What I read on my (not-summer) vacation

I go to the beach after the crowds have died down, the week after Labor Day.  Technically it’s not fall yet, the weather is still good and there are still things to do, but the boardwalk is only sparsely populated and I’m less likely to be overrun by hoards of beach-goers.  (Yes, I am a misanthrope.  I have space and people proximity issues.  It drives me crazy to have people set up their blankets within inches of my little plot of sand, inflicting their conversations and kids on me when the whole point of the beach for me is being mellow to the point of hypnosis via the sound of waves and gulls.)

I packed a bunch of books for the beach, most pulled from the pile of potential purge books.  If any regular visitors would like to have any of the books below, drop me a note and I’ll send the book(s) to you rather than putting them in the boxes of books, CDs, DVDs, and clothes that will be going to the library and/or other repositories.

1.  The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold.  This is the third Chalion book.  Although I love the first two of the series and re-read or listen to them periodically, I’ve never re-read this one.  My attempt this week was…less than successful.

2.  The Winter Prince by Elizabeth Wein.  Welsh-influence Arthurian tale.  I bought a used copy after Rachel recommended it.  I very much like the storytelling and writing, so I’ll try more of Wein’s books, but am pretty much over Arthur/Camelot.  My copy is an older one from the first printing (I think) by Baen Books.  And on the flyleaf, Elizabeth Wein has written a note to the original owner, dated and personalized to the owner, which is sort of charming in a “what is the history of this object” kind of way.

3.  The Wicked Gentleman by Ginn Hale.  Fantasy.  I’ve had this book TBR forever, it feels like.  When I bought it ages ago, I wasn’t in a fantasy-ish sort of mood and it languished.  I’m glad I pulled it off the shelf, it was a good beach read — done in one morning — but I’m not sure if it’ll go in the keeper pile or be passed on.

4.  Bronze Gods by A.A. Aguirre.  Fantasy.  Didn’t finish this one; I think steampunk is a genre or subgenre that doesn’t work for me; even books by writers that I really like (like Meljean Brook) have been a struggle for me to finish.

5.  Bloodsucking Fiends by Chris Moore.  Re-read, horror or fantasy.  Moore’s writing to so readable, IMO, and the humor is just right.  As much as I enjoyed this as I read it, it’s not really a regular re-read for me, so it’ll go into the donation bin.

6.  The Housekeeping Book of Susannah Whatman.  Nonfiction.  Interesting glimpse into the maintenance and staffing of a 18th century home.

7.  The Sandalwood Fan by Diana Brown.  Trad Regency by Signet.  Eh, it’s different from a lot of early trads in the sense of the heroine’s autonomy and independence.  I found the hero to be not very sympathetic, but then a lot of the characters were pretty unsympathetic, except for the heroine, her sister, and the sister’s eventual fiance.


Browseabout Books, which is on the main street, has an okay selection of books.  Maybe it used to have more, but now less than 1/4 of the store’s floor space is spent on books; the rest is full of cards, gifts, etc.  Whatever keeps them in business, I guess?  They are advertising a book event on September 21st with Megan Hart, Ann Aguirre, Lauren Dane, and Vivien Arend.  I’m kind of sorry to miss it but next weekend is the National Book Festival and also I don’t think I’ll be driving the 200+ round trip for it.

Browseabout had the new JD Robb book (Thankless in Death) out already, even though the official drop date isn’t until next Tuesday (9/17), so I bought a copy of it and also a copy of the new Chelsea Cain book that was released last month.  Thankless was okay, about average for an In Death book, much more domestic than anything else, with the bad guy as a contrast to the Dallas-Roarke growing family and also as an ongoing poke at the nature vs. nurture theme that runs through the series (IMO).  Let Me Go, the new Cain book, feels a little repetitive; the Archie-Gretchen dynamic is getting a little stale to me.  And I’m kind of perplexed by how Gretchen is so amazing that she manages to get the drop on everyone, especially when they are professionals armed to the teeth and she isn’t.  Although technically since she’s a serial killer, she’s a professional killer too?  Dunno.  I enjoyed the book as I read but would not recommend it except to readers who like the twisted dynamic and ongoing mindfuck.  (I think my issue with the series is that it doesn’t advance or change, and Gretchen is related to every murder in some way, with a preternatural reach into all crimes in the Portland area; even Sherlock Holmes solved crimes unrelated to Moriarty but Archie gets no such respite.  Obsession gets old after a while — and I’m referring to both Archie and Gretchen.)


Also on the book front, it looks like Bujold will be at the Baltimore Book Festival.  I’m kind of disappointed that I won’t get to see her though: she’s being interviewed at 2pm on Saturday (9/28) (by Catherine Asaro, another author I’d love to hear speak) but I have a family party to attend at 3pm.  Given drive time (1.5 hours), there’s no way I can go the literary salon and make it to the party on time. 😦



Filed under Book related

4 responses to “What I read on my (not-summer) vacation

  1. I started the Chelsea Cain but set it aside. Will read latter when I have more patience for it.

    I love Catherine Asaro. However, I am still trying to crack into Bujold’s world. Where do you recommend I could start? I can’t seem to get into Cordelia’s Honor.

    • Earlier I’d decided that I wasn’t going to read the new Cain book but it was an impulse purchase. I don’t regret it, really, but I do think I need to put the series firmly in the library/borrow category.

      For Bujold, maybe instead of the Vorkosigan books, you could try one of the Chalion books? Paladin of Souls is very good, as is The Curse of Chalion. They are both fantasy rather than science fiction though. If you’d rather stick with the Vorkosigans, maybe one of the novellas? Mountains of Mourning is a procedural (of sorts) with Miles as sleuth.

  2. Pingback: September’s sad reading tally | Shuffling through a book-less desert

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