Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fall Reading 2007

I seem to have quite a pile of books in my "recently read" pile. Here's the recap (for anyone who is interested).

Princess at Sea
by Dawn Cook
fantasy, sequel to The Decoy Princess
The continuing story of the young woman raised to think she was a princess, only to find out that she was a stand-in. In this novel she goes from one desperate situation to another, some sparked by her own emotional impulses. I like the character despite her flaws, though I do wish she were not quite SO flawed. A quick read.

The Wizard of London
by Mercedes Lackey
fantasy, fourth in the Elemental Masters series
Another quick read, this one juggling viewpoints between "the good guys" and "the bad guys." This was much better than the first in The Serpent's Shadow, which was far too preachy for me. This one had flawed but largely believable characters, except for the two children who were nonetheless likable.

The Devil in the White City
Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed the World
by Erik Larson
This is a fascinating read that alternates chapters on the planning and execution of the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago with chapters on the story of a real-life serial killer who took advantage of people who were drawn to the fair. Either set of chapters would be an interesting enough read, but set against each other, they are entirely compelling. The serial killer chapters are not for the faint of heart, but it is a story that I think most people don't even know about. And the details of the famous (and would-later-be-famous) people involved in the Chicago World's Fair are terrific. It took me a while to get through this book, because I wasn't always in the mood to read about the devious and deadly, or about even the talented and egotistical (depending which chapter), but I recommend this highly.

Finding Serenity: Anti-heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly
edited by Jane Espenson with Glenn Yeffeth
For someone like me, a lover of the sadly-cancelled TV series Firefly, this is a great book of essays on various aspects of the series. Some discuss the subtle details of the craft of making the series: the music, or the way the visuals helped tell the story. One is a loving mini-memoir by Jewel Staite (Kaylee). Since I'm one of those people who has the series on DVD, I plan to re-watch some episodes to look for (or listen for) the things some of these other fans point out.

Traitor to the Blood
by Barb & J. C. Hendee
fantasy, fourth in the Noble Dead series
While not advancing Magiere's story, this installment gives us a good look into Leesil's history instead and some of the secondary characters get some additional depth as well. If you are interested, don't start with this one. Back up and start with Dhampir.

Definitely Dead
by Charlaine Harris
fantasy, another Southern Vampire Novel
Heroine Sooki Stackhouse goes to New Orleans in this one and picks up a new boyfriend. She also meets up with a wide variety of supernatural creatures including the vampire Queen of New Orleans. I love these stories and they are quick reads. I'd recommend starting at the beginning of this series too, the first was Dead until Dark.

Firestorm
by Rachel Caine
fantasy, Weather Warden book five
I love this series, with smart-ass main character Joanne Baldwin. In this installment she races across the country (more than once) trying to save her family, her co-workers, her own skin, and while she's at it, all of humanity. Never easy and this one ends with yet another surprise, or two.

Childish Things
by Timothy Wright
fantasy
I cannot be completely objective about this one because it was written by my nephew. It is a book about children discovering magic, this one set in America's Midwest. I am tickled that he wrote a novel, something that takes a longer attention span that I'm capable of these days. It was a good story and I enjoyed it very much. I loved the couple of inside-joke things I caught. This is available at Lulu press or through Amazon. It is possible there will be a sequel at some point, but right now my nephew is busy at law school.

Picnic, Lightning
by Billy Collins
poetry
My wife's aunt gave us this for Christmas last year (or was it the year before) and I didn't get around to reading this until this year. I love a lot of the poems in here. I wasn't familiar with Billy Collins, but I'll certainly be seeking out more of his work in the future. I like his conversational style and the knack he has for taking a quick turn at the end of the poem to lead you to a place you didn't see coming. My favorite poems in this book are "Fishing on the Susquehanna in July" and "Lines Lost Among Trees" but there are several others I'll be re-reading a lot.

I haven't picked out my next read yet, but there is always a stack next to the bed, so I'm sure by the end of tomorrow, I'll have my nose in another book.

6 comments:

June said...

I've read "Devil In The White City" and loved it. I was fascinated by both storylines. By the way, they're supposed to be making a movie of it in the near future.

sister AE said...

Hi, June,
Thanks for the info. I guess I'm glad that will bring more attention to the book, but I'm sure that I won't be in the audience - too creepy for me.

Maria said...

Haven't read any of those, but then...I think we have different tastes.

I tend to avoid anything sci fi or fantasy. And no romances. So...I am VERY hard to buy books for!

sister AE said...

Hi, Maria,
My dad grew up on pulp novels way back when and introduced me to Isaac Asimov. From those sci-fi books, I discovered fantasy. The real world I lived in was so small, I think the fantasy, where there were no limits were especially appealing.

KaraMia said...

I also read Devil in the White City, had to laugh because it took me awhile to get through it too, when normally i tear through a book in a day. We have alot of the same tastes in literature, i'll have to bookmark this list. I'm loving the weather warden series by Rachel Caine. Just started on the Jim Butcher series the Dresdin Files, bet you would like them as well. very well written.

sister AE said...

KaraMia,
My older brother mentioned I should look into the Dresden files too, although he was talking about the TV series version. Glad to know they are books, too. I'll definitely give them a try. Thanks for the tip.