Monday, August 20, 2007

Sebastian Faulks is writing a new James Bond novel. I'm of mixed feelings about this, since on the one hand, I'm not really sure I like Faulks. "Charlotte Gray" left me so bored I didn't finish it, while "Birdsong" was something I picked up in Prague and enjoyed. One for two, not necessairly the best odds. There's also the fact that despite saying I would, I've yet to pick up any of the Bond novels and really I should read at least one or two of by Flemming first.

"Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows" is old news to me now, which is why I'm always surprised to find that a month later, people are still reading it for the first time. (Not that there is anything wrong with that, it just seems a bit strange to me. Like people who eat dessert slowly.

I bought "Eclipse" because a friend and I are going to the author talk she's doing on Wednesday (I've read the first two, but don't own either of them) and my boss called me on reading teen-age vampire chick lit. I told him he'd recognized it too quickly to play it off as if he remembered the cover from the NYT article three weeks ago and told him I was sure if we went to his house we'd find the series on his shelves.

"Territory" was excellent and a nice break from "Anazani Boys", which I'm slogging through despite my apathy towards it. A very good friend loved it and loaned me his copy; I'm only halfway through though and I have to give the book back Wednesday.

Carl has posted about this year's R.I.P. challenge and I'm seriously considering doing at least one, if not two of them this year. Time will be a factor, as I have my NaNo story from last year to finish in September, editorial classes start in October, and this year's NaNo story begins Novemember 1st...but since I'll be reading anyways, maybe I'd better put together a list.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


So yeah, apparently I suck at blogging this year. In fact, I haven't read anyone's blog since roughly my last post. *waves*


Recaping ever so quickly....I haven't read any of the books I said I was going to, I have read Glass Castle and The Worst Storm Ever (I loved Worst Storm, although it's just completely depressing) and I'm planning on reading The Devil in the White City on the plane Friday. (I've read other books too, but none that I can remember off the top of my head.)

Let's see how I do this quarter, shall we?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Oh, did you think I was failing already?

Unforeseeable: incapable of being anticipated

Yes, last Friday (err, well, as I started this last week, it's now 2 Friday's ago) I had every intention of coming home and posting about the books I was reading, when something unforeseen happened and I ended up spending the next five days in a place where there was no internet. After, when I was home, I could have updated, except I had more unforeseen events happen, like my car going wonky and a huge pile of work to catch up on. Those last two combined to make me a rather irritable person, one who didn't feel like typing anymore, thank you very much.

However, I've had the past two days to sleep! and finally decompress a bit, so I'm posting away. (Except, it's been so long, that all of the good comments I had about things I've read are fading!)

(Yes, I wrote the above on's now Wednesday. Oh, me.)

I've been doing a bit of reading these past few weeks, even making the tiniest bit of progress in regards to my first self-challenge: I've read through chapter 2 of "Great Feuds in Mathematics". Yup. If I read one a day, I might actually finish the book before the end of the month. It's been interesting so far, but not in a fascinating, I can't wait to read the next part kind of way. This book is feeling to me like brief little snapshots of people who I may or may not have heard of in high school. I'm hoping that in later chapters, it'll become more interesting to me, as we'll be heading to the recent past feuds, as opposed to the ones that happened in the 1600s.

My real life book club just met last night to discuss "The City of Falling Angels", which I have to say I enjoyed much more than "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil". I really loved Venice (and long to go back!), so reading about the city brought me back to when I went there several years ago. I didn't see all of the places that the author wrote about, but then, he was living there for several years while I was only there for a few days. The "main" story is about the fire that destroyed the Fenice (Opera House), and the years spent rebuilding it, while the side stories were about the investigation into who/what caused the fire, the Save Venice group, and a dozen different people the author met or became involved with while he was staying there. Still, his main theme was the Fenice, and how people saw it then/now, which I did see as his attempt to keep the story 'together'.

(Some of the people in the group didn't like the various side stories, especially the Olga/Ezra Pound detour, although I thought it was quite interesting. One of the members seemed to also love that section, as, "[T]hey were scandalous lovers people!".)

I picked up "The Rest Falls Away", which was recced by Carl a month or so ago. I have a huge thing for supernatural stories (and shows/movies), so I'll really read almost anything in the genre*, and more often then not, like it**. However, this story, it just didn't grab me, not really, which was a disappointment as I really wanted it to. I mean, Vampires! England! Slayers! I was set up to love this story, and I still can't figure out why I didn't. I'm sort of hoping that it was me (I was stressed, tired, and it was really late), rather than the characters. It wasn't a bad story, there was nothing "wrong"; a nice mix of characters and plots, with some interesting, ala Buffy, twists...I guess it just wasn't what I'd wanted it to be. Which again, could just be me. I'm planning on sending it to a friend who's tastes are pretty much identical to mine to see what she thinks.

(*Yes, I am still reading Laurell K Hamilton's Anita Blake series, although I really can't give a good reason as to why. I'm not liking where most, if not all, of the characters are going, but I still love Anita (who she used to be/my idea of her, whatever.) I won't pay for another book of her's though.)

(**I picked up "Strange Candy", by LKH from the library right before I went out of town and found that I actually really liked a couple of the stories. "A Lust for Cupids" was my favorite; it didn't involve anyone from the Anitaverse, just fun, cuteness, with a nice bit of rage/determination/vengance that made me happy. "Here be Dragons" was also a nice surprise, as it involves psychics who can kill/torture you by invading your dreams, and what happens when they are the monsters they're supposed to be protecting you from. There were also a couple of stories set in the Anitaverse; "The Girl who was Infatuated with Death" I actually enjoyed, as it did feature Anita, Jean-Claude, and Malcolm, who I think is an interesting character.)

I picked up "The Fallen" on a whim; it's the first in a four book series about Lucas, the child of a woman and a fallen Angel. Interesting so far, although not anything really new, but I'm liking it none the less. It's got Angels who think they're on a mission from God and have to wipe out the Fallen angels, as well as the children like Lucas, Fallen angels who are either hiding, helping, or just trying to get back to Heaven, and Lucas, who really doesn't want anything to do with any of it.

I'm still reading Neil Gaiman's "Fragile Things". I find that I can't read too many of his stories at once, because then I don't get to appreciate them and mull over them they way I want to. He's got such a fascinating way of telling a story, of writing it, that I feel I need to take long minutes to read and think before moving on to the next one. He always puts an introduction to his stories in the front of the book, and I read each one of them after I read the story; I don't want to be spoiled. I think my favorite so far is "The Problem with Susan", which anyone who's read the "Narnia" books by C.S. Lewis will pick up on immediately. (Ohh, he's got a new book coming out, about one of the other short stories that's included in this book: "The Facts in the Case of the Departures of Miss Finch".)

Finally, I'm thinking I'm going to switch "The Awakening" and "Bleak House" around. They're going to reshow the Bleak House movies on PBS later this spring, and I want to read the novel before watching it.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Content, content, content

1. subject matter of a document, book, etc, 2. meaning or significance, as of an artistic work.

Well, 5 days into the new year and I've yet to start a book off either of my lists...except, that's not exactly true now, is it? I have "Crime & Punishment" listed, and since I did read another 5 pages (yes, 5 whole pages!) this morning, I guess this means I'm actually on track.

Who would have guessed?

However, as "Crime & Punishment" isn't actually either of the books that I truly think I should be reading, I plan on rectifying that this weekend. "Great Feuds in Mathematics: Ten of the Liveliest Disputes Ever" is on it's way to my local library, so I can't start that, but I do have "A Midwife's Tale" here, along with "Awakening". I also picked up several new books at the library today, including Neil Gaiman's "Fragile Things" and "The City of Falling Angels" by John Berendt, which is the book my rl bookclub selected for this month.

I wasn't able to make that meeting (we read "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan", which I liked), so when I checked my email the next day and saw the selected book I had to laugh; I had just started "Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil", by the same author.

When I first bought this book, it was at a book sale, and I'm pretty sure that it was in the "literary fiction" section, which was why it took me by surprise to find out that this novel was actually non-fiction, or mostly so. (Also, wasn't there a movie by the same name, with John Cusack? Yes, yes there was. I might have to rent that now.)

"Midnight" is an account of the death of Danny Hansford by Jim Williams, his boss, friend, and apparent lover. This isn't just a 'one-side' account of a crime though, as Berendt seems to be more telling the story of the people of Savannah (those alive, those dead, the rich, the poor, the drag Queen Chablis, even the story of Mr. William Simon Glover, who every day walks Patrick, the invisible dog), rather than just William's story. Berendt had already moved to Savannah and begun the process of settling in, having become rather enamoured with the city after recent trips, when Williams shot Hansford one night.

Having just finished the novel, I'm kinda surprised to find that I don't think I liked it, not as a story anyway. As a collection of short stories that were merged together, maybe; or maybe an interesting guide to Savannah (I didn't realize that the town was really that cut off from the rest of the state). The problem (for me) wasn't that I didn't get drawn into this book, but more that I didn't get drawn into they story that we were supposed to get drawn into; this book really does revolve around the death of Danny Hansford, and those were the parts of the novel I didn't care for.

I thought that the "side characters" were great; I got a huge kick out of the Lady Chablis (lovely drag queen who calls Berendt her chauffeur and crashes the Black Debutant Ball, although I think that s/he'd drive me crazy in person) and Joe Odom (the town con-man, but he's so damn charming and like-able that even though you know he's screwing you over, you just don't care). Those were the people I enjoyed reading about, and I'm glad that they were featured quite a bit.

Hmm, I'm pretty sure this all counts as content...

Danielle wrote a post just today about a new challenge that's making the rounds (actually, one of like a dozen I've read about this past week!), the Reading Across Borders Challenge (which is actually Kate's) and for a brief moment (very very very brief), I was tempted. I know that the majority of the books I read are written by U.S. authors, with some British and Canadian ones thrown in for good measure,(Easily. Like 98.76% US.) and that I really should be expanding those horizons at least a little bit more.

I took a quick look around at the books I have and counted over 15 different novels that have all been translated into English. It's a sign, right? Clearly, I can do this challenge...and, half of the books would be classics, so right there are my 6 books. The rest of them are all in my to be read piles, which hello, always a good thing to read through them.

So, someone tell me why I'm NOT doing this challenge? Actually, don't, I know why. Really. I think I'm actually asking you to challenge me, but please, don't. Really. No matter how many challenges I mention here, please, don't encourage me. Last year I did way too many and didn't actually meet a single one, so I've decided that this year, I'm not doing any. (Except Carl's, should he do the R.I.P. Challenge again in October. I've already picked out my books.) Still, I'm going to try and follow along with this, just to get some hint about all the great authors I'm not reading and the fantastic novels I've never heard of before.