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June, a Month of Leaves and Roses and Reading

J C
12 years ago

Just finished Among Others by Jo Walton. I'm not sure what to say about it. I found it a pleasant read, and looked forward to picking it up. It is billed as a SF/Fantasy novel, but I think it leans more heavily on magical realism. The protagonist is a very bright 15-year-old girl, who is sent to boarding school after her twin sister's death and her own severe injury at the hands of her mother, who is a witch. It is also a literary love letter to libraries, books, reading, librarians - one could occupy oneself for quite some time by reading at least some of the books and authors mentioned. Many but not all are science fiction, but she also loves Josephine Tey, Mary Renault, Plato, Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot. This book was more like I Capture the Castle than like SF.

This book was so highly recommended by every source that I had unrealistic expectations. I thought it was worthwhile but not the groundbreaking original work as advertised. But I know that many people here will enjoy this book very much. If you even think you might like it, I suggest you check it out. (Literally - get it from the library if you can!)

Comments (79)

  • J C
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    I'm deep into The Charioteer by Mary Renault. Not sure why I haven't encountered this book before. Classic work. I have set out to read several of the books mentioned in Among Others.

    FWIW, I loved The Art of Racing in the Rain. It is not the kind of book I normally read, but for some reason I found it quite good. I saw it in the bookstore last week and reread some of my favorite parts. One of those 'triumph of the human (and dog) spirit' stories.

  • vickitg
    12 years ago

    Thanks for that input, Siobhan. I'm at a particularly sad part of "Racing" and having to force myself to continue. I'm really craving something more upbeat, maybe even fun, for some reason. But I will keep plugging in anticipation of that "triumph."

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  • junek-2009
    12 years ago

    My latest is "Suite Francaise" by Irene Nemirovsky, so far I am very impressed.

  • ladyrose65
    12 years ago

    I've finished "In the Time of Butterflies". Now, I am going back to "Bad Things Happen" by Harry Dolan. I like his style of writing for the his first novel.

  • annpan
    12 years ago

    I have borrowed "How to Wash a Cat" which was mentioned on RP. There is an example in it of one of the perils of writing in the first person.
    "I was.... too distracted to notice their greedy-eyed gleam when the key slid into the lock...."
    How did she know how they looked?!!
    Ooops!

  • woodnymph2_gw
    12 years ago

    junek, I found "Suite Francaise" very impressive. If you want more of that type of theme, I highly recommend "Sarah's Key", which I liked even better....

    I am currently immersed in Alison Weir's "The Lady in the Tower", which is the sad tale of Ann Bolyn and how Cromwell did her in. The English politics of the time of Henry VIII I find quite complicated....

  • lemonhead101
    12 years ago

    Vee - thanks for the suggestion of the two authors, Cusk and Chambers. I have read a Rachel Lusk novel before and enjoyed it so will look up another. And haven't ever heard of Chambers so will track her down. Thanks for the recs!

    Over the weekend, it was really really really hot (like surface of the sun hot) and so I spent a lot of it inside in the AC. (I am a heat woose.) Finished up a very interesting non-fiction book called Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation by Elissa Stein and Alison Kim (?), and yes, it examines the history of menstruation and how it has still retained that element of taboo, even today. It was fascinating to learn how much power was ascribed to this human process in the past: In some Jewish communities, it was believed that if a menstruating woman walked in between two men, then one of them die. Oh, and the wine would go off. And the cheese would rot. And the mirror would steam up if she looked into it and the only way to unsteam it was to breathe on the back of the mirror.
    Interesting to learn how our mothers, grandmothers (and further back) had to deal with such unwieldy products as belts etc. Yuck! We have come a long way in some ways.

    And then also finished up Water for Elephants (discussion to come), and the rather heavy-going The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel. In his wide-ranging reading, he had come across a method to more effectively remember the books that you read, and although he didn't mention the actual methodogy, he did mention that it involves the use of honey, toothpicks, and twenty-one raisins a day... :-)

  • rambo
    12 years ago

    I finally figured out how to log in again. It's been a while since I last posted here.

    I recently polished off the Millennium Trilogy, which I was enraptured by. I almost didn't want to go to bed at night so I could just read it. I love when I get hooked by a good book(s).

    I'm currently 3/4 of the way through The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis. It's a fiction novel that satirizes the Canadian political system. It's hilarious. Plus, since I'm from Ottawa I recognize the setting well, which really contributes to understanding small nuances of the plot and also to the writing style.

    I have Atwood's The Year of the Flood lined up next. I think I'm drawn to the Can-lit at the moment since I'm going to be moving away from Canada, again.

  • vickitg
    12 years ago

    I finished The Art of Racing in the Rain for my book group discussion on Wednesday. I liked the writing, but much of the story made me sad and frustrated me. I did highlight several places that I found particularly insightful, though. I guess I'm glad I read it; although I probably would not have done so but for the book group.

  • carolyn_ky
    12 years ago

    I am reading The Devil's Company about the East India Company in 1700s London by David Liss. It continues the story of Benjamin Weaver, thief taker. I've only read a couple of his other books; The Coffee Trader was the first. I am enjoying the historical information very much.

  • Kath
    12 years ago

    I finished in short time Alan Bennett's new book, Smut. What can I say about it? It is two short stories/novellas, both with sex as a theme, but this author has a weird and wonderful imagination! The stories are not really erotic, and certainly not pornographic, but they are weird.
    That said, it was very enjoyable and so very well written.
    I am now reading a book called Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison, who is the older brother of Augusten Burroughs. He has Asperger's syndrome, but in his youth there was no such diagnosis, and he was just thought to be odd and annoying. So far it is very interesting.

  • reader_in_transit
    12 years ago

    While waiting for the car to be serviced, I read Hint Fiction, An Anthology of stories in 25 words or fewer, edited by Robert Swartwood. I found this little volume on the "New Fiction" shelf at the library. In the introduction he explains how he was inspired by a six-word story attributed to E. Hemingway:
    "For sale: baby shoes, never worn"
    (He acknowledges no written account of this has ever been found).
    But what fascinates him is the idea of writing a story in the fewest number of words possible.

    He calls these very short stories Hint Fiction "because the reader is only given a hint of a much larger, more complex story", and separates them from flash fiction and sudden fiction. Most of them are quite compelling, and leave you wanting to know more of the story behind them. Perfect to read while waiting for that oil change or even for the traffic light to change.

  • jaxnsmom
    12 years ago

    Finished "A Course Called Ireland", "Heads You Lose", and "The Tiger's Wife". Really enjoyed The "Tiger's Wife". Obreht did a wonderful job of weaving together the story of Natalia's search about her grandfathers' death with the tales her grandfather told her when she was young, and the most important story he didn't tell her. The myths and superstitions that weave through all of these parts connect everything into a seamless journey.

    I started "A Visit From the Goon Squad". Right now it's background on the two main characters, and they definitely are characters.

    Also reading "Crawlspace" by Sarah Graves, the latest in her home repair is homicide series. Besides an enjoyable mystery, there is the ongoing story of fixing up her 1823 federal-style house. Interesting info about the house and tips on tools, with hilarious descriptions of do-it-yourself gone wrong.

  • lemonhead101
    12 years ago

    RIT - have not heard of "hint fiction" before, but am intrigued and will look for some. Thanks for the info.

    I am completely sucked into a novel called Left Neglected by Lisa Genova (she also wrote Still Alice about the onset of Alzheimer's disease in the protagonist of the novel). Just as interesting and "issue-driven" (right word?) as her debut, this second novel concerns a bright mid-30's professional woman at the top of her game in life and family who suddenly has a car accident and ends up with a traumatic brain injury called "Left Neglect" which means that she can not sense the left side of her body (arm, leg etc.) It's a very well written description of what this condition may be like, and it's helped by the fact that the author is a Ph.D. in neuroscience so knows that scene well.

    Plus the character has a *great* sense of humor which I would only hope to emulate should something like this injury happen to me. She makes the protagonist very human and likable and just real. I am really enjoying spending time with her.

  • ladyrose65
    12 years ago

    I gave up on Bad Things Happen, it was not even plausible to me. You help your Boss, bury a body!? Though, you have a shady past. Too much repurcusions. Without questions.

    It's time to do Life of Pi.

  • annpan
    12 years ago

    Jaxnsmom, I went online at my library to order the Lutz book and also got a hit for "Heads You Lose" by Christianna Brand. An old favourite author of mine since I saw the film of her book "Green For Danger". I was able to get it quickly and could not remember having read it before. It comes very close to breaking one of the rules of murder mysteries (I forget where I read them, in a book by P.D.James, perhaps) but is a good puzzle as to the identity of the murderer.
    I look forward to the Lutz book. She has a very quirky style, no?

    RP members, please note.
    I have just had an email sent to me warning that a list of a number of people is circulating with their passwords. The one that was quoted is similar to the one I used on this site. Of course, anyone accessing this will only get information about books!
    Has anyone else received a similar warning?

  • lemonhead101
    12 years ago

    AnnPann - I have not had rec'd a message like this, but to me, it stinks of a phishing scam and I think the safest thing to do is categorize it to JUNK and then further categorize it as "phishing scam" if you have that option.

    It's annoying when things like that get around. There have been a spat of hotmail phishing scams lately all claiming to be "official", but not. Sigh. Don't these people have anything better to do than this? How about getting a JOB?

    :-)

  • jaxnsmom
    12 years ago

    annpan - I love Lisa Lutz's Spellman Files series. "Heads You Lose" is definitely not like those. A silly read when you just want to relax and don't care about plot, writing style, etc; but like I said, the back and forth between the authors was very fun. Kind of like reading a book in planning stage. Glad to hear it brought you back to a favorite reader. That's so fun when you're looking for one thing and come across an old friend.

  • annpan
    12 years ago

    The warning was correct about my email address being passed around. I have today been sent a number of emails telling me that I am in line for vast sums of money!
    Sadly, some people fall for these scams. A pensioner in this State went on TV to tell of a loss of all her savings to a group of people who posed as Taxation Dept. officers. I once had a call from someone who said she was from the Federal Govt. and that I was to get a grant. This was so ludicrous. We didn't have such a Govt. at that time. The results had not come in from the recent election! Nor does one get any kind of grant that has not been applied for personally in triplicate several times!
    She also hadn't allowed for my time zone difference. Even woken from sleep, I was very suspicious and told her to put it in writing. I never got a letter, of course!!

  • Kath
    12 years ago

    Ha! Ann, I am always amazed that the eastern states don't think about time differences.

  • annpan
    12 years ago

    Again, this Sunday morning I have plenty to read with a fresh crop of emails promising vast amounts of money! I have put them into Delete File but can retrieve them when I need something to cheer up a dull day!
    What with shopping for the baby showers for two new GGdaughters and reading the forums for Masterchef Australia's scandal I have had little time for reading my current library book! It's all go!! All good though!!

  • lemonhead101
    12 years ago

    Just finished up an ILL called "Slaves of Solitude" by Patrick Hamilton who wrote a lot in the first half of the twentieth century. Wiki describes his writing as "deploying a Dickensian narrative voice to convey aspects of inter-war London street culture" and this is quite an apt description. This novel concerns itself with the minutiae of life for the long-term residents of a boarding house just outside London for some middle-class people.

    It is really from the PoV of the protagonist, an early 40s unmarried woman who is one of the few people at the boarding house to have a professional job of any kind, and thus is regarded as the odd one out. No one else has to work apparently, and the majority of the guests view her as the link to the outside world in some ways.

    However, with such narrow overlapping lives, there are bound to be misunderstandings and personal dynamics that come into play, and of course, this leads to the plot events. There is a thoroughly unpleasant man who has nothing else to do apart from be boorish to all, and the unmarried woman and he together create one of the major catalysts of the book.

    It's domestic fiction from just after WWII so rationing is still in effect for lots of items, and this novel demonstrates how frustrating that would be - to go shopping looking for A and then finding out that only completely unrelated B is available.

    Hamilton (the author) was a playwright and you can see this influence in how he handles the dialogue between the various characters, and how we get to see into the thoughts of the heroine. Curiously enough, we are going to see a play by one of his contempories tomorrow night - J.B. Priestley.

    Enjoyable, but yet, for some reason, not rivetting. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Patrick Hamilton

  • J C
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    This thread seems a little slow! Does that mean everyone is having either summer or winter fun? I hope so. I have been very busy - summer in a Maine holiday village is jam-packed, each evening I have to choose between two or three activities, difficult when I know I will enjoy everything. Also there is that pesky work-thing, which occupies me quite a bit. AND I can't sign in to RP at work for some reason, which greatly cuts down on my posting.

    I'm reading a few things. Daniel Silva's The Kill Artist is currently Number One, but I am almost done. I like his books alot, very entertaining, but they are rather repetitive. I keep thinking I have read this one before, but since I don't remember any of the actual plot, I have soldiered on.

    I read, in one sitting, Hint Fiction, an anthology edited by Robert Swartwood. This book was recommended by reader intransit, thank you very much! Really good, such food for thought.

    And I have The Land of Painted Caves by Jean Auel. This ties in with a class I am taking about archeology. I read a couple of hers many years ago. Finding this one somewhat stilted but hoping that I soon get really into it. It is quite a brick, don't know if I can finish it in time to take back to the library. Maybe I should wait until my library offers books on Kindle later this year.

  • carolyn_ky
    12 years ago

    I'm reading A Lesson in Secrets, the latest Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear. It is moving the story along toward WWII, with Fascism becoming popular in some circles.

  • junek-2009
    12 years ago

    I have discovered a wonderful new author (for me)
    "Alice Munro", I am now reading a second novel of hers, all made up of short stories.

    She is said to be "the best short story writer in the world".

  • veer
    12 years ago

    June, I really enjoy Alice Munro's short stories. They probably aren't for those of us looking for a quick shoot-em-up/happy-ever-after tale but are slow moving and timeless. I can still remember one set outside the general store of a small Ontario township on a hot Saturday afternoon. I could almost smell the dust and feel the inertia.

  • Kath
    12 years ago

    Siobhan, you probably have read The Kill Artist - it's the first Gabriel Allon book.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    12 years ago

    Have just finished an incredible memoir: "Edith's Story: the true story of a young girl's courage and survival during WW II" by Edith Velmans.

    Edith was another Anne Frank in the Netherlands who just happened to survive the Holocaust, while losing all but one family member to the death Camps. She survived because a Dutch family hid her under an assumed name during the occupation of Holland. Later on, she emigrated to America where she became a psychologist and raised a family. The book was based upon translations of her girlhood diaries kept while she was in hiding, as the horrors unfolded around her.

  • annpan
    12 years ago

    Siobhan, I am certainly reading slowly this month and have even had to renew library books! I just could not seem to find much time or inclination. The two I had on loan didn't really grab me.
    I have just bought the new Janet Evanovich but must 'clear the decks' and finish my borrowed books first.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    12 years ago

    I started a highly acclaimed novel I'd heard about for years: Harriet Doerr's "Stones to Ibarra." After about 70 pages, I threw it down. I expected so much more from the writing, as the author had won many awards. I have rarely read a more depressing book. The characters in the Mexican village seemed caricatures of themselves. I could not get the gloom of the tone and the landscape out of my mind last night. Is there anyone here who liked this novel?

    It was with great relief that I picked up a mystery by Rennie Aird....

  • J C
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    I'm into Charles Jessold, Considered As A Murderer by Wesley Stace. So far it is great and may turn out to be truly wonderful. (Not fair to hope such things when beginning a book.) I saw this in the Bas Bleu catalog and requested it by ILL. It is starting out as a murder mystery but is very complex and well-written, promising so much more -

  • jaxnsmom
    12 years ago

    I've been trying to spend more time reading instead of talking about reading :) But I enjoy both.

    Finished "Crawlspace" and "A Visit From the Goon Squad". I always enjoy Sarah Graves' home repair is homicide series, and "Crawlspace" was no exception.

    I would never have read Goon Squad except for the Goodreads book club. Very different writing style, and I enjoyed the book more than I expected. Characters were introduced a few at a time, which worked because I got to know them before they could get lost in the confusion of all being thrown at you at once.

    Recently finished "The Dressmaker of Khair Khana" which provided an interesting look at the lives of women under the rule of the taliban. I don't think I could ever truly understand what it was like for Kamila and the other women.

    I started "Caleb's Crossing" and haven't decided about it yet. Couldn't take anymore of the puritanical lifestyle, so I've set it aside for now.

    Listening to "The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane". It's an interesting story, but very slow-paced. And, is it me, or is Connie dense, naive and immature? ("boys", really?) Writing this I realize how much she gets on my nerves. I wish there would be more on the past. I'd like to hear more about Deliverance and her descedents.

    Almost finished with "Angel's Verdict" by Mary Stanton. Light mystery, fun to read.

    Started "Blackbird House" by Alice Hoffman. Looking forward to having a chunk of reading time to lose myself in it.

  • rouan
    12 years ago

    It's been a slow month for me as well. I have managed to finish a few books though. I read Mystic & Rider by Sharon Shinn as well as Among Others by Jo Walton. I also read a young adult novel based on the recommendation of my younger sister; The Ghost & the Goth by Stacey Kade. She said I would find it amusing. It was okay, but I doubt I'll read the next one in the series as it didn't catch my attention much.

  • junek-2009
    12 years ago

    jaxnsmom,

    Enjoy "Blackbird House" and enjoy the Hoffman magic.

    I am reading, again, and so enjoying "Stone Angel" by Margaret Laurence.

  • bookmom41
    12 years ago

    I've now read two of Norwegian author Jo Nesbo's crime/thriller books featuring his detective Harry Hole; The Redbreast and then Nemesis. Nesbo is being touted as a good choice if you enjoyed the Steig Larssen books and after reading two, I agree and am putting the next one in the series on reserve.

    If you are looking for a good YA book to recommend to a bored teen this summer, I also enjoyed Miss Peregrine's Island for Peculiar Children which has some fantasy, some action and some incredibly cool photos which further the story. Also good but not a YA book was Transgression by James Nichol; it flips back and forth between the love affair between a young French girl and German soldier during the occupation of France in WWII and a murder investigation five years later in Canada.

    I just started Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson. It's about a woman who has an unusual form of amnesia caused by some sort of trauma and while she can remember early childhood events, her mind erases anything more recent every night when she sleeps. I also have illustrator David Small's "graphic memoir" Stitches, another Swedish->English thriller by Lars Kepler called The Hypnotist (apparently I'm in a crime fiction/thriller phase) and the non-fiction Wicked Bugs: The Louse that conquered Napoleon's Army and Other Diabolical Insects which includes detailed pen/ink drawings of the subject matter.

  • twobigdogs
    12 years ago

    Hi all,

    Yes Siobhan, reading for me has been slow this month. I am recovering from eye surgery (a torn retina) and could not read for two weeks straight. It was awful, simply awful. Now I can read but not at my normal speed as I continue to recover. Has anyone had this surgery? If so, how long until full recovery? (Also, kindly excuse the many typos that shall probably appear in this and subsequent postings.)

    So, during the two weeks I could not see without, I looked within and mentally went over some of the classics on my shelf that had been pushed aside.

    Just recently, I finished two of them. The first is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee which really needs nothing further said about it. It was a masterpiece and I loved every page. I do not know how a person like me with university degrees in both English and education had not had to read this book before.

    Tje second book is A Woman of Independent Means by Elizabeth Fosythe Hailey. It is a work of fiction written in the late 1970's and told through letters. The main character, Bess, born in the 1890's, is a determined, honest, independent spirit who allows nothing and no one to get in her way of living her life to the fullest. At first, I wasn't sure how I felt about her. But upon finishing the book, I flet that she was one of the strongest female leads I had ever encountered. Definitely a book to be recommended.
    PAM

  • veronicae
    12 years ago

    PAM, I read Hailey's book a few years back. And whenever I surf my journal...I laugh at the comment I made.
    "Described as a book about a woman who is successful in her life, creating a family of vast wealth. I say she did a lot of mean, vicious acts of meanness that were selfish - each independent of any other. A terrible woman!" About halfway through the book I began to dislike her - and that sentiment only grew. I kept waiting for an epiphany that never happened.

  • twobigdogs
    12 years ago

    Veronica, LOVE your journal comment! Yes, she was selfish, and brutallly honest. (I never said she was nice, never said I liked her, just found her to be a very strong-willed main character.) But during the years in which the book was set, I found her strength and independent spirit unusual... not kind, but certainly undeterred by the thoughts and feelings of others... perhaps we could call it "bulldog tenacity"? She knew what she wanted and nothing got in her way... not always good, but certainly unusual for that setting. I liked the book.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I enjoyed reading your comments.
    PAM

  • veronicae
    12 years ago

    And I agree with your positive comments...she did know how to get something accomplished and let nothing stand in her way. It is a memorable book. Even without a reminder from my journal, I remember this book and character. I guess that makes it a pretty successful novel.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    12 years ago

    PAM, sorry to hear about your surgery. I understand from a friend who had this that it takes some time to fully recover.

    I must say that I intensely disliked the Hailey book. I did not even think it was well-written and I hated the characters. I remember it well because a close friend had recommended it to me and I was extremely disappointed.

  • twobigdogs
    12 years ago

    Woodnymph and veronicae,
    One of my favorite things about RP has always been the way in which we can discuss books no matter our feelings about them. Our opinions of the Hailey book are a fine example. Thank you for sharing your opinions with me. I can see, understand, and agree with many of the points you have both shared with me. For me, how I feel about a book is often very much influenced by what is going on in my life at the time when the book is read. At this point in my life, as I reflect upon the book, I believe I was focused more on her determination and can-do spirit (being newly divorced and now in charge of house and hearth.). If I may impose, if any RP-ers can think of other books with strong heroines who are perhaps a bit more kind, I would be happy to know those titles.

    Thank you for the well-wishes in regard to my surgery. I am so grateful to have my vision in tact that I am willing to be patient for as long as the recovery takes.

    I have two mysteries on my TBR library pile:
    1. Red Jade by Henry Chang
    2. A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow

    I never heard of either of these authors before... anyone read either of the titles?

    Thank you again for the well wishes.
    PAM

  • annpan
    12 years ago

    PAM.... Oh dear, you are certainly getting a lot of slings and arrows coming your way. Chin up, girl!
    Strong women, eh? I have been rereading and watching Pride and Prejudice. One very strong woman and I know her author also turned a good match down. Preaching what she practised!
    An old book "Britannia Mews" by Margery Sharp is about a strong girl who goes against her family with her marriage and how she deals with the life she has chosen.
    Take care.
    Ann

  • vickitg
    12 years ago

    PAM - So glad you've kept your sight. I think I might have to turn to audio books during that sort of recovery.

    I liked the Hailey book. I read it several years ago, but remember enjoying it. I think there was also a movie made from the book, starring Sally Fields.

    One book with a strong, independent woman that I really enjoyed (recommended by and RPer) was These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine by Nancy Turner and based on "the real-life exploits" of Turner's great-grandmother. Plus, there are follow-up books about this character.

    Here is a link that might be useful: These Is My Words

  • Kath
    12 years ago

    I am having a slow month too. After finishing John Robison's Look Me In The Eye I have followed up with the more recent Be Different, which is sort of like a guide for those with Asperger's Syndrome on how he has coped and things he has done to make life better for himself.
    I have also started Camilla Lackberg's second book, The Preacher.

  • vickitg
    12 years ago

    bookmom -- I'm also reading Before I Go to Sleep," and I'm quite intrigued. I'm not sure where it's going, but it's keeping me reading.

  • carolyn_ky
    12 years ago

    PAM, sorry to hear about your eye problem, and I wish you a speedy recovery.

    If you havent read Muriel Spark's A Far Cry from Kensington, you may enjoy it. I particularly liked the main character's diet plan; she simply ate half of whatever meal she had regardless of hunger or cost. I think that would probably work!

  • timallan
    12 years ago

    Carolyn KY: I will have to look for A Far Cry from Kensington, as I have always enjoyed Spark's novels. I think my favorite is The Girls of Slender Means. I also enjoyed the dark humor of Memento Mori.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    12 years ago

    I've just finished my 2nd Rennie Aird mystery: "The Blood Dimmed Tide". I like that the settings are in 1930's England. The author certainly knows how to pace a narrative, building the suspense gradually....

  • lemonhead101
    12 years ago

    Been working my way through a pile of books that I just have to get back to their rightful owner, plus one of them would make good fodder for my monthly book review column that I do for a local rag.

    The Perfect Storm is a YA epistolary novel based on the real-life Galveston hurricane that happened in September 1900. This was actually a really good read, and in fact, the descriptions of the "I was there" POV of the lashing of the rain and the winds and the utter destruction that was the result was really powerful, as when I put down the book to let the cat out, I opened the door fully expecting it to be rainy and windy, instead of 100 degrees that it was. (Sigh. This might also have been linked with the fact that we haven't had any measurable rain in the area since last October. Wishful thinking.)

    The other book was called Breathing, In Dust by Tim Z. Hernandez, which is really a series of short stories (more vignettes, really) of life in a poor urban Hispanic neighborhood of LA. Each story/vignette can stand on its own, but when read as a group, you can see threads of various stories and characters throughout the book. Although I didn't enter the book with very high expectations, it was still a good book and it's likely that the author made it pretty autobiographical. Like I said, I enjoyed it but it did seem rather as though it was a thesis or dissertation from a graduate writing program.

    So, as a complete change of pace (and being heavy with guilt from having too many books on the real-life TBR pile), I pulled out a Ruth Rendell book of short stories which I have had in my possession for absolutely ages. Titled Piranha to Scurfy, it is a really good collection of short stories that cover a wide range of topics. Not a murder in them (so far), but more of the unexpected twisty tales of Saki or perhaps The Twilight Zone... Thoroughly enjoying this one.

    And in the spirit of cleaning up the TBR pile, I pulled out the NF Stuff:Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost and gail Steketee. Starting off with famous Collyer brothers in NYC, the book has started really well, and I am looking forward to reading it with gratitude that I am not a hoarder (nor is any of my family). I think it would be tough to handle.

    So - that's my weekend ahead of me. Reading, reading, reading. (I hope. I do have the MIL in town, so there may not quite as much time reading as I hope...)

  • bookmom41
    12 years ago

    s_c, did you finish it yet? And if so, what did you think of the ending?

    Also, I appreciate the commentary on A Woman of Independent Means and do remember it was made into some sort of movie. It's one of those books I've always meant to read and the discussion here piqued my interest and reminded me to put it on my own TBR.

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