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Recent reading

I haven't written a post keeping track of books in ages! I think I haven't organized my book-related records since 1/18/11! So here's what I've been reading since then (in pretty much random order):

Emma Donoghue, Room (on audio): I *adored* this book, which takes a very interesting tack in looking at how context affects how people see and interpret the world. I definitely want to read more of this author's stuff.

Jim Butcher, White Night (read aloud with Shannon): Shannon and I are both quite fond of the Harry Dresden series, so we had fun with this one. Jim Butcher's books don't require a lot of intellectual cogitation or emotional investment, but they're light and enjoyable.

Ellen Rogers, Kasey to the Rescue: A college kid is paralyzed in an accident, and his family has trouble dealing with the aftermath. Eventually, he gets a helper monkey (Kasey), who both helps and makes things harder. Since the book is (ostensibly) written by the kid's mother, it's a bit overly dramatic at times, but I still enjoyed it a lot. I like stories about helpful animals.

Ruth Nichols, A Walk Out of the World: I checked this fantasy novel out of the Anaheim Public Library several times in elementary school, and I recently decided that I wanted to track it down again and see what I would think of it 30 years later. I was surprised to find that I still really enjoyed it, though that enjoyment was probably influenced by the little sizzles of faint recognition I had when encountering certain illustrations, dialogue snippets, and plot events.

Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles (on audio): I've read these short stories on paper before, but I was curious to listen to them on audio, because my very first introduction to Ray Bradbury was when a substitute teacher read aloud to us from this book when I was in 6th grade. I was immediately ensnared, and have been a Bradbury fan ever since. I found that this book worked really well as an audiobook, except for one thing: the Martians' names aren't really pronounceable by English-speaking Earth-folk.

Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played with Fire: I'd read this book before, but I was excited to read it again while knowing all the answers to all the mysteries, and indeed I found it just as interesting the second time through. Of the three books in the trilogy, this is my favorite.

Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest: I decided I *had* to reread this book, because I had reread the previous novel in the series (The Girl Who Played with Fire), and the story is left utterly unresolved at the end of that book. But I found that Hornet's Nest wasn't very interesting as a reread, so I ended up skipping to the exciting stuff at the end, which was still, admittedly, pretty exciting.

Jonathan Franzen, Freedom: I read this literary novel for my book group, and I've had conflicting feelings about it. I think the writing is quite good, but I found most of the characters annoying. In particular, I thought Franzen's female characters were almost all pathetic, whiny, dependent, manipulative, selfish, passive, mean, or some combination of all of these. There was only one (kinda important) female character in the books whose life did not revolve around men. But, then, most of the male characters' lives revolved around women, too, now that I think about it. At first, I really liked the book; then, maybe 2/3 of the way through, I actively hated it; and now, having read the whole thing, I'm uncertain. Perhaps discussing it in the book group will help me organize my thoughts.

Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss: Ahhh ... young adult romance in Paris! What could be better? But seriously, this book is pure fluff, but very enjoyable to read. Of course, it helps that I'm a big fan of Paris, but most of the story takes place within the American boarding school the kids attend.

Jasper Fforde, The Big Over Easy (on audio): I luuuurve Jasper Fforde! If I wasn't already married, I'd marry him! If I wasn't certain I don't want children, I'd have his little literarily humorous babies! I'm a big fan of the Thursday Next series, but I've read all those novels, so when I needed a Fforde Fix, I turned to his Nursery Crimes series, and I enjoyed it a lot. I think I still like the Thursday Next books better, but this was entertaining in much the same way.

Roger Zelazny, Nine Princes in Amber (read aloud with Shannon): I guess everyone has read this book except me, so Shannon and I decided to read it aloud together. (He's read it before. Possibly multiple times.) I particularly enjoyed the early parts of the book, in which fantasy and reality rub up against each other, but the pure fantasy stuff later is good, too.


Books recently set aside due to disinterest and/or terrible writing:

Johnny Weir, Welcome to My World: I got bored. He's more interesting live/on video than he is on paper. I might pick this up again (i.e., get it again from the library) sometime in the future, but for now I have other things to read.

Sophie Hannah, The Wrong Mother: I'm still interested in reading this novel, but I found it too unpleasant for vacation reading, which was when I chanced to pick it up. I'll get around to it some other time.

Robin Hobb, Dragon Keeper (reading aloud with Shannon): Such terrible, terrible writing! And I loved some of her other books so dearly! Very disappointing.

D. N. Simmons, Desires Unleashed: Knights of the Darkness Chronicles: I only got a few pages into this book before banging my head against the wall and asking myself why in the world I spent good money on it. I only bought it because it was not available at any libraries I have access to ... and now I know why: it's worse than most fanfic! Wow, this novel is, I think, the worst I've ever read (a bit of) that had actually been professionally published.


Books I'm currently working on:

Jasper Fforde, The Fourth Bear (on audio): I find that Jasper Fforde's books make pretty good audio listening, except that they occasional contain jokes that rely on spelling, capitalization, punctuation, or other printed signals.

Roger Zelazny, The Guns of Avalon (reading aloud with Shannon): We've barely begun this one, so I don't have much of a feel for it yet.

Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, Intuitive Eating: I've only read a few pages of this so far, but it looks very interesting. It was recommended to me by a friend who is a counselor, because I was talking about how I don't have a real sense for healthy eating, and it looks like it might be really useful.

Jim Butcher, Side Jobs (reading aloud with Shannon): This collection of short stories about the wizard/P.I. Harry Dresden includes tales from various places in the Dresden series, so Shannon and I have been reading aloud a story here and there, when we reach the appropriate points.


Books up soon on the docket:

Dan Wells, I Am Not A Serial Killer: roadnotes recommended this book to me recently, and I think it looks really interesting. I may start reading it this evening.

Albert Camus, The Stranger: I read this in high school, but I remember pretty much nothing about it ... except that I didn't like it. My book group is going to be discussing it in April, so I figured this would be a good time to revisit the novel and see if a couple decades of life experience have changed my feelings. (For that matter, perhaps I should reread A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, A Farewell to Arms, and every other novel I hated in high school. 'Cause tastes change! On second thought, no, I'm not willing to give Hemingway another go. Death in the Afternoon put me off him forever.)

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
19_crows
Mar. 20th, 2011 12:50 am (UTC)
Hey, I read Casey to the Rescue! I got a free review copy from Goodreads. It was interesting and I liked the parts about how they train the monkeys, but I agree it was overly dramatic and I wanted to know more about specific things Kasey did for her guy.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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