I received a review copy of Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History — Without the Fairy-Tale Endings by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie from Quirk Books.

Honestly, I feel like I shouldn’t even have to write a review for this one. Doesn’t the title sell it enough? What’s not to like?

In all seriousness though, this book was great. I found myself rationing stories so that it would last just that little bit longer. It was well-researched and informative, but McRobbie’s telling adds a sassy voice to the tales that’s often missing from other representations of historical royal figures.

The princesses in Princesses Behaving Badly aren’t necessarily the Disney role models á la Mulan or Brave, but they’re still great examples of female strength and leadership.

Just go read it. It’s fun and funny and informative (and it has a kickass title).

Lexicon — Review

January 18, 2014

Lexicon by Max Barry was my first read of 2014. It’s a supercool book — part language/word geek out and part spy thriller and part something completely new. And to make it even cooler I got it as part of Book Riot’s first Quarterly box, so my copy came with a bunch of handwritten post-it note annotations from Barry himself. Can you feel the awesome from where you are, because this book radiates it.

I don’t want to say too much, or I’ll start giving things away, but let’s just say there is an organization of people, let’s call them “poets” who know how to use words. How to really use them in order to influence people.

Something horrible has happened far away and, somehow, a word is responsible.

There are a few key characters and it’s interesting to see just how they all play their part.

That’s all you’re getting from me. Seriously, go read it. There are lots of twists and turns and fun bits for word/linguistics/poetry nerds.

Poindextrix in Philadelphia

January 15, 2014

So here I am in Philadelphia.

I realized over the summer That those extra classes I was taking would enable me to graduate from my library science program a semester ahead of schedule. Since my lease was ending and i didn’t want to incur a semester’s worth of unnecessary student loan debt, it seemed like the right thing to do.

I picked Philly for a number of reasons. There are some that I’m not quite ready to share here, but I’ll let you in on the others: Philly has tons of cultural heritage institutions where I could potentially find work and there are fewer library schools in the area with graduates all vying for positions. Philly is also a bit closer to home, so I can see family and friends in the DC area more often. And finally, I think New York and I just needed a break for a while. Living there by myself was certainly an experience, but New York is intense and I think I need to dial it down a bit. Also, with no job and no student loans, I couldn’t really afford to live there, now could I?

But Philly! Philly is great. It’s a city, but it isn’t quite as crazy as New York (or maybe it is, just in a different way). I’m still getting used to things (I’m using tokens for the train/bus, guys. Tokens.), but my apartment is cute and I’ve gotten my library card, so I’m settling in.

I don’t think much will change here. It’ll be the same old Poindextrix ramblings, just from my new locale.

Books from the End of 2013

January 5, 2014

Hello treasured readers! I’ve been MIA for a while, but I think I have a fairly good excuse. I was finishing up school and had final projects and a portfolio and all that, but also — I moved! More on that later…

Despite all the insanity, I didn’t stop reading (I just stopped writing about reading for a little bit). At this point I’m not sure I want to do full reviews of all the books I’ve read but not written about, so instead this is just going to be a little bit of a wrap-up of sorts.

The Ruby Red trilogy by Kerstin Gier.

The trilogy follows Gwyneth — a girl with a time-traveling gene who is unexpectedly thrust into a world of intrigue as she tries to balance everything in her life and make sense of the inner workings of a secret organization. But the stakes are way higher than she could have imagined and she isn’t sure who she can trust. I really enjoyed this trilogy. I think the characters are interesting and it’s a great concept.

The biggest issue I had with these books was their titles. These books have time travel and talking ghosts and tons of intrigue, yet the titles give no hint of that. I think it’s such a great and somewhat unexpected YA trilogy (it’s paranormal/sci fi, but not in the more usual ways and the protagonist is strong and likable, while still reading as a “typical teenage girl”), but there’s nothing to hook the readers. A great title is what makes you take a book off of a shelf and at least see if you’re interested. I think that the titles might cause these books to be passed by, and that’s really unfortunate.

The books are Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue, and Emerald Green and I really do recommend them.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.

I liked this book, but reading it was a very slow endeavor. I kept falling in and out of it and for some reason when that happens I often have less to say about those books. This book was short listed for the Booker prize though, so take that for what it’s worth.

I liked the two stories, but I felt like it took too long to reach the climactic scenes of the book. We are so eager to find out what happened and see the convergence of the two stories, but it seems like it’s constantly in the distance. I really think that the last quarter of the book had the most action and some readers might not be willing to invest time in a book where the action is so often delayed.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.

I finally got around to reading this and it was just as weird and eerie as I wanted it to be. Once you get into the story it’s kind of oddly predictable, but I don’t think that quality detracts from the story at all. It’s a short and good read. Bring it on your next long bus/car ride and you’ll be good to go.

Flash and Dazzle by Lou Aronica.

I received an e-galley of this book from NetGalley and I’m so glad. The book is unexpected and great and incredibly sad. It is really just spectacular and I definitely recommend it. Just be prepared for a bit of an emotional rollercoaster.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

I was reading this book at roughly the same time as Flash and Dazzle, so I was basically just an emotional wreck. There is so much that I could say about this book, but I don’t even know where to start. I think that The Bloggess said it very well, so I’m just going to link to her post about finishing the book instead of trying to articulate my thoughts and feelings (so many feelings).

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh.

This is the long-anticipated (by me, anyway) book that grew out of Allie Brosh’s blog Hyperbole and a Half.  I knew that I would love it as soon as I found out it was going to happen and pre-ordered it accordingly (fun fact: if you’re like me and have the memory of a goldfish, pre-ordering awesome books is like buying presents for yourself in that one day you will receive a package and have no idea what is inside. Then BAM! Awesome book!). Brosh writes about life in all its ridiculousness and tragedy and brings humor to everything. It’s really just fantastic and I will sit here (im)patiently waiting for the next book.

OK, that was longer than I anticipated, so I think my life update will have to be a separate post. These are the books I read at the end of 2013. I’m possibly forgetting some, but it should give you a good idea of what I’ve been reading.