

I'm trying to avoid catching anything about An Affair Before Christmas but it's everywhere! Dang it. LOL!

Keira Soleore said...

Maggie, the latest book in my BILL list is Devilish by Jo Beverley.

Ooh, Janga. Thank you! That passage's pure pleasure.

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Steph and Hellion, I've never heard of the Klasky books...must find them! I totally agree with Tiff that Abe is wonderful. The Dream Thief was so atmospheric I felt I was right there in those snowy mountains. I read Smoke Thief too and loved it, and you know paranormal is not really my thing.

And Tiff, you dark, broody chick, we'll have to find something to make you laugh. I'm schizo, so I like serious AND silly stuff.

Janga, what a fantastic quote. I love poetic prose. Wish I could write it! Thank you so much for sharing it.

Terrio, I got kind of Plummed out for commitment to 13 + books is tenuous...short attention span, but they do make me laugh. I've been reading reissued Evanovich lately, and she's stayed very true to form (crazy old lady, weird relatives, disorganized heroines). Hey, it works.

Keira, Jo Beverley is one of my autobuys. Love love love her. I always feel smarter when I read her.

Carey Baldwin said...

I'd have to put The Innocent by Harlan Coben there. I opened the book and loved it from the first paragraph. He drew me in that quickly.

irisheyes said...

I'm not sure what would go on my BILL list. I'm hoping one of the books will be An Affair Before Christmas! I really love the premise of this story and as soon as I can drag myself away from the computer I'm gonna dive right in.

I say Hear! Hear! to the same old same old. I have never read any of Evanovich's books but I see nothing wrong with finding a formula that works and sticking to it. There are some authors that I read consistently BECAUSE they write the same type of either hero, heroine, or storyline.

And Janga - awesome passage!

Hellie Sinclair said...

Maybe I should be more specific. I do love comfort reads--I would be just a lot happier with the Plum books if she was having her nookie with Ranger rather than Morelli. That's all.

Elyssa Papa said...

Hellion, you mean she's not having sex with Ranger?!?! Harumph.

I still love LK's Mine Till Midnight---I think it might be my top romance for the year. I'm interested to see how Anna Campbell's next book is given the controversy surrounding Courting the Courtesan last year.

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Something happened with Ranger, Ely. Do we know exactly what? Hellion will know. Evanovich writes closed-door sex and sometimes I just don't put those clues together. Morelli and Stephanie were on a "break," I think.

India, I'll put Coben on my list when I'm in an unromantic mood!.

Irish, I very much enjoyed AABC. Read it in one sitting!

Hellie Sinclair said...

I haven't read 13 yet. To be fair. But my rabid-Ranger fan friend assured me that she was "back with Morelli" in book 13. Which is awful payback considering Ranger's sacrifice in book 12. I wouldn't have left Ranger's bed for a decade if it'd been me. But I think Steph is insecure where Ranger is concerned. He's said he would ruin her for all other men; and I believe she knows he's right...and figures it's just safer to love Morelli. Less likely to ruin her for all other men. Which is cheating. *LOL* And which is a very unheroic thing for her to do...typical, but unheroic, and if the author has no desire to force the issue and the heroine refuses to make the choice we as readers (okay, BABE readers) believe to be the best choice: a relationship with Ranger, then we can't really respect her as a character now.