Roni 'ncats Reading Revels
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Books read in 2011:
(Touchstones will be in the messages containing the reviews, * signifies a re-read, # indicates an Off The Shelf book, + is a library book):
159. Black Sheep* by Georgette Heyer (288 pp.)
160. A Regency Holiday by Allison Lane (298 pp.)
161. Devil's Cub* by Georgette Heyer (320 pp.)
162. Princess Callie and the Totally Talking Tiara by Daisy Piper (288 pp.)
163. Moonstone by Marilee Brothers (236 pp.)
164. The Strange Case of Finley Jayne (Kindle format only, no page count)
165. Captains Courageous* by Rudyard Kipling (164 pp.)
166. Catholicism by Robert Barron (279 pp.)
167. Honor's Paradox by P. C. Hodgell (267 pp.)
168. The Haunting of Granite Falls by Eva Ibbotson (216 pp.)
169. A Christmas Carol* by Charles Dickens (72 pp.)
170. Hunting Party* by Elizabeth Moon (364 pp.)
148. To Say Nothing of the Dog* by Connie Willis (434 pp.)
149. Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Murdock (284 ppl)
150. American Gods* by Neil Gaiman (461 pp.)
151. Dragon's Time by Todd and Anne McCaffrey (321 pp.)
152. A Posse of Princesses by Sherwood Smith (299 pp.)
153. Maximum Ice by Kay Kenyon (418 pp.)
154. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (423 pp.)
155. Pagans and Christians by Robin Lane Fox (681 pp.)
156. Liaden Unibus 1 by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Kindle)
157. Liaden Unibus 2 by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Kindle)
158. The Annotated Persuasion by Jane Austen (483 pp.)
135. Remnant Population* by Elizabeth Moon (339 pp.)
136. One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire (354 pp.)
137. The Danger Box by Blue Balliett (304 pp.)
138. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (123 pp.)
139. Snuff by Terry Pratchett (398 pp.)
140. Blood Spirits by Sherwood Smith (488 pp.)
141. Libyrinth by Pearl North (332 pp.)
142. Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman (198 pp.)
143. The Broken Kingdom by N. K. Jemison (398 pp.)
144. The Harp of the Grey Rose by Charles de Lint (272 pp.)
145. Mastiff by Tamora Pierce (580 pp.)
146. The Face in the Frost by John Bellairs (174 pp.)
147. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (285 pp.)
116. The Hidden Goddess by M. K. Hobson (374 pp.)
117. Troubletwisters by Garth Nix and Sean Williams (293 pp.)
118. Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins (309 pp.)
119. Storm Front* by Jim Butcher (322 pp.)
120. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher (342 pp.)
121. The Twelfth Enchantment by David Liss (399 pp.)
122. Darke by Angie Sage (641 pp.)
123. Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods by Suzanne Collins (358 pp.)
124. Intrigues by Mercedes Lackey (328 pp.)
125. Paul Among the People by Sarah Ruden (194 pp.)
126. Gregor and the Marks of Secret by Suzanne Collins (343 pp.)
127. Gregor and the Code of Claw by Suzanne Collins (412 pp.)
128. A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny (311 pp.)
129. Heart of Iron by Ekaterina Sedia (311 pp.)
130. Coronets and Steel by Sherwood Smith (439 pp.)
131. A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King (326 pp.)
132. The Game by Laurie R. King (365 pp.)
130. Coronets and Steel by Sherwood Smith (439 pp.)
131. A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King (326 pp.)
132. The Game by Laurie R. King (365 pp.)
133. Unnatural Issue by Mercedes Lackey (361 pp.)
134. Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis (295 pp.)
97. Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (328 pp.)
98. The Dragon Guard# (The Magickers #3) by Emily Drake (368 pp.)
99. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey+ by Trenton Lee Stewart (440 pp.)
100. The Door into Fire* by Diane Duane (304 pp.)
101. The Door into Shadow* by Diane Duane (298 pp.)
102. The Door into Sunset* by Diane Duane (382 pp.)
103. The Ark*+ by Margot Benary-Isbert (246 pp.)
104. Rowan Farm*+ by Margot Benary-Isbert (277 pp.)
105. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart (391 pp.)
106. Melting Stones+ by Tamora Pierce (312pp.)
107. Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for people who love books and for those who want to write them by Francine Prose (273 pp.)
108. Chronicles of the Red King: The Secret Kingdom by Jenny Nimmo (207 pp.)
109 Robin's Country by Monica Furlong (139 pp.)
110. The Doppelganger Gambit* by Lee Killough (261 pp.)
111. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (290 pp.)
112. Spider Play* by Lee Killough (232 pp.)
113. Dragon's Teeth (Questar Science Fiction) by Lee Killough (250 pp.)
114. Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett (358 pp.)
115. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins (308 pp.)
77. The Lightning Thief* by Rick Riordan (375 pp.)
78. The Sea of Monsters* by Rick Riordan (279 pp.)
79. The Titan's Curse* by Rick Riordan (312 pp.)
80. The Battle of the Labyrinth# by Rick Riordan (361 pp.)
81. The Last Olympian# by Rick Riordan (381 pp.)
82. Elijah of Buxton# by Christopher Paul Curtis (341 pp.)
83. The Battle for Skandia# by John Flanagan (294 pp.)
84. The Sorcerer of the North# by John Flanagan (295 pp.)
85. Wizards at War# by Diane Duane (552 pp.)
86. A Wizard of Mars# by Diane Duane (550 pp.)
87. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making+ by Catherynne Valente (247 pp.)
88. Willie Bea and the Time the Martians Landed# by Virginia Hamilton (208 pp.)
89. The Siege of Macindaw by John Flanagan+ (293 pp.)
90. Except the Queen# by Jane Yolen and Midori Snyder (371 pp.)
91. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows* by J. K. Rowling (759 pp.)
92. Gifts# by Ursula K Le Guin (274 pp.)
93. Voices# by Ursula K. Le Guin (341 pp.)
94. Powers# by Ursula K. Le Guin (502 pp.)
95. The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger (33 pp.)
96. The Mysterious Benedict Society+ by Trenton Lee Stewart (485 pp.)
59. Spellcast by Barbara Ashford (433 pp.)
60. Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland (309 pp.)
61. Zoo City by Lauren Beukes (373 pp.)
62. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (246 pp.)
63. The Friendship of Women by Joan Chittister (89 pp.)
64. Sparks by Laura Bickle (358 pp.)
65. The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Bierkegaard (430 pp.)
66. Snotty Saves the Day by Tod Davies (182 pp.)
67. Uncertain Allies by Mark Del Franco (296 pp.)
68. The Brontes: A Life in Letters+ by Juliet Barker (402 pp.)
69. Across the Universe+ by Beth Revis (398 pp.)
70. To Weave a Web of Magic# by McKillip etal. (362 pp.)
71. The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde (281 pp.)
72. Five Odd Honors by Jane Lindskold (496 pp.)
73 The Making of Pride and Prejudice by Sue Birtwistle and Susie Conklin (113 pp.)
74. A Winter Love Story by Betty Neels (219 pp.)
75. Autumn Kittens by Janice Bennett, Shannon Donnelly, and Mona Gedney (223 pp.)
76. Heartless by Gail Carriger (374 pp.)
50. Skin Deep by Mark Del Franco (292 pp.)
51. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies# by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith (319 pp.)
52. Face Off by Mark Del Franco (322 pp.)
53. Sweet Revenge by Andrea Penrose (317 pp.)
54. Still Life# by Louise Penny (312 pp.)
55. The Female Man by Joanna Russ (214 pp.)
56. The Cloud Roads+ by Martha Wells (274 pp.)
57. Naked in Death by J. D. Robb (443 pp.)
58. Getting Things Done by David Allen (259 pp.)
41. Moon Flights by Elizabeth Moon (401 pp.)
42. Pride and Prejudice* by Jane Austen (205 pp.)
43. Tiassa by Steven Brust (336 pp.)
44. Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire (400 pp.)
45. How to Slay a Dragon by Bill Allen (211 pp.)
46. Millennial Mythmaking edited by John Perlich and David Whitt (195 pp.)
47. The Magicians and Mrs. Quent* by Galen Beckett (498 pp.)
48. Cat's Claw by Amber Benson (311 pp.)
49. The House on Durrow Street (685 pp.)
25. Murder of a Real Bad Boy# by Denise Swanson (259 pp.)
26. Murder of a Botoxed Blonde# by Denise Swanson (237 pp.)
27. Bye Bye Bertie# by Nancy Mehl (132 pp.)
28. For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls# by Nancy Meho (133 pp.)
29. Tortall and other Lands by Tamora Pierce (369 pp.)
30. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin (395 pp.)
31. Chasing Goldman Sachs: How the masters of the universe melted Wall Street down...and why they'll take us to the brink again by our very own Chatterbox, Suzanne McGee (378 pp.)
32. One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde (3359 pp.)
33. Mort by Terry Pratchett (236 pp.)
34. Trio of Sorcery+ by Mercedes Lackey (351 pp.)
35. Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire (346 pp.)
36. Oath of Fealty by Elizabeth Moon* (471 pp.)
37. The Kings of the North by Elizabeth Moon (478 pp.)
38. A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire (387 pp.)
39. An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire (371 pp.)
40. Always Coming Home* by Ursula K. Le Guin (
17. Carousel Tides by Sharon Lee (306 pp.)
18. Catalyst+ by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (256 pp.)
19. Catacombs+ by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (256 pp.)
20. The Magicians by Lev Grossman (402 pp.)
21. The Spirit Lens by Carol Berg (487 pp.)
22. The Great Ghost Rescue+ by Eva Ibbotson (167 pp.)
23. Unperfect Souls by Mark Del Franco (338 pp.)
24. Death's Daughter by Amber Benson (359 pp)
1. Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi (385 pp.)
2. Kitty and the Midnight Hour# by Carrie Vaughn (259 pp.)
3. The Native Star by M. K. Hobson (387 pp.)
4. Native Tongue* by Suzette Haden Elgin (301 pp.)
5. The Bards of Bone Plain by Patricia A. McKillip (329 pp.)
6. Rules by Cynthia Lord# (200 pp.)
7. Unclutter Your Life in One Week+ by Erin Rooney Doland (233 pp.)
8. Christopher Lowell’s Seven Layers of Organization+ by Christopher Lowell (169 pp.)
9. Unclutter your Home+ by Donna Smallin (179 pp.)
10. Images of God for Young Children Marie-Helene Delval (89 pp.)
11. Sense and Sensibility* by Jane Austen (208 pp.)
12. Bright of the Sky+ by Kay Kenyon (451 pp.)
13. Unfallen Dead by Mark Del Franco (309 pp.)
14. On Stranger Tides+ by Tim Powers (326 pp.)
15. Grand Central Arena# by Ryk E. Spoor (671 pp.)
16. Plain Kate+ by Erin Bow (311 pp.)
Books acquired in 2011:
1. Carousel Tides by Sharon Lee (Borders 50% coupon) READ
2. Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi (Borders) READ
3. Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer (Borders 33% coupon) REPLACEMENT
4. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher (PBS)
5. The Magicians by Lev Grossman (Borders 33% coupon) READ
6. Sylvester by Georgette Heyer (Borders gift card) REPLACEMENT
7. General Practice by James White (paperbackswap)
8. The Spirit Lens by Carol Berg (Mysterious Galaxy, for discussion group) READ
9. Unperfect Souls by Mark Del Franco (MG) READ
10. Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey (MG)3
11. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan (MG--finally in paperback!)
12. The Soul Mirror by Carol Berg (Borders 33% coupon)
13. Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce (Borders 33% coupon) READ
14. Death's Daughter by Amber Benson (Borders) READ
15. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins (Borders 25% off)
16. Gregor and the Marks of Secret by Suzanne Collins (Borders 25% off)
17. Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins (Borders 25% off)
18. Moon Flights by Elizabeth Moon (Borders 25% off)
19. Cursor's Fury by Jim Butcher (Borders 25% off)
20. The Family Trade by Charles Stross (Borders 25% off)
21. The Hidden Family by Charles Stross (Borders 25% off)
22. The River Kings' Road (PBS)
23. Green Belt Kakuro by Conceptis Puzzles (B&N)
24. Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire (B&N)
25. The Broken Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin (B&N Groupon)
26. How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend by The Monks of New Skete (PBS)
27. Kings of the North by Elizabeth Moon (MG)
28. Artificial Nights by Seanan McGuire (MG)
29. Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose (Bookmooch)
30. Why Christianity Must Change or Die by John Shelby Spong (Bookmooch)
31. One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde (MG)
32. Local Habitations by Seanan McGuire (MG)
33. Tiassa by Steven Brust (MG)
34. Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire (MG)
35. The Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer (Borders 33% off)
36. Cat's Claw by Amber Benson (Borders)
37. Face Off by Mark Del Franco (Borders)
38. How to Slay a Dragon by Bill Allen (ER)
39. Millenial Mythmaking by Perlich and Whitt (ER)
40. Unveiling Islam by Ergun Caner (PBS)
41. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor (Borders 33% off)
42. Snotty Saves the Day by Tod Davies (ER)
43. The Coffee Trader by David Liss (Prospero's-LT meetup)
44. The Female Man by Joanna Russ (Prospero's-LT meetup)
45. The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke (Prospero's-LT meetup)
46. Swann's Way by Marcel Proust (Prospero's-LT meetup)
47. White Queen by Gwyneth Jones (Prospero's-LT meetup)
48. Maximum Ice by Kay Kenyon (Prospero's-LT meetup)
49. Skin Deep by Mark Del Franco (B&N)
50 Omnitopia Dawn by Diane Duane (Borders-50% off closing sale)
51. Dreadnought by Cherie Priest (Borders-50% off closing sale)
52. The Affinity Bridge by George Mann (Borders-50% off closing sale)
53. The Annotated Persuasion by Jane Austen (Borders-50% off closing sale)
54. The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia (Borders-50% off closing sale)
55. Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson (Borders-50% off closing sale)
56. Loving a Lost Lord by Mary Jo Putney (gift from Dolores)
57. The Clockwork Three by Matthew Kirby (borrowed from my sister)
58. Sweet Revenge by Andrea Penrose (Borders 33% coupon)
59. Five Odd Honors by Jane Lindskold ($5 Borders Bucks)
60. Uncertain Allies by Mark Del Franco (Borders 33% coupon)
61. A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny (PBS)
62. The Quiet War by Paul McAuley (PBS)
63. Zoo City by Lauren Beukes (Borders 20% off)
64. Sparks by Laura Bickle (Borders 20% off)
65. Spellcast by Barbara Ashford (Borders 20% off)
66. The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard (Borders 20% off)
67. The Friendship of Women by Joan Chittister (PBS) READ
68. Steelhands by Jaida Jones (ER)
69. Goblin Moon by Teresa Edgerton (PBS)
70. The Moon in Hiding by Teresa Edgerton (PBS)
71. The Work of the Sun by Teresa Edgerton (PBS)
72. The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde (amazon) READ
73. The Hidden Goddess by M. K. Hobson (Borders 40% coupon)
74. The Making of Pride and Prejudice by Sue Birtwistle and Susie Conklin (PBS)
75. A Winter Love Story by Betty Neels (library 1¢ sale)
76. Autumn Kittens by Donnelly etal. (library 1¢ sale)
77. Heartless by Gail Carriger (Borders 30% coupon)
78. A Christmas Treasury edited by Jack Newcombe (library sale 66¢)
79. Pearl Buck's Book of Christmas (library sale 66¢)
80. Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (library sale 66¢)
81. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather (library sale 33¢)
82. Pretender by C. J. Cherryh (library sale 33¢)
83. Mind of the Magic by Holly Lisle (library sale 33¢)
84. Getting Things Done by Allen, David (Borders closeout sale, aka BCS) READ
85. The Annotated Sense and Sensibility by Austen, Jane (BCS)
86. Okay for Now by Schmidt, Gary D. (BCS)
87. The Girl Who Could Fly by Forester, Victoria (BCS)
88. Murder of a Royal Pain by Swanson,Denise (BCS)
89. Elantris by Sanderson, Brandon (BCS)
90. The War of the Flowers by Williams, Tad (BCS)
91. Heartless by Carriger, Gail (BCS) READ
92. Princess Academy by Hale, Shannon (BCS) READ
93. Ghost Ship by Lee, Sharon and Steve Miller (MG) READ
94. Darke by Sage, Angie (MG) READ
95. Leviathan Wakes by Corey, James S. A. (MG)
96. Darkship Thieves by Sarah A. Hoyt (Borders coupon)
97. The Engines of God by Jack McDevitt (PBS)
98. Live of Pi by Yann Martel (library sale 50¢)
99. Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton by Edward Rice (library sale 50¢)
100. The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway (library sale 50¢)
101. Castle on the Border by Margot Benary-Isbert (PBS)
102. Blue Mystery by Margot Benary-Isbert (PBS)
103. Chronicles of the Red King: The Secret Kingdom (Borders closing) READ
104. Troubletwisters by Garth Nix and Sean Williams (Borders closing) READ
105. Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett (Borders closing) READ
106. Bridling Chaos by Lee Killough (Borders closing) READ
107. The Inheritance by Robin Hobb and Megan Lindholm (Borders closing)
108. The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson (Borders closing)
109. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (Borders closing)
110. Canticle by Ken Scholes (Borders closing)
111. Anathem by Neal Stephenson (Borders closing)
112. Intrigues by Mercedes Lackey (Borders closing) READ
113. Lord of Emperors by Guy Gavriel Kay (Borders closing)
114. Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi (Borders closing)
115. The Danger Box by Blue Balliett (Borders closing)
116. Commonsense Bidding by William Root (Borders closing)
117. Disturbance by Jan Burke (gift)
119. Heart of Iron by Ekaterina Sedia (MG)
120. Coronets and Steel by Sherwood Smith (MG)
121. One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire (MG)
122. Catholicism by Robert Barron (ER)
123. Snuff by Terry Pratchett (MG)
124. Blood Spirits by Sherwood Smith (MG)
125. Libyrinth by Pearl North (Amazon)
126. The Haunting of Granite Falls by Eva Ibbotson (Crown)
127. The Harp of the Grey Rose by Charles de Lint (Crown)
128. The Wizard's Map by Jane Yolen (Crown)
129. Mastiff by Tamora Pierce (MG)
130. The Kingdom of Gods by N. K. Jemison (MG)
131. Chasing Goldman Sachs by Suzanne McGee (Amazon)
132. Summer Knight by Jim Butcher (Adams Avenue UBS)
133. Cursor's Fury by Jim Butcher (Adams Avenue UBS)
134. At The Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald (Adams Avenue UBS)
135. Gabriel's Ghost by Linnea Sinclair (PBS)
136. Cyteen: The Rebirth by C. J. Cherryh (PBS)
137. Honor's Paradox by P. C. Hodgell (Amazon)
Book #2 Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn (259 pp.)
This was one of the earlier urban fantasy series, and seems generally well-regarded. The theme is pretty typical--werewolf girl tries to find balance between human desires and wolf pack hierarchy/urges. Kitty, meet Merry Gentry (although she's coyote, not wolf). Still the same thing, though. How does an independent girl cope in a world where she needs pack protection to survive, but that involves total submission that is unthinkable to a modern girl? There's the politics between the vampires and the werewolves and the dealing with the normal humans as well. And there's always got to be some sexuality in there as well.
This book is well-done for its genre, but does not exceed it in the way the Soulless trilogy does, for example. It was a quick and entertaining read--I finished it in about 2 hours tonight, but I can only take so much of this genre at a time.
Book #3 The Native Star by M. k. Hobson (387 pp.)
Set in 1876, starting out in a settlement in the Sierra Nevadas, and ending up in New York City, this book has a lot going for it in terms of the settings (from Lost Pine, San Francisco, across the country to NY) and the complex systems of magic. The viewpoint character is a young woman/witch who acquires suddenly and unexpectedly a "native star" stone embedded in her hand that absorbs all magic in the vicinity and ends up journeying to NY to find from the magician institute there how to get rid of it.
The cover says "this brilliant first novel fuses history, fantasy, and romance." Emily is almost a great character--but the demands of the romance tropes prevent her, I think, from achieving greatness--that and the lack of maturity of the writer. Hobson has great ideas, almost too many as they are crammed in on top of each other so tightly that there is no room to appreciate them. The basic plot itself is fairly formulaic, even as the settings and magic structure are original. The writing can be very pedestrian at times. However, it is a GOOD first novel, and I think this will be an author to keep an eye out for in the future. If she is able to polish her writing craft to match her imagination, she will produce some very good books.
Book #4 Native Tongue* by Suzette Haden Elgin (301 pp.)
This is for a group read starting February 1--just a little early. I won't write about it until then, but it is a reread for me.
Book #5 The Bards of Bone Plain by Patricia A. McKillip (329 pp.)
I read this this afternoon as part of today's Readathon with Ellie. It took me 3 hours, 13 minutes.
This is another of McKillip's lyrical fantasies, using her rich language and fantastical situations together with very real people to set her spell. Wonderful, as usual.
Book #6 Rules by Cynthia Lord (200 pp.)
This is an intermediate/middle school book. Twelve-year-old Catherine has an autistic brother, 8 year-old David, and she tries to teach him "rules" about behavior, such as "Flush!"or "No toys in the fish tank." With her best friend gone for the summer, and a new family with a 12-year-old girl moving in next door, Catherine is even more sensitive than usual about how people react to David, and then to her as David's sister. She also ends up making an unusual new friend.
As a former elementary school psychologist, I have to say that this is really well done. The story is good, is appropriate for its age level, and is not at all preachy or didactic. The book is a Newbery Honor Book and also won some award I'm unfamiliar with, the Schneider Family Book Award.
ETA This is my first Book Off the Shelves for the year. I'm not going to keep up a separate thread this year. One reason is that the BOTS group didn't start a new one for 2011 so all the threads are confusing to me, and the other is that I found I was confusing two different definitions of the BOTS. One is reading books that have been sitting there for over a certain amount of time (generally defined as before Jan. 1 of this year, but in fact most are 6 months or much more sitting around!) and the other is books that I actually get rid of. And that might be a new book I read and then (after my sister reads it) immediately put up to trade on PBS or BookMooch. So I thought it would just be easier to track that in my own thread.
Book #7 Unclutter Your Life in One Week!! by Erin Rooney Doland (233 pp.)
This lady runs the website Unclutterer.com, and this is actually a pretty good overview of the process. She has it organized by the days of the week as you go, and for each day has a morning activity, a work activity, and an evening activity. That makes for a very full week, one that could easily be expanded into 3 weeks without difficulty. Or more...
I brought this book home from the library because one of my goals of retirement is to do some serious decluttering. I know I spend too much time managing my "stuff" because I have too much stuff!! I'm a pack rat. I'm actually fairly organized in terms of things having their place. I'm not particularly good at keeping up with stuff on a daily basis, and the dining room table and my couch in my office and the top of my dresser show it. Also, I'm disposing of professional stuff and having to put what I am keeping in the attic for any future use. Sandy, I have visited flylady.com. I'm always interested in this stuff--I have a dozen organizing books in my own library--but none of them yet have come with the magic wand! My mom is coming to visit in a month and I am also working on projects to have the house in good shape for a visitor. Like painting the bathroom we had remodeled two years ago.
Book #8 Christopher Lowell's Seven Layers of Organization by Christopher Lowell (169 pp.)
Another library book, this is more of a picture book than anything else. Yes, Lowell takes you through the 7 layers (Assess & Schedule, Detach & Purge, Reclaim & Update, Sort & Contain, Design & Build, Arrange & Display, Cease & Maintain) rather quickly and then proceeds to show you lots of pictures of redos using layers 4, 5, and 6 mostly. Glad I didn't buy it. Some of the ideas for using bookcases and doors were neat if you live in a modern, fairly featureless house or apartment, but of limited use in my bungalow.
Book #9 Unclutter Your Home: 7 Simple Steps, 700 Tips & Ideas by Donna Smallin (179 pp.)
Don't bother. It's dated (1999) and it is mostly just lists of tips for different areas of the house, rather than integrated. The seven steps are basically the same as the ones for Mr. Lowell in the previous book: assess your situation, plan for success, lighten your load, revamp clutter zones, simplify with systems, and ban clutter forever.
Book #10 Images of God for Young Children by Marie-Helene Delval and illustrated by Barbara Nascimbeni (89 pp.)
This is my December Early Reviewer book, which arrived yesterday. It is a picture book for children, and the ER copy is unbound but otherwise "finished"--the illustrations and the type-setting are perfect, but the pages are loose inside a paper cover. Half the book is the illustrator's work, literally. On the left page each time is a metaphor of God (God is light, God is joy, God is wisdom) and on the right is a beautiful, full-color picture in a primitive style that illustrates or captures the spirit of the metaphor.
The author states at the beginning of the book that "Even though we cannot see or touch God, the Bible does describe many ways that we can still discover God in our world. This book offers a collection of these images, presented here in language that is appropriate for children while remaining faithful to the spirit of the biblical texts." There are 40 metaphors and 40 illustrations, three of which explicitly mention Jesus. The metaphors are presented at the top, and then 3 or 4 sentences that elaborate on the image in simple language are given. These are translated from the French, evidently by the author as no translator is mentioned. The author has written several other children's books with the Bible as subject matter.
I think the book is beautiful both in its appearance and in its language. I can see a parent using it to introduce a child to the concept of God in a very rich way. While it could be read all the way through, coming back to consider a page or two at a time and to discuss it would be my recommendation. Even adults could use each page as a stimulus for meditation and prayer.
Book #11 Sense and Sensibility* by Jane Austen (208 pp.)
It is always a pleasure to re-visit Jane, and this was no exception. It had been a while, and I had totally forgotten
the existence of Margaret, or that Willoughby came when Marianne was so ill.
I look forward now to watching the 3 different film versions I have and comparing them, and will take my comments over to the group read page.
Book #12 Bright of the Sky by Kay Kenyon (451 pp.)
Titus Quinn has been living in seclusion along the beach in the Pacific Northwest for two years, since he was inexplicably found on a far planet after his spaceship disappeared with him, his wife and daughter. The corporation he worked for has labeled his story of finding himself and family in a different universe for 10 years as crackpot, but now they have found evidence that this other universe might exist, and want Titus to be their experimental probe. Desperate to get back to his wife and daughter, he agrees.
The Entire is a wholely different reality. With a multitude of creatures but of course, politics both there and at home, Titus must overcome his blocked memory and navigate both physical and sociopolitical barriers.
This was an interesting book, the first of a series (the situation is unresolved at the end of the book). It reminded me somewhat of David Brin's Uplift books in its aliens, and somewhat of Riverworld in its flow. I hadn't read anything of Kenyon's before--I think I was conflating her last name to confuse her with Sherrilyn Kenyon who writes urban fantasy vampire tales--not my cuppa. But this was worth a read for science fiction fans--not great but decent, and very imaginative.
I re-read Sense and Sensibility for the first time in *ages* last year (or maybe it was in 2009...) and it was like it was completely new. Great stuff, I'd like to see one of the adaptations (I know I've seen bits of the Emma Thompson one, at least).
My favorite Jane Austen!... well, I can never decide between this and Persuasion. Love 'em both. I re-read this last year for a class, and was completely shocked at how much I'd missed/forgotten. (And I love the Emma Thompson version. That scene at the end, when the mysterious Mr. F. returns and clears up all the confusion, and Elinor, who has been so strong and stoic throughout, sobs so openly... so love it.)
I enjoy Persuasion a lot too--it is my second-favorite.
Book #13 Unfallen Dead by Mark Del Franco (309 pp.)
This is the third in the series about Connor Gray, dysfunctional druid, and the third which ends in a denouement where Gray ends up saving the world, or at least Boston, from total disaster. Despite that, I like the characters in this series and it is offbeat enough to hold my interest.
Book #14 On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers (326 pp.)
Tim Powers writes the most interesting fantasy, gritty and off-beat and powerful, with interesting characters. I thought I had read all vintage Powers, but when I came to this book, I think I must have missed it back when. The fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie is supposedly using this book as its plot basis, and I can totally see parts of it in movie form--but I don't think I could watch it! Looking forward to discussing this in the Group Read thread.
Currently reading Ryk Spoor's Grand Central Arena.
Book #15 Grand Central Arena by Ryk E. Spoor (671 pp.)
This is deliberately written as an homage to the grand old space opera and E. E. "Doc" Smith, and is a delightful update. Riffing off of Skylark of Valeron, there are many twists and turns in this tale of humanity testing a new, interstellar drive, their unexpected destination, and a feisty, strong female captain. Lots of fun!
On Stranger Tides was a great romp, I was so chuffed when I found it! I believe happy squealing occurred. Pirates! Zombies! Tim Powers! What could possibly go wrong?
(Apart from an upcoming sort-of-adaptation by Hollywood. If I see the movie, I'll try to not associate it with Mr Powers' book. Unless it's a marked improvement on the last Pirates movie.)
Book #16 Plain Kate by Erin Bow (311 pp.)
I had read of this book on several threads, most notably Kerry's (Avatiakh), and it sounded like the kind of fantasy that appeals to me. While not a fairy tale retelling, it has much of the atmosphere of one and elements of Russian folk tales. Our heroine is orphaned and alienated by her skill from the villagers, and then a witch compels her to give him her shadow. The tale of how she deals with this makes up the story. As with the best of tales, there is never a cost-free conclusion, and I cried like a baby at the end, but it was a good story.
Book #17 Carousel Tides by Sharon Lee (306 pp.)
I love Sharon Lee's work with her husband Steve Miller, set in the Liaden Universe, and read all they publish, so had to try this contemporary fantasy written solo. At first, I thought, oh NO! Family with special powers, missing granny, strong pulse of attraction to this handsome boat captain--does all this sound familiar? As in trite and stale and familiar? And then--she flipped it all around and made it vital and original and interesting. Try it, you'll like it. My first read for Fantasy February.
Well, I read the first two "books" of The Magicians and then needed a break from such bleak existential angst, so picked up
Book #18 Catalyst: A Tale of the Barque Cats by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (256 pp.)
This was just the thing, a light little tale of psychic cats, spaceships, and political corruption, with a little love story to spice it. Quite suitable for upper elementary school and middle school kids, and kids and cat-lovers of all ages. This book ends with an unresolved situation, which is carried into the next book, Catacombs: A Tale of the Barque Cats.
Book #19 Catacombs: A Tale of the Barque Cats by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (236 pp.)
The political corruption having been resolved, all that is left is Pshaw-Ra's scheme to have cats take over the universe (just as Richard has always said). Again, this is a great book for grades 4 through 7--fun but no depth. I'm glad I got it at the library instead of buying it.
Book #20 The Magicians by Lev Grossman (402 pp.)
SPOILER ALERT--do not read if you don't want to know!
Whereas Harry Potter starts with children and moves into teens, this book about a school of magic starts with teens and moves into young adulthood, and boy does the angst show. Revenge of the nerds merges into fate of the nerds, and then dissipation of the nerds. There is only so much alcohol and sex one of my aged years can tolerate. And yet, in the final parts of the book, story happens. I see there is to be a sequel, which I suspect may be a mistake, because the book ended at what I consider to be the perfect stopping place.
Besides parallels to Harry Potter (not one but two pairings of our Magician fellow with another guy and a girl, although sequential), there are also a lot of parallels to Narnia in the existence and nature of Fillory, but from a more cynical POV.
I suspect that teens and twenties will love this book a lot more than I, but I did eventually get caught up in the story.
I hate it when a book goes on and on and the story waits until the last few chapters to show up. I tried to read this book and failed. Maybe I should have stuck it out? Although I'm not in the teens-and-twenties category anymore.
I'm yet to hear anything really good about The Magicians, I don't think it's one I'll be picking up. (Shame, I rather liked the idea of an older Harry Potter-esque tale.)
I think the Magicians is a book with big ideas but very mediocre execution. I love the idea of it - even the cynical aspect - but it really failed to engage in either plot or characters in my opinion.
Book #21 The Spirit Lens by Carol Berg (487 pp.)
This probably deserves a review, but I'm not mentally alert enough to do so right now. Fairly traditional fantasy, first of a series, quite well done. Even though it was all about stuff in which I have little inherent interest, the characters and story were intriguing enough to power on through it. The bad part is that although it reached a stopping point, we still have no idea who is the bad guy. And if I want to find out, I'm going to have to get the next book or two. Which I may well do.
Book #22 The Great Ghost Rescue by Eva Ibbotson (167 pp.)
Anne (AMQS) had recommended this one, which made me realize it was an Ibbotson I hadn't read. This children's book is typical of hers, zany and well-populated with ghosts, vampire bats, and many other supernatural creatures along with some plucky kids. Fun!
Book #23 Unperfect Souls by Mark del Franco (338 pp.)
The fourth in the series, and the last currently out but not the last in the story, this book keeps all the balls in the air from prior volumes and adds a few more. At least this time it isn't the possibility of the end of the whole world as we know it at the climax, just of Boston. Again, I like the characters and the writing, but now I have to wait for the next book to be published.
Book #24 Death's Daughter by Amber Benson (359 pp.)
Obviously a quick read. Light urban fantasy. I have come to the realization that one of the reasons I am rather meh about so many books in this genre is that they really ARE slanted at the 20-somethings and their wannabees (teens and pre-teens), and that the obligatory inclusion of the latest fashion must-haves and the weak-at-the-knees melting at encountering handsome men just doesn't substitute for actual story and characters. It's the female equivalent of action films. That said, if our heroine here were not just so damn clueless, this would be a cute little story.
Have you read Seannan McGuire? I can't remember if I've pimped her at you before. Her Toby Daye series (starting with Rosemary and Rue is the only non-YA urban fantasy series I've found that I really like. It definitely feels more grown up to me.
AND the 4th book just came out yesterday! I think the first was published last year. That woman writes like a machine---
Thanks, Aerrin, I'll take a look at her. Haven't heard of her before.
She's pretty new on the scene, but she won the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer at the Hugos last year and got a lot of buzz over Feed, which she wrote as Mira Grant.
I'm pretty sure that in two years, she's published 6 books. The Toby Daye series has contracts into I think 6 total, and the Feed books are a triology (the second comes out in April or May).
ANYWAY. She's my new favorite author. I found Rosemary and Rue rough in a few places but was completely enthralled by the third book, An Artificial Night, which was creepy and thrilling and wonderful.
Haha, and probably half of it from me. ;) If you give her a shot I'll be v. interested to see what you think!
Book #25 Murder of a Real Bad Boy# by Denise Swanson (259 pp.)
These Scumble River mysteries are a cozy series that I read because the author, and the lead character, are both school psychologists--a rarity! Even if Skye is much too confused in her love life, both the limited allusions to a school psychologist's job issues and the small-town atmosphere make these an enjoyable light read for me. This one is the 8th in the series, and I'd start at the beginning with Murder of a Small Town Honey if you wanted to give them a try.
This is book #1 for Mystery March and the 4th Book Off the Shelf for the year. I really do have a mystery around these series. I can't find the first five--I think I may have lent them to another school psychologist to read, but none of the likely suspects fesses up.
Book #26 Murder of a Botoxed Blonde# by Denise Swanson (237 pp.)
Book 9 in the series, this one takes place in a new spa, which led to lots of interesting possibilities and some cute chapter titles. There are still 4 more of these, but these are the last of the ones that have been sitting on my shelves.
Book #2 for Mystery March and the 5th BOTS for the year.
Books #27 and 28 Bye, Bye, Bertie and For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls by Nancy Mehl (265 pp. total)
These follow In the Dead of Winter, where Ivy comes to take over her greataunt's bookstore in small-town Kansas and solve her aunt's death. This is definitely cozy mystery territory, and the "inspirational" aspects are much stronger in these books, with much more talk of God's love and relying on Him. Not too bad, but I read them mostly for their setting in Kansas.
Book #29 Tortall and Other Lands: A collection of tales by Tamora Pierce (369 pp.)
This book of short stories has a mix of stories about Tortall and its world and also other settings. While I am not a big fan of short stories, I enjoyed the follow through of some characters from Pierce's books, and it was an enjoyable light read overall.
Book #30 The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin (395 pp.)
Recommended by many other LTers, such as Aerrin and Mary (bell7) and Morphidae, this fantasy is the tale of a girl from one culture called to that of her mother after her mother's death. Told in first person, we encounter the Arameri and their captive gods as Yeine becomes entangled in their scheming.
This was a fast-moving, creative story that kept me interested throughout. The story stays tightly in Yeine's personal experience, but there are tantalizing glimpses of the world outside, especially the Darr culture, that will undoubtedly be explored in future books. The mythology that underlies the story is not original in itself, but is used creatively to create the backbone of the plot.
The next book is out, but exemplifies one of my pet peeves, one that has now occurred twice in the last month for me, where I have picked up the first book of a series in mmpb format, and the second book is only available in a trade paperback format--I HATE having mismatched sets and yet both of these are series I want to continue.
Whew! And now I am caught up on this thread. I am still reading Always Coming Home for the group read, and Suzanne's book, Chasing Goldman Sachs--they are both "read a bit at a time" books, and I don't know what book I'll pick up as my "read straight through" book next.
Fell way behind! Trying to catch up.
Book #31 Chasing Goldman Sachs: How the masters of the universe melted Wall Street down...and why they'll take us to the brink again by our very own Chatterbox, Suzanne McGee (378 pp.)
I've been working on this one for a month. It turned out that I couldn't read it for bedtime reading--had to be a morning read, so part of a chapter in the morning became my pace. After reading the introduction, I wanted to send copies to all my legislators. After finishing the book, I want to send copies to ALL the legislators in Washington. I don't know how she managed, but Suzanne took incredibly complex data about Wall Street's operations and managed to make it comprehensible. Not only that, but she was able to identify some key components that all investors and legislators should be aware of. Five stars!
Book #32 One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde (359 pp.)
Some have expressed annoyance with Fforde for being TOO cute. I just enjoy him. In this book, we deal with the revision of Bookworld into a new geographical model, and Fiction Island is a marvel. Off the coast is Vanity Island, since Fiction won't accept self-published works unless they become hits, with a separate peninsula for fan fiction. Then School Essay is a smaller island off that, with MP's Expenses beyond that. Over on the other side of Fiction Island is a small island of Books Only Students Read. Then off the shore of Women's Fiction is an island that is half Chick Lit and half Dubious Lifestyle Advice.
But beyond the geograpy, Thursday is missing and the written Thursday is pulled into the vacuum. This is not too demanding at first, since her series is remaindered and only attracting a few readers a day. But as usual, one thing leads to another, and we end up with an explosive denouement. Lots of fun.
"Although Outlander authors kill, maim, disfigure and eviscerate bookpeople on a regular basis, no author has ever been held to account, although lawyers are working on a test case to deal with serial offenders. The mechanism for transfictional jurisdiction has yet to be finalized, but when it is, some authors may have cause to regret their worst excesses." Bradshaw's BookWorld Companion (16th edition)
Book #33 Mort by Terry Pratchett (236 pp.)
This is the first Discworld book where DEATH is a major character, although he has appeared in almost all of them. As an anthropomorphic personification, and moreover without glands, Death's response to life is decidedly skewed. While the later Death books are more mature and layered, this one definitely has its moments!
Book #34 Trio of Sorcery by Mercedes Lackey (351 pp.)
Morphidae was reading this a few weeks ago. I'd seen it in the bookstore but am at this point leery of picking up more recent Lackey books--I love her early stuff, but then she goes on and on ad infinitum. So when I saw Morphy give a decent review, I checked my library and, lo and behold, it is in the catalog!
Some of Misty's earliest work featured Diana Tregarde and Jennifer Talldeer in similar but separate series that were what was yet to become paranormal fantasy, both able to work magic and both, in different settings, committed to protecting people from evil magic. They were already hard to find by the time The Arrows of the Queen trilogy became hugely popular (although I did manage to find them), but were later reprinted as Lackey became a big name. This book is 3 novellas, one a Diana Tregarde prequel set in the early 70s, one a Jennifer Tallgrass sequel set in the mid-90s, and the last a similar tale set in the computer gaming environment of the present day. The first two stories were like welcoming back old friends, but in essence all three stories were the same. Potent medicine woman encounters evil spirit and, with the help of a team of friends, defeats same. The details are different, as are the archetypes of the evil spirit, which yield interest, but by the time you read the third story, I think it suffers from not only not having a familiar character to anchor it, but by having that same plot for the third time in quick succession.
Book #35 Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire (346 pp.)
This picture of the interaction between the fae and human worlds has a changeling working (or not) as a PI in San Francisco. Toby is forced into solving the murder of a purebred fae by a curse. While this is primarily a murder mystery (with lots of violence, although not overwhelmingly graphic), there are lots of elements introduced that are not resolved in the current book (e.g., why did two fae turn Toby into a koi for 14 years and what are they doing now, is the fairy Queen going mad, how does Tybalt really feel about Toby). I would rate this among the stronger urban fantasies (hey, no gratuitous sex!), and Aerrin says the books get better as you go on, so I will do so.
Book #36 Oath of Fealty* by Elizabeth Moon (471 pp.)
This came out last year, continuing the story of the kingdoms first visited in Moon's The Deed of Paksenarrion trilogy 20 years ago. In this sequel, Paks is not the viewpoint character but is seen in her interaction with other characters we came to know in the earlier books through 4 viewpoint characters, each in a different geographical position. It was definitely a worthy successor and only the first in the new trilogy.
Book #37 Kings of the North by Elizabeth Moon (478 pp.)
This continues the second trilogy in the Paksennarion series. I rose from my sickbed to go get this, although not on the day of release as planned. This second trilogy deals with the people we met in following Paks in the first trilogy, and is building to a showdown with a major baddie from that series. The word for this book is "leisurely". A few major plot points emerge, but we mostly see people we care about settling into their new roles. I love this series, but you have to be willing to care about the characters and let them develop.
Book #38 A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire (387 pp.)
Book #39 An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire (371 pp.)
These are books 2 and 3 in the "Toby Daye" urban fantasy series. I think it was Aerrin who introduced me to this series, although I may well be wrong, and IMHO this is one of the better ones. The characters don't make me gag with banality, and the action is pretty good.
Book #40 Always Coming Home* by Ursula K. Le Guin
This was re-read for a group read, and I enjoyed reading it again. Le Guin's parents were anthropologists, with her father concentrating on cultures in the American Northwest, and their influence has always been discernible in her science fiction, but nowhere more so than here. This is not a linear story but an immersion into a post-apocalyptic world from the viewpoint of one cultural group. Both for this group, the Sinshan in their valley, and for the Condor, Le Guin accurately uses many features present in the aboriginal cultures of the Northwest and the Northern plains. The culture is shared not only by narrative but by song, poem, legend, and infrastructure, giving a rich, multi-layered texture to the society. The author, as Pandora, frets about her approach, but ultimately speaks her true purpose, I believe, in the chapter of Pandora speaking with the archivist.
ARC: But I have no answers and this isn't utopia, aunt!
PAN: The hell it ain't.
ARC: This is a mere dream dreamed in a bad time, an Up Yours to the people who ride snowmobiles, make nuclear weapons, and run prison camps by a middle-aged housewife, a critique of civilisation possible only to the civilised, an affirmation pretending to be a rejection, a glass of milk for the soul ulcered by acid rain, a piece of pacifist jeanjacquerie, and a cannibal dance among the savages in the ungodly garden of the farthest West.
Book #41 Moon Flights by Elizabeth Moon (401 pp.)
At the same time as the discussion over in Lizzie's (Peggy's) thread, I am atypically reading a book of short stories. Not typically my favorite length, still some engaging stories here by an author I enjoy.
Book #42 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (205 pp.)
Absolutely delightful, as always. I've promised myself to indulge in the A&E 6 hour production within the next week for sure! And here is a favorite quote
"The stupidity with which he was favoured by nature, must guard his courtship from any charm that could make a woman wish for its continuance, and Miss Lucas, who accepted him solely from the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment, cared not how soon that establishment were gained."
43. Late Eclipse by Seanan McGuire (400 pp.)
The fourth book in the Toby Daye series--yes, I was reading these while I was feeling really ill--keeps up the action, brings a few plot lines to completion while opening up half a dozen more--yes, I'll keep reading them.
Book #44 Tiassa by Steven Brust (336 pp.)
I like Brust's series. Yes, the first few books had a pizzazz that really snapped, sometimes making us long for the "good old days". Yet I love the Paarfi books, The Phoenix Guards and Five Hundred Years After (I like Dumas too), and have patience with the working out of complex plots. I liked this one. I liked the different narrators, seeing Pel and Khavren again, liked seeing some plot elements illuminated and others develop. I hope the tiassa helps Savn. There were some very clever things going on, many of which I wouldn't have seen without the discussion of the Dragaera list serve.
Book #45 How To Slay a Dragon by Bill Allen (211 pp.)
This book for middle-school kids was an ER book. This quest story about a twelve-year-old boy yanked into a fantasy world to kill a dragon is saved from mediocrity by its clever variations on the traditional quest story as well as its atrocious but very clever puns. The action moved quickly, the characters were interesting, and the ending left a lot of room for other stories to follow in the series. Because of my work in the elementary school, I've read a lot of books at this level, and this is one of the better of the later crop of series.
Book #46 Millennial Mythmaking: Essays on the Power of Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, Films and Games Edited by John Perlich and David Whitt (195 pp.)
This was an ER book I was excited to receive. However, I was disappointed in the execution. This is a collection of chapters that read as if written for scholarly journals--which they probably were. Except for the first article, there was a heavy emphasis on films rather than literature or games. Rather than a broad discussion of the issues, themes and myth, a narrow focus is taken in most of the articles, such as one might see in a master's thesis or a doctoral dissertation. It is further spoiled by grammatical errors, such as "evil...need". "the Witch's demise is brought about by Dorothy's desire to undue (sic) evil actions." "She places the hate (hat) in front of..." These are especially grating given the scholarly pretensions of the articles.
In summary, while these articles may have great interest for scholars in the field of literature, they have limited interest for the general science fiction fan and/or mythology buff. While it is somewhat interesting to see the examples of how Rowling systematically uses the colors green and red to cue important events (except where she didn't) or to analyze the movie Pan's Labyrinth so that I don't ever have to watch it (thankfully given the violence described), how the remake of The Planet of the Apes didn't tie into the same mythic hooks that the original version did, the sexism in the game Second Life, or analysis of the cyborg in the manga Man-Machine Interface, the chapter contrasting the book version of The Wizard of Oz, the movie version, Maguire's book Wicked, and the musical "Wicked" was the broadest in scope and the most interesting, although unfortunately the one with the most print errors. Unless you are developing a thesis in this area, you can probably skip this one.
Book #47 The Magicians and Mrs. Quent* by Galen Beckett (498 pp.)
This was a re-read in preparation for reading the sequel. I think I enjoyed it more this time through. The first time, the first section of the book kept echoing of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, but with discordances that were frustrating, while the middle section was heavily reminiscent of Jane Eyre. Only in the last section did Beckett seem to develop her own voice and have the action carry the plot out satisfactorily. Despite this, Altania is a fascinating place, with days and nights of fluctuating length, a Wildwood, and many other differences in the midst of great similarities to England and London.
Book #48 The House on Durrow Street by Galen Beckett (685 pp.)
This sequel was a stronger story. Although the viewpoint still shifts among Ivy, Rafferdy, and Garritt, Beckett seems to have found her own authorial voice. The plot becomes more complex, yet more interesting with many hints of further complications to come. I liked this book better and will definitely read further when a sequel becomes available.
Book #49 Cat's Claw by Amber Benson (311 pp.)
Yes, I know. I should have quit after Death's Daughter. Calliope is just TOO twenties-angsty, fashion-engrossed, and denying her immortal heritage--she is very annoying. But hey, CAT is involved, and there are some clever things in this world, although Calliope isn't one of them. As with the first, urban fantasy that teens and twenties will probably love.
And now for May's reading so far:
Book #50 Skin Deep by Mark Del Franco (292 pp.)
This book is set in the same "world" as the Connor Grey books, where there has been a "convergence" between our world and faery. There is a lot I find interesting about this world, and I liked hearing more about it. However, I was able to identify with Connor, his issues and his motivations, much more than I was with Laura, the protagonist of this book. This one seems more shallow in plot and complexity of character. I'd recommend trying Unshapely Things to see if you like this world rather that starting with this one. I already have the second--had inadvertently picked it up thinking it was the first--but if it doesn't show me more, I probably won't continue this series, whereas I will with the Connor Grey books.
Book #51 Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith (319 pp.)
This had its moments--but they were few and far between. It is clever, but not inspired, and so the story never really grips you. I am not sorry I have read it, but doubt I will continue on with the genre.
Catching up on your thread today, and you made me lol quite literally: "The characters don't make me gag with banality, and the action is pretty good."
I'm not sure what that says about the genre, but I know the exact feeling you mean when talking about urban fantasy! I'm sure it was probably me who introduced you to Toby Daye, as I am a bit obsessed and haven't seen many others around LT talking about them. I'm glad to see you're enjoying them! I think An Artificial Night was my favorite, although I'm quiiiite happy to see certain relationships progressing in Late Eclipses (and getting over anxious at this point - COME ON ALREADY!) and very excited about some of the Amadine mysteries that are becoming clear.
Also, can I just say how much I really love her cover art? I follow McGuire's blog and she did a reveal of One Salt Sea a few months ago, and the art is just /gorgeous/.
Sad to here about Millenial Mythmaking. That sounds right up my alley otherwise. As a long-time fantasy and sci fi geek, I'm both very interested in and really enjoying the sudden prevalence of both in culture - and that I can hand things like Blackout an Hunger Games to my students and they're excited rather than skeptical.
Re: Connor Grey - I read the first and found it solid but not thrilling. A bit too PI-solves-crime for my tastes, if that makes sense. Should I keep going, do you think? In particular, do the characters grow stronger?
Hey, Aerrin, the ongoing suspense behind the reason for Connor's blocked abilities is what I think keeps bringing me back to this series, as we get deeper into what is going on among the fey. I just got the fifth of the series, so we shall see where it takes us.
Book #52 Face Off by Mark Del Franco (322 pp.)
This is the second of the Laura Blackstone series, set in the same reality as the Connor Grey series. While I enjoy the Grey series, I keep bouncing off this series. It is the same general reality and framework, but while I can buy into the damaged Druid trying to cope in Boston, Laura and her multiple personalities in the political world of DC, with primarily faerie politics, leave me emotionally uninvolved. I kept having to force myself to go back to the story.
Book #53 Sweet Revenge by Andrea Penrose (317 pp.)
Well, I blasted through this last night in a couple of hours--quite ridiculous as a picture of Regency era life, but entertaining if one doesn't require historical accuracy in the day to day details or thoroughly modern mind-set protagonists. The action plus the two areas where the author DID do historical research saved it, those being the history of chocolate being brought to the Old World (along with yummy chocolate recipes) and the South Sea Bubble, a financial scam that hit England in the early 1700s.
Fun, but a far superior look at life on the streets in Regency times is the Blind Justice series by Bruce Alexander--excellent!
Book #54 Still Life# by Louise Penny (312 pp.)
All right. I did it. Even though I am only an occasional mystery reader, the overwhelming accolades given by LTers to this series led me to mooch this book last year (so it counts as a book off the shelf!), and now, finally, I have read it.
And, of course, so many of you couldn't possibly be wrong. I loved it. Is it wrong to have disliked Agent Nichol more than the murderer? "You are looking at the problem." *snort* Seriously, great characters!
I finished Book #55 a few days ago, The Female Man by Joanna Russ (214 pp.). I had a much harder time getting into it than I did Always Coming Home, but I came to appreciate it in the end. Although nominally in the format of science fiction, it seemed to me in the end more of a stream of consciousness, complete with the fragmentation always existing in our personalities in this area, with environments then developed to support each persona. The pain in Part 7--it's like the feminine Howl, without the respect--I remember feeling that fervently, that desperately. Do 20-somethings still experience this today?
Book #56 The Cloud Roads+ by Martha Wells (274 pp.)
This book was read for my online discussion group. It is a fantasy, not explicitly YA but with that kind of clean, streamlined feel to it. The world-building was excellent and the action carried the book forward quickly while maintaining interests. There is no "magic", only the consistent characteristics of the species, so this could also be considered science fiction, and definitely would have been in days of yore.
Book #57 Naked in Death+ by J. D. Robb (443 pp.)
I've heard so much about this series that I wanted to try it and got a copy from the library. So far, it seems a pretty routine police procedural set in the near future, so that it has technology that is different from present day, but with people, politics, and procedures being pretty much identical to now. I think what I have been hearing from people is that the characters make the series. Can I assume that what seems a pretty typical damaged heroine and an atypically perfect hero become more interesting in future books?
Book #58 Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity+ by David Allen (259 pp.)
After seeing this book reviewed by JechtShot, I saw my library had it and so requested it, and am glad I did so. I have a million (okay, 20) books on getting organized and getting things done, sitting there on my shelf. And yes, I read most of them. This book, it seems to me, has the potential to make the most change in my habits, because it will have me changing habits of mind. Unlike many, Allen does not believe that starting with goals and aspirations will lead to better results. He says that you have to clear out at the bottom level, get things under control, before you can move up to that level and get things in sync. He's a consultant with 20 years experience in helping professionals get their "stuff" under control, and he includes home and personal "stuff" along with professional. I am so going to be using his Workflow Diagram, and really work on processing all the information in this book in the next week.
You might ask, now that I am retired, why do I need this? Well, while it would have been invaluable for work as well, I am still waking at night thinking of all I WANT to get done, around the house, in the garden, in crafts, in reading, etc., not as often as I did while working, but still often enough to make really evident that those "open loops" as Allen calls them are eating up mental energy. I want to get more done with my time than I have been, and even more importantly, when I decide to kick back and relax, I want to be able to do it without having those things moiling around in the back of my mind.
Book #59 Spellcast by Barbara Ashford (433 pp.)
At first glance, and for about the first half of this rather hefty book, I thought this seemed like a typical "cozy" fantasy--and yes, that's just like a cozy mystery, except with fantasy elements rather than a mystery. People homing in on an old Vermont barn theatre, a mysterious director, summer stock--but then it actually transcended that and became real fantasy, avoiding the easy answers and actually engaging the emotions!
Book #60 Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland (309 pp.)
This is due back at the library in 3 days, and I knew it would be a quick and easy read, so I squeezed it in today between my other reads.
12-year-old Polly is suffering from a surfeit of Pride and Prejudice and Anne of Green Gables, so that she is dressing like Lizzie and Anne, and talking like them, and trying to arrange the love life of her sister Clementine, her best friend's father, and her old friend Mr. Nightquist, with predictably disastrous results. It is a cutesy little book, but I never really particularly liked Polly, who seemed a pretentious little prat, and so kept getting irritated with her rather than charmed and drawn into the story. Despite our shared love for those particular classics, therefore, this is just a so-so read for me.
I've been falling behind on this thread. Let's update!
Book #61 Zoo City by Lauren Beukes (373 pp.)
This book is edgy, gritty, near-future dystopic urban fantasy. And I felt really lost in it. The main reason is the author and setting are in South Africa, with all these locations that undoubtedly have a lot of resonance with persons familiar with Johannesburg. I didn't realize that I depended so much on context! Especially with as much fantasy reading as I do where the context is created out of whole cloth. But I think the thing is that the neighborhoods and buildings Beukes uses are part of the story in how they have changed since the Event, where suddenly persons who have committed violence acquire an animal that is linked to them, in the middle of the violence that is southern Africa itself. You are dropped into the middle of it, and gradually pick up the pieces here and there, before finally coming out the other side into an ending. I can see this book generating a lot of buzz. It was fascinating and frustrating.
Book #62 Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (246 pp.)
I have finished my slow re-read of MP for the Austenathon, averaging about 3 chapters a day most days through the 46 chapter book. I have to say I really enjoyed this. I think the problem arises when people think of this as a romance, of Fanny getting Edmund, as opposed to a serious treatment of the virtues of self-discipline and a moral code in contrast to vanity and self-indulgence. In the same way as with Sense and Sensibility, the meat of the matter is in the exhibition of the characteristics highlighted through the interaction of the characters, and so the rather cursory summary chapters of each are not meant to illuminate the romantic relationships, but rather to put a period on the conflict that has gone before. This story could so clearly have gone the other way, had Mr. Crawford been more steadfast and Mary more principled. In such case, indeed, Edmund would have ended up with Mary and Fanny with Henry and that would also have been a good ending, a better one for the Crawfords. But due to their character flaws, both doomed themselves to unhappy lives.
I loved how Mrs. Norris was got out of the house at the end, to the joy of all. Indeed, she is the nastiest character in the whole book.
Book #63 The Friendship of Women: The Hidden Tradition of the Bible by Joan Chittister (89 pp.)
This came in the mail this morning via PaperBackSwap. I have enjoyed Chittister's books before, having read both Called to Question and In Search of Belief. This slim book is almost a series of meditations on the qualities of friendship among women, using 12 Biblical women to represent the qualities she describes but with many, many other quotations from many sources about friendship, e.g. "My friends are my estate." Emily Dickinson. A very quick read, but a perfect gift for a friend who is retiring next week!
Book #64 Sparks by Laura Bickle (358 pp.)
Urban fantasy has become to the fantasy genre what vampires, werewolves, and zombies have become to the YA genre--a few successful precursors have led to an absolute overload in the field. Everyone is doing it, you can't turn around without bumping into one, they are crowding other types of fantasy off the shelves at the bookstores, and most are fairly mundane, despite their topics.
I inadvertently picked up the second book in a series here. "Anya Kalinczyk is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern, who holds down a day job as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department—while working 24/7 to exterminate malicious spirits haunting a city plagued by unemployment and despair. Along with her inseparable salamander familiar, Sparky, Anya has seen, and even survived, all manner of fiery hell—but her newest case sparks suspicions of a bizarre phenomenon that no one but her eccentric team of ghost hunters might believe: spontaneous human combustion." from Amazon. It's an interesting premise, there is an "awwww" factor from the salamander familiar and baby salamanders in this book, but the villain is cardboard, the relationships for the most part aren't well-developed, there is just lots of action and ideas sprinkled throughout that keep the pace moving quickly without any depth. I won't go back and pick up the first book, nor continue with the series.
Book #65 The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard (430 pp.)
I picked this up because it was about books, but actually it is a thriller in the sense of Dan Brown, although better written (Brown drove me absolutely nuts with his ADHD 3-page chapters). Not really about books although the idea of Lectors with powers involvesreading--it's a pretty proto-typical thriller. Evil conspiracy--check. Female partner--check. Lots of action--check. If you like Dan Brown, you should love this. I'm not really into thrillers, myself.
Book #66 Snotty Saves the Day: The History of Ardadia by Tod Davies (182 pp.)
This is an ER book. When I read the description, I thought it was a middle-school level fantasy, but it definitely is not. The blurb on the back by the author, the owner of the publishing company, says "An Exterminating Angel Press Fairy Tale for Adults of All Ages". I think older teens might find it accessible, if they were open to the fantastical. Purportedly a manuscript transferred to our world from another reality, this tale tells the story of Snotty in Megalopolis, with scholarly footnotes that add to the context of the tale itself. It is much more a parable, fable, or allegory than a story, per se, and at times it was difficult for me to read--I had to put it down several times at the beginning because the characters were so unpleasant. While I sympathize with the author's pov, this is a very heavy-handed way of getting it across. I'm sure he would appreciate the comparison that arose in my mind with The Pilgrim's Progress, however.
Book #67 Uncertain Allies by Mark Del Franco (296 pp.)
This is the fifth in the Connor Gray series, and once again it ends with the imminent destruction of Boston--well, only the Guildhouse really, but by this time, I'm surprised there is any of Boston standing. My critique of this series is how the end of the world stands in the balance at the end of each book--a point in Del Franco's favor is that he resolves it within each book, not leaving one with huge cliff-hangers. I have liked how relationships develop and the tantalizing backstories as well as the mystery of Connor's "black mass" handicapping his abilities, but at this point, the action seems to be overwhelming that. I'm about to get bored, and if nothing substantive happens in the next book, relegate the series to the brain candy category. Which, to be fair, is where I put most urban fantasy anyway.
I keep hearing good things about Moxyland by Lauren Beukes, sounds like I should start at her 1st book.
I knew it was up for the award, Ian, but hadn't heard who had won. I'm not surprised.
Book #68 The Brontes: A Life in Letters by Juliet Barker (402 pp.)
My slow book the last week or so has been this book, read a chapter at a time, until yesterday, when it reached critical mass and I had to continue through unchecked until it was completed. In truth, although long a fan of Jane Eyre and aware of the three sisters as authors and that they had a brother, I had no idea of the tragedy of their lives or the strong autobiographical features of all their novels. This book tells the story almost entirely with the letters of the Brontes themselves, with small bridges to describe connecting events, and is tremendously moving. I recommend it strongly, and my gratitude to Jennifer (jfetting) for bringing my attention to it.
The Barker books are the reason why I'm reading all the Bronte works this year. So happy to be of help in bringing this book to you!
Book #69 Across the Universe by Beth Revis (398 pp.)
This YA science fiction/dystopia is well-written and the pace moves along to keep you engaged in the story. On the surface, it is a moving and thought-provoking story, but under the surface, it leaves major holes, especially in its culmination.
Aerrin wrote a wonderful review of it when she read it last December, much better than I can do, so go read it here--
I agree with her whole-heartedly!
Book #70 To Weave a Web of Magic by Patricia McKillip, Lynn Kurland, Sharon Shinn, and Claire Delacroix (362 pp.)
I am always somewhat leery of this type of collection, and with good reason as seen with Lackey's Trio of Sorcery earlier this year, but McKillip and Shinn are favorite authors, so I ordered this from PaperBackSwap last year and finally got around to it.
This was a very pleasant surprise. Billed as stories of fantasy and romance, two of the four were absolutely delightful, the third was a solid addition to Shinn's Samaria stories, and only the fourth disappointed, not in the writing but in the fact that it was a tragic rewriting of a myth, and so rather detracted from the spell cast by the other stories. I especially liked Lynn Kurland's story and shall have to look for more by her.
Book #71 The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde (281 pp.)
I finally broke down and ordered this from Amazon, as none of the local bookstores were carrying it. Unlike Fforde's other books, this one is aimed at children--middle school age, I would judge, despite the "almost 16" age of the protagonist. As usual for Fforde, it is clever and delights in turning fantasy tropes on their respective heads.
Book #72 Five Odd Honors by Jane Lindskold (496 pp.)
This is the third in a series involving "exiles" from a shadow China world. It has interesting concepts, but Lindskold's writing just seems dry and detached, somehow. I love her Changer/Legends Walking duology and child of a Rainless Year, so I'm not sure what the difference is. The major story line seems to be wrapped up in this book, although there certainly is room for a sequel.
Book #73 The Making of Pride and Prejudice by Sue Birtwistle and Susie Conklin (113 pp.)
I learned of the existence of this book when Cynara reviewed it in early May. Since I am a passionate devotee of the A&E production of Pride and Prejudice, I promptly wishlisted it on PaperBackSwap and was fortunate to get a copy yesterday. The emphasis here is on the nuts and bolts of putting together a production, and especially the issue with a period production, but what I loved most were the pictures, especially of the cast, and their comments throughout the book.
Book #74 A Winter Love Story by Betty Neels (219 pp.)
With Betty Neels, you know what you are getting. A tall, large doctor, often Dutch, who is famed in his field, well to do, unmarried, somewhat inscrutable, and a female who may or may not be striking looking, may or may not be needy financially, definitely has character. The two usually marry before realizing they are madly in love with each other. I devoured these in the 70s, and they, along with those of Essie Summers, are the only Harlequins I kept and added to over the years. I haven't read any for at least 5 years, and when I saw this and wanted some light reading...well, there you go.
Book #75 Autumn Kittens by Janice Bennett, Shannon Donnelly, and Mona Gedney (223 pp.)
Three novellas by Zebra Regency Romances--mindless brain candy enlivened by cats in the plot.
Book #76 Heartless by Gail Carriger (374 pp.)
Carriger improves with every book, I think. Excellent addition to the series!
Books read: 18 Pages read: 5584 (average length=310)
2 science fiction
1 juvenile fiction
1 classic fiction
14 female authors, 4 male
1 book off the shelf, 1 reread, 3 library books
14 US authors, 5 English authors, 1 South African, 1 Danish.
Books acquired: 11
7 fantasy, 2 romance, 2 nonfiction
3 purchased new, 8 used (1 ER, 5 PaperBackSwap, 2 library sale)
None discarded this month
Half-Way-There (Semi-Annual) Summary
Books read: 76 Pages read: 24,400
Books purchased: 55
Books acquired (purchased + traded): 77
Books read that were on the shelf pre-2011: 11
Books discarded via PaperBackSwap and BookMooch: 40
Book #77 the Lightning Thief* by Rick Riordan (375 pp.)
My first book for July Juvenile and YA, finished at bedtime last night, this re-read is to prepare me to read books 4 and 5 of the series.
Book #78 The Sea of Monsters* by Rick Riordan (279 pp.)
Book #79 The Titan's Curse* by Rick Riordan (312 pp.)
Book #80 The Battle of the Labyrinth# by Rick Riordan (361 pp.)
Book #81 The Last Olympian# by Rick Riordan (381 pp.)
So, in three days I've read the entire five-book series, and you know what--it's pretty good! I think I liked it better this time (the first three books were rereads), and I appreciate how Riordan kept his focus and tied it all together without letting any of the individual books drag. Book 4 is my favorite, I think. Not only is Riordan pretty down on pollution but in this book he also took a snarky stab at teaching to the test and measuring facts, not thinking skills with the Sphinx. I like the values Riordan brings to the fore that motivate the characters and bring about the ultimate conclusion. Just as with the Harry Potter books, I think it is this substratum of values and beliefs that adds the depth to a book that makes it a classic instead of just another adventure story.
Book #82 Elijah of Buxton# by Christopher Paul Curtis (341 pp.)
I had picked this book up at a Scholastic Warehouse sale before Linda gave it such glowing reviews, so it was a logical choice to succeed the fantasy series for July Juvenile & YA month. It is a historical novel, a Newbery Honor book, told from the viewpoint of Elijah, an eleven-year-old boy who was the first freeborn child of the settlement of Buxton in Ontario, Canada, a settlement of former slaves. As we see Elijah go about his life, we are exposed, in a non-didactic manner, to the effects of slavery on people and to life in the mid-1800s. It is well written, interesting, and you really come to love Elijah. Recommended!
Book #83 The Battle for Skandia# by John Flanagan (294 pp.)
This is Book 4 in the Ranger's Apprentice series. I had read the first three prior to when this one came out in paperback, so probably two years ago, and then picked up books 4 and 5 when they came out in paperback but never got back to them. Unlike the Percy Jackson series above, I don't feel a need to go back and reread the first three--I remember the bare bones and there aren't that many subtleties in this series.
Book 3 did end on a slight cliffhanger, and book 4 picks up with Will and Evanlyn in the same spot. Flanagan writes good action and the plot was interesting--always hard to put details in a series book without lot of spoilers, so I'll be pretty general. There is lots of action, the goal is eventually achieved, and the relationships move forward a smidgen. I can see why this is a popular adventure series for the middle school bunch and it is better quality than the majority of such series, but I don't think it has the depth, at least so far, that the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson series do. Of course, there are 6 more books so that may occur yet.
Book #84 The Sorcerer of the North by John Flanagan (295 pp.)
Unfortunately, this book starts a new story arc and ends in the middle of it, so I shall have to read at least one more in the series--I just ordered it to be sent to my neighborhood library. The other disappointment is that I figured out the villain way before our heroes did. Again, these are solid, good adventure stories, but I'm not sure I want to read all 10. The next book closes out this story line and I will probably give the books a rest at that point.
Book #85 Wizards at War by Diane Duane (552 pp.)
This is the 8th book in the So You Want to Be a Wizard series, which started when Nita ducked into a used bookstore to avoid some bullies after school and came out with what turned out to be a wizard's manual. This series has been through some heavy stuff (the death of Nita's mother from cancer is one), but this book is lighter on the personal issues and more of a "save the universe" one. I enjoy this children's series and am about to read the most recent one next.
Book #86 A Wizard of Mars by Diane Duane (550 pp.)
This is book 9 in the So You Want to Be a Wizard series. We have followed Nita from middle school into early high school so far, as she discovers and then develops her wizardly skills, while supporting growth, ecology, and interspecies responsibility--really!--in a way that engages young readers. I was a little concerned about how this book would follow up the last, which was a "save the universe" plot, but it really does! Can't really discuss the plot much without ruining it, but this is a fun riff on Mars and Martians while still being very serious.
Book #87 The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (247 pp.)
Recommended by bluesalamander and foggidawn.
Review to follow.
Book #88 Willie Bea and the Time the Martians Landed by Virginia Hamilton (208 pp.)
This is a story of Willie Bea and her family at Halloween in 1938. After a big Sunday dinner with the extended family there near Dayton, Ohio, Willie Bea is all set to go trick-or-treating with her younger brother and sister. But the grownups, some of them, have been listening to the radio that evening, and hearing about an invasion of Martians. This is an interesting children's book by an award winning author that really captures a sense of the times.
Book #90 Except the Queen by Jane Yolen and Midori Snyder (371 pp.)
Whenever a book is co-authored, there always is a question about how they went about it. Who did what parts, or did they work together from a combined framework? Yolen and Snyder borrowed a technique in part from Patricia Wrede and Carolyn Stevermer used in their Sorcery and Cecilia books, that of the two viewpoint epistolary novel.
Two fey sisters spot the Queen of Faerie doing something they shouldn't have, and when word gets out, they are banished to the mortal world. Separately, in two different places. Learning how to cope in that world with some difficulty but also with help, the sisters also see elements of the UnSeelie court preying on humans out of season, while the Queen is paralyzed by factions of her own Seelie court. The sisters write letters to each other, although there is also narrative interspersed around each character--the letter format does not get burdensome because of the enveloping story--as they discover deeper and deeper mysteries and dangers.
This was very enjoyable. While the darker parts of Faerie are certainly present and dangers are very real, they are not dwelt on in soul-wringing detail, while the characters of the protagonists and their ensuing entourage are engaging and positive. Both Yolen and Snyder are experienced fantasy writers, and this book is marvelous on-the-lighter-side fantasy.
I went to see the Harry Potter movie Monday at noon with my husband, and of course was then seized with an uncontrollable urge to re-read the Deathly Hallows, but I had to read Except the Queen first for book group on Tuesday evening (although it then turned out that two of us four did not get it read). So after book group that night, I started DH and just finished.
Book #91 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling (759 pp.)
I had read this book the second time when I reread the whole series last summer right before seeing the first DH movie. So this was my third time. The first 23 chapters and 476 pages were covered in the first movie, and then it was time to see what was in and not in the second movie. Minor spoilers for the movie.
First of all, I cried less than I expected at the movie, and the violence was also less than I expected. It was marvelous that so many characters had continued all the way from the first to the last film. Notable absences were Professor Sprout and Goyle. There was very little omitted from the book in the last film, mostly detail and focus on the Hallows--however, while I know they plumped up some scenes for film value, I still think that it would have been more powerful had the scene with Neville and the snake been done like in the book. And I think they should have had a few more second build-up in the scene with Mrs. Weasley and Bellatrix--Ginny was in danger so briefly that I think most viewers would not even have realized it before Mrs. Weasley was uttering her classic line. But many things were handled beautifully and overall, it was a fitting close to the movies. I think the thing that makes this series magical is what Terry Pratchett would call its narrativium--it just is a great story told in such a way that the telling doesn't get in the way of the story.
I ran out of time to re-read the book before seeing the movie, dagnabbit. But I'll get to it again at some stage.
I thought I saw Professor Sprout, but I don't remember seeing Madame Pomfrey...?
You're doing very well on the July Juvenile theme read! I was hoping to join in, but won't have time now. (Note to self: stop joining in every group/theme/author read going around!)
#82> Not according to IMDB, Josh Herdman is alive and well. But the actor who played Crabbe seems to have gotten into some trouble with drugs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie_Waylett) and has, for unexplained but probably related reasons to the whole drug incident thing, not appeared in the last movie.
One of the young Harry Potter actors did die, I remember, but I can't remember which character. Brawl outside a pub, from memory.
Oops, WAY past time to update this thread! Here are the books that finished off July:
Book #92 Gifts by Ursula K. Le Guin (274 pp.)
This book is the first of a trilogy and was published in 2004. I have wanted to read it for some time, but bounced the first time I tried it because the setting and the gifts were so grim. Still, any book about which a reviewer can write "Rich in the earthy magic and intelligent plot twists that made the Earthsea novels classics" deserves my attention, for I love those books dearly.
This story tells of Orrec's life up until age 16 in the Uplands of his world, a poor, hardscrabble way of life, with each of the domains being ruled by a brantor, a person who has the Gift of his line, and the majority of those gifts are gifts to hurt, maim, or kill. Think the highlands of Scotland for geography and economics. As the son of a brantor of a fairly poor domain, Orrec is first constantly anxious as to whether he will show the gift of unmaking, and then with his lack of control. Various events take place during the story that set up the next book, so it is hard to be able to say much about the plot that won't be spoilers. But, although it was indeed grim, there was little violence of body, and I have hopes from the conclusion that the next two books will lift this up into the neighborhood of Earthsea.
Book #93 Voices by Ursula K. Le Guin (341 pp.)
Well, after dragging through the first book over three days, I managed the the second this evening. As in the second book of the Earthsea series, our viewpoint character is a young girl in a city far to the south of the original setting. Her city has been invaded and held by soldiers of a country that believes the oral word to be holy and all books to be demonic for the last 17 years, all of her life. Yet before that, Alsun was a mercantile city with a republic form of government and a great library, a society of reasoned and reasonable people. I felt much more at home here despite the oppression and fear. Into the city come Orrec and Gry from the first book, also 17 years later than those events, and they play their part, but Memer is the central figure.
"What peace I had, what understanding I had, came from my love for the Waylord and his kindness to me, and from books. Books are at the heart of this book I'm writing. Books caused the danger we were in, the risks we ran, and books gave us our power. The Alds are right to fear them. If there is a god of books it's Sampa the Maker and Destroyer."
Book #94 Powers by Ursula K. Le Guin (502 pp.)
This is the third book set in the same world, the Western Shores, and it meets up with the characters of the previous books. In this book, as in the others, young characters deal with major issues around identity, freedom, how people treat others and themselves. While not as dear to my heart as the Earthsea books, these are still well-written stories.
"The room smelled of books, that subtle smell which to some is stuffy and to others intoxicating, and it was silent."
Book #95 The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger (33 pp.)
This short story/graphic novel has been reviewed by many here in the 75 Book Challenge group. Very short and quick to read, I think it touches many of us who love books, but like some have mentioned, I really was disturbed by the decision she made at the end, not so much as part of the story, but as to how it might influence others who might be vulnerable.
Book #96 The Mysterious Benedict Society+ by Trenton Lee Stewart (485 pp.)
This was fun, outrageous children's fantasy. Not too pretentious, not too emotionally involving, just quirky and fun.
And now for my August reads, so far:
Book #97 Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (328 pp.)
Finally, FINALLY, Lee and Miller have got us back to the point where I Dare (2002) ended 9 years ago, after writing two more books to fill in the backstory (and three unrelated books) for the last scene in that book, a scene for which I nearly did not forgive them. Now the two different threads of plot come together and interweave. This is not the book to start with--there are too many POV characters. For those who have read the series through, this is manageable because you know the characters so well, but I think it would be very choppy otherwise. All our favorite characters check in, but many only briefly. And we end at a stopping point, but with much more of the story yet to go. The Department of the Interior has not been vanquished yet.
Book #98 The Dragon Guard (The Magickers #3)# by Emily Drake (368 pp.)
This is a series about middle school children with magic, but not in a world where there is a school of wizards to train them and keep them safe. No, this is a world where a battle between magicians devastated the magical community, leaving few survivors and no resolution of the conflict. New children with talent are recruited to a summer camp in a bid to strengthen forces for good--no, it's not what you are thinking--this was published 4 years before The Lightning Thief and they aren't demi-gods. This is book three, the books are as complex as the first few Harry Potters but not nearly as captivating. There's one more, published in 2006, which evidently still leaves the story hanging, and I suspect no contract to finish the series. I read this because I had it, I had donated the first two to the school library and needed to be sure this was appropriate for intermediate students before giving this one as well. However, I won't be looking for the fourth book. Good premises, so-so execution.
Book #101 The Door into Shadow* by Diane Duane (298 pp.)
Now that Herewiss has achieved his goal, getting Freelorn back his country seems the next step, but first the bindings on the land must be renewed in order to keep it from self-destructing. Segnbora, met in the first book, is a major focus of this book as she deals with her personal issues and reaches for self-realization, we meet Eftgan, the queen of Darthen, who is a really marvelous character, and dragons become very important. Really neat dragons. Really! Neat! Not trivial, not cute, not cardboard. And a much better cover, circa 1985.
Book #100 The Door into Fire* by Diane Duane (304 pp,)
What I liked about this book in 1979: the worldview--the concept of the Goddess and her forms, the creation myth and how it formed complete acceptance of whatever gender pairings emerged for one's "loved", the society, the "quest", but most of all the characters. Especially Sunspark, who is more fun than a cat--something not lightly said. This is thoughtful traditional fantasy set on a Celtish mythology base--but not stale, not trite, and it holds up to the present day!
Book #102 The Door into Sunset by Diane Duane (382 pp.)
Now, we all have been waiting since 1992 for the 4th book in the series because on the last page of this one it says "The fourth volume...which tells the end of the Tale of the Five, will be called The Door Into Starlight." But really, if it weren't for that, doesn't this book really end at the best of all possible places?
Book #103 The Ark* by Margot Benary-Isbert (246 pp.)
This book came to mind as a result of Linda's (WHisper) reviews of some of her YA books around the time of WWII. I read this as a child--it was published in the US in 1953, translated from the German. This is the story of a German family, refugees from the newly created East Germany and the Russians, as a war-torn Germany deals with privations. I would have to say this is one of the books that helped develop empathy in me as a child. This book, along with Connie Willis' picture of the sacrifices of war-time Britain, is certainly an education in what it means to really be at war. Yet it is a hopeful book, showing the best of people in hard times. Recommended.
Book #104 Rowan Farm by Margot Benary-Isbert (277 pp.)
I didn't like this as well as a child, and I see why now--it is a book moving on with wider themes and an adolescent viewpoint, one matured by suffering and hard work. Now I like it as well as the first, as it continues the story started in The Ark.
Book #105 The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart (391 pp.)
The third and currently the last in this children's fantasy series, it was due back to the library tomorrow. This continues the formula from the first two--Mr. Benedict's evil brother is back at it again, the children are in peril, and using their wits along with help from their adults must deal with it. It's a good place to stop, but I must say the puzzles are so clever at times that I can see this being very entertaining for children.
Book #106 Melting Stones+ by Tamora Pierce (312pp.)
This was a typical Pierce Circle of Magic and The Circle Opens story. I like her Tortall stories better--these are geared toward younger children, but still dealing with themes of learning to deal both with their own gifts and with others. The only one that starts to step out of this pattern so far is The Will of the Empress, which deals with the original quartet as older teens. As I said, I thought it pretty typical, much like the other Circle Opens books--enjoyable, interesting but not in any way outstanding.
Book #107 Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for people who love books and for those who want to write them by Francine Prose (273 pp.)
I tend to be a "non-critical" reader. What I mean about that is that I tend to live books from the inside out, become totally immersed in what I consider to be good books (that being one of the criteria, at least for fiction), and so do not take note of the specifics that got me there. When this book was first mentioned some time ago--was it when you were reading a lot of books about writing, Mac?--it sounded fascinating to me. It took a while for PaperBackSwap to produce a copy for me. I took it with me, thinking it would be a good airplane book, in April, and someone else recommended it strongly when I mentioned that, and said that she had actually had Prose for a teacher. Was it you, Lucy? But it wasn't a good airplane book nor was it a good "before sleep" book--it required more focused attention from me to do it justice. And so it has been my "morning" book for the last few weeks.
Prose starts with "close reading", which as noted above is not something I typically do, and then works her way from words through sentences, paragraphs, narration, character, dialogue, details, gesture, and two summary chapters. But much more than what she says about each of these, fascinating as that is, are the myriad examples of each that she pulls from fiction, so that you want to go out and read all those books immediately (and unfortunately, I haven't read most of them). Fortunately or not, she anticipated this and there is a full bibliography at the end. This is a book that will willingly bear re-reading, CLOSE reading if you will, to wring from it all the ideas and knowledge that Prose imparts. Glad I have my own copy.
Book #108 Chronicles of the Red King: The Secret Kingdom by Jenny Nimmo (207 pp.)
This is a prequel to the Charlie Bone books, which I liked as a children's fantasy series. But that had missing parents, relationships with the other "endowed" children, both good and bad, and the relatives as well as the animals--multiple layers. This story explains the background of the Red King who is the ancestor of the endowed, but it is a single-track story, seeming more like a simple fable or fairy tale (as opposed to folk tales, those masters of layering). So only recommended for Charlie Bone fans.
Book #109 Robin's Country by Monica Furlong (139 pp.)
I am a completist, and since I have Furlong's other children's books, I picked this up on either PBS or BookMooch and have had it sitting in my tbr pile for some time. This is a short book, suitable for elementary students, telling the story of a young mute boy running away from a cruel master and falling into the forest home of Robin Hood. The people and their activities are seen through this 10-year-old boy's eyes. It is a good simple story, not at the level of Wise Child or Juniper, however, and recommended only for its age group.
Book #110 The Doppelganger Gambit* by Lee Killough (261 pp.)
I had ordered a book through PaperBackSwap.com that I thought was going to be a new Janna Brill/Mama Maxwell story, but it turned out to be an omnibus of the three books I already have--I guess that's all there is. That's what I get for not researching it before clicking. On the other hand, it is in better shape--probably because it's only 13 years old rather than 31 years old, whaddaya think? But then I wondered if I would still like these as much, so I started reading the first one.
These three books in Bridling Chaos are all about the leo team (law enforcement officer) in a science fictional in a fairly near future--say 80 years? Killough sets the police work in Topeka, Kansas--she is a Kansan and lives in Manhattan--as a fellow Kansan, it's fun to pick up locations I know well. Unusually for the late 70s, early 80s, one of her main characters is afroam. The issues around the crime hinge on the sf technology and sociology of the time, and we know who the guilty party is right away, having watched him commit the murder. Much of the interest is in the procedural police work and the characters. And yes, I still enjoyed it.
Killough wrote some excellent science fiction in the late 70s through the late 80s, before she turned to writing a vampire trilogy--still a policeman who was "turned", but still not so much my cup of tea. If you ever get a chance to pick up Deadly Silents or A Voice out of Ramah, give them a try.
Congratulations on reaching 100! Looks like you're well on track for 125.
Book #111 Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (290 pp.)
I ran across this on Morphidae's thread, and it sounded like a good summer read. And it was a perfect light romance with some whimsy, a touch of fantsy, and neat characters thrown in. Romance with a capital R--although there were some dark spots in Sydney's history, once she was back home, you knew that she would be safe even if threatened, you never doubted which guys would end up with each girl, and actually the subtexts regarding Emma and Fred added substantially to the enjoyment.
Book #112 Spider Play* by Lee Killough (232 pp.)
This is the second of the near-future police procedurals starring Janna Brill and Malcolm (Mama) Maxwell. In this one, they end up getting sent up to a space station to investigate a murder, since the body ended up in their jurisdiction. Lots of scope for interesting concepts, and this time we don't know who did it up front and have to see if we can follow the clues. Still enjoyable 25 years later.
Book #113 Dragon's Teeth (Questar Science Fiction) by Lee Killough (250 pp.)
The third and unfortunately last of the Brill/Maxwell police procedurals. In each, some piece of future technology holds a key to the crime, while the leos (law enforcement officers) still are using much the same techniques as police do now to gather evidence--lots of footwork and interviews. Lots of local color, too, more in Kansas City this book than of Topeka. Here is the cover of the omnibus book I just got--the individual books have very poor covers on file, I'll have to scan mine someday when I have loads of spare time.
Book #114 Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett (358 pp.)
I picked this up off the shelf at the Borders closeout sale. Another urban fantasy novel, intended to be the first of a series, this one has some interesting characters (Jupe is the best), some unusual quirks, and NO vampires or werewolves, although plenty of demons. I'd put this slightly above the middle of the pack for me, which means if you love urban fantasy, you'll probably like it well.
Book #115 Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins (308 pp.)
When I learned that this author of The Hunger Games fame had written a children's series, I had to check it out. About a third of the way through the book, however, I was ready to put it down. The story seemed too much a repeat of countless quest format children's fantasies. But I powered ahead and am glad I did. This is still "just" a children's book, but in the end, the characters won me over enough that I will read the next in the series of five books.
August Summary, and the numbers are sad, especially re: acquisitions.
Books Read: 20 books, 6031 pages. Shortest book=139 pp. Longest book=440 pp.
4 science fiction, 12 fantasy (4 children's), 3 children's fiction, 1 nonfiction.
12 new reads, 8 re-reads, 6 library books, 2 Books Off the Shelf.
Authors: 2 Germany, 1 England, 1 Wales, 16 US
Books acquired: 28 books, 2 bought as gifts.
18 books--Borders closing sale
3-Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore
3-library book sale
1 nonfiction, 1 biography, 1 mystery, 5 fiction, 5 science fiction, 15 fantasy (4 children's fantasy)
11 children's books donated to Otis school library this month
Books read for the year: 116 books
Books acquired for the year: 112 books
Book #116 The Hidden Goddess by M. K. Hobson (374 pp.)
This book is the sequel to The Native Star, which I read on January 8 of this year and which was nominated for the Nebula Award. So it got some buzz, but I was a little ambivalent about it--it didn't feel like the novice author had fully realized her voice yet. This book follows directly upon the events of the previous book, and is just as chock-full of hair-raising adventures, but I feel like the characters, especially Emily, have become more realized and consistent. The book does seem undecided as to whether it wants to follow the Soulless-type comedy of manners or the serious life-and-death, save the world adventure that it ultimately ends up being. Nevertheless, I think it is a better book than the first and enjoyed it more. Recommended to fantasy lovers.
Book # 117 Troubletwisters by Garth Nix and Sean Williams (293 pp.)
This book is the first in a new children's fantasy series. It's okay--lots of action, lots of misunderstandings leading to the action, and gruesomely icky manifestations of The Evil. Maybe I've been reading too many of these lately. It seems pretty generic to me.
Book #118 Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins (309 pp.)
Book two of the series, Gregor is back down in the Underland again fulfilling another prophecy. Slight differences in story, will entertain grades 4-8 pretty well.
Book #119 Storm Front* by Jim Butcher (322 pp.)
This was a reread--it's been 8 or 9 years since I first read it, and I didn't continue the series at the time. Now, having heard from so many LTers that the series gets better, I have acquired books 2 and 3 through PBS or BookMooch, and this is one of the series I planned to re-address for the September Series and Sequels challenge. Actually, I think I liked it better this time. Pretty much nonstop action, not much in the way of characterization or relationships--but I'm ready to move on and see what happens!
Book #120 Fool Moon by Jim Butcher (342 pp.)
Still non-stop action, lots of mauling and dead bodies, but the glimmerings of some personality in Harry's conversation with his unconscious and his white-knight pretensions. I've got one more of the books, Grave Peril, in my possession--then I'll probably go to the library for the rest.
Book #121 The Twelfth Enchantment by David Liss (399 pp.)
I did not tag this when I put it on my wishlist, but I know that I did so after reading the comments of other LTers--I just can't find them. But thank you to the person(s) who put it upon my horizon. I have another by the same author in my tbr pile over there, The Coffee Trader, but I wasn't sure at first if it was the same David Liss as this is his first foray into fantasy.
The book is set in Regency England, with more of a Bronte feel than Austen due to the perils befalling our heroine, but with a good representation of the times. We meet a number of big names of the period in the course of our adventures, as well as one literary character. Our heroine is in sad circumstances at the beginning of the book, orphaned and living with an uncle who begrudges her presence. Yet quickly, Lucy becomes the center of mysterious happenings that lead her into all sorts of perilous situations.
It's difficult to say too much more without spoilers. This book is in a recently developing category of historical English fantasies, such as Shades of Milk and Honey and The Magicians and Mrs. Quent (also set in the Regency period) and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell (set in the Victorian period). This one read much more smoothly for me than those others and sucked me into the characters more. Not a great read, but definitely a good read.
Book #122 Darke by Angie Sage (641 pp.)
For some reason in this series, the book always starts slowly for me--then gains momentum and rushes toward the end. Darke, the sixth in the series, was no exception, but this is one of the best books in the series. This is classic children's fantasy. Some LTers have described it as derivative, but I, who find so many things derivative after reading in this genre for 50-some years, love what Sage has done in this series. It's imaginative and the characters are marvelous. Almost all the plot elements in the series are tied up in this book, so it might be the last of the series and a great ending it would be too. Still, there is that colony of Darke cats that escaped to the forest... and the dark font for certain magykal words doesn't bother me at all, for some reason. I suspect I just read right over them.
Book #123 Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods by Suzanne Collins (358 pp.)
This is the third book in the series. Gregor and Boots have to return to the Underland on another quest. Again, I think this is a great book series for intermediate level children, but not a lot of depth to make it more interesting for adults.
Book #124 Intrigues by Mercedes Lackey (328 pp.)
The latest of Lackey's Valdemar books, the middle of the trilogy about this character, we know that the Herald candidate will have misgivings about his place in the Academy, suffer isolation and distrust while having a few good friends, have a Companion whose bond is his lifeline, and end up performing a valuable service for the King and Heralds. Of course, since this is the middle book, the problem is not completely cleared up, but Mags is cleared and welcomed back into the Academy. I loved the Arrows of the Queen trilogy (the earliest) and the Oathbound books, and even the books about Skif and Alberich, although some of the later books, like the Gryphons, became overly fanciful and yet repetitive. But for today, good old formula was what was called for, as I rested up a tired body and mind.
My August ER book arrived, even though I never received my June and July books. So I sat down and read it.
Book #125 Paul Among the People by Sarah Ruden (194 pp.)
Ruden uses ancient texts to give a context to those letters generally agreed upon as actually written by Paul, most particularly Galatians, Corinthians and Romans. By setting Paul's words against the culture of the times using Greco-Roman texts, she shows how she came to reevaluate Paul's contributions as a moderate and enlightened voice instead of a conservative and prejudicial bigot. It is amazing how these views into the culture of the times, as opposed to the connotations that certain words elicit in our modern mentality, do make a strong case for Paul. This is very readable--in fact, I read the book the same day I received it, but with extensive footnotes and bibliography to support it.
Book #126 Gregor and the Marks of Secret by Suzanne Collins (343 pp.)
Book #127 Gregor and the Code of Claw by Suzanne Collins (412 pp.)
Books 4 and 5 of this series, these books need to be read as one, unlike the first three books which had stopping points. These books, as I've said before, seem aimed at the middle-school crowd with the 11 year--then 12-year-old hero. However, the level of violence is quite high throughout the series IMHO. And indeed, those kids that love the slasher movies that terrify me would probably not bat an eyelid. The story is okay, above the midpoint for these books, but not in my top rank.
Book #128 A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny (311 pp.)
I can hear all the Three Pines people out there cheering wildly. Yes, I enjoyed it. God, the woman paints a Christmas card, and then embeds it into the fabric of the story--who that has ever had a white Christmas could fail to be suckered in by that? I was 90% sure of who did the murders by mid-book, but not of all the details, and after all, it really isn't the mystery that grabs you, but those marvelous characters who make the book live. And I fear for the Inspector...
Book #129 Heart of Iron by Ekaterina Sedia (311 pp.)
I read Heart of Iron this afternoon, and really enjoyed it. The only thing that marred my enjoyment was about 5 instances of very poor copy-editing where the wrong word was used or a word omitted--not the author's fault. Sasha is the daughter of a member of nobility who was central to the Decemberist revolution in Russia in the early 19th century. She becomes caught up in international intrigue, but the story stays at a very personal focus. I loved how she worked the Decemberist revolution (of which Prince Sergei Petrovich Trubetzkoy was a leader), the contemporaneous sightings of the Spring-Heeled Jack in Britain (who was then the subject of many of the serialized publications such as Jack and Sasha read on the train), Florence Nightingale, and Turkey and the Crimea all into components of her backstory. It was very readable and interesting as well, good alternate history!
#89> Books acquired: 28 books, 2 bought as gifts.
18 books--Borders closing sale
LOL. I managed to miss all the Borders closing down over here, and it looks as if I dodged a rather large book bullet. :)
ETA: And congratulations on reaching 125!
Book #130 Coronets and Steel by Sherwood Smith (439 pp)
This is fantasy very light--there are ghosts and rumors of vampires. However, it is mostly a romantic novel in the old meaning of romantic, and a very overt bow to The Prisoner of Zenda. Think small, unknown Eastern European country, American girl look-alike to kingdom's princess, danger and intrigue and swords--it's just good clean fun. If you have loved The Prisoner of Zenda or the Graustark novels, you owe it to yourself to try this.
Book #131 A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie King (326 pp.)
I read The Beekeeper's Apprentice several years ago and liked it but didn't continue on with the series. So, as part of Sequels and Series September, I decided to read a bit more, especially as I want to read a later book in the series, The Game, which is supposed to intersect with Kipling's Kim. I did enjoy this one, most especially the way that both theology and feminism were incorporated, and above all, those wonderful quotations and their aptness for the chapters they headed.
Book #132 The Game by Laurie R. King (365 pp.)
THIS was the book I came back to the Mary Russell series for, and it did not disappoint! After the events in the second book, just read, I made the decision that the most important relationship issues had been resolved, making the rest of the books just a series of cases. Those who have read the whole series may correct me on this, but jumping directly to Book 7 does not seem to have missed any major changes.
I am a big fan of Kim and have been since childhood. It is one of those seminal books that grafted itself into my heart (along with the Mowgli stories and Puck of Pook's Hill, although the latter is not at the same level), and how could I resist an amalgamation of Kim and Sherlock Holmes? And it was exceedingly well-done. Granted, I figured out the boy about mid-book, but this book was a homage to Kim and Kipling, done with skill and love, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended.
Book # 133 Unnatural Issue by Mercedes Lackey (361 pp.)
This is the latest in the Elemental Masters series. Somehow, I always want to like these more than I actually do. I think it's a great idea, merging fairy tale retellings with late Victorian, early 20th century history, but only the first of these, The Fire Rose, written long before the others and before it was conceptualized as a series, has really gripped me as a story. In this one, I felt that there was too much telling at times, and Lackey's prose simply did not immerse me in the story, despite the plot potential.
Book #134 Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis (295 pp.)
This was first brought to my attention by stephsxu last year, and then Sarah (beserene) read it recently and reminded me to check my library, which NOW has it! This middle school level story is absolutely charming, as one might hope for from an artist who cites Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer as major influences. Kat is a scamp and a rapscallion, with a heritage of magic and the need to see her older sisters in happy marriages rather than marry to save the family's finances. Over the top, definitely, but a lot of fun on the way.
September Summary: The listing of books is in message 2 above.
19 books read, 6723 pages, average book length 354 pages.
18 books were new reads, one was a re-read.
15 fantasy (7 juvenile)
authors: 16 US, one each from England, Canada, and Australia.
5 books by males, 14 by females
1 published in 1995, 8 published from 2000-2009, and 9 published in 2010 or2011
13 books were part of series, with two more being the first books in intended series
11 books were mine, all but the re-read acquired this calendar year
8 books were from the library.
End of the 3rd quarter summary for 2011
135 books read, 44,033 pages, 326 pages average book length.
114 new reads, 21 re-reads.
36 books from the library
25 Books Off the Shelf (owned before 1/1/11)
Book #135 Remnant Population* by Elizabeth Moon (339 pp.)
After finishing Chapter Four of Pagans & Christians today, and having a slight headache (purely coincidental, I'm sure), I needed something engrossing but not challenging. In other words, a re-read of a book enjoyed before. I remembered that several people had enjoyed Remnant Population earlier this year, and I hadn't read it again since it came out 15 years ago. Talk about wish fulfillment for older women--I could identify with Ofelia in ways undreamed of 15 years ago! But I really liked the story then, and still do now. It is handled so well--the creation of Ofelia as a real person, and the aliens. Granted, the other human characters were pretty sterotypical, but they were not the focus of the story. At the core is the desire of every one of us to be truly respected and listened to. And that of many of us to actually have some privacy...
Book 136 One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire (354 pp.)
Book 5 of the Toby Daye series continues on at the usual regular breakneck pace. Several plot threads get wrapped up, and several new ones creep out. This series is never predictable! Now I have to wait nearly a whole year for the next one--boo hoo!
Book 137 The Danger Box by Blue Balliett (304 pp.)
Balliett's previous books were the children's mystery series Chasing Vermeer, The Wright 3 and The Calder Game. Each featured some unique children, nurturing adults, a mystery, an artist, and a puzzle, all completely intertwined. I loved the way I learned about the artists at the same time as I became absorbed in the story, and loved the individuality of the children.
Although The Danger Box does not continue with the characters of the other three books, once again it combines all of the above features. Zoomy is a biracial boy who is legally blind and has OCD, abandoned on his grandparents' step in a small, small town in rural Michigan. Now he is 12 years old, and things start happening. A great read, and great values that infuse the book without dominating it.
Book 138 Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (123 pp.)
This earliest of Jane's books shows her wit without some of the maturity of her later books. There are many more authorial comments, many quite amusing. There is a deus ex machina at the end in Miss Tilney's disposition and how it affects Catherine's fate that in later books would be integrated into the overall story-line. And I think Catherine is the most ordinary of Jane's heroines--not particularly clever or witty but an ordinary 17-year-old with honest emotions. Still, her Gothic imaginings are quite amusing and the rest of the book serves as a backdrop for Austen's skewering of Gothic tropes.
Only Persuasion is left in the Austenathon, and it is my favorite (sometimes. The rest of the time it is tied with P&P.)
Book 139 Snuff by Terry Pratchett (398 pp.)
Lady Sybil has finally "convinced" Vimes to take a vacation out at her country estate with young Sam, now 6 years old. If I may digress, Lady Sybil has all my admiration. What a woman! The bathtub scene in this book, in particular...
Okay, so there are secrets and dark shenanigans and you know if anyone can figure things out and change the world yet again, it will be Sam Vimes. I do love that man.
Book #140 Blood Spirits by Sherwood Smith (488 pp)
This is the sequel to Coronets and Steel above, and I must say, I am really enjoying this fantasy series. Kim is drawn back to Dobrenica where things are in uproar. Not only are the characters interesting, so is the mystery and the secondary characters are rich.
Book #141 Libyrinth by Pearl North (332 pages)
This is a YA book with some great concepts and interesting characters, a quick read, but it was a little too juvenile for me. I think what I mean by that is that the message was so overt and over the top in a way, and the way things were resolved felt overly simplified. Of course, this is only the first of a projected series so that could change. On the other hand, the sprinkling of quotes throughout the book that Haly could "hear" are marvelous and all are attributed at the end of the book--the book is really almost worth it just for that.
Book #142 Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman (198 pp.)
After reading Sarah's (beserene) review here, http://www.librarything.com/topic/120988#2933109 , I could not resist getting this book from the library. It is very lightly done, a fun young teen book about girls, boys, high school, and family. Glad I checked it out!
Book #143 The Broken Kingdoms by N. K. Jemison (384 pp.)
Jemison's first book, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, was nominated for the Nebula Award this year. I enjoyed it but thought there was some unevenness in the story-telling. However, the originality and creativity of the world-building was outstanding. This second book in the trilogy picks up where the first book ended, but with a different focus, another mortal woman who ends up interacting with the gods. I think this book is stronger, and it is very good story-telling. A very engrossing read!
Book #144 The Harp of the Grey Rose by Charles de Lint (272 pp.). At about 75 pages in, when Cerin had completed the impossible first quest with very little difficulty, I paged back to see when de Lint wrote this. Yes, 1985, one of his first books. This is pure epic fantasy, without much complexity and with the use of a lot of tropes. When the long hidden gates of the lost dwarven kingdom suddenly appeared before the trio of questers, and they decide to travel under the mountains through the paths of the dwarf caves rather than above ground, I was looking for the Balrog to appear any minute. Thankfully, it didn't, and they didn't run into any trouble until they came out the other side even though I was anticipating drums in the deep throughout their passage. Clearly this is early de Lint, very derivative of Tolkien, and without the complexity of his later work. However, it still makes a nice middle-school level fantasy quest story.
Book #145 Mastiff by Tamora Pierce (580 pp.)
This is the third and culminating volume of the Beka Cooper story. When the young prince is kidnapped and nobles and mages are in revolution, a team of Dogs on the prince's trail are in constant danger. While not great literature, this is still engrossing story and Tamora Pierce fans will not be disappointed!
Book #146 The Face in the Frost* by John Bellairs (174 pp.)
This is the only adult book that John Bellairs wrote, and one of the spookiest books I know (I don't read horror, so take that into account), so I make this my annual Halloween read. Reality is bending around Prospero (not THAT Prospero) and Roger Bacon, as they try to find out who and how and why they are targeting Prospero. Full of whimsy and fear, this is highly enjoyable, one of my favorite books.
Book #147 The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (285 pp.)
This was read to join Donna in her reading for her audited class. I had never read Wharton and was glad to try her. It was an interesting book, although my edition (New Riverside Edition) had so many footnotes as to be a distraction. Newland as the focal point, I am sorry, is such a wuss. I understand how he got forced into the marriage with May, but to not go up to the apartment at the end? To be content with what might have been instead of seeing what was there, whether good or bad? Infamous!
"A woman's standard of truthfulness was tacitly held to be lower: she was the subject creature, and versed in the arts of the enslaved. Then she could always plead moods and nervs, and the right not to be held too strictly to account..."
I would like to read a biography of Wharton.
Book #148 To Say Nothing of the Dog* by Connie Willis (434 pp.)
I finished To Say Nothing of the Dog last night, and loved it as usual. I had forgotten how much of it revolved around worrying about how incongruities might change the future, as per Blackout and All Clear. And the detail after detail, all of the examples of where an individual changed outcomes versus the Grand Design examples, and then interspersed among them, the lovingly drawn characters that power this. And I enjoy the quote from Victorian literature at the top of each new chapter, and the Chapter Headings (e.g., Chapter Thirteen: Another Visitor--Variations on a Theme--The Birds--Importance of Butlers--An Old-Fashioned English Breakfast--Wildlife--The Bishop's Bird Stump--The One Little Fact--The Mystery of the Maid's Name Solved--I am Prepped--The Mystery of the Origin of the Jumble Sale Solved--My Time in the States--Victorian Handicrafts--My Boater--Mr. C--A Surprise) Hats off to Jerome K. Jerome and Three Men in a Boat, To Say Nothing of the Dog which inspired the ride down the Thames, and I keep promising myself to read the Dorothy Sayers mysteries starring Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriett Vane every time I read this. After the flat-out heart-wrenching drama of Doomsday Book, this allows one to catch one's breath while still partaking of Oxford's time travel adventures.
Book #149 Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (284 pp.)
Both Bell7 and foggidawn have read this book this October, and I requested it from the library after reading their reviews. This is a multi-media sequel to Princess Ben, which I also enjoyed. It is not a continuation of that story, but rather we see Ben as the grandmother to two princesses who are the heart of the story, along with the character of Fortitude. This is very much fairy-tale modality, with characters decidedly evil or good, but it is a very fun story.
Book #150 American Gods* by Neil Gaiman (461 pp.)
This is a re-read--I read it initially a decade ago when it first came out to great acclaim, but just didn't lose myself in it. So I thought I would read it again as part of the group read to see what I thought--especially since I have now read quite a bit more Gaiman. I still was put off by the graphic nature of the initial chapters, drawn in more by the middle of the story, especially the small town where Shadow is staying--that story line was engrossing. I also loved the voice of Mr. Ibis in the stories he was telling--very distinctive--and the stay with him and Mr. Jacquel. Oh, and Horus' involvement as well. But at the end--well, I'm not that fond of con men and while I like the way Shadow handled things, we don't really see what the emotional aftermath must have been for him. I agree--Shadow is interesting but not a character that one is drawn to or gets emotionally involved with, and while the gods were interesting, it's not that novel a theme. My preference is for Jane Lindskold's Changer, where the gods are in New Mexico and the Trickster isn't Loki but Coyote. Talk about emotional involvement! I can hardly restrain myself from immediately reading it again--but maybe I can lure some others of the group read in to share it with me?
Book #151 Dragon's Time by Todd McCaffrey and Anne McCaffrey (321 pp.)
It's the first of Todd's that I've read, and clearly builds on earlier books. I had no idea of the previous history of the characters that resulted in the relationships in this book and so felt fairly emotionally distant. One wonders that the humans ever survived on Pern at all when there are so many dramatic dangers nearly every Pass--it all eventually seems the same story (we don't have enough dragons to successfully fight Thread due to (famine, plague, disappearance of several Weyrs) so let's time it to beat astronomical odds once again. It's like the Discworld platitude--if the situation is a million to one odds, then of course the hero will win! Not recommended except for those who have read ALL the previous Pern books. I love the first 5-8 books, btw.
Book #152 A Posse of Princesses by Sherwood Smith (299 pp.)
I have been looking for this in the bookstores forever, and it leapt out at me while I was browsing the YA shelves at my library branch! I don't understand why no one carries it. It is an absolutely delightful princess fable with lovely, real characters and a bit of adventure--lots of fun! My only gripe is that the cover artist did not read closely enough about the princesses he depicts--while size, dress and hair match the story, the skin color does not, being uniformly white.
Book #153 Maximum Ice by Kay Kenyon (418 pp.)
This was a really enjoyable science fiction novel. A generation ship returns to Earth thousands of years later after failing to find any habitable planets, to find Earth nearly unrecognizable under a layer of Ice. Lots of great characters, action, and concepts.
Just caught up with your thread. Lots of great books here. Will be adding quite a few to the TBRs.
Book #154 The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (423 pp.)
I ordered this from the library after foggidawn's reviewed, sat down with it about 8 last evening, and didn't stop until I finished it shortly after midnight. If you liked Megan Whelan Turner's Thief series, I think you'll really enjoy this. It's YA fantasy adventure, and even if some plot elements are a little improbably--well, this IS fantasy after all.
Book #155 Pagans and Christians by Robin Lane Fox (681 pp.)
This is much more a scholarly work than a popularized one. Fox uses it to support conclusions he has reached on the evidence that varies from the "popular theses" of the literature, in great detail. Still, interesting if unnecessarily tedious reading.
Book #156, my first e-book, and one for which I have no page count as it only exists in electronic form:
Liaden Unibus 1 by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
For years I have wanted the chapbooks published by Lee & Miller during the lean years when no one was publishing their books and fans were clamoring for stories. Most of the stories included in these have been collected in two Unibus collections, and my first purchase for my new Kindle Touch was to pick these up. These are stories about characters who show up in the main Liaden books, often only briefly, or as background on more major characters. Only recommended for the fans, but these are quite fun to read for that population!
Book # 157 Liaden Unibus 2 by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Also an e-book (see above) of short stories set in the Liaden Universe, a must-have for fans even though I'm not usually a short story fan.
Book #158 The Annotated Persuasion by Jane Austen (483 pp.)
It is hard to say whether my perceptions of this book are due to my increased maturity (hah!) or the ceaseless drumming of it in by the annotator, but I was much more aware of the thinness of this story on this reading. Although I loved the story of Anne as much as ever, I was much more aware of the lack of development of most of the other characters relative to her other novels, and some poorly developed plot points. Also, this may have been due to reading Persuasion in direct succession with Austen's other books for the Austenathon this year. I got exasperated with the annotator at times--I certainly would not read this version for my first reading of the book, as his foreshadowings often amount to spoilers--but I did very much appreciate the maps and illustrations.
While gone on vacation in early December, I read a number of books, all on my Kindle, most of a light nature to fit the circumstances:
Book #159 Black Sheep* by Georgette Heyer --a re-read of a Heyer that I have not read for quite a while, good but not a top favorite.
Book #160 A Regency Holiday by Allison Lane--a series of three novellas that, as titled, are holiday stories set in the Regency period. Passable, not great.
Book #161 Princess Callie and the Totally Amazing Talking Tiara by Daisy Piper--the first of several fantasies that were available free for the Kindle. This one wasn't worth the price. Didactic, prosaic fiction that telegraphs all its sterotypical punches well in advance, this purports to be the means of helping a girl come to terms with the death of her mother, but should be avoided. And it is supposedly the first of a series.
Book #162 Moonstone by Marilee Brothers--This is a YA (as opposed to children's book above) about a girl dealing with a deadbeat mom and life in general, when she starts to develop magical powers. Another free one, it is better than the one above but pretty plebian. A few good moments.
Book #163 The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross is billed as steampunk, but is more like a Regency romance into which our heroine is dropped to solve a mystery with her superhuman characteristics--it's pretty weird. And not that great.
Book #164 Devil's Cub* by Georgette Heyer--one of my favorite Heyers, a Georgian rather than Regency, and with my favorite heroine.
Book # 165 Captains Courageous* by Rudyard Kipling was sitting on the Kindle as one of my free classics and it had been ages since I last read it. Still loved it, love Kipling's writing.
"The little schooner was gambolling all around her anchor among the silver-tipped waves. Backing with a start of affected surprise at the sight of the strained cable, she pounced on it like a kitten, while the spray of her descent burst through the hawse-holes with the report of a gun. Shaking her head, she would say: "Well, I'm sorry I can't stay any longer with you. I'm going North," and would sidle off, halting suddenly with a dramatic rattle of her rigging. "As I was just going to observe," she would begin, as gravely as a drunken man addressing a lamp-post. The rest of the sentence (she acted her words in dumb-show, of course) was lost in a fit of the fidgets, when she behaved like a puppy chewing a string, a clumsy woman in a side-saddle, a hen with her head cut off, or a cow stung by a hornet, exactly as the whims of the sea took her."
Also worked on Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky, am about a third of the way through it, although I read ahead to the part about harvesting salt in the Caribbean as we visited Grand Turk, which was inhabited only for that reason. And I made a big dent in a re-read of Little Women on the plane yesterday, but both of those will have to wait, as the newest P. C. Hodgell was waiting for me when I got home.
Book #166 Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith by Robert Barron (279 pp.)
This book was received from the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program last month. I have a lot of books on religion, and as a lapsed Catholic, I was interested in seeing what such a book would have to say.
I thought this was an excellent book at presenting and explaining what makes Catholicism unique. We are shown the origin and reason for many "difficult" tenets of the Church, and certain chapters such as the one on prayer are simply outstanding. Barron is not afraid to reference important theologians and writers, although I could wish for a bibliography in addition to the index provided. He clarifies without "dumbing down". His writing is very clear and his passion is evident. I would strongly recommend this book to Catholics wishing to refocus their faith and to non-Catholics who want to know more about Catholicism.
Book #167 Honor's Paradox by P. C. Hodgell (267 pp.)
This is the 6th in the high fantasy series of Jamethiel of Knorth, a very imaginative and gripping tale. I enjoy the journey but wonder sometimes if we will ever reach resolution. Jame makes it through her military school in this one, finally, and Tori seems ready at last to talk with her, if she didn't derail it with her announcement in the last sentence. Start with the first book of the series, which is excellent, excellent, and you can stop there if you don't want to continue.
Book #168 The Haunting of Granite Falls by Eva Ibbotson. (216 pp.)
This is a children's book, very similar in theme and mood to Dial-a-Ghost which is probably my favorite. A light little fantasy adventure with ghosts.
I'm going to count The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (72 pp.) for number 169.
Book #170 Hunting Party* by Elizabeth Moon (364 pp.)
This re-read of a favorite science fiction book was a fast, enjoyable read to bring me to a round number for 2011. One of my favorites by Moon, this is where I often recommend people start.
Books read: 170
Pages read: 54874 (Thrown slightly off by 3 Kindle books that do not exist in paper format and so I cannot estimate their pages)
Average book length: 323 pp.
Average pages read per day: 150
Average pages read per month: 4573
Average # of books per month: 14
Least and most books per month: 8 (Feb.) and 20 (July)
New Reads Vs. Re-reads: 139 new books vs. 31 rereads
Books off the Shelf (Owned prior to 1/1/11): 25
Books read from the library: 43
Fiction: General 11
Science fiction 19
Male/Female 44/123 (3 books co-written by female/male duo)
Early Reviewer books won this year: 6 won, 5 received, 4 reviewed.
Books acquired: 137
Number of books read of these acquired: 67
Books disposed of in 2011: 60
And so, to 2011, farewell! My new thread for 2012 may be found here
And to all my fellow LTers,
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.