wookiebender's 100 reads in 2015
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1. The Golem and the Djinni, Helene Wecker
2. Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell
3. The Unknown Unknown: Bookshops and the delight of not getting what you wanted, Mark Forsyth
4. Camera Obscura, Lavie Tidhar
5. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
6. Irregular Creatures, Chuck Wendig
7. The Human Division #1: The B-Team, John Scalzi
8. Yes Please!, Amy Poehler
9. Fly by Night, Frances Hardinge
10. London Falling, Paul Cornell
11. An Officer and a Spy, Robert Harris
12. Smile, Raina Telgemeier
13. Hades, Candice Fox
14. The City, Stella Gemmell
15. Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932, Francine Prose
16. The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, Ambelin Kwaymullina
17. Rat Queens Volume 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'Rygoth, Kurtis J. Wiebe
18. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
19. Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie
20. Clade, James Bradley
21. The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters
22. How to be Both, Ali Smith
23. A God in Every Stone, Kamila Shamsie
24. Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary: More than 150 stitch patterns to knit top down, bottom up, back and forth, and in the round, Wendy Bernard
25. The Hawley Book of the Dead, Chrysler Szarlan
26. These Broken Stars, Amie Kaufman
27. This Night So Dark, Amie Kaufman
28. Outline, Rachel Cusk
29. Rags & Bones, Melissa Marr
30. H is for Hawk, Helen MacDonald
31. Manhattan Dreaming, Anita Heiss
32. I Feel Bad About My Neck, and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, Nora Ephron
33. Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel
34. The Disappearance of Ember Crow, Ambellin Kwaymullina
35. A Bachelor Establishment, Isabella Barclay
36. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, Lauren Willig
37. The Masque of the Black Tulip, Lauren Willig
38. Lagoon, Nnedi Okorafor
39. The Deception of the Emerald Ring, Lauren Willig
40. The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, Lauren Willig
41. The Word Exchange, Alena Graedon
A Spool of Blue Thread, Anne Tyler (DNF)
42. The Just City, Jo Walton
43. White is For Witching, Helen Oyeyemi
44. Fairytales for Wilde Girls, Allyse Near
45. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
46. The Slow Regard of Silent Things, Patrick Rothfuss
47. The Gates, John Connolly
48. The Martian, Andy Weir
49. The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins
50. The House of Shattered Wings, Aliette de Bodard
51. Infernal Devices, K.W. Jeter
52. The Emperor's Blades, Brian Staveley
53. A Beautiful Place to Die, Malla Nunn
54. Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace, Ayelet Waldman
55. Brothers in Arms, Lois McMaster Bujold
56. Shift, Hugh Howey
57. Zeroes, Scott Westerfield, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti
58. The Aeronaut's Windlass, Jim Butcher
59. A Darker Shade of Magic, V.E. Schwab
My first read of the year will be The Golem and the Djinni, which I'm looking forward to. (Picked it up yesterday, but haven't actually cracked it open yet!! Silly life getting in the way of reading.)
Hi Berly! Lovely to see you again.
FYI, I'm about halfway through The Golem and the Djinni and would recommend it (unless it falls off the rails in the second half, but I doubt it will).
Currently reading Camera Obscura (sequel to The Bookman, one of my top 2014 reads), but just realised I've got to read Eleanor and Park by Monday for book group. Whoops, will have to do some book juggling. (Also dipping into a gorgeous knitting book, The Essential Guide to Colour Knitting, a late Xmas present and the source of a lot of distraction this holidays. I want to knit stripes! No, bobbles! No, I need to try slip stitches!)
Thanks for checking in, Roni. I'm safe in Sydney; the fires are horrid, but are in Victoria (capital city Melbourne) and South Australia (capital city Adelaide). Of course, we're just lucky in NSW that we haven't been hit with the stupidly hot weather (yet).
Best color knitting - two self-striping yarns of different but harmonious colors (I hate weaving in ends). Also, great hat pattern: http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter08/PATTvortex.php
Currently, I've got a plain scarf in beautiful wool underway for Miss Boo (can't see the right colour, but this is the pretty wool/soybean silk blend we're using: http://morrisandsons.com.au/c1_341_1548/) and a merino scarf in trinity stitch for me (here's the wool: ) and some fun stripes going in squares for a charity (Wrap With Love, 25cm x 25cm squares that are sewn into blankets and given to charity - my last blanket went to South America!).
ETA: Tournament of Books shortlist is up for 2015! http://www.themorningnews.org/article/announcing-the-morning-news-2015-tournamen...
>22 Berly: It's a flat knit hat in the link. :) Hats became my go-to since they're small and fast to finish (and really no harder than a scarf, particularly if you're using circular needles or it's a flat knit).
I've been trying to help my nephew learn to knit, but having trouble since a) I don't think I'm a good teacher of very young children and b) I don't think his manual dexterity is really good enough yet.
Meredith, I taught Miss Boo how to knit last year - she's got the concept well (I think those Loom Bands that all the kids were crazy over helped!) but, yes, manual dexterity is a tricky one! And she keeps on changing her mind as to what she wants to do. (And insisting that I should share all my expensive wools with her! I think not! :P)
swimmergirl1, Eleanor and Park is great, it's keeping me up far too late at night!! Even last night, after a big day falling out of trees (I have some mighty impressive bruises!), I was up to 1:30, doing "just one more chapter...".
I listen to podcasts when my hands are busy. I'm not a great listener, and the kids will interrupt constantly, so bite sized nibbles of interesting info works for me.
Just can't seem to choose 'bout that
Should I read or should I tat?
Both seem like a lot of fun
And I want to get them done
Can't do both, so that is that.
Should I read or should I tat?
And I stayed up late (again!) finishing Eleanor and Park. I wish I had been a teenager when I read this, I would have loved it. As a mostly-grown-up, it did get a bit over the top on angst at times, but it was certainly a page turner and I did love both characters, lovely to see such ordinary (but at the same time, extraordinary) characters front and centre.
This was a great read, a fascinating tale of two disparate people (the wild selfish djinni and the staid golem, created to be an obedient slave). Both are very complex characters, trying to pass as human, but chafing at the restrictions. They travel from their homelands and end up in New York in the late 19th century, and the city (in particular the Jewish and Syrian areas) was a great character in its own right.
While all the disparate threads are satisfactorily pulled together at the end, it's also not completely tied up, there are still a few open questions. Highly recommended.
Eleanor is the new girl at school, Park is Korean American. Neither really fit in at their school in Omaha, in the 1980s. They end up sharing a seat on the school bus, and despite their awkward beginning, a friendship and a romance starts.
I really did enjoy this read, I stayed up very late several nights to finish it, but at times my eyes did roll at all the teen angst. If I were a teenager, this would probably make the list of my Best. Books. Ever. As a grown up, it was a great reminder of how awkward and emotionally intense we were back then, although I'm rather glad it's all well behind me now.
There's some great truth in this, and the characters are adorkably ordinary, while also being quite extraordinary by just being themselves.
Just read a good review of his latest book (thank you, valkyrdeath), and so went hunting for it on the Kindle, only to get distracted by a single essay by Mark Forsyth available with a very eye-catching title. (I'll get around to his full books later!)
And it's a great little read, perfect for a rainy Sunday morning. Only now it's raining too much to get to the bookshop and blindfold myself so I can choose a book at random, which is what I'm desperate to do. Oh well, lucky for me I already have a house full of books to read, from other random trips to the bookshop.
I didn't know about The Unknown Unknown, so I'll have to check that out. I'm happy that my review helped you!
So glad Golem didn't go off the rails for you. Now I'm longing to reread... but so many other books on my shelves!
no doubt this is a keeper
It's really changed my world so much, and I do agree that it's fascinating how different we all are now: I keep on telling my kids (as I download them episodes of Doctor Who) how, in my day, if we missed an episode, it was gone for good. We'd have to ask our friends in the playground the next day what happened to Adric, Tegan, Nyssa, and the good Doctor. :)
#43> I think most people have enjoyed the book. So now it's the worry that we oversold it! :)
#44> Go away, you nasty little spammer.
The second of the Bookman Histories, this takes off several years after the conclusion of The Bookman. Rumours have reached France of the incidents that took place in London in the first book, but Milady de Winter has to worry about a dead body in a locked room in the Rue Morgue.
Can I just say that Milady de Winter is probably one of my favourite characters ever. She's mostly de Winter from The Three Musketeers, but there is also hints of the unnamed heroine from Rebecca. (Mostly a dead English husband, poor old Maxim!)
I'm looking forward to the third book, it's all lined up on Mt TBR!
This was a re-read, I'm (very slowly) reading the series aloud to Mr Bear. On re-reading, this was a particularly slow novel, we don't get to the games until halfway through. (And Mr Bear had to sit through a number of descriptions of dresses and also a number of descriptions of kissing. I'm amazed he stuck with it!) And then the ending is really annoying and unbelievable. Still, I do love Katniss.
A collection of short stories I picked up on the Kindle. Some were great (the first one, with the flying cats), but some were also very very dark, unpleasantly so. He's got a good turn of phrase, but the subject matter (in particular, the one with Thai sex shows) was a turn off. Given that all the main characters were male, I'm thinking I'm not the target audience.
Granted, he did say upfront that some were probably overly disturbing, and I do believe he's not necessarily extolling the virtues of society's underbelly, but I'm not sure I want to read any of his books now. There's only so much darkness I can take.
I bought this ages ago on my Kindle, but only just read it. (I even hoard electronic books! Oh my.)
It's a rather fun book, light and cheerful, a good military sci-fi romp. Sadly, it looks as if I'll have to buy the complete book (rather than the series of mini-books that this originally was part of) as they don't seem to be selling the mini-books anymore. Serves me right for not reading this for two years! (Lucky I don't have to dust ebooks...)
DNF, because much as I love her writing, 2007 is so long ago now (Australian-politics-wise, at any rate), that I'm just not really interested in it right now. (Much more fun watching the current government implode, anyhow. :)
I do remember reading some of these at the time and laughing, maybe this sort of humorous political writing just doesn't have legs?
And kookaburras in the backyard. AWESOME.
I lost my reading mojo what with the exhaustion of the house hunt, and then the packing, then the move (so many book boxes!), and then the cleaning of the old house. (I never want to move again. EVER.) But I've finally finished the book I started before the move (London Falling, which was excellent). Yay for reading! Half-yay for only having half the book boxes unpacked (but a victory in that I found Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince the day after Miss Boo finished The Order of the Phoenix). And I've run out of shelf space. How on earth did I fit them all into the old house??
An absolutely delightful romp with Mosca Mye, her murderous goose, and the con man Eponymous Clent. What a wonderful find, I'm sorry it took me so long to finally get this one off the shelves and read it! (It was recommended by a fellow reader at a Harry Potter high tea I attended some years ago, and I bought it that day. Then Frances Hardinge was one of the guests on the charming "Tea and Jeopardy" podcast recently, and that finally got me reading it.)
A gritty crime novel set in London, with four dysfunctional cops battling Evil (with a capital "E", as a friend of mine said). While it does have blurb from Ben Aaronovitch, this is much (much) darker than the Rivers of London series. So much so that I had to put it to one side a couple of times to hyperventilate. And then pick it up again to find out what happened.
The characters are not necessarily likeable, but by the end I was cheering them all on. I still wouldn't want them over to dinner any time soon, but I'm glad they're out there protecting London from Evil-with-a-capital-E. And I have to find the next book soon!!
PS, Paul Cornell was another lovely guest on "Tea and Jeopardy", and is also one of the regulars on the "SF Squee" podcast (which sadly isn't as active as it once was).
It has been a very very quiet reading year so far, given the upheaval of a new house. I'm already saying I will NOT make 100 books, but it's not going to stop me from trying anyhow. :) (Went to a knitting class yesterday morning and the teacher said we wouldn't finish the hat she was teaching us to knit that morning. I apparently took that as a challenge and was the first person to ever finish a hat in one class. I think I have a problem with being told I can't do things. :P)
Currently reading An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris which is a pretty good story, about the Dreyfus Affair in late 19th century France. Passed on by a friend.
Hope the last moving pains end soon. A lovely old house makes up for a lot of less than modern features, I find.
#66> I do love old houses too. We're now up tp to the fun bit of moving: organizing and unpacking the random boxes. (I found my charm bracelet and favourite amber ring that I wore every day until I packed them in a box some weeks ago...)
Housewarming drinks and nibbles this weekend. I get to get the new oven a real run for its money with some serious baking planned. (I've threatened guests with unpacking book boxes if they start looking bored... ;)
Housewarming was fun, a nice range of friends, lovely weather, a jug of Pimms, and a lot of baking (chocolate brownies, cupcakes, and egg and bacon tartlets).
>69 SouthernBluestocking: Most people reckon the unpacking is never completed. :) I have to say I've stalled badly. Had a super lazy day today, which was lovely. Needed a good break.
From the last move, I spent *ages* looking for my copy of a book, only to find it in an unpacked box mere weeks after buying a new copy. Nyargh. (This time, I think I packed two copies of Tallulah Rising, so maybe I did finally find that lost copy that I replaced...)
This was a very solid and well written retelling of the Dreyfus Affair, a scandalous miscarriage of justice from late 19th century France, when a Jewish officer was convicted (and sent to Devil's Island) of spying for the Germans. The book picks up at Dreyfus's disgrace, when he is marched in front of the army and stripped of his insignia. This is witnessed by a young Major Georges Picquart, who for his somewhat underhand help in convicting Dreyfus is promoted to Colonel and put in charge of army intelligence (much to his annoyance). There, he finds evidence of another spy within the army, and the similarities are so similar to the Dreyfus affair, that he starts digging into that. Slowly, he comes to realise that Dreyfus was wrongly convicted, and the second half of the book is his struggles to reopen the case and give Dreyfus a fair trial.
The author kept the tension building well, and Picquart is a great character. The story is fascinating, one I've heard of before, but didn't know much about. So not only was I entertained, I was educated. :)
This was forced on me by Miss Boo, who picked it up at the school library yesterday and read it several times in one day. It's a great little autobiographical story about the author losing her two front teeth as a young girl (tripped while running with friends) and the subsequent long term dental treatments while having to deal with everyday life: school, boys, frenemies, and an earthquake. I'm really glad that Miss Boo enjoyed it as much as she did, I think she's the perfect age for this story with its themes of self-acceptance and growing up.
A nasty read about Hades, a fixer: he makes bad things go away. Only one night, he's asked to clean up after a bungled kidnap attempt, to bury the bodies of two young children. Instead, he kills the perp, and then discovers that the children are still alive. Since their parents were killed, he steps into the role of parent to Eden and Eric, who are both seriously affected by their shocking experience. The book jumps around between their upbringing with Hades, their current occupation as homicide detectives in Sydney, and the serial killer that Eden and her new partner Frank are chasing.
Not a pleasant character in the bunch, and not a believable one either.
Pluses are the interesting serial killer. He's completely unbelievable, but had an interesting modus operandi (
I only finished this because it was a bookgroup read.
A big sprawling fantasy novel, set in The City, which is pretty much a character in its own right, millennia old, and built (and built again) on the ruins of previous cities . The story starts in the sewers under The City, following some of the dwellers who live there, scavenging on the debris washed down from above. It's dangerous work: rain in The City causes floods under it, not to mention the filth, and the risk posed by other dwellers. Just as I got used to this world, the book jumps to a devastated plain, where an endless pitched battle is underway. Then, just as I got used to all the fighting, we jumped to The City itself. Etc. There's a lot of jumps in this book.
There are also a lot of characters, who may have a brief role in an earlier chapter, and then end up being one of the major protagonists in a different section. It pays to keep your wits about you, reading this one. Really, it reminded me mostly of the Malazan series: big chunky fantasy that you need to concentrate on, or you'll get lost in the plots and forget who is who.
I don't want to give much of the plot away, I really enjoyed the slow peeling away of what was happening, as the characters we're following (none of whom are in the upper echelons of The City's ruling elite) slowly discover more and more about The City. But expect lots of fighting and lots of death.
My main quibble with the book would be the lack of affect the characters have, so I never really felt drawn into their personal worlds. It did make it hard to be completely immersed in their struggles (although my heart was in my throat during some of the battles, this author is not afraid to kill off named characters).
Thanks to whoever recommended this first in this group! It was a great novel, set in a very interesting (if dark) time, 1930s Paris, with the threat of Nazi Germany on their doorstep and the rise of right wing nationalism in France. The Chameleon Club is run by a Hungarian woman, Yvonne, famous for her red dresses and sad songs about her lost sailor love. At the Chameleon Club, all sorts meet and mingle and cross dress. We get the perspective of a number of characters as the story moves along its inexorable path towards World War 2. Some characters are forced to flee Paris when the Germans invade; some join the Resistance; and yet others collaborate with the Nazis.
The interweaving of the different characters' stories was very well done, they contradict each other and give different perspectives on the same events. You also get spoilers for the plot, but that heightened the sense that the ending was inevitable. Oddest of all was Lou's story, which was done via a biography written by a very strange self-obsessed woman.
And I had to keep on stopping myself from Googling Gabor's photos, or Rossignol motor cars, or Lou's athletic career; I was so suckered into the stories at times that I really did believe these characters had existed in the real world.
This is the first novel by Ambelin Kwaymullina, an Australian aboriginal woman (from the Palyaku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia), and is a young adult dystopia, set in the far future, after the world's ecosystem and human society has collapsed. The world is a very different place now, all the continents have merged back together, and, while humans have resurrected their societies, they are in scattered cities, separated by forests and grasslands filled with saurs, and other dangerous creatures. Some humans are now also manifesting with various talents: super fast speeds; being able to create and control fire; and in the case of Ashala Wolf, she can Sleepwalk. People with these skills are considered Illegal and are kept in detention centres.
To say that the world building stretched my credulity to breaking point would be putting it mildly. :) She did try to cram far too much into it, although most of it was important for the plot in one way or another in the end.
Luckily, this was also a very entertaining read - the heroine is awesome, and there's a plot twist I didn't see coming. (Until it happened, I was also pretty sure that it was going to be a pretty average YA dystopia novel, so it was a great plot twist.) The author's Aboriginal heritage is not a major plot point (although there's a good nod in the direction of the rainbow serpent), it did seem to flavour a lot of the setting: pro living under the stars, nature, that sort of thing. (While I enjoyed that from a book point of view, I'm a firm believer in having a comfy bed, a roof, and working plumbing in the real world.) It's also very interestingly constructed, with a slow reveal of the plot through various levels of flashbacks.
Overall, I would recommend this, I had a lot of fun hanging out with Ashala and her Tribe of other runaway Illegals, and I could ignore a lot of the odd concepts while enjoying the plot.
(Thanks to http://www.executivestyle.com.au/why-i-read-only-nonwhite-books-for-a-year-1mucy... for bringing this - and others! - to my attention.)
A (late) Mother's Day present, and one much appreciated. The Rat Queens are up to their usual partying (following straight on from their victory party at the end of Volume 1, if memory serves me right) and hangovers. Oh yeah, and saving the world.
Much blood, sex, drugs, and foul language. I love these ladies.
Oooh, there's summat nasty in the woodshed! And there have always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort Farm. And then Seth lounges panther-like and undoes another button...
This was a re-read, and still great fun. A wonderful spoof of a genre that no longer exists (some sort of gothic bucolic novel), but I don't think one needs to know about the original genre to enjoy this one.
Yes, it is as good as people are saying. But you'll need your wits about you, with three timelines, many cultures, a narrator who is gender neutral and sometimes part of a warship's AI and sometimes the warship and sometimes neither, and a very complex plot. But it's definitely worth the effort.
From Wikipedia: A clade (from Ancient Greek: κλάδος, klados, "branch") or monophylum (see monophyletic) is a life-form group consisting of an ancestor and all its descendants—representing a single "branch" on the "tree of life". (Because I had no idea what a clade was, even by the end of the book.)
The book starts with Adam and Ellie and the story of their love, which stumbles when Ellie becomes desperate to have a baby and they discover that it isn't as easy as they'd hoped. In the background, Adam is researching climate change. The story unfolds over ten chapters, with long gaps in our protagonists' lives as each chapter jumps forward years at a time or concentrates on (up to then) peripheral characters.
This was an excellent read, I gobbled it up in just a couple of days, and it reminded me very much of A Visit from the Goon Squad (although without the PowerPoint chapter). The story is rather bleak, with our world crashing around our ears due to climate change (plus a well-deserved sideswipe at our current refugee policy), but still moments of beauty and humanity within.
The ending sadly seemed slightly weak to me, it didn't really fit in with the rest of the story, although I did like the note he left us on.
I think I'll like it after seeing your remarks.
The Paying Guests was a bit of a disappointment (and not worthy of its Bailey's Prize shortlist spot, IMO). It all seemed a bit melodramatic and tawdry, and a disappointingly ordinary storyline for Sarah Waters. But, considering she does reference a book on women's fiction of the 1920's - 1930's, maybe that was the point. And the heroine is too self righteous to like (which is okay in literature, but this felt like it missed the literature mark, so she was just annoying). On the plus side, it was a very quick read (for all its size), and there were some very good minor moments, not to mention a wonderful recreation of London on the early 1920's, with unrest from returned servicemen and a city and society left badly damaged by war. From another author, I would have rather liked it, but from Sarah Waters, it was disappointing.
It would have been much easier to read with some quotation marks (considering the main character is such a grammar pedant, I was a bit disappointed she wasn't a punctuation pedant too). But it's a great slow reveal of a nicely twisty story, not everything is resolved, and the second half was completely unexpected. And the main character is great, I obviously approve of grammar pedants over upper class spinsters. (See The Paying Guests, above. :) Sadly, I think the writing style (lack of quote marks, plus the second half is pretty stream of consciousness) threw me out of the story a bit too much, so I wasn't as involved in the story as I would really have liked to be.
However, it is a very clever book, and I am rather curious about her experiment, where half the editions have the story the other way around, with the Renaissance painter first, and the modern girl second. I liked my edition, I thought it was interesting doing the stories in a non-chronological order. Would I have liked it as much the other way around? Anyway, this is a book I shall be pondering for a while.
Well, not quite sure what to make of A God in Every Stone. Buzz had me thinking it was going to be the outstanding on the Bailey's Prize shortlist, but I was underwhelmed. (Maybe it was oversold?) Interesting time, interesting history, but I think there may have been too much assumed knowledge or something. At any rate, I felt like I was struggling to keep up and never really got into it fully. (Hint to future authors: quotation marks were invented for a reason. Use them.)
An excellent book, I did several patterns from it, teaching myself to knit lace. (And now I know how to, I don't have to do it any more. What fidgeting!)
The Hawley Book of the Dead wasn't bad, but wasn't pitch perfect either. The start was very over-written, but she either got better, or I got used to it. And I never quite liked the idea of a romance when our main character was still grieving her lost husband, it all seemed too quick. (Note: it's not the falling-in-love again bit I disliked, it was the fact that he'd only died two months previously. While I guess love can't be planned, it was a little discomforting.) Needed a bit more punch somewhere, too, there seemed to be a lot of wailing and not much happening.
It's the first in a quartet (although there's no cliffhanger at the end of this one), I probably won't read on, unless I hear great things or I stumble across them at the library (as I did with this one).
Boy meets girl, girl rejects boy, spaceship explodes, and boy and girl need to learn to get along and survive on a deserted planet. Or is it...
Good fun, took a while for the sci-fi elements to come in, for a while there it looked as if it was going to be a pretty standard YA romance, albeit with an unusual setting. Of course, I was enjoying the romance anyhow, but having an extra layer to the plot did make it more satisfying, overall.
Australian author, and I'm looking forward to the next in the series.
>105 Berly: thanks for dropping by! Again, it looks as if other people are paying more attention to my thread than I am. :)
This was a collection of retelling of classic tales (not that I picked the first one at all, seems to be based on a sci-fi short story of E.M. Forster of all people). Some good authors (I grabbed it for Saladin Ahmed, because the library doesn't seem to have his novel on the shelves any more, botheration, but also has Holly Black, Neil Gaiman, etc).
There were some good stories in this collection, plus some okay stories. No duds (IMO). Most interesting to me was the wide and varied inspiration (wish I'd written them all down before I returned it to the library!). My favourite was probably Garth Nix's retelling of The Man Who Would be King by Kipling, I must read the original now!
H is for Hawk left me with mixed feelings. I still have too much love for TH White's The Goshawk (and The Sword in the Stone) to be happy about any book that is going to be critical of such an important part of my childhood reading. (Plus, and I feel rather awful saying this, but I couldn't relate to the depth of her grief, she went off the deep end so completely and I just wanted to slap her and tell her to get over it. I'm an awful person.) Book group reaction was mixed, too, for varied reasons. Glad I read it, but not fun.
Okay, the writing was rather pedestrian, but gold stars for having a non-white protagonist (which is why I picked it up). Plot is obvious, and characters tend towards simplistic. Best thing about it was seeing a chick-lit novel from the point of view of a non-white person, but I wouldn't recommend it as a chick-lit novel (there are much better ones out there).
Glad I finally read something by Anita Heiss though!
I Feel Bad About My Neck proved to be one of those books that one can read (and enjoy!) in a day, even a working day. Some of the columns were about things I care nothing about (makeup, mostly) but they were still entertainingly written. Fun stuff, recommended.
Set in the not-too-distant future, where 99.9% of the population has been wiped out by a virus. The story jumps between the final days of civilization, and the small remaining bands of survivors, trying to eke out an existence in a very different world from that of today. It's not as gloomy as it could be - sure, there are madmen masquerading as prophets; minor ailments can kill you without proper medication; and life is hard. But the overall feel for me was one of hope, with humanity not just surviving, but still creating art and finding a new society. "Survival is Insufficient".
I've still got a few more reviews to write, I got sidetracked on the weekend while I was halfway through the mammoth catch up of reviews!
The second of The Tribe novels, this one kicks off a little bit after the first, The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, finished. It's another good story, the world building of the first is less annoying (possibly because she could stop and build on what she's already started), but the structure is a bit more ordinary.
And apparently the third is now available in bookshops. Perfect timing! :)
Rather fun little Regency romance, from the author of the truly delightful St Mary's series. The dialogue is delightfully snarky, and it's lovely to see an older woman as heroine. The plot was a little disjointed though, the leads went from hate to love without much transition period.
Overall, needed more time travelling historians.
And that book got me onto The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, and I happily gobbled up the first four in that series. Now reading some more genre stuff, will get onto reviews one day. Soonish.
Oh dear. My poor neglected thread. I am still alive (and still reading!), no end in sight to work stress (yeesh) but Xmas is just around the corner, so three weeks off and lots of books under the Xmas tree :)
I hope I do better next year.
37. The Masque of the Black Tulip, Lauren Willig ****
38. Lagoon, Nnedi Okorafor ***
39. The Deception of the Emerald Ring, Lauren Willig ****
40. The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, Lauren Willig ***1/2
41. The Word Exchange, Alena Graedon ***1/2
A Spool of Blue Thread, Anne Tyler (DNF)
42. The Just City, Jo Walton ****
43. White is For Witching, Helen Oyeyemi ****
44. Fairytales for Wilde Girls, Allyse Near ****
45. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr ****
46. The Slow Regard of Silent Things, Patrick Rothfuss ****
47. The Gates, John Connolly ***1/2
48. The Martian, Andy Weir ***1/2
49. The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins ***1/2
50. The House of Shattered Wings, Aliette de Bodard ***1/2
51. Infernal Devices, K.W. Jeter ***1/2
52. The Emperor's Blades, Brian Staveley ****
53. A Beautiful Place to Die, Malla Nunn ****
54. Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace, Ayelet Waldman ****
55. Brothers in Arms, Lois McMaster Bujold ***1/2
56. Shift, Hugh Howey ***1/2
Zeroes is a YA novel about teens with superpowers. It's written by three authors. Scott Westerfield, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti. (The last two are Australian, the first is an honorary Australian. :)
Overall, Zeroes was rather good fun, a bit YA-esque at times, but it WAS young adult, so I shouldn't quibble about that. An interesting cast of characters struggling with an odd range of superpowers, a decently complex plot, and I couldn't tell which author wrote which chapter (but if there was a fair amount of description, I did assume Margo Lanagan :).
For my Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/Holiday image this year (we are so diverse!), I've chosen this photograph by local photographer Mark Lenoce of the pier at Pacific Beach to express my holiday wishes to you: Peace on Earth and Good Will toward All!
Jim Butcher dips his toes into the world of steampunk, with flying ships and talking cats. The world building is impressive, the characters are fun. Possibly some pacing issues (there were days when I was less than keen to return to his world, but that could just been pre-Xmas exhaustion kicking in), but overall recommended.
And frankly, he had me at "talking cat." Rowl deserves a whole series just about him. (And, typical cat, you know he knows he deserves such a thing.)