#6: The Queen of Cool by Cecil Castellucci
In this young adult novel, Libby is one of the cool kids at school but she's bored, bored, bored with it all. She doesn't apply herself, her best friend is a superficial twit and she cares about her boyfriend as much as he cares about her (very little). So as she creates small tornados of chaos just to try to make something interesting happen, she winds up, you know, learning something unexpected. I read an early draft and I think the finished product is stripped down, in a good way, and tells its story powerfully. Cecil is a dear friend and I think she's rocking.
#7: I Love You More Than You Know by Jonathan Ames
This was my first Jonathan Ames read and I think he's terrfically engaging and funny. When he talks about some edgier exploits (a tranny on the knee, say) he does it with little affect. I never felt like I was reading some tragic hipster saying "look at me! I'm so crazy!" -- I just felt like I was reading a good story. The stories, which were written over the last several years, have an increasing sweetness and melancholy. It's a fine book to take on a plane, except for the possible ball exposure on the cover.
#8: Wake Up, Sir! by Jonathan Ames
Did I want to read a modernized Jeeves story? I'm not a Wodehouse purist, but I wasn't sure. And if you had told me it's a book about a hapless alcoholic writer, I probably would have declined. But that's because I can be very stupid. This is a great book, funny, with a slightly miserable protagonist who ends up being likeable despite himself. It's got slapstick that works (a rare feat), a roadtrip, late-night ponderings and even sex. And always the mysterious Jeeves. I'm one of those people who got to the end and thought ooh, will there be a sequel? Not that the story needed it; the characters totally hooked me, is all.
As this might indicate, Jonathan Ames has been interviewed and his podcast is coming toute suite. Looks like I'll have to buy The Extra Man for my Ames fiction fix, though. A Wake Up, Sir! sequel is not in the works (aw).