25 Women to Read Before You Die

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Melody Murray has commented on (22) products.

The Whole Stupid Way We Are by N Griffin
The Whole Stupid Way We Are

Melody Murray, February 4, 2013

Disclaimer first: I am friends with the author of this remarkable book, though I flatter myself that I'm reasonably objective nonetheless.

Wow, this book packs an emotional wallop that left me reeling. Despite it being written in present tense (which I loathe, almost always) it drew me in and made me care so much about Skint & Dinah and their lives that I was reluctant to get to the end. The story is almost breathlessly told (perhaps the present tense adds to that feeling) and one is swept along panting. There is one mini-chapter told from the perspective of Dinah's baby brother that is one of the most delightful vignettes I've ever read, but the bulk of the story is fraught with peril, with emotional weight, with subtexts and undercurrents.

More than a solid first effort, this is a damn fine book.
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The Punk Ethic by Timothy Decker
The Punk Ethic

Melody Murray, March 30, 2012

I picked this up with anticipation, hope and at least a little trepidation. Decker has made some incredible, unclassifiable picture books and this lightly illustrated novel represents no little departure from the formula I have loved so much.

I needn't have worried. In the young protagonist Martin, Decker delivers a real, complex and prickly hero. A kid I want to bring home so he can ignore me while I make him a sandwich and tell him to pick up his room. And then he can ignore me and play his guitar with the amp turned all the way up. Oh, wait, I have one kind of like that already. Never mind.

Martin's 17, and he's flailing around a little. He knows some things for sure- maybe more than the average 17-year-old does, but he's lost in more ways than he's found. He stumbles across some pretty wonderful people in the month this book covers, and I think at the end we have seen him grow and change in ways that matter. In ways that may even help him change the world.

I adored Holly, and thought that the awkward miscommunications and dancing back and forth was true-to-life. It made me cringe to read, it was so authentic.

The illustrations, of course, are brilliant. It's what Decker does best. There's a spareness combined with richness that's hard to articulate, but one can almost step into those pen and inks.

Highly recommended.
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Among Others by Jo Walton
Among Others

Melody Murray, January 23, 2012

Every now and then, there's a book that's written to one like a letter. This book was one of those, addressed to me at the address I had when I was fifteen. I loved it from the second I opened it. I was a little afraid after the first chapter that there was no way it could live up to my hopes, but it did.

The protagonist Mor is not a reader, rather she lives for and through and in books while also having an interesting real life. She's got some large and perplexing issues with which to deal while trying to recover from a horrible accident and its aftermath. Her worldview is very much shaped by her reading, and though she's a perspicacious fifteen-year-old, she is still a fifteen-year-old. Her voice rings true, and her reading list is very familiar indeed.

I loved the litany of books. I loved meeting old friends, and I adored the quotes and allusions and in-jokes, some of which I missed due to lacunae in my own reading. (F'rinstance, I've never finished anything by Vonnegut but perhaps it's time to give him another chance.) When I saw that Walton had Mor reading Zenna Henderson, I cheered. I loved how much Le Guin and Tiptree and Asimov and Tey and Dodie Smith and of course Heinlein and Zelazny and Silverberg were woven through the text. And McCaffery and Ellison and Sturgeon and Plato and Shakespeare and Renault. It was so lovely to see so many well-thumbed names from my own back pages.

I liked the storyline as well, though I never really grokked in fullness the evil mother or her motives. Didn't matter. Not a bit. There's a boarding school, a book club full of SF geeks, Narnia, several Good Librarians, magic, Susan Cooper, Spider Robinson, fairies, ghosts, Dutch Elm disease... aw, t'hell with it, I could go on listing and listing but I think I'll go re-read the book instead.

Oh, yes, highly recommended. Especially for SF lovers who adolesced in the late 70s. And those of us who have the deepest relationships with fictional characters.

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(4 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)

Jewelry Design Challenge: 10 Materials * 30 Artists * 30 Spectacular Projects (Lark Jewelry Books) by Linda Kopp
Jewelry Design Challenge: 10 Materials * 30 Artists * 30 Spectacular Projects (Lark Jewelry Books)

Melody Murray, September 12, 2011

The premise is a familiar one from beading magazines: give designers a pile of raw materials and turn 'em loose. The executions couldn't be more different, each more creative than the last. A beautifully-photographed window into a lot of incredibly talented jewelry designers' minds. Recommended.
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(1 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)

Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager by Langdon Cook
Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager

Melody Murray, September 9, 2011

I adored the authorial voice here. Cook was an approachable, fun friend who invited me along on his trips- that's how I felt, reading this. I enjoyed all his adventures immensely, and had vicarious fun with him. I want him to write a memoir now, please.
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(4 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)

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