|Saturday, November 16th, 2013|
10:49 pm - Square Painted Perks Wake Team; Wonderland Sank
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky|
I'd been meaning to read this forever and someone at work finally convinced me to do so. It was exceptionally good, although the big reveal at the end made me very uncomfortable (if you want it spoiled for you, just PM me). Still, I was glad to have read it.
The Painted Drum, by Louise Erdrich
This novel veered back and forth between parts that were hugely well-done and powerfully immersive and parts that just bored or irritated me. I can't even say why - I couldn't figure out a pattern - it was just ... patchy.
When We Wake, by Karen Healey
YA future dystopia, thorny and meaningful and even difficult, but also superfun. I <3 Karen Healey.
Square Peg, by Todd Rose
Part memoir, part advice book, about how kids - people in general - are all very different, and learn best when treated as individuals instead of trying to one-size-fits-all everybody. Good stuff about the effect of emotions on learning, and other related topics, as well. The author went from being the kind of kid who threw stink bombs in chem class, and never really wanted to go to college, to being a Harvard prof. Not the most writerly book, but I found it a really useful - and openhearted - read.
Buffy Season 9, vol. 4: Welcome to the Team, by Andrew Chambliss et al; Willow vol. 1: Wonderland, by Jeff Parker et al
Fun popcorn reading. Glad they kept these going after the show was over. They almost never reach the heights the show often did. The art in the Willow volume was often incredibly gorgeous, though, far beyond what TV special effects ever achieve.
The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Ship That Sank Twice, by Mike Carey et al
This was grand altogether. Even though it's chronologically a prequel, reading it at the end of the series worked perfectly - so much richer because of all the echoes of what will happen.
current mood: relaxed
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|Thursday, November 14th, 2013|
8:31 pm - Home Insurgent Needed Redshirts: Gould's Tropic Stonelight
Redshirts, by John Scalzi (complimentary copy) |
Meta! In spaaaaaaaaaaaaace. This was a lot of fun. Also clever.
Tropic of Hockey, by Dave Bidini
Dave and his wife traveled around the world to places where people play hockey ... places like Hong Kong, Dubai, and northern China. I forgot I liked sports books until I read this.
Home and Away, by Dave Bidini
This one was about the Homeless World Cup (of soccer). Focused on the Canadian team, 'cause Bidini traveled with them. Both funny and meaningful.
Insurgent, by Veronica Roth
Really all I want from a teen dystopia is for it to make me unable to put it down. And this one totally did that.
Stonelight, by Gaelyn Gordon
Quirky, oldfashioned kid's timetravel fantasy set in New Zealand. Was quite good, but not amazing.
Gould's Book of Fish, by Richard Flanagan
This book was annoying. Like, really annoying. The patches with no women in them were particularly dire. And yet, its better qualities got me to read it all the way through. Because they were really good. Whatcha gonna do?
What the Family Needed, by Steven Amsterdam
This was lovely, a perfect balance of realism and (superpower-type) fantasy, snarkiness and insight. Definitely going on the read-more-by-this-guy shelf.
current mood: relieved
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|Sunday, October 6th, 2013|
11:19 pm - update, re: a Wizard Alone
I don't think I've ever posted a correction-type-thingie to this journal before, but this seems to merit posting in people's friends streams, not just on the original post:|
Thanks to gfish, I found out that Diane Duane took the criticisms of the original version of A Wizard Alone very well! And rewrote the book! And, apparently, did a very sound job of the rewrite! Huzzah!
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|Saturday, October 5th, 2013|
2:32 am - Bookman's Light Wizard; Winter Guardian Women; Shattering Zine Country
How the Light Gets In, by Louise Penny|
This was as compulsively readable as always. And it went SOME way toward fixing the implausible mess the author got into with one character last time.
The Bookman's Tale, by Charlie Lovett
A bit too pat, a bit too mannered, but wonderfullly, properly Romantic in at least 3 or 4 senses of the word.
A Wizard Alone, by Diane Duane
This was... odd. Duane is as wonderful a writer as ever; the main characters are as fun and three-dimensional as ever; the story is as full of emotional and symbolic power as ever. And yet: her characterization of the autistic added protagonist of this one... was weird. It's clear that she meant to be inclusive and respectful. Because of that, I don't think she MEANT to imply that inside every autistic person is a trapped neurotypical person waiting to be freed (or free themselves?), but it kind of felt that way, in fact I'm having trouble seeing any other interpretation of the story, and it left a very bad taste in my mouth. There's an excellent commentary on the problems with this book at http://beccaelizabeth.dreamwidth.org/2008180.html. . ETA: Thanks to gfish, I found out that Duane took the criticisms of this book very well! And rewrote the book! And, apparently, did a very sound job of the rewrite! Huzzah!
Guardian of the Dead, by Karen Healey
Such a good book! Nothing transcendent, just a very steady, perfectly composed YA fantasy ... great characters, satisfyingly fresh mythos (magic built mostly from Maori legends), and enough of a sense of mischief to keep things lively.
The Winter Garden, by Kristin Hannah
Not at all the sort of book I usually read, and I almost stopped reading it a couple of times in the first 50 pages because the beginning part is awkwardly written, too much telling and not enough showing, plus the language is clumsy. But it really grew on me, particularly the way the originally very unreal fairy tale sections get grittier and more full of telling historical and personal details as the story goes on. It seems to *me* that the book's flaws were mostly confined to the first few chapters, but perhaps I just got so into the story that its flaws faded in importance?
Wahine Toa: Women of Maori Myth, by Robyn Kahukiwa with Patricia Grace
A beautiful adult picture book by Kahukiwa, rather more graceful and warm than the usual exhibition catalog; and Grace's words are elegant and rhythmic; I read most of them aloud.
Some Other Country: New Zealand's Best Short Stories, edited by Marion McLeod and Bill Manhire
The chronological arrangement of these stories was rather interesting, confirming that certain periods of mainstream short story writing (eg, the 80s) are just NOT very appealing to me, no matter where the stories' writers come from.
From A to Zine, by Julie Bartel
I used this book in a school project about zines in libraries last spring, and the bits I read for my project were so lucid and enthusiastic that I decided to read it all later on. Glad I finally got 'round to it, because the whole thing is that good.
The Shattering, by Karen Healey
Really quite fun, though more with the typical YA dark fantasy and (slightly) less with the clever and perfectly done than Guardian of the Dead. Looking forward to reading lots more of hers.
current mood: engrossed
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12:56 am - Better Immortal Memory Affliction
Affliction, by Laurell K. Hamilton|
I had fun with this one. More plot than the last one had. It was actually more like an old-school Anita Blake than any I'd read in a while. Still, I wish she had a demanding editor.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
This book made me laugh, yell, puzzle, and even tear up a little. I remember learning about these cells (in no real detail at all) in college, and it was satisfying to deepen my understanding by learning about the woman they grew from and the hardships and triumphs of her life, and her family's lives.
Better than Fiction, edited by Don George
Short travel essays. Found a couple of excellent new writers to explore at more length, enjoyed some new bits by authors I already enjoyed. Also, because Lonely Planet is an Australian company, there was a disproportionate number of Aussie and Kiwi authors, which haloed the whole book in a certain unexpected aura of pleasurable novelty.
Memory of the World, by UNESCO
The text is dry as dust, but that lack is overcome by the one-two punch of a truly fascinating topic - the documents that UNESCO inscribed on the Memory of the World historical register - and some seriously gorgeous pictures. Nom.
current mood: chilled
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|Monday, September 30th, 2013|
10:36 pm - Awkward Dragon Tricks; Morgain's Divergent Companion
Awkward: A Detour, by Mary Cappello|
Well. It *was* awkward. And that worked wonderfully - incandescently - in some sections, but in other sections it left me cold. The amazing partsas made the dull parts worth pushing through for me, but YMMV.
Tricks of the Trade and Dragon Justice, by Laura Anne Gilman
CSI for magic users, more or less, though I find these characters more appealing than the CSI ones. And it was neat to get to the part where this series caught up to the series it spun off from, because the friendship between this protagonist and the protagonist of the main series is one of my favorite things about that series. About this one too. The edgy romance subplot is more foregrounded in this one than in the other, and I was kind of bummed by the way the main character's polyamory just kind of gets shoved out of the way as irrelevant (endearingly enough, the main character seemed kind of irritated by that too) ... but that's what I get for reading a Harlequin imprint, ennit? Tasty tasty, nonetheless. Gilman is one of my favorite popcorn reads - and I suppose she is a crunch'n'munch read, really, there's lots more to chew on than in the PURE fluff I read sometimes :D.
Divergent, by Veronica Roth
I liked this YA dystopia so much I was all set to read the next one immediately, but I didn't have much to say about it and I was planning to review both of them at once. AND THEN SOMEONE CHECKED OUT OUR COPY OF INSURGENT BEFORE I COULD. *shakes tiny fist* I decided to read this book because I saw the author at ALA and she said (roughly) that most dystopias indict society, but that after rereading her own trilogy, she realized she was indicting herself. If you are as intrigued by that as I was, you will probably like these books! Or, at least, the first one! *pines for the second one*
Grail Quest: Morgain's Revenge and Grail Quest: The Shadow Companion, by Laura Anne Gilman
I never get tired of twists on the King Arthur mythos. That said, I've read a lot of them, so you really have to knock it out of the park to impress me. These are not those. BUT, as middle grade fiction goes, they are nonetheless top notch, and they were really good company while I was sick. Endearing characters, humor, exciting plot, etc.
current mood: tired
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|Sunday, August 25th, 2013|
12:54 am - Wizard's Bone Heiresses; A Company of Zebra Angels; Tender Homeplaces Strands; Kaihau Dilemma
The Wizard's Tale, by Kurt Busiek, illustrated by David Wenzel|
This was a fun kid's comic with a good message and excellent art, but I had expected more from Busiek, because Astro City is AMAZING. Turns out this one was written in 1989 (Astro City started in 1995) - so it makes sense that it's only journeyman-level work, not a masterpiece...
The Bone People (reread), Te Kaihau / The Windeater, Strands, and Homeplaces, by Keri Hulme
I first read The Bone People as a young teenager - 13 I think? - and the father in the story was so like my own father, good and bad both - more so, but still recognizably alike in a way no other father in a book ever had been - that I managed to block out everything about the book except that it was really good, so I didn't have to think too hard about what it meant. Rereading now, it was even better - because I'm not so in need of compartmentalizing as a coping mechanism, and so there were a lot of powerful things I could look at more squarely. Also her writing is amazing, and there are allusions I caught this time around that I wouldn't have heard at thirteen. [Warning: It's a very violent book. Bad things happen to a small child at the hands of someone he loves. Please don't read it if that will hurt you. It helped me, both times, because the book doesn't stop there.] I loved it so much I went and read everything else of hers I could easily get my hands on. Now I've started ILLing things that are harder to find.
(136, 142, 143, 145)
Heiresses of Russ 2012, edited by Connie Wilkins and Steve Berman
These short sf stories all had lesbian protagonists, and a certain playfulness, in common. Some of them were better than others (especially the Nalo Hopkinson Borderland-in-festival bit), but they were all at least decent. Will be hunting down the other volumes in the series.
Where Angels Fear to Tread, by Thomas E. Sniegoski
Hm. I liked this but it was messier than the others in the series - and, for that reason, easier to put down.
Zebra Forest, by Adina Gewirtz
An odd little novel - almost like a fable? Only it's theoretically realist. Hard to explain without giving away the plot. Wasn't bad. Might've appreciated it more if I hadn't read it *right* after a root canal.
A Company of Swans, by Eva Ibbotson
This was a lovely old-fashioned Edwardian romance with bonus ballet AND Amazon. Relaxing and warm-hearted. I think she might be my new save-for-when-I-feel-awful author, but I'll need to try one more to be sure.
Tender is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I liked this ever so much better than the bits of The Great Gatsby I skimmed. There's actually a ton of stuff in this book that irritated the hell out of me, but it all hangs together so well that I was all swoony and wanted to keep reading more and more of it. And the writing is lyrical when it wants to be and rough and scratchy when it wants to be and etc. Dang.
The Wizard's Dilemma, by Diane Duane, read by Christina Moore (audiobook)
This series has come to mean an awful lot to me. I listen to it when I can't sleep or when I'm lonely or when things seem really hard... like the rope you hold on to when you're crossing a log bridge, you know? It's that kind of a story.
current mood: thirsty
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|Friday, August 16th, 2013|
9:56 pm - Long Etiquette Folie; Stone's Station N0S4A2 Sisters; Highest Spinster Warriors
Etiquette and Espionage, by Gail Carriger|
A charming romp. Not as rich as Carriger's other series, but a lot zippier. Want more now. Will have to wait for November.
The Long Fall, by Walter Mosley (ARC)
Like any good noir, this one depends on the appeal of its protagonist, and I found Leonid McGill deeply appealing. The story got a bit surreal in spots, but I didn't mind.
The Sisters, by Mary S. Lovell
Dishy, detailed biography of the Mitford sisters (and also to a lesser extent their parents, brother, and various other relations). The author takes sides and plays favorites based on weak evidence, which *ought* to have made the book less fun but actually heightened my enjoyment of it - because I got to argue with all her bad claims :D.
Danse de la Folie, by Sherwood Smith (nook)
Lovely, light, Regency romance. Intricate as lace, straightforward as a runaway coach, and often quite funny.
Station Life in New Zealand, by Lady Barker (nook, public domain)
<3 Lady Barker. She discusses miserable near-death snowstorms and niceties of colonial etiquette in the same wry, interested, confiding tone. I've already downloaded the sequel, Station Amusements.
Stone's Fall, by Iain Pears (ARC)
Long and thoughtful and involved. Really good if you (like me) enjoyed Fingerpost, also if you like books set in Victorian/Edwardian England, intrigue, and a splash of the Gothic.
N0S4A2, by Joe Hill (ARC)
The fun kind of horror where everything works out in the end but not so perfectly that it feels unearned. Also Joe Hill's style is compulsively readable. I tore through this.
The Highest Frontier, by Joan Slonczewski
You know, I've enjoyed Slonczewski's work for a long time, but not until this book - set mostly in a spacehab small liberal arts college - did I realize that she teaches at Kenyon (a small liberal arts college). As I work at a small liberal arts college myself, I delighted in all the in-jokes and skewerings contained herein. Not sure you would like it if you don't have a SLAC background - I think Brain Plague is better, if you're figuring out where to start with her? But I had a good time.
Once Were Warriors: The Aftermath: The Controversy of OWW in Aotearoa New Zealand, by Emil Martens
Ah, super-academic analyses of popular culture, you will be my own peculiar form of popcorn reading until I die. This had some pretty interesting information floating in the sea of jargon.
Spinster, by Sylvia Ashton-Warner
Stream of consciousness, self-contradicting, sometimes offensive (the past is another country), and utterly marvelous, this is a first-person novel about teaching in the New Zealand countryside in the 40s, populated by strange and compelling characters. A bit like Virginia Woolf crossed with Maria Montessori crossed with Margaret Laurence? But mostly its own thing.
current mood: sleepy
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|Wednesday, July 31st, 2013|
7:37 pm - New Ardeur; Divine Circus Fathers; Swallowing Saffron Heads; Tina's Unknown Zealand Bar Stories
Ardeur, edited by Laurell K. Hamilton|
Essays about the Anita Blake books. Enjoyable fluff for the most part, although a few of them were rather insightful. Also, I was highly entertained by the editor's introductions to each essay; they were always readable, but sometimes quite huffy. Weird at first, but it grew on me - they were very honest reactions.
The Heads of My Family, My Friends, My Colleagues, by Justin Sirois
Poetry that always makes gut sense, only sometimes makes prose sense. I loved it even more than when I was reading the proof sheets hung up on the wall of an exhibition.
Swallowing Darkness and Divine Misdemeanors, by Laurell K. Hamilton (reread)
It has been rather an intense month and I needed something enveloping. Also I realized that I didn't really remember the plot of these last 2 in this series since I gobbled them down in a single evening each last time. Just what I needed.
The Oxford Illustrated History of New Zealand, edited by Keith Sinclair
Slow-moving and occasionally dated. But really interesting nonetheless.
The Mountain and the Fathers, by Joe Wilkins
A lyrical memoir about harsh things, experienced in the softening but not sentimental light of retrospect. I inhaled this.
The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern (reread)
Book club book! I loved it every bit as much on the second go-round. Possibly a bit more because I was not anxious about the author possibly screwing up. :D I did feel a bit meh about 50 pages in, but then I remembered that I felt a bit meh about 50 pages in the first time too... and just like the first time, 30 pages later I was infatuated.
Shades of Grey 1: The Road to High Saffron, by Jasper Fforde
Wow! I don't know why I didn't read this when it came out, especially since evrythgcnhapn liked it so much. This summer, though, I met someone who had a fresh tattoo of a spoon on a field of color, and she made the book sound so good I resolved not to wait another summer. It's gloriously involving, and it walks the line between farce and serious dystopia brilliantly, probably as well as I've ever seen that done. I'm not about to get my own tattoo, but I can totally understand why someone would.
The Buddha Walks Into a Bar ..., by Lodro Rinzler
This is a fun modern / Western distillation of Tibetan Buddhism. I riffled through it in a couple of days, rather than working through its exercises, so I can't really say how helpful it would be to someone using it as one is meant to. It's refreshingly short on things that made me want to throw it across the room though, which is my primary criterion for evaluating books that want to teach me something.
New Zealand: A Natural History, by Tui De Roy and Mark Jones
Soooooooooooooo pretty. There was serviceable text, too, but mostly I just cooed at the gorgeous pictures and thought, "hey! I will be there soon!"
Katherine Mansfield's Selected Stories, by Katherine Mansfield, edited by Vincent O'Sullivan
I had thought she was far more stuffy and mannered than it turns out she was.... I enjoyed all of these, and loved a few of them. And I *would've* enjoyed them even if I still thought I was never going to the Antipodes.
An Angel at my Table, by Janet Frame
Oh my god. This is brilliant. Recommended for anyone who likes a) memoir, b) affectionate family stories that are also sad, c) reading about other people's time in college, d) historical context around psychology and psychiatry, e) stories rooted strongly in a sense of place, f) non-fiction about writing and/or writers, g) New Zealand. As I like ALL OF THESE THINGS, I was well-satisfied.
Tina's Mouth, by Keshni Keshyap, illustrated by Mari Araki
Appealing, if not especially profound, YA graphic novel in the form of letters to Sartre that are also a school assignment. Tasty, especially the bursting-with-life illustrations.
The Tale of the Unknown Island, by José Saramago, illustrated by Peter Sís
Tiny and perfect, flowing seamlessly along like a dream. Also, memorable. I love it when people send me presents like this one.
current mood: busy
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|Monday, July 15th, 2013|
7:37 pm - Cloud Hicksville Extras Zine
The Factsheet Five Zine Reader, edited by R. Seth Friedman|
Niftykeen compilation of many many short zine articles from the 90s (the book was published in 1998). Fun for browsing or for reading straight through.
Hicksville, by Dylan Horrocks
This is a very meta but still straightforward and dramatic comic about comic book artists, and some other people, in a very small town in New Zealand. A very small (and excellent) splash of magical realism, too. Grand altogether.
Extras, by Scott Westerfeld
This was good, and I'm glad to have finally gotten full closure on this series :D. But I should've listened to it on audio, because the person who reads them turns good into great. *tsks at self*
White Cloud Worlds, edited by Paul Tobin
Fantasy art by NZ artists. Unsurprisingly, half of them are somehow Weta-associated. Lots of pretty, nothing that made me fall in love...
WOO - caught up at last! *goes back to reading*
current mood: content
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|Sunday, July 14th, 2013|
9:00 pm - Mortal Demonologist; Eyewitness Existence
The Demonologist, by Andrew Pyper|
How excellent was this? It was so excellent that I didn't even mind that it was written in present tense. 'Nuff said.
Mortal Fire, by Elizabeth Knox
And this book was even better! It probably helped that it was set in alt-NZ, considering HOW VERY EXCITED I AM ABOUT NEW ZEALAND RIGHT NOW, but really it's just that awesome. Maths and magic and weird history and characters whose flaws make them more lovable. Knox has officially made it onto my go-to author list.
Eyewitness: New Zealand, by various people at Dorling Kindersley
I read about 5 guidebooks in the last 2 weeks, but this is the only one I read the whole way through. <3 DK.
Existence, by David Brin
So I got this book for free! At a panel thingum! And I was all... uh, I dunno... should I really bother with it? It's awfully long... and I know I loved David Brin when I was thirteen... but I had a lot more patience when I was thirteen... and I remember him being rather infodumpy..... *ambivalent face* Then I started reading! And I was having SO MUCH FUN! So apparently my inner 13-year-old knows when to come to the fore. If you like infodumpy science fiction where the plot revolves mostly around people thinking and throwing out a hundred ideas is much more important than developing the nuance in any one of 'em, you might really like this! Which is totally not a back-handed compliment, because I did really like it! Just, you know, don't go reading it because I liked it and then coming back and complaining to me that it's not Elizabeth Hand. Because I will roll my eyes at you. :D
PS Man, do I love me some Elizabeth Hand.
current mood: self-indulgent
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|Saturday, July 13th, 2013|
10:08 pm - Post Natural Secret Purpose of Marbles
Marbles, by Ellen Forney|
This is an powerful graphic memoir about living with manic depression. Sometimes it was too much and I got overwhelmed. But it's really good.
Purpose, by Wyclef Jean
If you like Wyclef's music as much as I do, you already went "OOH" and added this to your reading list, as soon as you heard about it. And, you will enjoy it. If you are not into Wyclef, this isn't going to change your mind.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post, by Emily Danforth
The protagonist goes through the sorts of ya-problem-novel things I don't usually like reading about, but the author writes about them so well, and the protagonist's voice is so compelling, that I fell in love with this book anyway. Also, the secondary characters are complicated and sometimes surprise you.
A Natural History of Dragons, by Marie Brennan (e-ARC)
An absolute pleasure to read. The author captures the Victorian Naturalist Voice so well that the book dragged a bit at first, but just when my enthusiasm for the voice started to wear off and I felt myself becoming restless, the plot went turbo! Really lovely. I pleasure-squeaked when I realized there will be a sequel.
The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
When the Davinci Code came out and I was staunchly avoiding reading it, some of my bookstore customers would recommend other things marketed as "brainy thrillers" to me - sort of a "that's okay, you would like THIS book better anyway" thing. (That's how I found Neville's The Eight.) This was one of those books. And tons of my friends have read it and adore it to this day. And any time I've admitted to liking Special Topics in Calamity Physics, someone has recommended it. The weight of all that approbation put me off; I have been avoiding reading it for what feels like an age. That was dumb. This book is everything it was cracked up to be! I read it during a weekend where I was attending a humongous conference where lots of my friends were also in attendance... and yet I kept sneaking it out of my messenger bag every time I thought I might have even five minutes to myself. :)
current mood: sick but content
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|Friday, July 12th, 2013|
11:56 pm - Treasure Fox; Come Life; Evil Escapement
Here Come the Brides!, edited by Audrey Bilger and Michele Kort|
This is a collection of mostly essays but also some comics and photographs about lesbian weddings. For the most part the essays are personal; for the most part they are also hugely enthusiastic, although there's also a section where people explain why they, themselves, are very uncomfortable with the idea of being married. I was surprised by how intensely schmoopy I felt while reading this book. (I expected the schmoopy, just not for it to be turned up to 11.)
Lust for Life, by Jeri Smith-Ready
Ennnnnh. Still good narrative voice but the plot lost me. Way too deus ex machina.
Mr. Fox, by Helen Oyeyemi
Oh my gosh, I loved this book so much. Maybe more than anything else I've read so far this year? Definitely in the top handful. Twisty and beautiful and sharp-toothed, and everything resolves perfectly at the end, without resolving at all. <3 <3 <3. <3 <3. I'mma reread it soon. And various persons should count themselves lucky I didn't actually make them listen to the last two chapters on Skype. Unless, I suppose, any of you would actually LIKE me to read you the last 2 chapters on Skype. In which case, let me know, eh?
Evil for Evil, and The Escapement, by K.J. Parker
Oh, man. These books wrecked me. Particularly close readers *might* just possibly remember that I've read the first book in this trilogy, Devices and Desires, several times, and that I've occasionally accused it of being My Platonic Book. I love it so. These ones are equally tightly plotted and they rise to absolute brilliance regularly. And yet. And yet. They are so heartbreakingly sad. I found myself, at the end, telling myself consolingly that I wasn't meant to *believe* this story's thesis about the world; instead, I was meant to react against it, and in so doing formulate my own more joyous and less desperate conclusions. Whatever the intent, I loved these. Fucking K. J. Parker, man; there's no one else like her.
(95, 96; O9, O10)
Treasure Island!!!, by Sara Levine
This was... mostly appalling? And yet unputdownable? And occasionally quite funny? And less frequently, touching? It's a very weird book, andbut I liked it.
current mood: exuberant
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|Wednesday, July 10th, 2013|
10:32 pm - Wild Park Antidote; Service Lies
Wow! May was a long time ago! I am going to try to catch up though, in bits and pieces. [spoiler: the book I finished reading today was number 106]|
Wild: Lost and Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed
A quarter of the way through this memoir, I was in love with it, but by the end I felt kinda meh. I mean, I still liked it, but I didn't feel like it lived up to its potential. The trail bits were great - very vivid, very immediate, and fun. And the parts about her mom were equally vivid, and heartbreaking in the way very good books are. But the memories of self-destructive behavior (and there are lots of those) were distant and disconnected. I wondered whether perhaps in the act of pulling herself together after all the traumas described herein, the author had also pulled herself quite a ways from the person she was when they were going on? Like, she wasn't that person anymore, she didn't feel the same way about the people she was describing in those sections anymore, and so those bits just ... didn't fit? didn't ring true? I can't quite put my finger on it. I'm going to read other things by her, because the best parts of this book were very good indeed.
Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell
Glorious all the way through. Heartbreaking and honest and not cleaned-up the way YA books (even good ones) sometimes are. The author is very very very good at describing certain momentary experiences in a way that casts one back to being young and finding out what it's like to fall in love - without bowdlerizing the experience. (Warning: one of the families in this novel is very fucked up. This made the book better for me, but also a lot more difficult.)
Anastasia at Your Service, by Lois Lowry (reread)
Charming and light and full of unexpected salience. Glad I'm rereading these.
The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking, by Oliver Burkeman
Hm. While I was reading this, I thought it was absolutely brilliant, and I kept wanting to share bits of it out loud with people, and I felt like it helped me remember Important Things about myself WITHOUT being a self-help book. Despite the self-helpy title, it's really more a work of microhistory mixed with opinion? Like a travel memoir, only about ways people have tried to be happy instead of about a place. It seemed like a Personally Significant Book and I made a mental note to reread it some time. However, a month and a half later, I ... don't remember almost any of what the book covered, specifically. It was a very intense week, that week I was reading this book, and I spent a lot of it out late with friends or out early walking alone by the creek. So my blank spots are probably nothing to do with it, and completely to do with me. But there you go. Oh, also, the narrative voice is wonderful - full of that British dry humor that I find delightful in all its forms, and skeptical, and self-aware. So if you like those sorts of voices, you should definitely find this book.
Love and Lies: Marisol's Story, by Ellen Wittlinger
This was quite good in many of the same ways that Hard Love was, but it suffered a bit from sequelitis. And trying too hard in general, which led to some of the non-main characters being a little too 2D. Which, you know, made it a fun book instead of an excellent book, so I'm not actually complaining. It's a fun book! But Hard Love was excellent.
current mood: contemplative
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|Monday, May 27th, 2013|
8:20 am - Hard Wizardry; Sex Words Wound; Anastasia Incorrigible; Uninvited Bluets
Hard Love, by Ellen Wittlinger|
YA novel grounded in zine culture and familial alienation. Significantly more important than I expected it to be.
High Wizardry, by Diane Duane (unabridged audiobook)
I am so in love with this series. So so in love. I can't even say anything coherent because I am in a SWOON.
Sex and Isolation, and Other Essays, by Bruce Benderson
Hm. There were a few essays in here that I adored, a few that made me want to throw the book across the room, and a few more that I just felt meh about. If you're interested in the guy, I recommend starting with The Romanian instead.
Unwritten, vol. 6: Tommy Taylor and the War of Words, and vol. 7: The Wound, by Mike Carey and Peter Gross
More and more layers, and more and more sharp edges. <3 <3 <3.
Anastasia Again, by Lois Lowry (reread)
So marvelous. After the last one I was feeling a bit unsure, but this was as great as I remembered. Looking forward to the rest.
Kat, Incorrigible, by Stephanie Burgis
All the pieces are put together correctly to be something I utterly loved, but instead I just liked it quite well. It did get better once it got more plotful, so I may read the rest in the series eventually.
Bluets, by Maggie Nelson
This book was heaven for me. I read it all in one go over lunch and then I immediately bought a copy for me and two for friends. I will be rereading it again this summer. At least once.
The Uninvited Guests, by Sadie Jones
I was a bit slow to warm up to this, but the Saki reference (a main character named Clovis) was reassuring, so I wasn't surprised to become entranced in fairly short order. It's sort of a parody of the books / mores of Edwardian England, sort of an homage (affectionate parodies being my favorite sort); ie it's a country house farce AND a social novel AND a regency romance AND a supernatural gothic AND a family drama AND AND AND...
current mood: snuggly
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|Sunday, April 21st, 2013|
10:32 pm - Cry Blasphemy; Other Sky; Great Krupnik Hunger; Empty Sister Stars; Dancing Frost Theses
|Sunday, March 17th, 2013|
5:14 pm - Deep Mercy Shots; Nothing Brother's Evolving Venom
Heart Shots: Women Write About Hunting, edited by Mary Zeiss Stange|
This collection of essays was overall very worthwhile. I struggled markedly with the "Trophies" part of the book - I'm still not at all convinced that trophy hunting is ok in any way, shape, or form (other than "well, the trophy is a total side issue and they are really hunting for some other reason that doesn't make my head explode"). Other than that, I really enjoyed this book, and added several authors to my Read This list because of it.
The Office of Mercy, by Ariel Djanikian
Bleak bleak dystopia that I dug a whole lot. At first, it felt too derivative, and then I stumbled upon a review that basically said "this book transcends the references it makes" (paraphrasing) and I am SO GLAD I trusted that review and kept going, because wow. This is a very good book, for those of us what can't stop reading dystopias. Full of thinky thoughts; a good balance between philosophical stuff and story stuff.
Deep Wizardry, by Diane Duane (unabridged audiobook)
I wasn't as madly in love with this book as with the first in the series, but I still dug it big time. It's amazing how much suspense there can still be in a story you are pretty much able to predict half-way through. :) And the reader, Christina Moore? Continues to be AMAZING.
Let's Do Nothing!, by Tony Fucile
Cute, fun kids' book, worth a read on a day when you want some extra zip in your mood.
My Brother's Book, by Maurice Sendak
Weird and fragmented and Blakean and lovely. Not his most effective work, nor my favorite of them, but one of the most moving...
Venom, by Jennifer Estep
The third in this series. Not quite as gripping as the last one, but still right up my alley. Can't wait to read the next one! (Well, I *will* wait, a bit, but I'm very excited to read it. :D )
Evolving in Monkey Town, by Rachel Held Evans
Neat collection of essays about being a questioning evangelical Christian. It was a little less polished/more repetitive than A Year of Biblical Womanhood, but equally charming and thoughtful.
current mood: tired
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|Saturday, March 9th, 2013|
2:01 pm - 8 Second Moon Cutting; Damned Divine Exodus; Inferno Beneath Morningstar; Silence Crux Evensong Anti
Moon Knight, vols. 1 and 2, by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev|
Weird and meta and very very tasty.
(40, 41; O6, O7)
8, by Dustin Lance Black (full-cast unabridged audio)
This was... a bit odd. Very well-read by the very famous full cast, and it made its points clearly and movingly. But it's an odd experience to listen to a play that is mostly based on court transcripts - really blurs the fiction/non-fiction divide.
Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese (ARC)
A marvelous and delightful book, with fascinating characters and lots of plot. It felt like magical realism, but it almost never was. I can't imagine why I didn't read this when it came out!! (Oh, wait, yes I can, it's because I started studying for the GREs only a little while after I received the ARC...)
Second Nature, by Michael Pollan
One of his pre-famous books - a collection of essays. Slow and thinky and occasionally overwrought, but there was a lot to like in it too.
Lucifer, vol. 3: A Dalliance with the Damned, vol. 4: The Divine Comedy, vol. 5: Inferno, vol. 6: Mansions of the Silence, vol. 7: Exodus, vol. 8: The Wolf Beneath the Tree, vol. 9: Crux, vol. 10: Morningstar, and vol. 11: Evensong, by Mike Carey et al
Generally speaking, if you see that I've read an entire run of comic trades in a very short time, it's a good sign that I loved them. That is definitely the case here. Not AMAZING, but very very satisfying indeed. I will be buying these to keep when the trade paperbacks start coming out next summer, because I expect to reread them more than once.
(45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53)
The Antagonist, by Lynn Coady
As Important Literary Novels go, this one surprised me by being both an easy read and quite funny. And then once it'd slipped its way past my defenses, it got down to Serious Emotional Business. Very good indeed.
Canadian Railroad Trilogy, song by Gordon Lightfoot, illustrations by Ian Wallace
Charming, and the art was lovely, but... it won't stick with me, to be honest. I was gratified to be reminded of my favorite line from this song, "livin' on stew and drinking bad whiskey," which, at some point in my past (high school maybe?) was my stock response to "How are you?"
Guard Your Daughters, by Diana Tutton
Sometimes charming, sometimes hilarious, sometimes profound, sometimes moving. It was too clunky, awkward, or emotionally implausible at other times for me to love it, but I'm awfully glad I read it anyway.
current mood: cozy
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|Monday, March 4th, 2013|
11:25 pm - Ultimate Changeling Dreams; Reading Buffy
The Changeling, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder|
An odd and feral and comforting little book. Dated, but not in a bad way.
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, vol. 1, by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli
Charming! The new Spider Man has been so controversial that I wasn't quite sure what to expect - but I LOVE it. So will the boys we pass our comics on to, when said comics are not too grown-up.
Injecting Dreams into Cows, by Jessy Randall
I love Jessy's poems, funny AND witty ones, and I really enjoyed the range of this collection. Some old favorites I'd heard her read before, and some poems that outright startled me.
Buffy, Season 9, vol. 2: On Your Own, by Andrew Chambliss et al
This is shaping up well. It's a bit over-the-top - a bit too able to lose characters in ever more complicated plots - but still a great deal of fun.
Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to NOT Reading, by Tommy Greenwald
This was a hoot! The main character's voice is natural, engrossing, and wry, and the secondary characters come across as more complex than the narrator's view of them (a fine trick).
current mood: relaxed
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|Saturday, March 2nd, 2013|
10:25 pm - Married Cardboard Libriomancer; Scarlet Faith Children
Cardboard, by Doug TenNapel|
Gosh, this was fun! A boisterous book, full of inventiveness and heart. And beautifully drawn, too.
You're Married to Her?, by Ira Wood
Earthy, honest, slightly self-absorbed, definitely worth reading if you are like me and enjoy your essays a bit rough around the edges. Marge Piercy, my favorite poet, looms large in this book, as she is the author's beloved wife.
Libriomancer, by Jim C. Hines
I've read a lot of reviews of this that were all BEST BOOK EVARRRR and, well, no, I don't think it is, quite. However, it is an extremely GOOD book, which does a number of VERY interesting things, and I adored it. The pages turn quick, too. Jim C. Hines has become one of those rare few authors I rely on.
Lucifer, vol. 2: Children and Monsters, by Mike Carey et al
This continues to be wonderful and strange, and it's now well into areas I hadn't already read back when the single issues were coming out. I have books 4-11 sitting on my table, eagerly awaiting an interlibrary loan of book 3...
Scarlet, by Marissa Meyer
Ah! I am perilously close to losing any objectivity about this series. It just.. packs SO much in to every chapter. There are always 800 things going on in a madcap anime way, and yet the fairy tale and steampunk (and, in this one, even space opera) roots are also given the space they need to grow and breathe. Whee!
Angel and Faith, vol. 2: Daddy Issues, by Christos Gage et al
She's an ex-con with Slayer powers, he's a vampire with a soul... together, they fight crime [and their own inner demons]! :D Seriously, I really dig this comic. They are doing everything right, and it manages to be funny and moving and kick-ass in exactly the right proportions.
current mood: cranky
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