Reading non-white authors

This article in the Washington Post caught my eye today.  I was really interested in the authors the writer mentioned.  Since the piece has links to a bunch of books at Amazon, I went looking.  Unfortunately, very few of the links were to Kindle books, and even the books with print profiles were often not available.

Then I checked my local library; two of them could be found and requested.  And both of those were available on Amazon, albeit at prices I am unwilling to pay for authors I don’t know.

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Joseph Stiglitz gave a presentation today at work.  If you were one of the first 150 people into the auditorium, you got a copy of his book, The Price of Inequality.  Stiglitz was a pretty good speaker, in terms of boiling down economic theories to something a layperson like me could understand easily. I’m looking forward to reading the book…as soon as I finish my library books and Frank Turner’s memoir.

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Library haul

Despite the fact that I only liked The Splendour Falls, rather than loving it, I still checked out two other Kearsley books, The Winter Sea and The Rose Garden.  I’m not sure if I’ll get to both of them since abject adoration is usually the setting I need for a good glom, but we shall see.  Also borrowed Chelsea Cain’s One Kick; I’m pretty much finished with her other series and I found her behavior online re: this new release pretty ugly, so I’m not inclined to either buy her books any longer or read immediately upon release.

The library had a display of mysteries in translation, which made me think of Keishon and her enjoyment of many translated mysteries.  I ended up borrowing Off Side by Manuel Vazquez Montalban.  I know almost nothing about futbol except that El Clasico is a Very Big Deal and the team in the blurb (Barcelona) has a long history.

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Recycled plots and characters

Nostalgia has me pick up Nora Roberts releases every so often.  And her new one, The Liar, was for sale on Kindle for $5.49 a while back, which is a bargain given the hardback price.  So…

This new one wasn’t terrible.  It was pretty standard NR.  NR is a good storyteller.  She is.  And she has a distinctive voice.

But I’m really over the home reno and gardening porn.  And I find her dismissal of urban community to be problematic.  Rural communities are not inherently better or kinder or closer, which is the implicit message I get in a lot of her work. (Which makes the NYC setting of her In Death books kind of jarring, to be honest.)

I found the characterization of the narrator-heroine to be pretty inconsistent.  She was young and naive and a victim, and not at all responsible for anything.  She’s strong and independent and bounces back from a years-long emotionally abusive relationship immediately; and she’s beautiful, and has a professional-quality voice, and has business acumen, and wonderful design taste, and is the best daughter and mother ever.  In short, she’s perfect and the hero falls in love at first site.  The hero was a non-entity really.  All the Bad Guys (and there are bad guys and Bad Guys) are one note evil and/or petty, targeting the heroine because they are Just That Evil/Mean. And the plot twist is pretty predictable to almost anyone who has ever read suspense or watched a Julia Roberts or Ashley Judd movie.  I kind of wonder if NR has written something similar in the past, but don’t care enough to dredge my memory through her backlist to figure it out.

I’m sorry to say that I think I’m entirely done with NR.  It was a good run while it lasted.  (It lasted 25 years, since I started reading her as an early teen, which is a pretty good run.)

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Just finished

North to the Orient by Anne Morrow Lindbergh – engaging voice, easy reading of their adventure. Not a great deal of substance in some ways, but snapshots of different places. And interesting to read Morrow’s thoughts about sexism in journalism even then.

The Splendor Falls by Susanna Kearsley – I think maybe my expectations were influenced by all the praise from rom-readers’ raves. The mystery/suspense was good, if lacking any real sense of urgency. I liked the bits of Queen Isabelle and WWII Isabelle. The thin romantic thread failed for me entirely: I felt like I was told of love at first site but it was pretty irrelevant to the plot generally and felt extraneous and wedged in.

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An embarrassment of riches

I’ve finished The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an IKEA Wardrobe.  While I appreciated the writing and get the immigration policy critique involved, the plot felt extremely contrived. And frankly, I didn’t buy that the small time con man was a “better” man in the end.  Just relocated and better off financially.

After finish a book lately, I’ve seldom felt an urge to pick up the next book.  Right now, however, that is not a problem.  Not only do I still have Kearsley’s The Splendour Falls borrowed from the library, but no fewer than three new books have arrived for my delectation.

Frank Turner’s The Road Beneath My Feet – which, well, I might have to put England Keep My Bones on repeat.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s North to the Orient – ordered after the Air & Space Museum tour.

And Exploring Calvin & Hobbes: An Exhibition Catalogue – because Calvin & Hobbes.

Possibly I should read North to the Orient first, since I’ve promised to pass it on to others who were on the A&SM tour.

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Squeaky noises of glee

Possibly spoilerish news about the new Vorkosiverse book:

http://vorkosigan.wikia.com/wiki/New_Book_Spoilers

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March’s reading

Well, it doesn’t look like much but it’s a gradual improvement.

The Academy by Robert Dugoni – a short prequel that tempted me into trying…

My Sister’s Grave by the same – good until the last 10%, but a manipulative ending (that was somehow also predictable) left a sour taste in my mouth.

Concealed in Death – average Robb

The Heart Has Reasons by Maria Duenas – ambivalent about this one because I liked the writing style and the dual timelines, but it fizzled for me in the end.

I’m kind of stalled in The Demon’s Brood.  Somehow the author has managed to make a subject I love boring.  Meh.

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