ejj1955, aka Elizabeth, takes the plunge for 75 books in 2012, hoping to finally make it at long lon
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May this be the year for you! And in any case, enjoy your reading in 2012!
Thank you, all!
1. Gai-Jin by James Clavell. A nice long one to start the year--more than a thousand pages--this book is part of his Asian saga and comes between Tai-Pan and Noble House, telling the story of Tess and Colum Struan's son, Malcolm, in the Yokahama settlement in Japan. Also in the huge cast of characters is Yoshi Toranaga, a descendant of the Toranaga of Shogun. This tale is less successful than the others, taking a long time to develop tension, with characters not as strongly drawn or memorable as many of Clavell's others, although Angelique, Malcolm's beloved, is an exception.
Given the bits of the family and company history this fills in, though, I'm looking forward to my re-read of Noble House in the near future.
2. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Spoilers!! This was my book club's January selection, but I've only now finished it. I think what took me so long was the book's narrative structure, which started in the present day and then went back to the narrator's grandparents to tell his/her story; this removed any sense of wondering what would happen. The narrator, Cal or Calliope, is a hermophrodite, raised as a girl who discovers, in part through his/her love for a girl known only as the Obscure Object, that she is really a boy. Interwoven with this is the story of her grandparents, a Greek brother and sister from a small village ruled by Turkey, who emigrate to the United States and marry on the boat on the way over, concealing their blood relationship from nearly everyone. Their child, Milton, seems fine but carries a recessive gene; he marries a cousin who also carries the gene, which causes Cal's condition.
The book is well-written and engaging, but without suspense.
3. Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez. The story concerns four African-American slaves, women who are taken by their masters to a resort in Ohio each summer (in the 1850s). Lizzie, the main character, feels love for her master, Drayle, and hopes to convince him to free their two children, reasoning that he would not want them sold if he should die and his wife inherits them. Drayle has taught Lizzie to read, so she is able to read an abolitionist tract to the others. Their story, of enslavement, childbirth, fear, and loss, plays out over the years, with the question always present of whether any or all of them will make a break for freedom with the temptation of being in the North as a factor.
It's interesting in light of the reader's knowledge that the characters don't have: that within less than a decade, the war and the Emancipation Proclamation loom.
4. The Finding of Jasper Holt by Grace Livingston Hill. I reread this book quite often; it's a comfort read for me, a sweet story of a sweet girl who goes west to visit her sister. Along the way there's a train wreck and she's rescued by the dashing outsider, Jasper Holt, a man not considered socially acceptable by Jean's sister and their friends. But Jean not only considers him a fine, decent man, she falls in love with him, and he with her.
5. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Wow, what a great read. A friend gave me this book last week and I read it quickly. Can't wait to see the movie. Also can't wait to read the other two books in the series, although I need to get them. And I'm in the middle of three other books, so need to finish them, too.
6. Noble House by James Clavell. This was a re-read for me of this monster book (about 1,200 pages). Still a fun read, great cast of characters and great plot, with a nice disaster to shake things up at the end (sort of a Clavell trademark: typhoon, landslide, earthquake, you name it). I wanted to reread this after reading Gai-Jin, and it's clear that the latter book was an afterthought: Struan family history that's filled in in that book doesn't really appear in this one, though this one meshes well with the earlier Tai Pan, reflecting the order in which they were written rather than the internal timeline.
7. Green Grow the Rushes by Harriet Smart. This was a free download for my Nook, and I had no idea what to expect of it. It's a sprawling romance set in Scotland in the early 1900s, encompassing social change, the class system, and the struggle for women's suffrage. But the main focus is romance, which is often tragic in this world. Jessie, the main character, is a cook for a wealthy family, where she meets a dashing rogue and becomes his mistress. When she becomes pregnant, the young lawyer rather surprisingly marries her. But this is only the beginning . . . The book is written in a somewhat florid style reminiscent of Victorian literature, although it was published in 2010.
8. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Oh, god, I'm so glad I didn't start this series until all three books were available! I just finished this, the second in the series, and don't know if I can stand waiting until the third comes in to the library, per my request. What a great trilogy! Katniss Everdene returns home to District 12 a victor, with the house and riches a victor deserves, but there's no question of enjoying the spoils. From the start, she knows that her defiance of the rulers of the Capital will cause trouble, but even she has no idea of the diabolic form President Snow's plan for her will take. And, it turns out, she has little idea what anyone around her is planning, either. Collins has the ability to surprise the reader, keeping me on the edge of my seat, while still making the events entirely logical in the world she has created. Brilliant!
9. Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin. Extremely well-done medieval mystery concerning the serial killing of children in Cambridge. Initially blamed on the city's Jews, the crimes are investigated by an unlikely trio of visitors: Simon, a Jew; Mansur, a Saracen eunuch; and Adelia, a woman trained as a doctor in the progressive medical school at Salerno. Their English allies include Sir Rowley Picot, who is also chasing the killer of children; Gyltha, the cook-housekeeper for the foreign trio, and Ulf, her grandson. Franklin's crime is truly chilling in its details and her characters are strongly individual. I'm definitely interested in reading more of this series.
10. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. Thrill-packed third book in the Hunger Games trilogy. Katniss is even more cynical and damaged as the rebellion gets underway, with her as the "Mockingjay," a symbol televised to citizens of Panem to encourage the rebels. Eventually she manages to take a more active role, but the carnage in this brutal war is unthinkable and the people Katniss can trust are very few.
I'm not sure how I feel about this book and the denoument, but I do know the series captivated me. Can't wait to see the movie . . .
Mockingjay didn't do much for me. My favorite was the first book. I'm also looking forward to the movie though I'll have to wait until the DVD comes out.
11. The Submission by Amy Waldman. This is my book club's selection for April, a story about an imagined aftermath to the 9/11 attacks in NYC. An anonymous competition for a memorial to the victims results in a design by an American Muslim, Mohammed Kahn (Mo) being chosen by a jury. The sole family member on the jury, Claire Burwell, whose husband died in the Twin Towers, initially supports Mo's design of a garden. Public outrage, however, soon characterizes the design as a Muslim paradise, an insult to the memory of those who died. Mo resists being a symbol for Muslims and resists calls to explain his design, to withdraw from the competition, or to change the design.
I was annoyed by this book initially and thought I knew where the story would go: I was mostly mistaken. The effects of the controversy on each of the characters are realistically presented; there are no easy answers, no neat resolutions. Waldman presents a horrifyingly realistic view of how ambitious reporters twist facts and quotations, of how emotional responses reveal the ugly underside of religious intolerance and national fears. It's an unsettling look at our world.
*waving* at Elizabeth
Like Morphy, my favorite book in the Hunger Games series was the first one. I hope you enjoy the movie when you get a chance to see it. Beth & Kerry went to see it this past weekend and liked it a lot.
12. Unhallowed Ground by Mel Starr. This is the fourth book in the enjoyable medieval murder mystery series, which features Hugh de Singleton, a surgeon and a bailiff. Thomas atte Bridge, a man not much liked by anyone, is found hanging from a tree. Most think he committed suicide, but Hugh believes he was murdered, and rather reluctantly seeks the killer from among his friends and fellow townspeople. Meanwhile, he also enjoys his new domestic happiness, as his wife Kate is expecting their first child.
With each book, Starr's depiction of the medieval village of Brampton becomes more sure and comfortable; the reader meets familiar characters again, among them heroes, villains, a reformed priest, and ordinary citizens.
I have a couple of of the books in this Mel Starr series in some books borrowed from a friend. It sounds like I need to make time to get started on this series. It sounds great!
13. Road Rage by Ruth Rendell. One of Rendell's Inspector Wexford mysteries, the title refers to the protests by environmentalists against a bypass, a road about to be built through lovely woods and hills in the English countryside. The protesters build tree villages and drive spikes into trees to prevent them from being cut down by chainsaws, but things take a much more serious turn when five people are kidnapped and held hostage. One of these is Wexford's wife; he expects to be taken off the case but is instead put in charge of it.
Rendell's work is always well done, her prose seamless and her grasp of psychology sure. Wexford's sleeplessness, his renewed appreciation for his wife in her absence, and his simultaneous love for his daughters and impatience with their solicitude all ring true.
14. Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings, the first book of the Belgariad. It's a common enough start to an adventure tale: young boy is brought up in the quiet countryside but ends up on a quest with a group of people who are not at all what they seem at first. He's marked (literally as well as figuratively, having a birthmark on his palm) for fated greatness, but is mostly unaware of it, and not much is explained to the reader, either, by the end of the first book. But there are four more to come . . .
15. Queen of Sorcery by David Eddings, the second of the books in The Belgariad. Garion, the former farm boy, continues his journey with his Aunt Pol, revealed to be the sorceress Polgara, and her father, the sorcerer Belgarath. Various companions have joined the search for the stolen Orb or Aldur, including a willful runaway princess.
Garion asks questions about his past and his identity, but seems to accept continually being told "later" by Polgara. Even he, though, can't ignore the stirrings of power in himself, much as he would like to.
16. Magician's Gambit by David Eddings, third in the series. Garion and his companions continue their quest for the Orb, a journey punctuated by battles against enemies both human and supernatural. Garion obviously has a great deal of magical power but is in no hurry to be trained in its use. There are hints he's going to have to get over that particular issue quite soon, as a showdown with the elusive but powerful Torak seems inevitable.
This series doesn't make me think, OMG, this is incredible! but it is a pleasant series with some good characters and enough suspense to make me keep reading. I won't pause before picking up the next book in the series.
I'm getting sorely tempted to re-re-re-re-read this old favorite series.
17. Nine Lords of the Night by Eric Gibson. I just edited this book for the author; he revised it extensively from earlier versions, and it's all to the good. Without giving too much away, a lot more characters survive in this version, which should make the sequels much more interesting!
18. Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings. Book four of five in this fantasy series; Garion, the former farm boy, comes into his own in this book and learns exactly what his mission is in the ancient war among the gods. The character of Ce'Nedra is particularly interesting in this volume, as the little Tolenedran princess embraces her own role in the unfolding events. Good stuff; on to volume five.
I really enjoyed the first 5 books of this series--grew to love the characters. The second set of 5 books, the Mallorian, is a reprise of the travels of the first at a different level--some repetition but bearable again because of the characters. I even liked the retelling of the whole story all over again both from Belgareth and Polgara's pov. But unfortunately, nothing else that Eddings ever wrote after that has appealed to me.
19. Enchanters' Endgame by David Eddings. The fifth book wraps everything up and the prophecy is played out. Despite the supposed existence of two prophecies so that the world could go either way, there was really little doubt that our somewhat reluctant hero would triumph. Ultimately, I liked many of the characters and the journeys they took, but I'm somewhat dissatisfied, too. Garion/Belgarion comes across as a nice and decent guy, but it's hard to identify truly heroic qualities in him. He develops abilities as a sorcerer but they don't seem to have anything much to do with the final battle, where his victory is put down to psychology as much as anything. And I don't feel bad in posting the "spoiler" that he's victorious--there really was never any suspense about that. And the villain of the piece was asleep or unconscious for most of the series, so he's not really developed much. Actually, Belgarath and Polgara are much more interesting characters, as are some of the secondary ones--Silk, Hettar, Mandorallen, Taiba, some others. Ce'Nedra is sometimes interesting but the growth in her character in book 4 seems stalled or even put into reverse in the concluding book.
Hmm, time for something completely different, I think.
20. Invisible by Lorena McCourtney. This was a moderately pleasant little mystery downloaded to my Nook. Ivy Malone is a widow who realizes she's become virtually invisible, as no-one seems to notice a LOL (Little Old Lady). But she's plucky, and when vandals pull over gravestones at a local cemetery, Ivy decides to stake out the place at night to see if she can catch them at it. An even more serious case soon grabs her attention, though, when her neighbor's attractive young tenant turns up with a bullet in her. Ivy makes friends with a young detective, conveniently, and acquires not one but two potential suitors. In between snooping around to find answers, Ivy consults God and the Bible, and tries to convince the detective he, too, should be attending church.
This is the first of a series of at least four books featuring this character; I don't know that I'll seek them out, but I wouldn't mind if one fell into my hands some rainy afternoon.
21. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Re-read this for the umpteenth time and enjoyed it as much or more than ever. Every time I re-read a really good book, I take something different away from it. Mostly this time I was struck by how very well Austen knows human nature and the ways of the heart in love. Centuries don't change that.
22. Naamah's Kiss by Jacqueline Carey. This is the first book in Carey's third trilogy set in her re-imagined Renaissance world. Moirin belongs to the solitary and mystical Maghuin Dhonn and is raised in Alba by her reclusive mother. But she is also the daughter of a D'Angeline priest of Naamah, and when she comes of age, Moirin's fate takes her on a journey--first to Terre d'Ange, where she soon becomes involved in palace intrigue and dangerous magics, then even further, to the far-off land of the Ch'in, where Moirin becomes bound to the fates of a princess and a celestial dragon. As with Carey's other books, there's plenty of sensual delight along the way for her characters, and the troubled path to love also beckons. I've already requested the second book from my library and will dive in the minute I get it . . . I suppose I should try to get through the next book club book in the meantime.
23. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. This month's book club book and a very interesting read. Marina Singh, a doctor with a pharmaceutical company in Minnesota, hears that her colleague has died after being sent to the Amazon to check on the progress of research into a new drug. Marina is sent by her boss, who is also her lover, to check on progress and is also given the task by her colleague's widow of finding out how he died. Complicating the trip for Marina is that the research is being conducted by the intimidating woman who once was Marina's teacher in medical school.
The story is complex and filled with individual, memorable characters, from Dr. Swenson to Easter, the deaf native boy, and Barbara Bovender, a young Australian woman. Marina gradually probes the mysteries she's presented with; even after a surprising and satisfying conclusion, the reader is left with more questions. Just like real life: no matter where you stop the story, you are left wondering what happens next.
24. Naamah's Curse by Jacqueline Carey. The second book in this trilogy, there are some dark times for our heroine. Moirin is separated from her lover, who carries half of her spirit-soul in him now, and her magic is constrained by silver chains. In the kingdom of Vralia, a priest tries to force her to convert to the religion of Yeshua, but the idea of renouncing her gods does not come easily to Moirin. Even after she escapes, she is faced with a long journey and arduous task to rescue her lover.
I couldn't help but compare this book to those in the other trilogies; what surprised me was that the earlier part of the book, when Moirin is a captive, felt darker and more dire to me than the latter part of the book, despite some parallels with the kind of evil fought in the other trilogies (seductive but evil force, women and children held captive). Still, there's more to come for Moirin, and I picked up book three a few minutes ago!
Hi, ejj! I only just discovered that you have a thread here -- looks like you've had some good reads so far this year!
Hi, Foggi! *waves*
25. Naamah's Blessing by Jacqueline Carey. The final book in this trilogy sees Moirin and her husband back in Terre d'Ange, where tragedy after tragedy leaves Jehanne's young daughter seemingly defenseless against ambitious nobles. The only hope lies in a long and dangerous journey to the newly-discovered Terra Nova to rescue Prince Thierry, widely believed to have perished here. But Moirin receives a dream-vision that Thierry is alive and Raphael de Mereliot is somehow a part of the quest. She finds both beauty and horror in the new world.
I like Carey's work enough that I just checked out her website to see what else she has written. There's a modern fantasy that looks interesting . . .
But for now, I'm doing a comfort read. Because I need to, that's why.
26. Venetia by Georgette Heyer. There may be no world in which I like to lose myself as much as Heyer's Regency England. She is a mistress not only of the era and its fashions and slang, but also of sharply defined, individual characters, snappy dialog, plotting, and, of course, romance. Venetia, a lovely young woman who has lived all her life confined to one small country area, living with her brilliant, lame brother after their eccentric father's death, suddenly meets the "wicked Baron," the nobleman whose estate is next to theirs. Despite his shocking reputation, she becomes fast friends with him. He's struck by her personality as well as her loveliness, but doesn't want to ruin her by offering her marriage. How Venetia copes with this issue shows her to be a woman of ingenuity and strength, and of course leads to a thoroughly satisfying conclusion.
27. False Colours by Georgette Heyer. Another wonderful Heyer romp, in which Kit Fanshaw returns from a diplomatic posting in Vienna to find his beautiful but improvident mother in a flutter: his twin brother Evelyn, the Earl of Denville, has vanished on the eve of an important dinner party, where he is meant to meet the family of his prospective bride, Cressy. Kit takes his brother's place to save the family's reputation (and so as not to insult Cressy), but before long, he finds that he's falling for Cressy himself. A house party at Denville's country estate brings together one of Heyer's usual cast of characters: Cressy and her redoubtable grandmother, Lady Denville's fat, immensely wealthy suitor, and her pinchpenny brother, his anemic wife, and their son. Complications, it need hardly be said, ensue, and eventually are delightfully resolved.
I really need to read more of Heyer's romances. I have The Grand Sophy on my nightstand (where it has been residing for at least 2 years. Maybe while I am on break from school I can sneak it in.
>41 I love The Grand Sophy! One of the best.
28. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. The book club book for this month. The book opens in the late 1930s in Shanghai, where sisters Pearl and May are "beautiful girls," photographed and painted for advertisements and calendars. They defy their parents and embrace Western clothing and music, but when their father loses his money, he arranges marriages for them with two brothers from Los Angeles. Pearl and May don't show up to take the boat to America with their husbands and are caught up in the Japanese invasion of China. The story follows their long journey from China and then their lives in Los Angeles during the next few decades, covering World War II and the Communist witch-hunt of the 1950s, when Chinese-Americans walked a delicate line between trying to be patriotic Americans while respecting the traditions of their Chinese culture. Through it all, the bond between the sisters is sometimes troubled but always present. The story ends somewhat abruptly, with a major question mark left unanswered.
29. Cotillion by Georgette Heyer. I'm on a roll now with Heyer! What a wonderful world to be in . . . in this outing, orphaned Kitty Charing is ordered by her guardian to marry one of his great-nephews, promising to leave his fortune to her if she does. Her favorite of these, Jack, does not appear as ordered to propose, but Kitty hits on the idea of pretending to be engaged to Freddy, a kind and obliging man who agrees to the pretense so that Kitty can at last go to London and enjoy herself. Kitty soon acquires a fashionable wardrobe and becomes embroiled with not one but two star-crossed couples, and eventually finds that neither Jack nor Freddy was quite the man she thought. All is, of course, happily resolved by the end.
30. Dreams of Joy by Lisa See. After reading Shanghai Girls, this sequel begged to be picked up. It starts right where the first book ends, with Joy finding out that her aunt is her mother and her mother is her aunt, not to mention that her father is someone she's never met. Imbued with enthusiasm for the ideals of the new Communist regime in China, Joy flees Los Angeles to find her father in Shanghai and, ultimately, make a life on a commune in the countryside. Pearl follows her and finds her old family home full of boarders but ready to welcome her home. She waits in Shanghai, getting a job as a collector of scrap paper, while Joy travels with her father, Z.G., a well-known artist. Even after Pearl finds Joy, she's unable to convince her to leave China; Joy believes she's in love with Tao, an illiterate artist from the commune, although she realizes very soon after she marries him that she was mistaken. Joy becomes pregnant and has a daughter just as the Great Leap Forward results in a disastrous, deadly famine; millions die in China.
See's extensive research is woven seamlessly into the details of this story; the reader can understand the impossible situation of farmers who know the directives they are receiving (based on Chairman Mao's orders) make no sense but who must chant the party slogans and do as they are told, planting far too many seeds or plants in a field in a vain effort to increase the yield. In one unforgettable scene, a boy rescued from the countryside is given a bowl of rice; he painstakingly divides it, grain by grain, into three piles so that the other two people sitting with him can have an equal share.
31. Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman. It took me quite a while to read this book, which, although it's quite long, says more about me than it does the book, which is a very readable fictionalized account of the first part of Richard I's reign as king of England--specifically, his pivotal part in the Crusade to retake Jerusalem from the forces of Saladin. Richard emerges as a fearless warrior and cunning military leader, beset by the realities of trying to survive in the hostile environment of the Middle East (Richard and others repeatedly fall ill) and his ongoing disputes with the French under King Phillippe. The book also examines Richard's relationships with his famous mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine; his sister Joanna, and his wife, Berengaria. Although Richard can be ruthless as a military leader, he and Saladin also clearly respected each other, and Richard shows respect for his Saracen foes, even knighting some of them. Despite carelessness for his personal safety and a series of stunning military victories against a numerically superior foe, Richard falls short of his ultimate goal of retaking Jerusalem, settling instead for an extended truce when he reluctantly decides to respond to letters from home warning that his kingdom is in danger--partly from his ambitious younger brother, John, and partly from the French, as Philippe abandoned the Crusade to return home. The book ends with Richard leaving the Holy Land; Penman plans a sequel covering the later part of his reign, including the period in which he was held for ransom on his long journey back to England. Penman's research is clearly meticulous and in an afterword, she makes clear the instances in which she used creative license--generally because some historical details were not known. But for a view of Richard's character, the Crusade, and medieval life, readers may well learn more from Penman's fiction than from many historians' "fact."
32. Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey. This was a re-read for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it the second time around. I should have realized, though, that having read the first in a trilogy again, I'm now going to have to find and read the other two. Like most of the best fantasy fiction, this novel encompasses love, passion, betrayal, intrigue, power struggles, epic journeys, war, danger, death, fear, and triumph, and does it all in a brilliantly imagined world, both similar to and quite unlike Renaissance Europe. Phedre no Delauney is certainly among the most original heroines ever created.
33. Defending Jacob by William Landay, the book club book for this month. Hmm. I just finished this and would like some time to think about it, but have to get ready for book club and go! It's the story of a district attorney, his wife, and their son, Jacob, who is accused of murdering a classmate in the affluent Massachusetts suburb where they live. Told from the father's point of view, the story moves relentlessly through the trial and describes the terrible toll it takes on their family.
I was thinking as I read this book that the characters were relentlessly ordinary--that in this kind of story, that's deliberate, that it's about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. The father tries hard to be strong and optimistic, to protect his family; the mother, the emotional center of the family, becomes withdrawn and brittle; the son is a typical teenager, a bit of a loner who posts on Facebook, listens to his iPod, and makes inappropriate jokes at times.
There are a few surprising twists at the end, and I won't give them away. I had some premonition and yet did not see exactly what was coming.
Hmmm. I don't think I'm going to make 75 books this year, either. What keeps happening?
36. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. This month's book club book, and one of my favorites. Wow, what a book! The story is told in alternating chapters by Nick and Amy, a married couple. On the morning of their fifth anniversary, Amy disappears. A mounting avalanche of evidence points to Nick having killed her, though no body is found. What really happened . . . ?
Flynn reveals the personalities of the pair, and the progress of their marriage, in an utterly real and terrifying way. It's enough to make me wonder if marriage really is a good idea!
37. Fireship by Joan D. Vinge. This is a pretty short book with two stories in it, "Fireship" and "Mother and Child." The first concerns a man who is really three "people" in one body: Michael Yarrow, the original owner of the body; ETHANAC, the computer into which Yarrow is plugged; and Ethan Ring, the composite of the two. He's on Mars, having escaped from Earth after being selected for the experiment with ETHANAC--it was supposed to be temporary, but all parties wanted to keep it as it was. He's drafted by a beautiful woman to infiltrate the computer system of the solar system's richest man, although almost nothing goes as planned. The second story concerns a planet on which two societies are at odds; one, of which Etaa is a priestess, worships earth and nature, living simply with them, while the other worships gods who turn out to be aliens interested in keeping both societies from developing and challenging them. Etaa is kidnapped by the king of the others after discovering she's pregnant by her husband; the king assumes the child is his. When war breaks out between the two societies, Etaa is removed by one of the "gods" for safety and comes to a new understanding of herself, her world, and the gods.
Though the stories were interesting enough, I suspect this is a book that will quickly be forgotten by me.
38. Gateway by Frederick Pohl. Interesting psychological study of Robinette (Bob) Broadhead, a man who turns a modest lottery winning into his chance to escape from the drudgery of working in the food mines of Earth. He buys a ticket to Gateway, an artifact of the mysterious Heechee civilization. The Heechee are long gone, but have left behind ships that still work. The only problem is, the prospectors who take them out don't know where they will end up and whether they will return to Gateway alive. For a lucky few, though, returning with new Heechee artifacts means riches. Bob, wealthy and retired to live in the bubble that encloses New York, tells his story in flashbacks interwoven with his interviews with Sigfried, his virtual psychiatrist. Bob is terrified to go out and lives on Gateway until his money is nearly gone before taking a ship. After several unsuccessful trips--although he makes it back alive each time--there's a guaranteed score on a mission with a million-dollar per person science bonus attached. But things don't go quite as planned . . .
"Though the stories were interesting enough, I suspect this is a book that will quickly be forgotten by me.
Great statement!! I know which are my favorite books because they resonate and stay with me long after I've read the final page. Those that come to mind are To Kill a Mockingbird, A Prayer for Owen Meany and Jane Eyre.
39. An Instance of the Fingerpost by Ian Pears. Great historical mystery, with many characters based on real residents of Oxford in the early days of the Restoration. The story is told through the eyes of four different narrators, an Italian physician, a student trying to clear his late father of treason, a cryptographer, and an historian. An Oxford don is murdered and suspicion points to a servant girl, but almost nothing in this tale is what it seems (and people are not what they seem, either). All is most satisfactorily explained by the end, though.
I note that I am falling far short of my 75 book goal once again. That will not prevent my trying again next year! Such is the life of an optimist . . . should get in one, maybe two more before the end of this year, though.
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