Thursday, April 12, 2007

Shopaholic and Baby by Sophie Kinsella

As you can imagine if you've read the other titles in this series, Becky Bloomwood is going to shop her heart out while pregnant so that her future baby can have just as many shoes and clothes as its mother. Meanwhile, her job as a personal shopper is on the rocks because of a lack of customers, and her decision to hire a celebrity obstetrician turns out to be one of the worst mistakes she's made yet.

This was fun, though not quite as hilarious as previous efforts in the series. It's worth reading just to find out what Becky's up to now, but I hope that future books by this author will be back to her previous standard of readable comedic fluff.

The Mauritius Command by Patrick O'Brian

I hate to say it, but this book was disappointing! I think it's because it was closely based on an actual campaign, when the British decided to take the islands of La Reunion and Mauritius off the French in 1810. It seems that French ships were plucking valuable British navy ships and Indiamen out of the ocean, and the Royal Navy wasn't interested in putting up with this any longer.

Anyway, the action in this book was somewhat confusing, but not in a readable sort of way. There were too many ships, too many captains and other assorted secondary characters, too much action happening on land and not enough in the water.

I'm hoping the next novel in the series is more interesting. I think it's about Aubrey taking a ship to the Galapagos. Whee!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Three books by Gordon Korman

Blogger won't let me put all the titles into the post title, so here they are:

No Coins, Please
Who is Bugs Potter?
Bugs Potter Live at Nickaninny

Back when I read The War With Mr Wizzle, I commented that I frequently re-read the three Gordon Korman novels listed above. And for whatever reason, yesterday when I woke up it felt like the day to re-read them. I managed to actually find them on my daughter's chaotic bookshelves and settled down for a day of fluff and laughter. I don't know if I find these books funny simply because I am so fond of them and have read them so many times over the years, or whether an adult who approaches these books for the first time would enjoy them, but I do genuinely laugh out loud each time I read them.

No Coins Please has got to be my favourite Korman book. It's a goofy story about two guys from Montreal who get the bright idea of being counsellors for a travelling summer camp program to earn some money. Instead of staying home and painting houses, they get to escort six eleven year olds all over the United States visiting major tourist attractions. Unfortunately for Dennis and Rob (our heroes), they get stuck with Artie Geller, a boy who has a genius for illegal money making schemes. While they frantically deal with his disappearances in every major city they visit, he is busy racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars which he keeps in the briefcase he carries everywhere he goes.

Who is Bugs Potter is the comical tale of a rock music-obsessed teen drummer who is chosen to participate in a high school band festival in Toronto. By day he takes part in rehearsals and tries to get out of the many "boring" trips to museums, symphonies and lectures; by night he puts on a fake moustache and sneaks out of the hotel to attend the concerts of a number of bands with ridiculous names (all of which are his favourites). Each night he gets a chance to jam with the band and, unknown to him or any of the other band festival participants, his fame is steadily growing. Bugs is hilariously dim and his long-suffering roommate, a flautist from Boston, is a great counterpoint.

Bugs Potter Live at Nickaninny is the sequel to Who is Bugs Potter. Where the first book answered the question of what would happen to Bugs if you put him in his natural element, the second takes him out of it. Bugs's family decides to take a camping trip to a lake in the middle of nowhere, someplace in northern Ontario. Deprived of his concerts and drum set, and told to work on a makeup science assignment during the summer, Bugs manages to surround himself with music, an assortment of new "pals" and, bizarrely, anthropologists from all over North America who are drawn to the remote lake by the promise of a huge discovery.

Any of these books makes a great light read for those days when I'm kind of brain-dead. My 11 year old likes them too and would also recommend I Want to Go Home, a Korman book about a guy who does absolutely everything he can think of to get away from his horrible summer camp.