I got my copy of Catherine J. Gardner's chapbook "The Sour Aftertaste of Olive Lemon" yesterday and read it today. It's brilliant! Her writing is surreal and full of amazing imagery and wordplay; her brain must be full of interesting thoughts. I can't tell too much about it without giving away some of the plot, so I'll just say that Olive Lemon lives in a town without a name. If you haven't already ordered your copy, I highly recommend it!
I saw Ponyo today at the theater. There's another surreal story, but in this case it's also charming, sweet, and gentle. It's about a little boy who lives at the top of a cliff above the sea, and a goldfish whose father is a strange sort of magician who used to be human. After the fish gets stuck in a jar and is saved by the little boy, she wants to become human herself. I haven't seen such gorgeous animation in years--it's old-fashioned hand-drawn animation, and I'd forgotten how organic and alive that feels. The story itself reminds me a lot of My Neighbor Totoro.
Yesterday I had to have a tire repaired, with a ridiculous two and a half hour wait. I didn't have a book with me so I bought one, Kat Richardson's Greywalker, and ended up staying up till 1am this morning to finish it. I liked the main character, Harper Blaine, who after a terrible accident discovers she can see and interact with a realm of spirits that she calls the Grey. The plot was solid and interesting, although I was disappointed that the romantic subplot was given so little emphasis. I liked the way Harper's relationship with the Interesting Guy was progressing, and then boom, it was the morning after with no transition. I really thought my copy of the book was missing a chapter or something. Other than that, I liked the book pretty well.
I also read Maria Lima's Matters of the Blood this week, another urban fantasy. This one was good too, if a little too dependent on coincidences to move the plot forward. I kept wondering when the main character, Keira Kelly, was going to open up and whoop some ass. This book was published by Juno Books, which focuses on urban fantasy with strong female main characters, but Keira basically never whoops anything. She just gets hit in the head a lot and has to be rescued. I liked her, but she needed to stop telling us she's been trained in kicking butt and just show us.