reading list 2010

New books: 27 ( 9,291 pgs )

Longest book: Inkdeath (656 pgs)
Shortest book: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (40 pgs)
Oldest book: Persuasion (1818)
Newest book: The Adventures of Rusty & Ginger Fox (November 2010)
Best book: Cutting for Stone
Best children’s/YA book: The Hunger Games
Worst book: The Adventures of Rusty & Ginger Fox
Most disappointing book: Every Last One

Austen, Jane. Persuasion
Broach, Elise. Masterpiece
Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. Sherlock Holmes
Epstein, Adam Jay, and Andrew Jacobson. The Familiars
Funke, Cornelia. Inkdeath
Gaiman, Neil. Coraline
Henson, D.B. Deed to Death
Irving, Washington. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Kidd, Sue Monk. The Secret life of Bees
Lofting, Hugh. The Story of Doctor Doolittle
Mull, Brandon. Keys to the Demon Prison
Nix, Garth. Lirael
Ostermeyer, Tim. Adventures of Rusty & Ginger Fox
Pears, Iain. Stone’s Fall
Quindlen, Anna. Every Last One
Ryan, Carrie. The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Stoker, Bram. Dracula
Turner, Megan Whalen. The Thief
Undset, Sigrid. Kristin Lavransdatter I: The Bridal Wreath
Verghese, Abraham. Cutting for Stone
Westerfeld, Scott. Leviathan
Xinran. The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices
Yancey, Rick. The Monstrumologist
Zahn, Timothy. Dragon and Thief

Collins, Suzanne. Catching Fire
Collins, Suzanne. Mockingjay

Previous: 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004


Adventures of Rusty and Ginger Fox

by Tim Ostermeyer

{ 2010 | Synergy Books | 48 pgs }

On Amazon this book has all 4- and 5-star reviews. While the pictures are quite stunning (and adorable), the book as a whole is mediocre at best. I think that, intentional or not, people are more likely to view a book favorably when they’ve received a copy to review. The other possibility is that people are just easily impressed and have poor taste. Which do you think it is?

My first complaint is that the author is listed as “Master Photographer and Author.” As far as I can tell, “master photographer” is more of a title one gives oneself than an actual certification of any sort, so it seems rather pompous of Ostermeyer to bill himself as such. To be fair, his photographs are very well-done. Baby foxes romping through the forest? Yes, please!

My second complaint is the “story” of Rusty and Ginger, two red foxes who go exploring. The writing is absolutely miserable. It’s fun to read facts about each new animal the foxes encounter, but these are side-notes to the story itself; when the foxes come across a treasure chest on an island and then enlist the aid of two little girls to open it, that’s going too far. The nail in the coffin was when the girls decide to share the money in the chest with the poor. You surely know that I’m a big advocate of helping others, but what does the girls’ generosity have to do with a book about foxes?!

My third complaint is the design of the book. Someone had a little too much fun with Photoshop effects. I don’t know how to describe it very well – it looks like most of the pictures have been “watercolored” around the edges to make room for the text. The title of the book is not only a hideous color, but it’s been “textured” to look like…I can’t even tell. It looks ridiculous. On the frontispiece is “This Book Belongs to _____” and its counterpart at the end of the book is “Have a Nice Day!” Wow.

I will say, the Bwun enjoyed looking at the pictures. So there you have it. This book is great for one-year-olds and those who have no sense of good writing or aesthetics.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Adventures of Rusty and Ginger Fox to review, but that didn’t influence my opinion. Obviously.


The Familiars

by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson

{ 2010 | HarperCollins | 368 pgs }

The Familiars is the first Harry Potter-inspired book I’ve enjoyed. It has just enough similarities to the Harry Potter universe to be engaging for a young Harry Potter fan, but plenty of its own charm and ingenuity. (Also, it was co-written by authors whose last names start with E and J, the last two letters I needed for my 2010 reading challenge. Perfect!)

The main character here is Aldwyn, an alley cat who is mistaken for a familiar (a wizard’s companion) in a magical pet store. He bonds with his young loyal (the wizard who chose him) instantly, but disaster soon strikes and Aldwyn must continue to pass himself off as a magical creature while he and two other familiars try to save the world. I would give you more detail, but – that would spoil it.

As I understand, Sony Pictures is working on a movie adaptation. You know what? I think I’ll probably go see it! In the meantime, you should read the book.