Tag Archives: book related

Checking in

Well, I have failed at reading Middlemarch.  Again.  But I’ve started listening to the audio book, narrated by Juliet Stevenson (whose Persuasion I enjoyed), so maybe I’ll get through it in that medium.

A couple of other books from the library have been slightly more successful.  About A Girl by Lindsey Kelk read as fluffy chick lit, a lighter version of early Marian Keyes.  It was fine; I probably would have really enjoyed it 10 years ago and gone looking for the sequel, but now it reads as pretty derivative to me.  Olivia de Havilland’s memoir, Every Frenchman Has One, was charming.  It was dated, of course, and narrated a lifestyle that seems as alien and distant to me as medieval England or China under the Han dynasty.

I ran across an interview with Lois McMaster-Bujold in which she talked about self-publishing her work as electronic rights became/become available, along with a Penric short story.  The story, Penric and the Shaman, was a lovely little adventure; it went over much better for me than her last full book.

Currently I’m reading one of Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight Mysteries, and I’ve got a Le Carre novel up next; the one that has been turned into a movie recently (out this summer), its title escapes me at the moment.  There are a couple of library books sitting on the table, as well.  After that, who knows.  It’ll be time to pick out some beach reads by the time I finish all that up…assuming I manage to finish them.

Saw Love & Friendship, which was quite funny; I’d recommend it not only for the costumes and set decoration but for the acting and writing of the screenplay.

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The last Temeraire book

I managed to read a book!

Having said that, I finished it mostly so I could say I had finished the series rather than being really engaged.  League of Dragons felt like a let down to me; I just didn’t really care about or believe in the ending for Lawrence and Temeraire.  The series ending just felt…unsettled, to me, for lack of a better word.  The Big Conflict is under control [spoiler: Napoleon is exiled in the end] but all the social issues that supported the plot and story arc are not resolved.  Why bother to point them out or make me care as a reader if the series just stops with little or no progress on their front?

I’m on a bit of a roll, reading-wise.  After reading LoD, I picked up a couple of library books.  One is finished, A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev.  I recognized the name from reviews, maybe at Dear Author or elsewhere, but didn’t remember the substance of any reviews.  The book blurb implied (to me) a sort of Indian chick lit, but it read as a beefed up Harlequin Presents.  That’s not necessarily a negative; I’ve consumed a large quantity of HPs in my reading career.  It wasn’t really what I expected, but once I readjusted my expectations, the book was fine and entertaining, a pretty fluffy read, although I really didn’t care for the hero and didn’t buy the character revision or retconning at the end to make him appear less like a selfish jerk.  (He was a pretty typical HP alphahole.)

Now trying to read Middlemarch.  Some day I shall finish it.  I hope.  And I’ve got $50 and change in Apple rebate money burning a metaphorical hole in my pocket.

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Delayed again?

Apparently the next Rivers of London book has been postponed again, now to January 2017?  That’s more than two years after the last release, Foxglove Summer.  That’s a long time between series books for anyone not named George R.R. Martin.  I can only hope The Hanging Tree will be better edited and more coherent than the last books, which could have used some serious editing and maybe some basic proofreading.

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Recently read

I haven’t read much recently.  I keep trying, but…

The only thing I’ve finished is Nora Roberts’ The Obsession, which felt kind of repetitive.  Home reno porn plus tacked on suspense, except I guessed the Bad Guy immediately because who else could it have been among the characters she’d introduced early on. [Which is generally what NR does.]

I keep trying to read Wickedly Powerful by Deborah Blake because I like the idea of the series, but I haven’t managed to get past the first chapter.

Noped out of a couple of books found via Dear Author’s daily bargain posts.

Meh.

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A news magazine/website/feminist media source I subscribe to sent another blast email today.  They must raise $50,000 quickly in order to remain an independent media voice.  I think independent media is important (and dying), but I find these email blasts kind of irritating; rather than making me want to write a check, they make me wonder about how the organization, which is a non-profit, budgets.  I mean, constantly asking for dribs and drabs seems like poor cash flow management to me.  And by constantly, I mean at least every other month.  I’d be much more likely to write a single large check once a year than to send multiple payments following multiple solicitations that all proclaim *emergency*.

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March reading

March was kind of meh for reading in the early part of the month.

As mentioned, I was less than impressed by the portion of the Captive Prince trilogy that I read.

Patricia Briggs’ Fire Touched came out early in the month as well.  I’ve given up on her Omega books set in the same world; as I mentioned when I read the last book, Anna’s dismissal of Charles’ desire to not have children Seriously Pissed Me Off and struck me as profoundly offensive in a way that would’ve had readers up in arms if their positions had been swapped.  Mercy…eh, I have mentioned before that her acquisition of a new power  or tool of power or conveniently powered/talented friend whenever one is needed seems lazy.  And it happens again here. Plus, Mercy’s internal monologing in which she knows better than Adam about how he feels about god/religion strikes me as profoundly patronizing in much the same way Anna “knowing best” about whether Charles should want to have kids did.    Yeah, stick a fork in me, I’m done.

I’m almost finished Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies (non-fiction), which I’m really enjoying.

And I’ve got the first installment of Ms. Marvel to read next.  And the web comic Check Please.

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Random:  I was reading an NPR piece on “Boston Chinese” food and ran across one of my language pet peeves, the use of cache for cachet.  They are spelled differently; pronounced differently; and have completely different meanings.  How freaking difficult is it to use the right word.  Boston Chinese does not have “a certain cache”; it has a certain cachet.  FFS.

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The new Bujold book

When the new Vorkosigan book, Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, was announced last year, I pre-ordered a hard copy for my brother-in-law.  He likes first edition hardbacks and there was a limited signed edition, so…  When his copy arrived last week, I quickly mailed it to my sister to squirrel away as a gift.  And then I downloaded a Kindle copy.

Although I pre-ordered and ordered copies, I didn’t actually read much about it.  Jole was obviously the fellow from earlier books, Aral Vorkosigan’s aide de camp, and the Red Queen would be Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan.  Set after Aral’s death.  But other than that?  Eh, I didn’t need to know.

I feel like maybe I had *expectations* for this book.  It isn’t a badly written book by any means.  It works as a bookend for the series, in the sense that it takes Cordelia back where the series began, Sergyar, and addresses topics came up in the first and second books but were left fallow when the series concentrated on Miles rather than Cordelia and Aral. [I could say a lot more about that but it would involve serious spoilers.]  But I kept waiting for an external plot to match the internal one, and it never happened.  As Miles went about becoming Admiral Naismith and then Auditor Vorkosigan, he got adventures to go along with the personal growth, while this mostly had Jole’s personal growth/change with Cordelia as…not puppeteer but conscience-nudger, maybe?

I don’t know.  I think I’m going to have to read it again.

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The Year in Reading

According to LibraryThing, I read or tried to read 42 books this year.  Scrolling through the list, a lot of the titles stir only the vaguest of recollections in my mind.

The ones that stand out as good (or very good) reads:

The Martian by Andy Weir.  As I mentioned on Twitter, I enjoyed this book even more than I enjoyed the movie.  The narrative style and the narrator’s voice *made* the book.

Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold.  This is a novella set in her Chalion world, and it made me wish she would revisit it and tell stories based around the other Quintarian gods.  Loved it; it prompted re-listening to The Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls.

Sean Kennedy’s Tigers on the Run left me feeling ambivalent; I enjoyed it while I read it as revisiting favorite characters but I did not love the plot.  Simon came across as petty and unprofessional, which was discomfiting since he was the narrator.

Non-fiction books King of Russia and The Road Beneath My Feet, both memoirs, were pretty good as entertainment but were not necessarily sterling examples of the craft of writing.  I’d recommend them to hockey and music fans but not necessarily to the public at large.

On the oops side, glomming Susanna Kearsley was a mistake; some of the books are reissues and are not so good, and none of them stand up to reading in close succession.

I’m mostly broken up with Nora Roberts aka JD Robb.

I’m looking forward to the new Vorkos-iverse book from Bujold in the spring, but otherwise I’m not sure what’s coming out soon or what I should be looking forward to.

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