Sunday, July 28, 2013

My Family Are All Secretly Pokemon Masters

So, the truth is that I'm a super nerd... especially when it comes to Pokemon. I may not know all the ins and outs like a hardcore Smogon player may, but I'm a force to reckon with in the battle area ;)

I have everyone in my phone programmed as a Pokemon. Their profile pic is a Pokemon, and their text cry is a Pokemon, and to top it all off, my ringtone is the Pokemon battle theme and it will show up as "encounted wild [insert pokemon here]" ....

I'm a nice kid. I let people decide what Pokemon they want to appear as, and if they don't know Pokemon, I pick whatever Pokemon I think suits them the best.

Unironically, my family members picked their own Pokemon (because they are just as nerdy as I am) and surprisingly, the Pokemon they picked themselves (and not preordained by a chart like the last time I did this) make a really killer team ....

In alphabetical order ...

Nosepass is often overlooked because it is just plain weird, and I think that's why my sister loves it so much. It's just plain funny looking. But don't let that fool you... Nosepass has great defensive capabilities and can learn a wide variety of powerful moves making it a TANK!

Smogon recommends this moveset ....

Stealth Rock
Fire Punch
Rock Slide

.... which I think is great! Coupled with the ability Magnet Pull, Nosepass is prepared to take down serious contenders like Steelix and Ferrothorn. Also recommended is an Impish nature :P - Great pick, sis!



So, my brother didn't pick Porygon-Z on his own accord. I chose it for him, and I picked it because Porygon is a 'computer generated' Pokemon and my brother is a computer guy (even though he doesn't know the first thing about Pokemon, haha!) Despite the fact that part of Porygon is pink, I think that he genuinely likes the choice.... and is an underrated special attack sweeper.

Smogon recommends this moveset ...

Tri Attack
Dark Pulse
Hidden Power : Fighting

.... coupled with a Modest nature and the ability Download, this moveset can thoroughly crush any low special defense and weakness effective Pokemon. He seems a little difficult to use, but with the right moves-


I honestly did not expect Dad to pick Beedrill as the Pokemon he wanted to be in my phone. For as many Pokemon related jokes as we have, I was almost relatively certain he was going to pick Squirtle or Blastoise.... but he surprised me with this one, and I was equally surprised to find out that though underused, Beedrill can make for quite a sneaky support Pokemon in a fight.

Smogon recommends this moveset ...

Toxic Spikes
Knock Off

.... which can make for speedy switchouts, poison status, and get rid of those persky Life Orbs and Leftovers.

She asked if I would pronounce this Pokemon's name Hope-ip from now on, and I intend on doing just that. I don't know much about this adorable pink Pokemon other than the fact that it's super cute, but if used in the right way, Hope-ip is that underdog that catches you off guard.

Smogon recommends this moveset ....

Swords Dance
Seed Bomb

.... with the right ATK EVs and IVs. This might actually work.
And the best part is that nobody sees it coming.


Another one I didn't see coming. I honestly expected her to pick Bidoof or Luvdisc. Girafarig is an interesting pick because of its' dual typing - Normal / Psychic - which if used in a Calm Mind sweep can be devastating, especially against trainers who are ATK based only (like so many of the young ones are)

Smogon recommends this moveset ...

Calm Mind
Baton Pass

... with as many rotating moves as I have between all of these Pokemon so far, it's really more like 6 against 1 than 1 versus 1. The best part is that Baton Pass actually passes on the Calm Mind boost, so my other special attackers (I'm talking to you Porygon-Z) can blast Fighting and Dark and Flying out of the park.


It was no surprise at all that my mom picked Chansey. She saw that this Pokemon helped with household chores in the Pokemon cartoon and she has been sold on this Pokemon ever since. In a surprising turn of events, this Pokemon is MADE to abuse its' HP wall capabilites and the move Counter. That and with its' ability Natural Cure that gets rid of poison/paralysis/sleep/etc when it gets switched out... nothing keeps a Chansey down.

I have fought many a formidable Chansey.
Smogon recommends this moveset ...

Seismic Toss

.... you can't get past the Chansey. Nothing gets past the Chansey. It just heals itself and destroys and heals until you wave the white flag in surrender.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Read THIS not THAT! - Youth Dragons

There's not a culture in the world that exists without the mention of some large generally fire or acid breathing reptiles. I think it is safe to say that people love the mythology of dragons and all that come with it. Unfortunately, not all dragons are created equally.... here are some titles that your kids may want to pick up but won't really be worth their time.


Dragonriders of Pern - Anne McCaffrey is hailed as being one of the best dragon writers of the century, but apparently, I'm the only one who thinks she is a one trick pony- same story, different characters.... and maybe it's the characters I should be looking at, but frankly she's from a different era than I am... I don't like her treatment of a lot of the female characters (granted, I don't like how most fantasy novels treat their female characters... why must they always use some sort of sorcery or trickery in order to be considered great or worthy? As if they aren't great on their own?) ... plus, the rampant misogyny DESPITE the fact that the main character in book one IS a woman. It's just digusting..... another thing that I dislike about Anne McCaffrey is the fact that she hates all forms of fanfiction and fanart. What the hell, man?

Eragon - Does it bother anyone else that the second anyone mentions dragons in books THIS has become the immediate 'go-to' book? While it is admirable that a kid wrote it, it's not admirable that the publishing company's editor is his father and he basically lifted everything for the series from watching too much Star Wars as a kid (and Star Wars stole a lot of good ideas from samurai films and kabuki theatre, but that's not the point) - my problem with Eragon is how terribly unoriginal it is, and yet it's advertised as fresh meat. And the quality isn't really that great either. Any imaginative 13 year old boy can write like Paolini....

How to Train Your Dragon - The animated film is simply adorable. Do not get me wrong; I have much much love for the movie adaptation of this book. You know that saying though that the book almost always better than the movie? Yeah, this one doesn't. The book is filled with crude horribly inaccurate depictions of Vikings (and if you've read my historical fiction post, you'll know what a stickler I am for accuracy!) that glorifies violence and shuns everything else. Perhaps it's all in good fun, but there seems to be something inherently wrong (and I have this qualm with the movie too) to train dragons to fight other dragons. Something never sat well with me regarding that....


Pit Dragons - Those who have read this series and this articles are pointing at me yelling "but but but but but!" ..... yes, dragons fight dragons in this novel, BUT there's a twist to it that I find very refreshing. The main characters in this series want to free the dragons that are forced to fight other dragons, so it becomes a fantasy medieval version of Pitbulls and Parolees.... and it really is, and it's a very heartening series to read that is too often overlooked. It's nice to see the 'human' side of dragons. The age levels say 10 to 12, and the reading level is just that. Tends to be predictable for adults, but the concept for this book would work much better as adult fantasy. I wish Yolen would do a rewrite.

Dealing with Dragons - This is the first book in the 'Enchanted Forest' series which takes a lot of fantasy stereotypes and turns them completely on their heads- a princess who doesn't want to marry a prince or be rescued, a dragon who would much rather eat cherries jubilee than fight knights, and many many more. I'm choosing this series just for that reason. It is nice to see roles reversed and an intelligent princess protagonist. It has been one of those books that has stayed with me for many many years, so much in fact that I have rereading this short four book series many different times. Great books for girls and boys alike.

The Hobbit - Smaug the dragon is not present for a majority of this book, but that doesn't make him one of the greatest dragons in youth literature. I can't think of many people who would argue that this classic doesn't need to be read. It is the pinnacle of fantasy literature as we know. So many people know the story of Bilbo Baggins and his journey with the dwarfs to Lonely Mountain to reclaim the dwarven homeland from the dragon Smaug, even if they haven't cracked open the book itself. And the book is an absolute delight to read. Plus, what kind of list would this be without a fabulously evil treasure-hoarding dragon? Bilbo's confrontation with him is probably my favorite part in the entire novel.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Failing at the Things I Love

Sometimes, I get a little discouraged that the only sites that seem to link to my blog are sites for porn and stupid infomercials. You know, it can really grind a person's self-esteem; not that my opinion isn't more interesting than everyone else's opinions on the internet... but it would be nice to have someone read and comment....

This weekend was the second annual AMA-con in Amarillo TX sponsored by the Friends of the Amarillo Public Library. We were a huge success with gaming stations, an anime viewing room, tons of vendors, a cosplay contest, and even a geek prom to finish the night off with! I worked my butt off from 9AM to 9PM, and was so tired that my head hit the pillow and I was out. I had a really good time.

In retrospect though... the events I was running just didn't work. I thought it would be really neat to hold an official Pokemon handheld tournament and people would come in and trade and battle and we would all have a really good time. I was a little disappointed that I didn't have like a prize to hand out, and people seemed to be genuinely unhappy and uninterested because of it. I also didn't really feel like I was part of the event itself; there were two guys from Odessa TX who came out to help and they knew tons more than I did; I just kind of sat back and watched. I did get to battle with a few people and I got traded a shiny Stunky which was really nice, but the numbers for the events just wasn't that high so I don't think they plan to hold one next year.
Stunky is my favorite Pokemon! <3

.... I was going to use the tournament to judge whether or not I should try to organize a Pokemon league here in Amarillo, and frankly, I'm not sure it's worth all the time and effort. Nobody expressed interest in getting together and playing again some time. I was bummed out about that...

The anime viewing room that I put together did have a successful turnout and big interest so I am already putting forth the effort to get viewing licenses for next year through FUNimation and Viz Media. This year we showed a lot of 'old school' anime (mostly Osamu Tezuka's work- Kimba the White Lion, Astro Boy, etc) which was a lot of fun for older anime fans like myself, but since we are shaking things up next year, I want to try to get a hold of some of the newer anime titles. I'll likely purchase a lot of them for personal viewing anyway, and it will be neat to share them with other anime fans.

'Summer Wars' stole the AMA-con anime show with the highest number of viewers.

There is one thing that I am kind of excited about (providing that it actually happens and it isn't just a daydream for me again) .... I may get to take over the little teen anime group that we run here called Amarillo Anime. It's not much, we just watch anime and hang out... but I'd like to be a part of something that I really enjoy and get into, you know? My only fear is that no one will show up and they will eventually cancel the program (which I heard through the grapevine may be a possibility)  - why does everything I touch die? ; u;

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

In Swick's Bookbag : Haunted

I complain a lot about the horror fiction I'm reading either because it's not scary enough, there's too much sex, flat and uninteresting characters, yada yada yada... I can find something to pick out and bitch about out of just about anything. I'm a girl and a smart one at that, and unfortunately, that is what we are good at. That's a little beside the point, but whatever. So, my horror reading has been in a little bit of a slump and I asked around at the library for some suggestions... someone pointed out this one to me...

I've heard the name Palahniuk tossed around for several years, but never read one. I have a handful of friends who really like his novels and we tend to have the same taste in books so when I got the 'yeah, it's good' from them, I said 'what the hey? there's a first time for everything' and checked it out.

One of my friends said that it took her forever to get through because she could only read a couple pages every night; it was that intense.

And I was like...

,,,, but after the first short story, I was like....

... and then...


But I'm still reading it.

Yeah, people with weak stomachs need not apply this book. Just saying.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Read THIS not THAT! - Historical

So maybe this would have been more appropriate for Independence Day, but whatevs .... so, you want to read historical fiction but you're like me- a stickler for books that are HISTORICALLY ACCURATE - it is amazing how many authors just don't do they homework and get their historical facts all mixed up or in some cases completely made-up! To save you the trouble, here are some popular 'historical' books that are utter garbage.


The Da Vinci Code  plain and simple, is FULL of mistakes regarding Christianity, Christian artifacts, classical artwork and not to mention he even makes up his own Harvard degree for his main character Robert Langdon- a Doctorate in Religious Symbology- whatever the fuck that is. Not only is the plot riddled with historically inaccuracies, but the book is written so formulaic and at such an easy reading level that when I was slogging through it, I felt a little insulted. I realize that not everyone has a degree in history, but I would hope that most people would be intelligent enough to not have the entire plot spoon-fed to them; given the series' popularity, it doesn't seem to be the case. The movie isn't any better. Just avoid Dan Brown entirely.

The Other Boleyn Girl was a huge Hollywood sensation about a year back about one of the sisters of Anne Boleyn, you know the woman famous for getting her head chopped off by King Henry VIII? Basically the plot of this story is that 'Mary Boleyn' falls ohmygosh in love with the 'incredibly attractive King Henry VIII and must compete with her sister Anne for his affections. Guys, there is nothing romantic about King Henry VIII. He was a warmongering fat slob who only wanted someone to give him a boy to rule the country after him. I don't know why Philippa Gregory turns him into every woman's dreams, but TRUST ME, even if he is a king; you don't want him to be your husband. The only redeeming factor of this book is that if you are familiar with the real Henry VIII at all this book is absolutely hysterical. Philippa Gregory, stop using history for trashy romances.

The Day No Pigs Would Die is COMPLETELY false. Everything Peck says about the Shaker and Quaker culture in this book is pure bullshit. NONE of it EVER existed EVER. Why he didn't do his homework before writing this? - the world will never know. But it pisses me off SO MUCH that he wrote this, and now I see it on all of the required reading lists for kids....


The Jungle is admittedly not my favorite book, but it is one of the most influential books of our time as seen in my previous post here. This is one of those historical novels I think most people should be required to read but sadly aren't. The focus of this book is immigrant workers and the horrible conditions that they are forced to work in for horrible salaries; essentially, this book is about the people who are the backbone of America and the fight for workers' rights. There is a little bit of a love story thrown in here too for all you romance fanatics. The reason most people respect this book is because of its' eye-opening glance at the meat processing industry and the revolutionary changes in food preparation that it made. Don't let that alone fool you though- this book is far more historical and humanist than it is meant to gross you out.

The Pillars of the Earth is one of those books that I have a paperback of, mean to get started on, but just haven't... because when it comes to selecting books to read, I have the attention span of a hyperactive toddler with ADD. I see a shiny new book. I forget I have books waiting to be read. I start the new book instead. I have heard many many many great reviews about this book and its' accuracy though so... I'm kind of crossing my  fingers they are right ._. ....

First Man in Rome is the first book in the masterfully crafted 'Masters of Rome' series written by Colleen McCullough. The best news is that McCullough is an actual historian and her area of expertise is Greco-Roman history, so that's almost a guarantee that she has done her homework to make her novels as accurate as they can be. Granted, she does have to take liberties with some of the characters' emotions and dialogues, etc. but that's the reason we read historical fiction isn't it? -to answer that 'if Caesar were alive today, what would he be like as a person? and would he demand royalties from the Caesar's Palace casino for using his likeness?' (a book hasn't been written on that yet, but if you plan to do so, tell me so I can buy a copy). Masters of Rome is hands-down the best historical fiction I have read to date.

Monday, July 8, 2013

In Swick's Bookbag : Old Man's War

Congratulations, kiddies. This is the first in a new series of blog posts I like to call 'In Swick's Bookbag' where instead of talking about books I've read, I talk about books I am reading now. There will be the good, the bad, and the downright ugly, as well as a good mixture of old and new, youth and adult, fiction and nonfiction. As a rule, I'm going to try to write these when I'm at least a third of the way into the book that way I have a little something to comment on and give you all a taste of what I am suffering though.

Today in my bookbag, I've finally gotten around to a science-fiction classic that's been on my to-read list for years but has now finally surfaced to grace me with it's presence. It is ...

I am surprised that I picked this novel up so late, considering that in my childhood I was an ENORMOUS military space opera fan with shows like Robotech / Macross , Gundam Wing , and even Infinite Ryvius.

I suppose what turned me off to a lot of military sci-fi was really fantasy sci-fi, specifically Elizabeth Moon's book Sheepfarmer's Daughter .... which had an AWESOME premise but then it turned into a lousy Joan-of-Arc goes on King Richard's Crusade but with dragons thing. Let's just say that if I was a Dungeons and Dragons character, my alignment is likely chaotic neutral and not lawful good... did I mention lawful good characters royally get on my nerves?

Anyway, I guess I was a little turned off by a lot of sci-fi / fantasy military fiction after that. This book, however, just kept popping up in ALL my recommendation threads and I even had patrons here at the library ask me if I was familiar, know I read a lot of science-fiction, and then promptly ask me why I hadn't picked it up yet. The typical response to any question like that is to girlish giggle and 'So many books so little time!' rather than come up with a personal response for each one. I would be reading, but most of the time, I have to help people find books to read. Trust me, I would rather be reading.

" John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army.

The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce--and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. To defend Earth, and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity's resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don't want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You'll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You'll serve two years at the front. And if you survive, you'll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.

John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine--and what he will become is far stranger "

( taken from back of the book )

So far, I am about halfway through this book and I enjoy every minute of it. Even though I've seen this sort of plot a handful of times, there is lots of witty humor and great characters that really make me want to read the rest of the series.

I'd have to say that my favorite part so far has to be Perry's no nonsense drill sergent. Yes, he acts like a typical movie drill sergent, but for good reason. Also, when they get their AI devices and everyone gives them custom names like 'Asshole' 'Bitch' 'Dickweed' 'Fuckhead' - the list goes on and on.

I'm not even done with the book and I would totally recommend it to other science-fiction fans :)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Enter At Your Own Peril!

Despite my gentle appearance, I am quite a horror afficienado. There is a tragedy in liking this general so much and that is things that used to frighten you aren't so frightening after you've encountered them once or twice or three things... so my taste in horror fiction has gotten progressively more and more intense.

I was introduced to the 'splatterpunk' genre about a year ago and was a little enthralled at the copious amounts of horror and depravity within.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the genre, ' splatterpunk ' is best defined as a movement within horror fiction distinguished by its graphic, often gory, depiction of violence and "hyperintensive horror with no limits." Most of you are probably already familiar with one of the founding fathers of 'splatterpunk' Mr. Clive Barker, famous for the short stories collections Books of Blood, the Hellraiser movies, and many other 80s horror flicks.

Some of them ( for example, Edward Lee's The Black Train ) are completely awful and full of gratuitous sex, sex, sex, sex, sex - and I don't mind sex; sex is all well and good, but if I wanted to read about sex, I'd pick up erotica. When I pick up a horror novel, I want to read about blood, violence, and monsters.... but not all splatterpunk is trashy. I was pleasantly surprised at three particular novels.... Ghoul by Brian Keene, The Resort by Bentley Little (although it is debatable whether or not he is truly splatterpunk; I'd say 'the Resort' definitely is), and The Jigsaw Man by Gord Rollo ....

But after my last Richard Laymon novel, the completely pointless The Woods Are Dark, I'm finding a lot of the splatterpunk genre lacking. It doesn't scare or disgust me. It's just like 'really? you're going to talk about the main character's erection AGAIN?' .... so sinking even deeper into the depths of complete insanity, I have been introduced to the genre of  ' bizarro fiction '

For those unfamiliar with the genre (myself included) , ' bizarro fiction ' is best defined as a contemporary literary genre, which often uses elements of absurdism, satire, and the grotesque, along with pop-surrealism and genre fiction staples, in order to create subversive works that are as weird and entertaining as possible.

Things like ...

... which I one day hope to get my hands on because the synopsis is just too cool. I mean, check this out --

" After Cthulhu awakens and destroys civilization as we know it, humans are used as slaves and food by their new slimy, submerged masters. One such young man, Ricky, works at an undersea fast food joint where he's forced to kill and cook other humans for the Deep Ones to eat. But he has a plan. His restaurant caters to the Big Man himself, and if Ricky's plan works, he could pull off the unthinkable: He could actually Kill Cthulhu "

Awesome, am I right?

Of course, I am a huge Lovecraft fan and a sucker for anything with Deep Dark Lord Cthulhu in it.

Read Brian Strange's author bio : funny as hell!

Sadly, this is one of the most tame bizarro fiction synopsiseseses (?) I have run across. That means bizarro fiction really lives up to its' name. It is really bizarre.

Granted, I've never read anything from this genre so it is hard to say whether it is truly awesome or not. The library however has no bizarro fiction books to speak off which in most cases is a clear sign that I will think it is really fucking awesome.

Unless it's by Edward Lee or Richard Laymon. Guys, just stop. Please.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Read THIS not THAT! - Vampires

This Independence Day, I'm liberating you guys from the blood-sucking undead.

Ever since the release of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight Saga, everybody has been cranking out vampire romances like they are going out of style. I personally don't understand the allure of vampire, but I do know the allure of a good book when I read it, so let me help you distinguish the good vampire romances from the mediocre to horrible vampire romances....


-Twilight has been bashed over and over and over (especially on my blog) so I'm going to try not to beat a dead horse. But I just get so enraged when people talk about Edward Cullen being the 'perfect guy' - he's obssessive, possessive, emotionally abuse, stalkerish, and a pedophile. I don't care if he 'looks 17 so it's totally fine' - no, Edward is a pedophile. And Bella is a necrophile. Twilight is beastiality versus necrophilia. Oh, and babyfuck. Jacob would like to babyfuck Renesmee. That's just messed up.

-House of Night has got to be the cattiest slut-shaming politically incorrect supporter of rape culture that I have ever read in my life! It also doesn't help that the entire vampire community in this book is ridiculously racist towards humans and if you express any form of religion other than 'vampire,' they will likely stone you to death. Not to mention that Zoey Redbird is the most obnoxious YA heroine of ALL TIME. YES! She is even worse than Bella Swan. I would rather have Bella Swan as my BFF than sit in a room with Zoe for more than 5 minutes. I hate her that much. Is this really what you want to be filling your head with?

-Morganville Vampires, I haven't actually read, but if what I've read about the first book is true. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS GIRL??? If you are bullied to the point of having your life threatened and nearly die as a result of a 'prank,' any logically sane person would call the police and get the fuck out of there, but what does she do instead? - apart from bitch a little, absolutely nothing. Also, this gem ...

"What normal girl loved physics? Abnormal ones. Ones who were not ever going to be hot. And face it, being hot? That was what life was all about."-- Morganville Vampires #1 'Glass Houses', pg 15

Is that really what life is all about? Do you really want to give yourself body issues? Shallow as fuck....


- Dracula is THE sexy vampire novel. While the crux of this story isn't 'the vampire and the mortal fall in love' or 'someone turns into a vampire' some really kinky stuff happens, including lesbian vampire orgy okay, maybe not quite like that, but this book introduces the factor that vampires have a strange erotic power over humans and this is primarily to keep them from freaking out while vampires are feasting on their blood. In the end, Dracula tries to steal away a woman to be his vampire bride and vampire hunters, and Vlad the Impaler. The best part is that most of it is written from a limited perspective in the form of journal entries or letters so there is suspense and tension all over the place.

- Interview with the Vampire makes the undead glamorous with the legendary Lestat (the only acceptable pretty vampire, in my opinion), and I love it because Lestat isn't a goody-two-shoes. He still clearly has mental issues from being immortal and all that jazz and kills and maims people. I don't want to say too much about it, but if you aren't going to read the book, at least watch the film adaptation. It is one of the best vampire movies EVER.

- The Historian, while not a vampire romance, is an excellent little tale of suspense that relates back to the king himself DRACULA. Also, full of minute research mistakes, but... what the hey. The suspense writing was good enough for me to overlook the little things.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Top 3 Weirdest Kids' Book Titles at the Library (That I've Found So Far)

I've been shelving and shifting the juvenile chapter books, and here's three pretty lulz worthy titles I found therein. Mainly because they just don't make any sense.

1 ) Do Bananas Chew Gum?

What It's Actually About : " Able to read and write at only a second grade level, sixth-grader Sam Mott considers himself dumb until he is prompted to cooperate with those who think something can be done about his problem." ( taken from back cover )

The book itself is actually quite charming. It's about a boy who is embarrassed by his learning disability. It won the Charlie May Simon Children's Book Award (1982) : an award that is nominated by literary critics and then selected by fourth, fifth, and sixth graders of Arkansas as being an outstanding book to read.

And yet, I do not understand why the book has the title that it does. If I ever get the opportunity to talk to Jamie Gilson, you can bet that's a question I'm going to ask him. The book is primarily about a kid who struggles with the ability to read and write on a level suitable for him, and while it has been years since I actually read the novel, I don't remember 'bananas' being mentioned anywhere!

2 ) I Smell Like Ham

What It's Actually About : "Boys, basketball, barf -- the pefect middle grade novel! Nick wants to convince the coach that he's a point guard, get rid of Dwayne-the-dork, and stop missing his mother. But that's tough to do when he can't keep the ball way from Carson Jones, the dork is his stepbrother, the honor code's a joke, and he's been splattered with something worse-smelling than ham." ( taken from back cover )

I'm not even sure what was going through Betty Hicks's mind when she was tossing around ideas for this book title. I know that I don't correlate ham with basketball at all but I'm pretty sure that it's some sort of inside joke present in the novel. The only appeal about the title is definitely getting boys who are into books like Yuck's Fart Club and Dr. Proctor's Fart Powder (what's with all the fart books???) to check it out. It doesn't seem to be very successful here though and the only response it got out of me was 'Heh, weird...'
3 ) God is in the Pancakes

What It's Actually About : "Fifteen-year-old Grace Manning is a candy striper in a nursing home, and Mr. Sands is the one patient who makes the job bearable. He keeps up with her sarcasm, teaches her to play poker . . . and one day cheerfully asks her to help him die. At first Grace says no way, but as Mr. Sands's disease progresses, she's not so sure. Grace tries to avoid the wrenching decision by praying for a miracle, stuffing herself with pancakes, and running away from all feelings, including the new ones she has for her best friend Eric. But Mr. Sands is getting worse, and she can't avoid him forever. " ( taken from back cover )

All I can really say is 'wow, with such a weird and funny title, this is a depressing sounding book' ...

I haven't read this book either, but from what I've read about it, it makes a very strong impact on a lot of readers exploring things like faith, death, and God, but not in a super-preachy Christian fiction way.

There are pancakes in the book so I suppose the title isn't THAT weird, but if you have no idea what it is, then skimming across it in the library can make you giggle a little bit.