Wookiebender's 100 books in 2013

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Wookiebender's 100 books in 2013

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1wookiebender
Editado: Dez 31, 2012, 9:46 pm

Well, it is actually 2013 here in Australia, so about time I set up my thread. :)

Looking forward to reading some great books this year, and continuing to share book chatter with the lovely LibraryThingers!

Pippi was thoughtful and finally sat still on her favourite bookshelf last night, so I finally got a quick cat-and-books snap for this thread:

2wookiebender
Editado: Jan 1, 2014, 2:35 am

Books read so far:

1. Out of Africa and Shadows in the Grass by Karen Blixen
2. Candide, or Optimism by Voltaire
3. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
4. The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
5. The Curse of the Thirteenth Fey: The True Tale of Sleeping Beauty by Jane Yolen

6. The Silver Door, Emily Rodda
7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling
8. Mr Darcy's Undoing, Abigail Reynolds
9. A Confusion of Princes, Garth Nix
10. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente

11. Tales From Outer Suburbia, Shaun Tan
12. The Watch Tower, Elizabeth Harrower
13. In Watermelon Sugar, Richard Brautigan
14. Among Others, Jo Walton
15. Dodger, Terry Pratchett

16. Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan
17. Death Note Vol 2: Confluence, Tsugumi Ohba
18. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
19. Amsterdam, Ian McEwan
20. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle

21. Moon Over Soho, Ben Aaronovitch
22. Redshirts, John Scalzi
23. Sweet Tooth, Ian McEwan
24. A House in the Uplands, Erskine Caldwell
25. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
The Mountain, Drusilla Modjeska (DNF)

26. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
27. A Boy's Own Story, Edmund White
28. Beowulf, Seamus Heaney (trans.)
29. The Facts In The Case Of The Departure Of Miss Finch, Neil Gaiman
30. Galore, Michael Crummey

31. The Orphan Master's Son, Adam Johnson
32. Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters, Rick Riordan
33. High Rising, Angela Thirkell
34. An Owl Came to Stay, Claire Rome
35. Tooth and Claw, Jo Walton

36. Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal
37. The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi
38. The Dark Winter, David Mark
39. Daytripper, Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon
40. Snow, Orhan Pamuk

41. The Bone Season, Samantha Shannon
42. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle
43. Amulet: The Stonekeeper, Kazu Kibuishi
44. Dead Beat, Jim Butcher
45. Christine Falls, Benjamin Black

46. Glamour in Glass, Mary Robinette Kowal
47. Whispers Under Ground, Ben Aaronovitch
48. Wild Strawberries, Angela Thirkell
49. The French Lieutenant's Woman, John Fowles
50. Percy Jackson and the Titan's Curse, Rick Riordan

51. The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
52. Silent on the Moor, Deanna Raybourn
53. The Inimitable Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse
54. The Shining Girls, Lauren Beukes
55. My Family and Other Animals, Gerald Durrell

56. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman
57. Proven Guilty, Jim Butcher
58. Hounded, Kevin Hearne
59. The Stonekeeper's Curse, Kazu Kibuishi
60. The Cloud Searchers, Kazu Kibuishi

61. The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss
62. High Sobriety: My Year without Booze, Jill Stark
63. Broken Homes, Ben Aaronovitch
64. The Long Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
65. The Final Empire, Brandon Sanderson

66. The Homecoming, Carsten Stroud
67. The Rook, Daniel O'Malley
68. Pattern Recognition, William Gibson
69. Wool, Hugh Howey
70. Blood and Iron, Elizabeth Bear

71. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
72. Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare
73. My Dead Body, Charlie Huston
74. The Hound of the Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle
75. The Illustrated Man, Ray Bradbury

76. In a Lonely Place, Dorothy B. Hughes
77. Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth, Rick Riordan
78. Drood, San Simmons
79. The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson
80. Mrs de Winter, Susan Hill

81. Boneshaker, Cherie Priest
82. Jack Glass, Adam Roberts
83. Tamara Drewe, Posy Simmons
84. Every Breath, Ellie Marney
85. Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein

86. Throne of Glass, Sarah J. Maas
87. Old Man's War, John Scalzi
88. The Affinity Bridge, George Mann
89. Dreadnought, Cherie Priest
90. NOS4R2, Joe Hill

91. Locke and Key: Keys to the Kingdom, Joe Hill
92. Seeing a Large Cat, Elizabeth Peters
93. Bitterblue, Kristin Cashore
94. The Unwritten volume 4: Leviathan, Mike Carey
95. Ganymede, Cherie Priest

96. Locke and Key: Clockworks, Joe Hill
97. Raising Steam, Terry Pratchett
98. A Question of Upbringing, Anthony Powell
99. A Buyer's Market, Anthony Powell
100. Saga, Brian K. Vaughn

3judylou
Jan 1, 2013, 2:03 am

Well done Pippi!

4wookiebender
Jan 1, 2013, 3:05 am

She can be a lovely cat, although a total Mistress Underfoot. She and her sister Sweet Pea are both rescue cats (dumped/abandoned at six weeks). And then there's Porchie, who adopted us as a friendly stray, a pretty little tortoiseshell, who needs to go on a serious diet!

5BekkaJo
Jan 1, 2013, 4:16 am

Happy New Year - wishing you a happy, healthy book filled 2013.

6Eyejaybee
Jan 1, 2013, 7:05 am

Happy new year, and happy reading!

Pippi looks beautiful - a lovely reading companion!

7lauralkeet
Jan 1, 2013, 7:19 am

Thanks for linking from your old to new threads, and happy New Year!

8wookiebender
Jan 1, 2013, 7:28 am

Happy new year, everyone! I've kick started the year with some great reading - polishing off Out of Africa and Shadows in the Grass and now thoroughly into Candide. (Thank you Penguin for the comprehensive notes!)

9jfetting
Jan 1, 2013, 9:53 am

Welcome back and Happy New Year!

10katiekrug
Jan 1, 2013, 10:13 am

Hi Tania, I've followed your reading over the past year and always enjoy your comments on the threads we both follow in the 75ers. I look forward to more of the same. Happy New Year!

11rosalita
Jan 1, 2013, 12:41 pm

Pippi looks very queenly there on her bookshelf perch! Looking forward to your reading adventures in 2013.

12CynWetzel
Jan 1, 2013, 3:04 pm

>8 wookiebender: I've never read Out of Africa; the movie was just so heart-wrenching. I think I start crying the first time she gets mad at him and don't stop till it ends. I checked Audible to see if maybe, just maybe, Meryl Streep did the narration for the audio book, but it's Julie Christie. I'll have to read the print, then; it could only be Streep's voice in my head. ;)

13ronincats
Jan 1, 2013, 8:20 pm

Ha, I KNEW I could find the new group by going to your thread! Now I've joined and am off to set up my own thread. Happy New Year, all!

14wookiebender
Jan 2, 2013, 4:41 am

Hello all, and welcome to 2013!

#12> I've never seen the movie of Out of Africa, but I am intrigued by it, if only because there's no real plot to the book, it's a series of vignettes and reminiscences. And she's quite discreet as well, it's not until the end that I realised "oh, they were *lovers*"! I'd like to see the movie now, and I'd also like to read a biography of Baroness Blixen, she was great, and I loved her love for Africa.

15wookiebender
Jan 2, 2013, 4:43 am

1. Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass by Karen Blixen



Review pending, but don't hold your breath this time of year.

****1/2

16divinenanny
Jan 2, 2013, 9:03 am

Finding you again :D

17richardderus
Jan 2, 2013, 9:56 am

All is for the best in this best of all possible threads, Tania. More reading joy than ever in the year to come!

18CynWetzel
Jan 2, 2013, 11:45 am

>14 wookiebender: I did some research online after I posted, and apparently the movie was written more from her biographies than from the actual content in her book.

19wookiebender
Jan 2, 2013, 6:10 pm

Hi divinenanny! You know I'd never stray far from the 100 book group. :)

Good morning Richard! And LOL for your comment. I've starred you over in the 75 group, but haven't had a chance to really visit there and say Hi properly.

Cyn, yes, I think I did the same thing. :) Will have to track down a copy of one of the biographies, she's really quite modest in the book and mostly talks about Africa, not herself. Makes me want to visit Africa.

20wookiebender
Jan 2, 2013, 6:12 pm

2. Candide, or Optimism by Voltaire



Review pending, but don't hold your breath this time of year.

***1/2 (or maybe a bit more, I might change this over the next few days, as I ponder it further...)

21clfisha
Jan 6, 2013, 1:29 pm

Just stopping by to say hi and good luck in the new year!

22ronincats
Jan 6, 2013, 1:48 pm

I'm thinking you should have finished a third book by now...?

23wookiebender
Jan 6, 2013, 7:08 pm

Thanks, clfisha!

Roni, I'm actually going rather slowly through Gulliver's Travels - it's got some plodding bits, and reading time was curtailed on the weekend through having a fun busy outdoors time. I have the sunburn to prove it. (And, yes, I did put on sunscreen!) Quiet day at home today, hopefully I'll get it done, or at least close to being done.

24wookiebender
Jan 8, 2013, 6:24 pm

3. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift



Review pending, but can I just say that Gulliver is a pompous windbag?

***1/2

25judylou
Jan 9, 2013, 2:16 am

Yes, you can!

26wookiebender
Jan 9, 2013, 2:40 am

Oh, I know it's the point of Gulliver that he's a bit of an idiot, but it did mean I had to grit my teeth at times to get through sections...

27wookiebender
Jan 10, 2013, 5:48 pm

4. The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson



The day that Allan Emmanuel Karlsson turns 100, he climbs out the window of his nursing home and heads off on an adventure. On the way, we get the story of his life, which encompasses many of the major events of the 20th century.

I did like his stories about meeting some of the bigger names of the 20th century - Franco, Truman, Mao, etc - and I also liked Allan, whose inability to care about politics was refreshing, and it was good seeing someone still wanting to live life (and drink truly heroic quantities of vodka) at 100 years old. (We should all be so lucky.)

However, I thought the current day story fairly ordinary. I wasn't won over by any of his new friends, and I found the bumbling police irritating, rather than funny.

Bit of a mixed bag, but recommended mostly for the charming Allan.

***1/2

28judylou
Jan 10, 2013, 6:02 pm

I have this one on my reader just waiting for me to get to it. I have been looking forward to it.

29wookiebender
Jan 10, 2013, 6:05 pm

Yes, I posted a photo of one of the cats curled up around my copy of the book on FaceBook, and instantly got chatter about the book, not the cat. This could say something about my friends... but also points out this particular book's popularity this summer.

30wookiebender
Jan 10, 2013, 6:07 pm



I haven't had much luck posting images from Twitter, let's hope this one works. :) It's Sweet Pea, bossier sister of Pippi (from the first post above), fast asleep in the heat of Tuesday's heatwave, with my (then) current read, and my previous read in the background too. :)

31judylou
Jan 10, 2013, 6:08 pm

I would have assumed cats always got precedence when on FB!

32wookiebender
Jan 10, 2013, 7:00 pm

I know, where would the Internet be without cats?? But my friends all focused on the book... Weirdos, but I love 'em. ;)

33ronincats
Jan 10, 2013, 10:28 pm

Oh, that's a great cat picture, Tania!! Love it!

34wookiebender
Editado: Jan 11, 2013, 10:07 pm

5. The Curse of the Thirteenth Fey: The True Tale of Sleeping Beauty by Jane Yolen



Young Gorse is the thirteenth child in her rambunctious fey family, with sisters, brothers, cousins, and aunts (so many, that one does lose track rather). No uncles, but that's another story.

She's the reader of her family, and with her elven father, spends a lot of time in the family library, where due to a quirk of physics, they can get any book from any where, any time. For a fairy, Gorse knows a lot.

And then the family are Bid to give the local brat of a princess some gifts. The actual gifting comes quite late in the book, as it takes a lot of effort to get Gorse there.

A rather rambling tale, but wonderful to read. I did particularly like the spoilt annoying Princess Talia, even though she's not in it much.

****

Thanks to Miss Boo for finding this at the library, and *insisting* on bringing it home, even though it was well over her head. :)

35wookiebender
Jan 11, 2013, 4:43 am

And Pippi being photogenic with books again:



Kudos to Don for snapping this sleeping puss.

36lauralkeet
Jan 11, 2013, 7:45 am

Aw, it goes without saying I love the books, but I also love the cats!

37mabith
Jan 11, 2013, 9:44 am

Great to see your new reads, and all these kitty photos! My cat is the lightest sleeping cat I've ever known and wakes up just from me turning on the camera, let alone walking near her, so it's a heroic accomplishment when I can take a cute sleeping picture of her.

38CynWetzel
Jan 11, 2013, 3:56 pm

>34 wookiebender: Oh! Oh! Oh!
Must.Have.Must.Read.

39wookiebender
Jan 11, 2013, 10:10 pm

#33, #36, #37> Usually my cat photos have a lot of blurs, as they will not stay still! I think the "click" of the iPhone camera makes them interested, and they instantly move closer to see what's happening... I've been lucky the past few weeks!

#38> Cyn, it was a good read! I know I've read Jane Yolen before, but I can't remember which books!! Years ago, as a teenager. And I've read some of her "How do Dragons..." books to the kids when they were younger. It was a really charming read, if a bit all over the place at times. :) I've added a brief review above now.

40ronincats
Jan 13, 2013, 12:27 am

Oh, that is a WONDERFUL photo of Pippi! And that is a Jane Yolen I haven't read yet--onto the wishlist it goes.

41wookiebender
Jan 13, 2013, 5:33 am

She was very photogenic that day. :)

I'm actually wondering about other Jane Yolen novels - she's written *so* much, I'm a bit overwhelmed! I guess if I stick with her fairy tale retellings...?

42mabith
Jan 13, 2013, 8:54 am

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen is quite good. Her Young Merlin trilogy is definitely children's rather than YA, but I loved it as a kid. She also edited these anthologies focused on various creatures/characterse Here There Be Witches, Here There Be Unicorns, etc... They're a mix of stories, poetry, and various excerpts, with lovely black and white pencil drawings. I have a sad feeling that they're all out of print now, but if you ever see them, I think they're neat to have around.

43wookiebender
Jan 14, 2013, 6:11 am

Thanks mabith! I'll keep my eyes open.

44Erratic_Charmer
Jan 14, 2013, 6:22 am

I put up details of the Pagan category challenge I'm doing in my thread in this group. Want to read with me? :)

45wookiebender
Jan 14, 2013, 6:29 am

#44> Thanks, I saw your rather excellent list! But it's not my usual reading area, so I shall skip. Looking forward to your comments on the mythology section.

46wookiebender
Jan 19, 2013, 8:07 pm

6. The Silver Door, Emily Rodda



The second in the Three Doors trilogy, this is another entertaining adventure with Rye and Sonia continuing their quest to find who is sending the skimmers (vicious dragon like creatures) to their walled city of Weld, this time travelling beyond the silver door.

It's got a strange quirk of plot, in that at the beginning of this book, they are still on the other side of the golden door, so the first few chapters involve getting back to Weld, and then getting ready to go through the silver door. This is a rather awkward and slow start to the book, it must be said.

Through the silver door they find yet another completely different aspect to their world, one with flesh eating snails (ew), giant predatory birds, and all the human inhabitants enslaved to a mysterious Master.

Again, there were plot holes where things are glossed over or not very well explained, but overall this was a good fun story that Mr Bear and I both enjoyed. Rye and Sonia are both excellent heroes to adventure with.

***1/2

47wookiebender
Jan 19, 2013, 8:10 pm

7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling



In the meantime, Miss Boo and I finished the second Harry Potter book. I think I've got nothing new to say here, I am a fan of all the books, and it was fun introducing her to further Harry Potter adventures.

****

48judylou
Jan 19, 2013, 8:16 pm

I so enjoyed reading chapter books with my kids when they were in primary school. So many of my favourites were read to them then.

49wookiebender
Editado: Jan 19, 2013, 8:32 pm

8. Mr Darcy's Undoing, Abigail Reynolds



A rather intriguing idea: what if Lizzie Bennett accepts another man's proposal of marriage after Mr Darcy's first disastrous proposal?

Back home after dodging Mr Darcy's badly put offer of marriage, Lizzie Bennett runs into an old friend of the family, Mr Covington, who proposes to Lizzie after a pleasant, if a little staid, courtship. She accepts, since it seems that Jane will not marry after all and she feels responsibility towards the future of her family, and because she respects Mr Covington, as she did not respect either Mr Collins or Mr Darcy.

Cue Mr Darcy's arrival on the scene, all full of contrition and better self awareness and ready to make things right between Jane and Mr Bingley, and between himself and Lizzie.

Abigail Reynolds has weaved in snippets of Jane Austen's original story, so every now and then I found myself reading something very familiar. However, the story itself is obviously completely new, if it still uses many scenes and story lines from the classic Pride and Prejudice. Unfortunately, it's not half as fun as the original story, as Lizzie and Darcy are already in love at the start and the original story's joy was watching their attitudes change. There is very little tension as we are given too much insight into Darcy and Lizzie and their emotions with their internal monologues. And plot wise there is far too much sitting around talking, and altogether too many explicit sex scenes, as this seems to be soft porn for Austen aficionados, rather than a clever re-imagining of beloved classic.

Jane Austen would be spinning in her grave.

**

50wookiebender
Jan 19, 2013, 8:35 pm

#48> I am having fun revisiting old favourites too, even if Narnia doesn't work so well as an adult. I'll be sad when they deem themselves too old to be read to!

Although I was talking to a friend who works with school kids of all ages (5 to 17) in a sort of camp situation, and apparently the old kids scoff at the idea of a bedtime story, until after a few nights when they then can't live without their bedtime story. :)

She's desperate for books that can be read in a 12 night timeframe, about 15 minutes a night. Harry Potter is too long, the shorter Roald Dahl novels work pretty well though. Does anyone know any good short stories for kids?

51wookiebender
Jan 21, 2013, 10:09 pm

9. A Confusion of Princes, Garth Nix



I have died three times, and three times been reborn, though I am not yet twenty in the old Earth years by which it is still the fashion to measure time.

So begins the wonderfully titled A Confusion of Princes, a rather ambitious and entertaining adventure with the unspeakably spoilt and self-interested Prince Khemri. Of course, he's not allowed to remain spoilt the entire book, but it does take him a while to stop being so damn smug and superior with his enhanced body and PsiTek.

The world that Nix has created is fabulous, with its 10 million bio-enhanced princes all fighting to be emperor, assisted by large bevvies of priests and their very own Master of Assassins.

Hell, if I had my own Master of Assassins, I think I'd run for Emperor too.

It's not a perfect book, there are some fairly gaping holes, but it was a very entertaining read, so I was perfectly satisfied. It wasn't until I finished that I thought "hang on a minute, I don't think that really made sense..."

****

52judylou
Jan 22, 2013, 1:49 am

It wasn't until I finished that I thought "hang on a minute, I don't think that really made sense..."

How often does that happen !!

53wookiebender
Jan 22, 2013, 2:26 am

Better if it happens *after* reading than during. :)

54clfisha
Jan 22, 2013, 7:38 am

heh I get that with films all the time.. I consider it a good movie if I can get to the end without thinking hang on a sec.

Mind you I had a rant about the last Batman film until someone pointed out a grown man fighting crime in a bat suit isn't exactly realistic :)

55wookiebender
Jan 23, 2013, 6:25 am

I have moments of "hang on..." in movies, but they seem to rush you onto the next plot twist/explosion/dialogue so fast I don't seem to have a chance to really pull them apart until afterwards. :)

LOL to the guy in the bat suit fighting crime! One should never really look too deeply into the super hero genre. :)

56snarkhunting
Editado: Jan 23, 2013, 2:07 pm

Just stopping by to say hello.

27: Talk about an interesting title!

57wookiebender
Jan 24, 2013, 6:03 am

Hello! It is a pretty interesting book, too! Other people seem to love it much more than I did, but I'd still recommend it.

58BekkaJo
Jan 24, 2013, 11:58 am

I'm so behind! SO quick catch up...
#24 - he really is isn't he! Glad it wasn't just me.
CUTE book cat! I'm not normally a feline fan but she looks adorable.
#49 Snarf. Will be avoiding like the plague - that sounds dreadful!

59wookiebender
Jan 24, 2013, 6:54 pm

Hi Bekka! It's hard to keep up with everything, no worries if it's a long time between visits. :)

Apparently the other "what if..." stories she's written around Pride and Prejudice (and there are a few, she's a veritable factory of them) are better. And if one is *looking* for some Austen with explicit sex scenes, it will probably do very nicely. However, I was not.

60BekkaJo
Jan 25, 2013, 9:09 am

Just sounds really really wrong to me - so against the ethos of the original! I'll pass - but I have scheduled your 4 1/2 starred Out of Africa for later this year :)

61Nickelini
Jan 25, 2013, 3:45 pm

Have you had a chance to watch Out of Africa yet? It's one of my favourite films, even if it is so completely different from the book, which I loved first. But really, the book is un-filmable, so there you go.

62wookiebender
Jan 25, 2013, 5:02 pm

Bekka, do read it! It's definitely worth while.

Hi Joyce! I'm afraid I rarely watch movies at home, so don't hold your breath. (Too busy reading which is more easily interrupted by smallish children than a movie; and since Don usually browses the video shop what we rent too often ends up being heavy on explosions.) But thanks for the reminder, I'll try and remember to get out a movie for myself sometime soon!!

63wookiebender
Editado: Fev 5, 2013, 6:00 am

10. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente



September is a young girl who is whisked away from a dull life (currently washing tea cups) in Omaha and taken to Fairyland by the Green Wind and his leopard. There she has a number of adventures, while realising that adventures can be rather hard work.

I didn't enjoy this as much as I was hoping I would - it all seemed rather arch and self-consciously clever. Add to that overly flowery language, and a large number of times I had to go back and re-read entire pages because my mind could not grasp the meaning of the words. (It's a problem I have: I can't read poetry to save myself, either.)

The adventures however are quite compelling and unusual, and September's friend the wyverary, named "A through L", is wonderful. I want a wyverary!

***1/2

64Nickelini
Jan 30, 2013, 10:47 am

#63 - My daughter read that last year and has moved it to my TBR. Love the title.

65CynWetzel
Jan 30, 2013, 1:32 pm

66wookiebender
Jan 31, 2013, 4:52 am

#64> It was rather good, but I'm afraid I'm not the fan that others were. I hope you enjoy it!

#65> I haven't even seen it in the shops here.

67clfisha
Jan 31, 2013, 7:58 am

Not yet, hoping to later in the year. I did like the 1st one.

68wookiebender
Fev 5, 2013, 6:04 am

11. Tales from Outer Suburbia, Shaun Tan



A wonderful collection of short stories with illustrations, as well as short stories where the illustrations *are* the story. Well worth reading, and poring over the wonderful imagery.

The art is more varied from what I'm used to in his other works, but it is all quite wonderful.

Special mention for the story about poetry that goes unread; a beautiful tale, and highly imaginatively illustrated.

****1/2

69wookiebender
Fev 5, 2013, 6:05 am

Oh, and I finally got around to a brief review for The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland: http://www.librarything.com/topic/147134#3875638 (just above a few messages).

70msf59
Editado: Fev 5, 2013, 7:01 am



You were lost! And now you are found. Sorry, my friend. You know you are a special LT pal...right? I'll be back.

71vancouverdeb
Fev 5, 2013, 7:06 am

Stopping by to say hi and dropping a star, Tania!

72BekkaJo
Fev 5, 2013, 11:48 am

#63 Took me a while to get into it - and I can see what you mean... but I ended up loving it :)

73snarkhunting
Fev 6, 2013, 12:41 pm

#68: I love looking at all the different covers books like these have. I think I can see what you mean by varied artwork. The cover I'm used to seeing is this one:



Cool stuff!

74wookiebender
Fev 6, 2013, 4:46 pm

Hi Mark, Hi Deb! Thanks for dropping by. :)

Bekka, I did like it more as I read on, but I still found the language/smugness difficult all the way through. The plot is good though, and is quite unlike most other books out there.

Now, I bought it for my niece for her birthday (a month ago now, and we still haven't caught up!), I'm not sure if I should give it to her or not...

@allthesepieces - I like your cover better than mine! (Wah! Cover envy!) The diver story was a great one, too. Have you read it yet? His other books have all been quite consistent in terms of art - both within the books and across the books I've read there's a particular "look" he has. This one had all different styles, and only one or two reminded me of his other books.

75judylou
Fev 6, 2013, 5:58 pm

hmmm I think I have a crush on Mr Tan ;o)

76wookiebender
Editado: Fev 6, 2013, 7:46 pm

LOL! I have the definite feeling that if I were ever to run into him, I'd do some sort of geeky fangirl "reallyloveyourwork" mumble, accompanied by far too much blushing. (I know, I did that to China Mieville once.)

Oooh, if we're going to name drop author names, I did go and see Neil Gaiman the other week in Sydney - he read from his upcoming (due May) book The Ocean at the End of the Lane (and the nice publishers also gave us a printed copy of the first three chapters). First adult novel in 8 years or something. He was charming, funny, clever, awesome. (Susan Wyndham - the SMH's literary editor - was in the audience and wrote a nice column about it. Sadly, can't find it online.)

He also had the string quartet Four Play, for incidental music during the reading of Fortunately the Milk (due in October, a very silly kids' book) and they do a killer cover of the Doctor Who theme.

77Zefariath
Editado: Fev 6, 2013, 9:01 pm

Stopping by to say hi, and see all the cute cat pictures and what your up to reading this year!

Re: Out of Africa, gee I read that in college for a class, over half a lifetime ago (ack now i feel old.. and think of other books i ought to reread, like the Kalevala which I haven't read in even a longer time)

Re: Briar Rose, ... I vaguely remember that and that I didn't at the time find it one of the better ones in that series, and I have to someday get those books in that series I am missing.

Re: 76 (Neil Gaiman) Congrats on getting to see him, I saw him once a long long time ago, I believe he was reading his short story Snow, Glass, Apples which I picked up a signed copy of :) Illustrated by one of my 2 Favorite Artists, Charles Vess (the other artist is Thomas Canty.)

And time for me to go read a bit, before bed. Maybe if I read a thread or 2 a night I shall actually be able to keep up with this group this year. But that is less time reading!

78wookiebender
Fev 6, 2013, 9:12 pm

Oh, I'd never heard of The Kalevala before! Finnish poetry, that's something that is sadly under represented on my shelves. :)

Sadly, nothing signed by Gaiman in my collection. He wasn't signing this time, although a small number of randomly chosen books were signed -I was not a lucky bunny in that I didn't get one of those.

I find YouTube my main source of time-wasting-when-I-could-be-reading. I've been shockingly addicted to The Lizzie Bennett Diaries, lately. An awesome updating of our favourite, Pride and Prejudice. Boo! Hiss! to George Wickham, even more a cad and a bounder than he was in the original.

79CynWetzel
Fev 6, 2013, 9:52 pm

>76 wookiebender: Oh, bless you, wookie, for passing along the info on Gaiman! I haven't been keeping up with him and I have been thinking a lot recently that damn, I wish he'd write something new! It's been a long time since Graveyard. Yay! Can't wait.

80clfisha
Fev 7, 2013, 5:49 am

I think Catherynne M. Valente is an acquired taste, her language is very rich indeed, although it was toned down in her kids book. I thin it works really well in something like Palimpsest. Mind you I am a huge fan so I maybe biased ;)

and Shaun Tan is practically a god ;) I loved that short story about the poetry.

81wookiebender
Fev 7, 2013, 6:32 pm

#79> It is hard to keep up with everyone out there! I generally just stumble across their books in the bookshop and think "finally!"

#80> I'll probably give her another go (although maybe via the library this time ;). And I think we have a few members of the Cult of Shaun Tan around here! He really is remarkably talented.

82judylou
Fev 7, 2013, 6:49 pm

Your imagined meeting with Mr Tan reminds me of when I bumped into Peter Garrett at the airport a couple of years ago. My husband marched up to him, shook his hand, and started talking about politics. Meanwhile I stopped dead 2 metres away from him, my jaw dropped, I think I drooled a little and started chanting (silently) Oils! Oils! Oils!

I guess I would do much the same for a special author as well *sigh*

83mabith
Fev 7, 2013, 7:20 pm

I think my time working in a bookstore inured me to getting excited about authors - too many gossipy, big-headed people! Granted, I have never been faced with meeting Terry Pratchett or Daniel Pinkwater.

84wookiebender
Fev 7, 2013, 7:30 pm

Judy, I'm with you! Oils! Oils! Oils! :)

#83> I must admit, Jasper Fforde did come across a bit beyond smug. But we have a small industry in Australia, and our authors seem to err much more on the side of "you've **heard** of me? you like me? you **really** like me??"

A friend of mine is a sales rep for one of the larger publishers, and she gets to ferry around big(gish) name authors sometimes and chat with them. She's had a great time, hanging out with people who write stuff she loves. Sadly, it's the bookshop staff that she has the worst time with! (I've blacklisted two shops after they were incredibly rude to her, plus I'm snarky to one staff member at one of my favourite shops for being a big ol' meanie too. Although apparently she's mean to everyone.)

And she's a great supplier of free books. ;)

85wookiebender
Fev 7, 2013, 7:31 pm

Oh, and while we're having a Shaun Tan love-in, http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/exhibitions/oopsatoreum.php

The book is currently available in Sydney shops, and I can't wait for the exhibition! I saw his last collaboration with the Museum, Odditoreum, and failed to buy the book and have been KICKING myself ever since.

86judylou
Fev 7, 2013, 7:42 pm

Thanks for that link. I saw the laptop messenger in the paper last weekend. A wonderful invention ;o) And I think the name oopsatoreum is just perfect!!

87Zefariath
Fev 7, 2013, 9:14 pm

#> 78 For a time, I was entranced by folk and fairy tales, and have a small shelf of books; I still enjoy them, and modern versions. Everything from the Arabian Nights though not Burton's many volume edition to The Victorian Fairy Tale Book. The Kalevala is an amazing story though ... comparable in a way to the Odyssey or Illiad, and actually the meter of the poem or poems (not sure if it is considered one or a collection) would be familiar to anyone who has read "The Song of Hiawatha" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Which I admit I haven't read any of till just now looking it up to check). Maybe that should be on my books to read this year.

#91> I worked at a bookstore (a largish size Waldenbooks) from '91 to 97.... We did have quite a few author signings, they seemed like decent people, though I don't think we had a lot of big names the only really famous ones I remember are Robert B. Parker, and Dennis Lehane (he was just on his first or second book, when he came). I'm sure there might have been other popular folks, but being the SF/Fantasy fan (with a dash of mystery and general fiction plus assorted random non-fiction) they didn't really stick in my mind.

I remember the books that came out in that time so much better though :) Since we would all end up working in all parts of the store, I remember so many books, that i would never read, ever since then, I always have felt a bit out of touch with the book world, not knowing all the stuff as it comes out. Don't miss the cranky customers though, or working weekends/nights/holidays ... especially don't miss the Christmas season.

88clfisha
Fev 8, 2013, 4:29 am

85 Shaun Tan exhibition? Wonder if I can invent a transportation device in time..

I can never speak to authors I have read, I just stare dumbly. I was so proud of myself when I managed to say a coherent sentence to Iain Banks last year. Making progress. My next task is talk to Patrick Ness, maybe say "Hello, I like your books" (who is coming it Bath, UK in April if anyone lives nearby).

89wookiebender
Fev 13, 2013, 5:40 am

Just dropping a link to Neil Gaiman's talk the other week in Sydney - hopefully it's available outside of Australia (but if not, I'm sure it'll appear on YouTube soon :). Here's the video:

http://www.themonthly.com.au/evening-neil-gaiman-7459

And I believe this is just the audio:

https://soundcloud.com/sydney-writers-festival/sydney-writers-festival-an

90wookiebender
Fev 13, 2013, 5:44 am

#87> Yep, friends of mine in the book retailing business have some corker stories to tell about bizarre/evil customers. Huzzah for working in IT, and only occasionally crawling out from our dungeon office to blink in the blinding sunlight and be grumpy at users... ;)

#88> I am impressed, I don't think I'd be able to manage a coherent sentence in the presence of Iain Banks (I have not read nearly enough Culture novels). Good luck with Ness! Love his "Chaos Walking" series.

91wookiebender
Editado: Fev 13, 2013, 6:03 am

12. The Watch Tower, Elizabeth Harrower



Hey, it turns out that the current Australian literary obsession with dysfunctional families is nothing new. Written in 1966, this is a sadly neglected classic about two young sisters, Laura and Claire, who have some of the worst luck I've ever come across in literature.

Set in the 1940s in Sydney, Laura and Claire are removed from their expensive boarding school on the death of their father. Laura dreams of becoming a doctor like her father, or an opera singer, but has to give up her ambitions so that she can look after their utterly useless, self-centered and uncaring mother, by taking a job in a box factory, while Claire attends a local high school. Said utterly useless, self-centered and uncaring mother then abandons them to return to England just at the start of World War 2. When she leaves, Laura desperately marries the much older owner of the box factory, Felix Shaw, for security. And then he turns out to be a completely controlling and terrifying ogre.

This was not a happy read, and I'm generally not a fan of dysfunctional families or deeply psychological reads, but I was quite gripped with the sisters' story and their different reactions to their dire situation. The tension was ratcheted up well throughout the book, and there was a strong sense of truthfulness to the psychological abuse inflicted by Felix, and to the neighbours' and workmates' studious ignoring of the abuse, or even complicity in it.

It was fascinating reading about Sydney during WW2, the book was beautifully written, and I do recommend it. Kudos to Text Publishing (founded by Diana Gribble) for bringing a whole raft of Australian classics back into print.

****

ETA: Worst cover ever, however. A friend commented that they must have gotten the work experience kid to design it in ten minutes on a Friday afternoon, and I have to agree with him.

92wookiebender
Editado: Fev 13, 2013, 6:11 am

13. In Watermelon Sugar, Richard Brautigan



What the.

What a strange little book. I'm not quite sure what its point was, there was no explanation to anything that went on - is this post-apocalyptic? Maybe. But then again, maybe not. It's just some rather charming ramblings from a writer set in some sort of bizarre world that I couldn't hope to describe since it's never clearly set out in the book.

But I did rather enjoy it, even if I wanted some *explanations*, dagnabbit! iDEATH? Some sort of Apple product?? Mysterious book, I may be pondering it for longer than I was reading it.

****

93clfisha
Fev 13, 2013, 8:21 am

The only Brautigan I have read is Sombrero Fallout which was quiet wonderful but totally and utterly bizarre. It's about a story (involving a fallen ice cold sombrero) that is thrown away when the authors lover leaves him and starts a life of its own.

94mabith
Fev 13, 2013, 8:21 am

I had a startling moment there, as The Watchtower is the national Jehovah's Witness magazine here! Your The Watch Tower sounds interesting though. I think if I'm going to read about dysfunctional families I'd always rather have the book set at least 60 years ago (and be fictional, The Glass Castle almost killed me).

95Nickelini
Fev 13, 2013, 10:25 am

I don't know anything about In Watermelon Sugar, but just the title makes me suspect it will be very, very odd.

96jnwelch
Fev 13, 2013, 11:05 am

It's been years since I read Watermelon Sugar, Tania, but I remember my reaction was similar to yours. A charming, pretty enjoyable read, but a bit mystifying.

Can't wait for the new Neil Gaiman! Thanks for the reminder.

97wookiebender
Fev 13, 2013, 5:01 pm

#93> Wow. So In Watermelon Sugar isn't his only bizarre novel!

#94> Yep, we have the JW's "Watchtower" here as well (and a JW church on our block, so I'm forever politely saying "No" to people wanting to give me a copy). I stumbled across the receipt for the book from the bookshop and was quite startled that I'd spent money on a copy for a few minutes. :)

#95> Joyce, it was a "1001" title, otherwise I may never have picked it up. I do like the unusual books that list introduces me to.

#96> I can't wait for the new Gaiman either! Squeee!

98Nickelini
Fev 13, 2013, 5:46 pm

it was a "1001" title, otherwise I may never have picked it up. I do like the unusual books that list introduces me to.

Me too--to both these comments.

99msf59
Fev 13, 2013, 7:51 pm

Hi Tania- Still busy down under? I have not read Brautigan but I do have one of his in the stacks somewhere. Hope things start to slow down for you!

100bryanoz
Fev 14, 2013, 1:14 am

Brautigan sounds interesting, my library has The Hawkline Monster so I'll give it a try.

101wookiebender
Fev 14, 2013, 7:04 am

#99> Hi Mark! Still busy, they're trying to bring forward the launch of the project we're working on AND they keep on throwing extra work at us. Yay (not). No end in sight to the madness!

#100> Bryan, it's the only one of his I've read, but I would like to try some of his others definitely. Strange plot, but bizarrely charming.

102wookiebender
Editado: Fev 25, 2013, 5:18 am

14. Among Others, Jo Walton



It's the 1970s and young Mor is attending a fairly privileged girls' boarding school somewhere in England. However, she'd much rather be back in Wales with all her aunties and all the fairies.

Slowly her reasons for being at Arlinghurst are revealed through this book, her diaries. I shan't give away any of the plot (and if you have the same cover as I do, avoid reading the back for a very clunky plot summary), but it's almost secondary to Mor's love of reading, which is easily fostered as she has a bad leg and is unable to participate in the endless sport that Arlinghurst foists on its girls. As her classmates play sport, she stays in the school library and reads widely, although with a great love particularly for science fiction and fantasy.

Being of a similar vintage with Mor, I had to nod along so often with her reading choices and comments! (Most particularly, her negative reaction to the blurb on Lord Foul's Bane that compared Donaldson to Tolkien.) Sadly, I had no gammy leg to blame for being bad at sports (just sheer unwillingness and clumsiness), so I didn't get to spend endless hours in the school library, reading. I'm feeling rather resentful of all that "wasted" time in the school grounds round about now. Just imagine if I could have spent that time reading novels instead! Oh, bliss!

My main complaint about this book is its sudden ending, although maybe that was just because I wanted it to last forever. And **SPOILER ALERT** I was a little sad that the magic turned out to be real, I liked not knowing for most of the book whether it and the fairies were real, or whether Mor was just a little bit mad. I would have preferred for it to never be settled one way or the other.

Definitely one for those of us who grew up loving science fiction and fantasy.

****1/2

103rosalita
Fev 19, 2013, 4:30 pm

I guess I missed dinner, Tania. But I'm looking forward to your review of 'Among Others', as cynara just recommended that one to me today.

104wookiebender
Fev 25, 2013, 5:04 am

rosalita, finally got that review done! Turned out to be not just one dinner keeping me away from my reviews, but several! Phew, busy week...

105wookiebender
Editado: Fev 25, 2013, 5:18 am

15. Dodger, Terry Pratchett



Young Dodger, a tosher (a child who combs the sewers of London looking for fallen treasure), pops out of a sewer in a poverty-stricken area of London one night in time to rescue a young woman from being brutally bashed. He is discovered in his rescue mission by none other than Charles Dickens and Henry Mayhew, who help him to look after the young woman.

Dodger sets about trying to solve the mystery behind Miss Simplicity (as she becomes known), and as he does so, bumps into most of the famous people in Victorian London, most of whom aid him in his quest. However, my favourite of the characters was Dodger's friend Solomon Cohen, whose background is never fully explained, but although he may be reduced in circumstances, obviously knows his way around high society.

And Solomon's dog, the wonderfully named Onan. Pratchett has a soft spot for smelly mutts, and it's hard to not love them along with him.

This lacked a lot of the constant belly-laughing humour of Pratchett's Discworld series, but was remorselessly charming and barreled along rather amusingly, and had a lot to offer for fans of Victorian London.

***1/2

106wookiebender
Fev 25, 2013, 5:35 am

16. Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan



Clay, whose graphic design/marketing career is cut short due to various financial collapses, is trawling the position vacant ads (when not distracted by all the entertainment the internet has to offer) and reducing his own moral requirements for a job, one night stumbles across Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. He wanders in, and finds himself chosen for the position of bookshop clerk for the graveyard shift of 10pm until 6am. But Mr Penumbra's Bookstore is quite unlike any other bookstore, and its patrons are bizarrely obsessive.

Clay starts becoming obsessed himself with the strange books on the shelves, and the odd patrons who only ever want obscure books way up on the shelves. He, with the help of some techno geeky friends, start digging into the mystery.

This was a good amusing page-turner that didn't quite live up to its opening, which promised rather quirky fantasy, but instead delivered a fairly earthbound thriller. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy the romp and the humour, but I felt it could have been more.

***1/2

107BekkaJo
Fev 25, 2013, 5:37 am

I think you book bulleted me with the Walton... I'm off to find it!

108wookiebender
Fev 25, 2013, 5:43 am

17. Death Note: Confluence, Tsugumi Ohba



This, the second volume of the manga Death Note series starts off pretty much where volume one left off. Light is still experimenting with the Death Note, finding out new and varied ways to kill people and making it harder for the police to trace him.

The police are also finding it hard to find people willing to work on the case, especially when "Kira" (as Light is known) kills off all the FBI agents who have flown to Japan to help the local police with their investigation. Luckily the rather odd L is still on hand to help them out.

I think the moral of this rather black series (so far) is: Shinigami demons should not just drop their Death Notes to earth, no matter how boring life is and how much this will spice things up. (Or if they do, maybe someone less clever and amoral than Light should pick it up.)

***1/2

109wookiebender
Fev 25, 2013, 5:46 am

#107> BekkaJo, do! It is a wonderful book for readers in general, but lovers of fantasy and sci-fi in particular.

Apparently she also has a dragon book out, Tooth and Claw, which Miss Boo is desperate for me to purchase so I can read it to her. (Not sure if it'll be suitable for an almost-eight year old though!) But it's good to see the love of books (and dragons, ahem) in another generation. :)

Yes, Jo Walton has been writing for years, and yet I've only just stumbled across her. Mea culpa.

110wookiebender
Editado: Fev 25, 2013, 5:57 am

18. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson



(Yes. Creepiest cover ever. Had to lay it facedown if it was around where the kids were, I didn't want them having nightmares.)

Written in the 1950s, but set in the 1970s, this is a wonderfully timeless piece of science fiction horror.

Robert Neville is alone in a house in the suburbs somewhere in America, he's burned down the houses around him, and every night he has to barricade himself in while vampires cavort on his front lawn, trying to entice him out or break their way in.

While the horror and the terror of his situation are always present, this is much more a story of a man who is completely alone in the world. And it's not a very happy tale, at one stage I had to text my partner and abuse him for recommending this book to me as it left me particularly devastated halfway to work, early one morning. (He forgave me; I forgave him.)

It's a short work, but very powerful, and the ending is far superior to that of the recent Hollywood adaptation.

****1/2

(LOL. I've just been informed by Mr Bear that his Simpsons comic has given him nightmares, as it's a Halloween edition. Glad he never saw the cover of this book!)

111BekkaJo
Editado: Fev 25, 2013, 6:58 am

Darn it - it's only 'on order' at the library. And I'm not allowed to buy books at the moment :( I'll just have to wait!

112msf59
Fev 25, 2013, 8:07 am

Hi Tania- I hope the weekend was relaxing for you! I am sure you are still busy but I am glad to see you knocking out the books. Good review of among Others. Everyone seems to really like that one. I NEED to snag a copy. I liked Mr. Penumbra a bit more than you but I love your description. I have still not read Matheson.
Hope your week goes well. Hugs!

113clfisha
Fev 25, 2013, 8:43 am

so much to comment on!

I agree about the ending of Amongst Others, although I did like it, mystery is better.

I am actually tempted by Dodger now... sigh another book to go on the wishlist.. sigh.. :)

I have only watched the Death Note films.. I just seem to think more could have been made of a very cool idea.

114wookiebender
Fev 25, 2013, 5:04 pm

#111> Bother! Hopefully a copy you can borrow will show up soon!

Hi Mark! Weekend was nicely lazy, got through a couple of books. I'm loving how the kids are older now and I can spend some quality time with my books again during daylight hours. :)

clfisha, I caught some of the TV series for Death Note and liked the concept. The books are enjoyable, but possibly a bit sameish. If book 3 doesn't depart from Kira/Light killing people in somewhat more complex ways and L/the police following his trail, I may not continue. It's not a bad series, but I want a bit more from my books! I do like how I have to read it back to front however, and it's amazing how quickly I can get used to following a story from right to left. :)

115jnwelch
Fev 25, 2013, 5:12 pm

I liked Among Others a lot, too, Tania, and I enjoyed all the references in it to classic sci-fi and fantasy. Like Mark, I think I enjoyed {Mr. Penumbra's Bookstore more than you did, but I'm glad you had a good time with it. I had heard from my son that the ending of I am Legend was much better than the movie. I'll need to check that out some time.

116wookiebender
Fev 25, 2013, 5:19 pm

Hi Joe! I think I was just expecting *more* from Mr Penumbra. It was fun though, just when I finished, I had a sense of disappointment, that my original expectations weren't fulfilled. However, during the reading, I didn't have much time to think anything of the sort!

117judylou
Fev 25, 2013, 6:36 pm

In this case I think the book was definitely better than the movie, even though I did enjoy the movie a lot!

I have Mr Penumbra waiting in line on my reader. I hope to get to it soonish. And I do like the sound of Among Others.

118ronincats
Fev 25, 2013, 8:00 pm

I loved Among Others when I read it, especially the reading list! With Dodger, I especially enjoyed seeing book titles and famous quotes coming up in conversation, to be jotted down by Mr. Dickens in his notebook. Mr. Penumbra was okay but I felt just like you--it was really more of a thriller and aimed at the Google generation.

Tooth and Claw is basically Jane Austen with dragons as all the characters. What this does is make the social conventions of Regency England biological characteristics of the dragons, which is fascinating, but I'm not sure it's what Miss Boo is thinking.

119wookiebender
Fev 27, 2013, 4:48 am

Judy, I did enjoy the movie of I Am Legend, although I thought the ending was a bit of a let-down. But I don't think the superior ending of the book would actually work in cinema terms!

Miss Boo is probably thinking "dragons!!!", complete with shining eyes. :) She is my mini-me, and I had a (sad) dragon fixation as a young reader too.

120wookiebender
Fev 27, 2013, 5:01 am

19. Amsterdam, Ian McEwan



This has been on my shelf since approximately 1999. (Luckily it's nice and slim and I haven't minded hefting it around through several house moves.) It's amazing how long it can take to get to books that I really want to read sometimes.

At the funeral of Molly Lane (suddenly deceased from an unspecified, but very unpleasant and extreme form of dementia) several of her old lovers, who are both old friends and enemies, are thrown together. Clive Linley, the composer, working on a large piece for the upcoming millennium. Vernon Halliday, the newspaper editor in a time of drastically changing media standards. Julian Garmody, the conservative politician. And finally, George Lane, the publisher and now widower of Molly.

This didn't have a dramatic "moment that changed everything" that I have come to expect from a McEwan novel, but it had many of his other hallmarks: unpleasant, but very fascinating and believable, characters; moral dilemmas; and excellent writing.

What let it down was an ending that was downright silly. In a different book, it would have been a better ending, but in this one it felt absurd and awkward, almost undergraduate, especially after the excellent beginning and middle.

***1/2

121wookiebender
Fev 27, 2013, 5:14 am

20. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle



An excellent start, with young Meg Murray, a misfit at school, her younger brother, Charles Wallace Murray, and their mother, the beautiful and very intelligent scientist Kate Murray. One night during a wild storm, they gather in the kitchen where they meet Mrs Whatsit, a new neighbour, and quite an odd character. Of course, Mrs Whatsit is not what she seems, and Meg, Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O'Keefe, are whisked away on an adventure across space.

However, I found the rest of the book lacking. I probably would have loved it as a child, but as an adult I found the overt Christianity grating on my nerves.

And the cover art. There is no way on earth (any earth) that those teeny tiny gossamer wings would ever lift a big beefy centaur off the ground, especially with three children on its back.

Definite stars however for the interesting characters, and the wonderful strong Dr Kate Murray. I just wish they had a better plot to hang out in.

***

122wookiebender
Editado: Fev 27, 2013, 5:24 am

21. Moon over Soho, Ben Aaronovitch



The second "Rivers of London" series, this follows closely on from the second book. Peter Grant is learning more magic, and trying to not destroy London - or allow others to destroy it - through magic. He doesn't quite succeed, Soho is rather battered by the end of this book, but that's half the fun.

In this book, Peter is juggling two different murders. Jazz musicians seem to be dying at a faster rate than expected, and with Peter's dad a jazz musician himself, this one threatens to hit close to home. And then there is a curious case of a young lady with vaginal dentata (you may want to Google that one), who is killing off young men in a rather nasty way.

It's another great romp, with a fun sense of humour, but enough pathos that it packs a powerful emotional punch at times.

Shame about the typos in my edition, although I did laugh at the "arctic", not "attic", full of alcohol. That's a lot of booze.

****

123BekkaJo
Fev 27, 2013, 12:45 pm

#121 *snarf*! Actually owchy snarf because the wing bit just made me snort my lemonade.

124clfisha
Fev 27, 2013, 3:29 pm

I really must get round to reading Rivers of London

125jnwelch
Fev 27, 2013, 4:00 pm

Oh good. Glad to hear that Moon Over Soho is "another great romp", Tania. I liked the first one, and was hoping this one measured up.

126Eyejaybee
Fev 27, 2013, 4:00 pm

#120 I enjoyed Amsterdam but I agree with you about the ending - it seemed to finish very quickly, almost as if McEwan had forgotten about an immovable deadline.

127msf59
Fev 27, 2013, 8:52 pm

Hi Tania- I hope your week is going well. I have only read one McEwan and look forward to reading much more of him. He seems to be very polarizing!

128divinenanny
Fev 28, 2013, 2:50 am

Getting back into LibraryThing, and I always love your thread. So many books already on my wishlist or mount TBR. :D

129wookiebender
Mar 2, 2013, 10:47 pm

#123> Bekka, I do think it's a bit mean picking on the cover art in a book review, but come on, what was the artist thinking??

#124> Yes, you should! They're not highbrow, but they're very good fun. If you like Harry Dresden, you'll probably like Peter Grant.

#125> It didn't suffer from Second Book Syndrome! Which was a relief. :) I'm hanging out for book 3 now, it's in the bookshop, I just have to get there with my voucher sooner rather than later.

#126> The ending of Amsterdam just didn't really fit in. The rest of the book was serious, the ending was almost farce. It would have worked better in Solar (which was mostly farce anyhow).

#127> Mark, I haven't met a McEwan I haven't liked. Okay, The Cement Garden was icky. But I've been unable to forget it, so it worked on that level. :)

#128> Good to see you here again! Your thread is also great, I love the older sci-fi you read, it reminds me that I should be reading back catalogues more than I do.

130wookiebender
Mar 2, 2013, 11:05 pm

22. Redshirts, John Scalzi



Oh my. On the Universal Union's flagship, the Intrepid, newly assigned ensigns seem to be sent on away missions where they meet with horrid, gruesome, bizarre deaths. New ensign Andy Dahl is determined that he and his friends will not end up just another statistical blip.

Oh, I do love a good Star Trek episode. Even more, I love a good Star Trek spoof. This one delivered in spades, a great romp of a story, wonderful characters, fabulous humour. And some very interesting "codas" at the end of the main story, fleshing out some of the otherwise unfinished threads in the tale, which also raised it a notch above your standard funny story.

I found myself giggling far too often, and now have a pressing need to re-watch some Star Trek. Or "Galaxy Quest," which I was quoting to myself far too often while reading this one.

****

131wookiebender
Mar 2, 2013, 11:36 pm

Answer the questions about yourself using titles from books you read last year. (Links to your own thread appreciated if you do this.)

Describe yourself: Alif the Unseen
Describe how you feel: The Somnambulist
Describe where you currently live: City of Fallen Angels
If you could go anywhere, where would you go? Austenland
Your favourite form of transportation: The Wayward Bus
Your best friend is: Ready Player One
You and your friends are: The Magicians
What's the Weather Like: The Winter of Our Discontent (well, Autumn...)
You fear: Death in a Strange Country
What is the best advice you have to give? The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam
Thought for the Day: There Should be More Dancing
How I would like to die: Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang
My Soul's Present Condition: Something Wicked This Way Comes

132BekkaJo
Mar 3, 2013, 2:47 am

#130 Oh no - I just took a book bullet for my husband! Darn those stray rounds. Sound slike he'll love that.

133clfisha
Mar 3, 2013, 4:24 am

I lived Redshirts such a brilliant idea!

134wookiebender
Mar 3, 2013, 4:51 am

Bekka, Don grabbed my copy and read it in about two days, sniggering all the way. Highly recommending it to Mr Bekka!

#133> I *know*. I loved the generic concept of redshirts when I first heard about it some years ago, and Scalzi's done a great job creating a story around it.

Also Guards, Guards came to mind while reading it, in particular the dedication:

They may be called the Palace Guard, the City Guard, or the Patrol. Whatever the name, their purpose in any work of heroic fantasy is identical: it is, round about Chapter Three (or ten minutes into the film) to rush into the room, attack the hero one at a time, and be slaughtered. No-one ever asks them if they wanted to.This book is dedicated to those fine men.

Of course, in Redshirts, it's the ice sharks one has to watch out for.

135clif_hiker
Editado: Mar 3, 2013, 7:22 am

I loved The Wrinkle in Time as a child and have reread it several times as an adult ... and somehow managed to never notice the overt christian message that the book receives so much criticism for ... am I just oblivious? Could someone maybe point out the most obvious reference?

136mabith
Mar 3, 2013, 1:22 pm

135 - I don't think children ever really notice that sort of thing, because that's just not how most children read (look for symbols, reading into the second and third levels, etc...). I don't notice that kind of thing now, even, probably in part because of not being raised in a religious family and in part because that's still not I how read.

I did the book meme in my thread: https://www.librarything.com/topic/147232#3949358 :)

137wookiebender
Mar 4, 2013, 3:14 am

Hi Keith! I've returned my book to the library, so excuse vague memories. At first, when the children are asked about warriors throughout the ages fighting the good fight, they instantly chorus "Jesus Christ". Not a bad example of good warriors, but it was just so *perky* and instant. (It does go on to also include Ghandi, so it's not like it was *just* Jesus, I may have been unable to go on if she'd written that.)

There are angels. (I only like angels when they're wielding flaming swords, or being vaguely camp and selling antique books in London.)

The light-vs-dark war just smacked too much of simplified Christianity (Jesus = good; Satan = bad), although I can't quite put my finger on anything in particular now it's not to hand.

I had a similar reaction when re-reading Narnia as an adult, and I loved that series as a child. Although that was more about being a Christian metaphor with Aslan standing in for Christ, etc; whereas A Wrinkle in Time was more "gee whiz, isn't Christianity neat, being a battle against the dark".

Gee whiz, I think religion is more complex than that, and should be treated as such. Kids aren't idiots, and that came across as condescending.

I just don't think I was the target audience. I should have read it as a kid, I would have loved it then (and been less snarky about the centaur wings, too).

Mabith, I wasn't raised Christian either, so I tend to get a bit snarky when it's seen as "normal" and obviously and self-evidently true.

138clif_hiker
Mar 4, 2013, 4:38 am

hmmm I guess I'll have to dust off my old copy and reread the book ... it's been a few years. I don't recall the 'warriors throughout the ages' scene, and the whole dark vs. light meme is repeated throughout fantasy literature ... Lord of the Rings anyone? Although I seem to remember critics trying to hang that same christian metaphor albatross on that series.

Anyhow, I'm pretty sure that you could trace my love of math and science at least partly to my having read this story (and at least one of the sequels The Arm of the Starfish) which is an odd thing (at least in this day and age) to say about a "christian" book.

quick disclaimer ... I do not consider myself a christian, and wouldn't like to be seen as defending that religion ... I just honestly don't ever remember picking up that vibe from the book.

139msf59
Mar 4, 2013, 8:01 am

Hi Tania- Hope you had a nice weekend. I am glad you liked Red Shirts. I have that one and his Old Man's War trilogy saved on audio. He sounds like a fun writer.

140BekkaJo
Mar 5, 2013, 12:56 pm

#134 Excellent dedication! We generally call them the 'Ensign Rickies' after Star Trek (TOS I think or maybe TNG - I swear the poor guy dies in about 80 episodes).

141jnwelch
Mar 5, 2013, 1:34 pm

Nice review of Redshirts, Tania! You convinced me. Onto the tbr it goes.

142wookiebender
Mar 7, 2013, 5:56 am

Bother, I was typing some brilliant comments in reply to Keith and managed to epically fumble my fingers and actually quit my browser mid sentence.... (Hey, I can say they're brilliant, it's not like anyone's going to know now. ;) And then it's been stupid crazy busy at work (new project going live next week) so am only just getting back to it!!

I think I was surprised that Lord of the Rings was seen by anyone as a Christian allegory. And that the evil in A Wrinkle in Time was pretty dull, nothing interesting to it at all. Compared to the Dark Side ("come to the dark side, we have cookies") or the White Witch ("come to the dark side, we have Turkish delight"), etc, a big blob of floating darkness is pretty ordinary.

Mark, do get to Scalzi soon! Just awfully good fun, Don chuckled and guffawed his way through it too.

Bekka, LOL!

Hi Joe! I'm sure you'll have a great time reading Redshirts!

143wookiebender
Editado: Mar 27, 2013, 6:19 am

23. Sweet Tooth, Ian McEwan



It is the early 1970s, London is a mess with brown outs, shorter working weeks to conserve energy, and a general feeling of gloom. Into this arrives the beautiful Serena Frome, plucked from Cambridge to join MI5.

I don't want to describe the plot too much, because I found having it unfold in front of me with no prior preconceptions was part of the delight of this book.

Ian McEwan has done a wonderful job of recreating the atmosphere of gloomy, grey, depressing London in the 1970s. As a child, I once visited London in the mid-1970s, and I have horrid memories of greyness and rain and cold and not much else. McEwan brought those few sad days immediately back to mind. (I have since visited as an adult, and I loved it so much more.)

While this didn't have the emotional impact of Atonement, it did have the wonderful sense of humour (although less broad) of Solar and was a remarkably clever book. I think it might be working its way into position of my favourite McEwan...

****1/2

144wookiebender
Editado: Mar 27, 2013, 6:27 am

24. A House in the Uplands, Erskine Caldwell



Oh, where to start with this amazingly fun southern Gothic romp of a pulp novel? I knocked it over in barely a day (including making time to sleep and go to work), and had a great time reading it. Once the plot kicks in (and it kicks in fast) there's barely a chance to breath as Caldwell throws more drama (drama! DRAMA!) at the reader.

It's not a subtle novel in the least. And amusing to read with modern sensibilities. I had the plot pegged as a 21st century reader, but was taken completely by surprise by the actual reveal, which was very much a product of its times.

It's probably not for everyone, but this was my first taste of anything quite like this (is anything quite like this??) and I loved it.

****

145wookiebender
Editado: Mar 27, 2013, 6:39 am

25. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky



It is the early 1990s, and Charlie, a somewhat confused teenager, is starting high school. He starts a series of letters to an unknown recipient, detailing his fears and achievements, and these letters make up the book.

It did take me a little while to get into Charlie's voice, I found him annoyingly young at times, but as he grows up and his writing gets better, or I got used to it, I got absorbed into his story, and that of his new friends: in particular the clever and charming step-brother-and-sister team of Patrick and Sam.

Well worth a read, Charlie and his friends are fascinating as they all grow up together and become adults far too young, and the plot that unfolds is very well handled by the author.

****

146wookiebender
Editado: Mar 27, 2013, 6:44 am

The Mountain, Drusilla Modjeska



I did want to like this one so much more than I managed to.

Set in Papua New Guinea in the lead up to independence in 1973, this should have had me gripped. Drusilla Modjeska has crafted some great characters, she's set her book in a fascinating and little known (to me) period and place, and it's beautifully written.

But for some reason I cannot fathom, I found this a struggle to read. I kept on picking up other books to read instead, and finally gave up after a fortnight when I wasn't even halfway through.

But don't take my word for it, do give it a try yourself. I think this is clearly a case of "it's not you, it's me" regarding my inability to finish it.

Did not finish, no rating.

147wookiebender
Editado: Mar 27, 2013, 6:57 am

26. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn



This was a great read, if you can deal with two of the most unlikeable characters ever to grace modern fiction.

On the morning of their 5th wedding anniversary, Nick comes home to find his wife Amy missing, and signs of a struggle. He's telling the story, but immediately some strange notes come into play. Interspersed with his chapters are bubbling-over-with-enthusiasm diary entries from Amy from when they first met.

This was a very clever book, with its duelling narrators, plot twists galore, and a thorough sticky-beak look into the fascinating break down of a marriage.

I did have to suspend disbelief very thoroughly towards the end however, and tell myself that it's not meant to reflect reality. (At least, I hope it's not meant to.) And sadly, I think Gillian Flynn wrote herself into a corner with the final twist, which was just a bit too disturbing.

But if you're in the mood for a fascinating, fast paced read, this may be the book for you.

****1/2

148clfisha
Mar 23, 2013, 4:41 am

Wow what a cover for House in the Uplands

149wookiebender
Editado: Mar 23, 2013, 4:50 am

Oh, I *love* my copy of that book! I could only get a copy through AbeBooks, and there was no cover art shown. So I just randomly chose a bookseller in Australia who had a copy (well, not so randomly, the seller was from the Perth suburb where my dad grew up), and then was incredibly surprised when a totally pulp novel in excellent condition turned up. I didn't want to read it and spoil it at all with fingerprints or scuffed corners or cracked spine! Such a delightfully cheesy cover. :)

ETA: and a highly entertaining pulp read. :)

150msf59
Mar 23, 2013, 7:22 am

Tania- How are you, my friend? I've missed you! I see you have been reading some terrific books. Very nice. I am so glad you loved Perks & Gone Girl. Hope you are able to relax this weekend.

151wookiebender
Mar 23, 2013, 8:58 pm

Hi Mark! I'm afraid real life took over from LibraryThing life of late. Back-to-back projects at work, toothache (with attendant multiple dentist visits), and lack of sleep (due to toothache).

BUT. One project done and dusted, I've got tomorrow off for my birthday AND it's Easter next weekend so it's a three day week coming up, and the pain is mostly under control with that stupid tooth. (And I rather like a "soft foods" diet, especially once one realises that chocolate and cheese are both soft foods in my book. :)

152judylou
Mar 26, 2013, 3:23 am

mmmmmmm cheeeeeese chocooooooolate

Sorry to hear about your sore tooth. And all those dentist visits. Yikes! I don't like dentist visits.

But I do like the books you have been reading. I'm sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for your reviews. I am putting off Sweet Tooth and need a nudge to make me read it; and I am wondering why you didn't like The Mountain - it has had a lot of attention lately.

153wookiebender
Mar 26, 2013, 6:11 am

Oh, *do* read Sweet Tooth! One of McEwan's best. Didn't have the emotional involvement of Atonement, but was clever and funny and fascinating.

And I did think The Mountain was a good book - interesting characters, unusual period of history, well written. But on some level, it just failed to grab me. Took about two weeks, and I only got halfway through and had no impetus to finish. I feel a bit of a slack reader for failing to read it! Failure definitely on my end, not on it's end.

And I don't think anyone likes dentist visits! I had nice dentists, but I'm a bit over this tooth now.

154msf59
Mar 26, 2013, 7:26 am

Happy Belated Birthday, Tania! I hope you had a good day. Sorry to hear about the tooth problems. Hopefully, you have finally got some relief.

155Eyejaybee
Mar 26, 2013, 1:55 pm

I loved Sweeth Tooth too - very clever and very entertaining!

156judylou
Mar 26, 2013, 6:23 pm

OK. It's getting closer to the top of the pile now.

BTW Hope you had a very happy birthday Tania!

157wookiebender
Editado: Mar 27, 2013, 7:11 am

Thanks for the birthday wishes! I had the Monday off work, and we stuffed ourselves at yum cha, popped into King's Comics, went and saw the Alexander the Great exhibition at the Australian Museum, and finished off with coffee and cake at Becasse.

Okay, let's get started on these reviews...

ETA: Okay, all the above reviews are completed. If you're an completist obsessive like me, they start here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/147134#3988972 with Sweet Tooth.

And there's a new one below too. Now I'm all caught up! Time to get back to reading!

158wookiebender
Mar 27, 2013, 7:10 am

27. A Boy's Own Story, Edmund White



This is the fascinating story of a young man growing up gay in 1950s America. He's clearly attracted to men, but knows that this is seen as wrong by everyone around him. This book charts several years in his life, through bizarre psychotherapy with a therapist more interested in his own life and diet pill addiction, falling in and out of love hard with men (and one woman), and struggling to find a place for himself in the world.

Even though the narrator is gay, much of what he describes is common to many young people: the need for acceptance, for love, for parental approval.

This was recommended to me by my mother (I even borrowed her copy) and while she put it as "this isn't the sort of book I normally read" I shall be more blunt: there is an explicit gay sex scene very early on in the book between our narrator and a younger teen. If that's not your cup of tea, look elsewhere for your tales of young people struggling for acceptance.

But I can also see why she recommended it. It is beautifully written, and strikes many a true chord when it comes to the awkwardness of adolescence and growing up.

****

159lauralkeet
Mar 27, 2013, 7:58 am

>158 wookiebender:: that sounds like an excellent book.

160divinenanny
Mar 27, 2013, 9:20 am

>144 wookiebender:, I have that exact same copy of House in the uplands (because of the 1001 list). Can't wait to read it now after your review, I am intrigued.

161jnwelch
Editado: Mar 27, 2013, 10:44 am

I'm glad in the end you enjoyed The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Tania. I thought it was really well done.

Loved your line about Gone Girl: This was a great read, if you can deal with two of the most unlikeable characters ever to grace modern fiction. Ain't that the truth!

162judylou
Mar 28, 2013, 7:38 pm

So Sweet Tooth is making its way to the top of the list and I won't give up on The Mountain yet either.

163ronincats
Mar 28, 2013, 11:42 pm

A belated Happy Birthday, Tania! Such interesting reading as you've been up to!

164wookiebender
Mar 29, 2013, 6:45 am

#159> Hi there! I do recommend it, it was a very good read.

#160> That 1001 list does add some unusual (and often excellent) titles to my reading lists! Glad to hear you have the same pulp cover! Looking forward to your comments, I wonder if you will make the same 21st century reader mistakes that I did. :)

#161> Hi Joe! It was well done, it's just the initial voice of the narrator that grated for me. Either I got used to it, or his style improved. The movie is excellent too, I saw that late last year (before I knew it was based on a book).

Are you following the Tournament of Books? Gone Girl is doing very well there. http://www.themorningnews.org/tob/ (Oh no! It's up against The Orphan Master's Son - currently on Mt TBR - which one will emerge victorious today??)

#162> Judy, please don't give up on The Mountain because I didn't finish it - I do feel as if I'm in the serious minority here, and I'd hate for you to miss out on something you may well love. (And, yes, do read Sweet Tooth. :)

#163> Hi Roni, thanks for the birthday wishes!

I'm currently in the middle of my semi-traditional Easter read: Beowulf. Something to do with the change of the seasons and the start of autumn (in the southern hemisphere), I need to read something very dark to go with the wind chill. Hurrah for the dark ages! Perfect fodder for making me glad to be alive in a century with good housing, heating, and lighting. :) And a distinct lack of bloodthirsty monsters.

165judylou
Mar 29, 2013, 8:45 pm

Thanks for the Tournament of Books Link. I hadn't seen it before.

166wookiebender
Abr 1, 2013, 3:06 am

The TOB is a lot of fun, although this is the first year I stumbled across it (through my Twitter feed, I think it was...). It's definitely adding to the wishlist as well!

167wookiebender
Abr 4, 2013, 7:29 am

Summing up the first quarter of 2013 reads (because I'm too lazy tonight to write any reviews ;)

Books read: 29 (plus one DNF)
Female authors: 11 (why is this one always so low???)
Male authors: 18
1001 books: 7 (an improvement!)
Re-reads: 2
Books "off the shelf": 8 (books I've bought just to gather dust in the shelves; kudos to Amsterdam which I got back in 1999 and only just read this year...)

On track for 100 books this year (after narrowly missing the goal last year!)

168wookiebender
Abr 10, 2013, 7:16 am

28. Beowulf, trans. Seamus Heaney



Something about the start of the colder weather and shorter days of autumn, I feel the need to curl up with some dark ages epic. I love Beowulf, not necessarily for its plot (which really does jump around something chronic), but for its atmosphere and its insight into a completely different culture. Where men are men! And women are prizes! And children are non-existent!

A very dark time, and a wonderful insight into a world where one's prowess in battle is everything, and to die a glorious death is the best one can hope for.

I haven't tried any other translations, I'm hooked on the Seamus Heaney one.

*****

169wookiebender
Abr 10, 2013, 7:19 am

29. The Facts In The Case Of The Departure Of Miss Finch, Neil Gaiman



A rather slight little tale, but rather charming too. A Gaimanesque writer agrees to be the fourth in a party to sushi and circus to help save his friends from suffering through an evening with the rather dire Miss Finch.

****

170wookiebender
Abr 10, 2013, 7:31 am

30. Galore, Michael Crummey



A rather rambling tale set during the early settlement of Newfoundland. So, very, very cold. Families intertwining (luckily there are two fairly useful family trees at the front); feuds lasting for generations until they become a habit, and no one can remember why their family hates another family; and a generous dose of magical realism.

The book starts when a whale beaches one winter, and is the salvation of the starving people who are trying to settle in Paradise Deep. When they butcher its carcass, a man is discovered inside the whale, who is still living.

I mostly enjoyed this book, I thought the characters were fascinating and I'm always a bit of a sucker for some magical realism. It did drag for me a bit towards the end (I was also getting a bit tired of being constantly muddled as to who-was-who and why-did-they-hate-them-again?), but the ending itself was worth plowing through the more convoluted plot points.

****

171wookiebender
Abr 10, 2013, 7:40 am

31. The Orphan Master's Son, Adam Johnson



A warning: the book will make you laugh, and will make you cry. Probably within the one sentence. Repeatedly.

An utterly fascinating book, set in North Korea, about Jun Do, the orphan master's son. I loved the way North Korea is depicted, I loved the plot, I loved the characters, I loved the language.

Where we are from, he said, stories are factual. If a farmer is declared a music virtuoso by the state, everyone had better start calling him maestro. And secretly, he'd be wise to start practicing the piano. For us, the story is more important than the person. If a man and his story are in conflict, it is the man who must change.

I don't want to say more, I don't want to give the plot away at all. It was so much fun (laced with so much sadness) watching it all unfold. A brilliant read.

*****

172wookiebender
Abr 10, 2013, 7:47 am

32. Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters, Rick Riordan



I read Mr Bear the first in the Percy Jackson series last year, The Lightning Thief, and while I wasn't impressed with many aspects of the book (ordinary writing, awkward plot points), it was an awful lot of fun introducing him to the Greek gods and all their myths. So his Grandma (on my suggestion) bought him The Sea of Monsters for Christmas and we've just finished reading it.

And this one was much more fun. There are still plenty of Greek myths left as Riordan finds a whole lot of new monsters and challenges to throw at Percy and his friends, and the humour had us both laughing out loud. "Chicken pony" (Pegasus) is still a favourite saying in the family.

Luckily we have the third book to hand, because there was a very interesting twist at the end of this book. We shall be reading on! (Chicken pony!)

****

173wookiebender
Editado: Abr 10, 2013, 8:01 am

From the sublime to the ridiculous with those last two. :)

All caught up with reviews, phew. I'm juggling several books at the moment - The Kindness of Your Nature for bookgroup, which I'm finding so dull I've also picked up Tooth and Claw (dragons! victorian pastiche! I can die happy!), High Rising, and Owl Came to Stay, all of which are a lot more fun.

I think The Kindness of Your Nature may be finding its way back to the library unread this weekend...

(Edited to fix touchstones.)

174vancouverdeb
Abr 10, 2013, 7:57 am

Stopping by to say hi! The Orphan Master's Son sounds like a book that I would enjoy - onto the mental wish list. I'm trying to keep my TBR's down now. I've seen Galore around quite a bit, since the author is Canadian, but it has never grabbed me. I'm very bad with much magical realism.

Hope all is well in your world, Tania! :)

175wookiebender
Abr 10, 2013, 8:04 am

Hi Deb! Glad I tempted you with The Orphan Master's Son. And, yes, do feel free to skip Galore if magical realism is not your thing as it is the basis of a fair amount of the plot. (And I can cross the Canadian author off my bingo list! :)

All is currently well, kids are fast asleep and I'm catching up on LibraryThing with a glass of wine to hand. :)

176clfisha
Abr 10, 2013, 8:34 am

Oh seconding the recommendation for The Orphan Master's Son, utterly brilliant. Galore sounds intriguing but I have a horrid reaction to magic realism :)

177Eyejaybee
Abr 10, 2013, 11:56 am

Hi Tania, I loved Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf. He captures the alliteration and general tone of the original so well. I remember grappling to translate great chunks of it as an undergraduate thirty years ago, and have never come across a finer rendition than Heaney's.

178jnwelch
Abr 10, 2013, 1:08 pm

Lots of good reading, Tania. I liked Miss Finch, too, although I agree it's a slight one.

Your good review of Orphan Master's Son hit me with a bb, too. I really want to read it.

I can't remember whether you read Guy Deslisle's Pyongyang, but that's a well done graphic novel angle on North Korea.

179bryanoz
Abr 10, 2013, 5:32 pm

Great reviews wookie, will have to find Orphan Master's Son, thanks.

180judylou
Abr 11, 2013, 5:24 am

Having read about 100 pages of The Orphan Master's Son I am agreeing with every word you wrote. I think this one is going to be on the top of my list for 2013!

181wookiebender
Abr 11, 2013, 7:00 am

Wow, lots of love for Orphan Master's Son! Excellent. :)

#176> Claire, if you don't like magical realism (I do, but I can understand that others don't!) do skip Galore. I thought it was a good read, but if I didn't like magical realism, it'd be another thing altogether. :)

#177> James, how cool that you got to translate Beowulf! I can imagine it would be quite the challenge. And great to hear that the Heaney translation is excellent. (I do like it very much, but have nothing to compare it to!)

#178> Joe, I can't find a copy of Pyongyang, I have looked. I did read his Burma Chronicles though and thought that was very good. I'll have to look harder for Pyongyang!

#179> Bryan, you won't be disappointed!

#180> Oh, so glad you're reading it and loving it too! The second half is quite different from the first, but just as excellent. It is my first 5 star read for the year, I think (not counting Beowulf which has been a much repeated re-read for me over the years).

182msf59
Abr 11, 2013, 7:29 am

Tania- You've been absent on LT but I see you are still churning through the books. Yah! I am so glad you are spreading the word on Orphan Master. It's such a great book and one that can't be overlooked. Try to find Nothing to envy, which is a perfect companion piece.
We also felt similar about Galore. He is also a very fine writer.
Hope everything is going well with you!

183wookiebender
Editado: Abr 11, 2013, 7:53 am

Hi Mark! I haven't been able to catch up during the working day because we have a crap proxy filter at work and it's deemed LT is (wait for it!) pornography! Well, I'm all for book porn, but I doubt that is really what the filter is meant to be filtering out... Do we have too much flesh tone on this site? LOL!

I'll look up Nothing to Envy on the library catalogue, I'll be escorting Miss Boo to a craft event there this weekend, which gives me plenty of time to browse. :)

184wookiebender
Editado: Abr 24, 2013, 4:16 am

33. High Rising, Angela Thirkell



Truly delightful fun. Written in the 1930s, this is a wonderfully charming romp Featuring the indefatigable Laura Morland, mother to the equally indefatigable young Tony Morland, and writer of popular novels for women.

There's not a lot of plot, but what there is revolves around Laura and her friends outwitting an upstart secretary who is attempting to take over the life of fellow writer, Mr Knox. It's all a bit upper class (Miss Grey must mind her station in life!) and no one in real life talks like these characters do. But I secretly wish they did, and I wish I was friends with them all.

This may not be everyone's cup of tea (served in tea pots with crumpets on the side), but it suited me completely, and I hoovered this one up so quickly that I was disappointed when I got to the end too soon and had to leave this delicious life behind.

A note that there are a couple of comments that are very much politically incorrect in these modern times, so be warned if that makes you uncomfortable. (Personally, I just took them as a "product of its times" moment, although I do rather wish they weren't there.)

****1/2

Edited to add cover art.

185wookiebender
Editado: Abr 24, 2013, 4:17 am

34. An Owl Came to Stay, Claire Rome



A charming series of vignettes about Rome's taking care of a series of baby owls. I want a baby owl now, too.

It was written in the 1970s, so her belief in telepathy with animals and dowsing is forgivable, I guess. But there was much rolling of eyes from me.

***1/2

Edited to add cover art.

186wookiebender
Editado: Abr 24, 2013, 4:19 am

35. Tooth and Claw, Jo Walton



I died and went to heaven with this book. Victorian pastiche with dragons. What's not to love?

The plot revolves around the family of Bon, an older dragon who has raised himself from humble beginnings. At the beginning of the book, he is on his deathbed and subsequently dies, causing a rift with his children and his son in law over his inheritance. With lawyers, trains, jobs in the city, fallen women, family tensions, and the all importance of millenary, I sometimes forgot I was reading about dragons. However, in this society, the strong literally eat the weak, so the characters' worries can be life or death.

The ending was a little weak, it seemed to step away from the perfect Victorian pastiche of the earlier chapters. But having said that, plot wise it was very satisfying.

****1/2

Edited to add cover art.

187wookiebender
Editado: Abr 24, 2013, 4:21 am

36. Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal



Jane Austen pastiche, with magic. This has to be one of my favourite mini-genres.

In Regency times, plain but clever Jane Ellsworth and her younger perfectly pretty but unaccomplished sister Melody are both in need of husbands as their family property has been entailed away from them. (Sound familiar?)

However, the one thing Austen's heroines never had was the ability to manipulate glamour into decorative art, which in this world is a accomplishment that all young ladies are expected to have mastered. And Jane's talent for glamour is unsurpassed.

Since magic in this world is not made of earth shattering stuff, the plot revolves around the Austen staples of society and husband hunting with very genteel manners. Being a modern book though, the ending is nothing like what Austen would plan with far more adventure and thrilling excitement than she would ever write.

I had a great time reading this book, and will be reading the sequels as soon as is possible.

****1/2

Edited to add cover art.

188lauralkeet
Editado: Abr 21, 2013, 6:26 am

>184 wookiebender:: I read my first Thirkell not long ago, having received Pomfret Towers as a Secret Santa gift. I loved it and look forward to reading more. High Rising is the first of her Barsetshire novels, is it not? I know Virago just published a few but I don't think they're available in the US yet. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for copies available used.. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

189msf59
Abr 21, 2013, 7:47 am

Hi Tania- Hope you had a nice weekend. I have still not read Walton. LTers seem to like her. Sorry, to hear about the internet filter at work. Bummer! How wholesome can you get, than LT? This could be classified as a religious site.

190wookiebender
Abr 21, 2013, 8:09 am

#188> it was my first Thirkell too, someone on LT did recommend it highly, but of course I can't remember who now! It's the first Barsetshire, with a lovely cover (away from home and on the iPad so can't easily get the image) thanks to Virago books. I also borrowed the second from the library. :)

Hi Mark! Maybe they heard about your sexy librarians on your thread. :) But it's just a stupid filter, although I only complain when it blocks google (a very important tool!) because technically I really shouldn't be reading LT on work time. But hey, there's always lunchtimes... :) I've read to books by Jo Walton this year, Among Others was the first and I loved them both.

191mabith
Abr 21, 2013, 9:47 am

I will definitely be adding Angela Thirkell to my list, as it sounds quite fun, and there's just something about 1920s-1930s books that I like. It would be nice to have the distasteful attitudes removed, but it's best not to try and whitewash the past.

192.Monkey.
Abr 21, 2013, 10:00 am

>190 wookiebender: I don't ever use google. I use ixquick.com, have for the past several years, I find it far preferable. There's also duckduckgo.com.

193judylou
Abr 22, 2013, 8:10 pm

You have had a great run of books.

194wookiebender
Abr 23, 2013, 7:31 am

#191> I think you'll like them! It was a shame about the un-pc comments (and believe me, one at least was quite shocking to me), and I agree we shouldn't censor such things but I do wish they hadn't been written in the first place. Having said that, I did adore the other 99% of the book. :)

#192> A google alternative! Brilliant! I do remember when Google first hit the scene, and it was such a brilliant idea for how to rank hits, I still love it. But a non tracking alternative sounds even better. Especially one called "duck duck go".

#193> I have been lucky! I have also been aiming towards books I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy, nothing too challenging of late. :) Currently reading The Windup Girl which is very good so far, if not as easy a read as some of the others.

195.Monkey.
Abr 23, 2013, 10:28 am

haha, duckduckgo does have a good name. Ixquick just feels more sincere to me, about their non-tracking motives and all. I'm not really sure why, I'm sure it's entirely my own fancy not based on anything, lol, but I prefer to support them nonetheless :P But yes, now you have lesser-known options for avoiding google blockage. ;)

196judylou
Abr 24, 2013, 7:04 pm

Hope you're liking The WIndup Girl. I did.

197wookiebender
Abr 24, 2013, 8:59 pm

Judy, I am enjoying it! Need more time to read, am on holidays this week and kids keep getting in the way. :) But I am enjoying spending lots of time with them, I miss that when I'm working and they're in school.

Anzac Day today. Lest we forget.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.

198wookiebender
Abr 24, 2013, 9:05 pm

And some great, if depressing, Anzac Day thoughts from Mike Carlton in the weekend's Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/staring-at-the-abyss-thank-god-for-alan-2... (you have to read/skim through the Alan Jones bit and the NZ gay marriage bit first).

199judylou
Abr 24, 2013, 10:45 pm

Interesting article.

200wookiebender
Editado: Maio 20, 2013, 7:04 am

37. The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi



The near future, where there has been a not-so-soft apocalypse with rising oceans and failing crops and new diseases running rampant. Set in Thailand, this is a complex book around the political machinations of the two most powerful government departments, Trade and Environment, both of which are vying for supremacy.

Throw in some jaded colonial-esque Europeans, Malaysian Chinese refugees, powerful - but hated - calorie men from the multinational food companies, and a Japanese windup girl, this is a great story, well told.

I did lose the thread of the plot several times, but I put that down to tiredness & busyness. This is a book that does require a certain amount of attention (which I didn't always have to spare).

****

201wookiebender
Editado: Maio 20, 2013, 7:17 am

38. The Dark Winter, David Mark



Set in a rather grim Hull in England, this is the first Aector McEvoy book. I did finish it in two days, so it was an easy read, but... Afterwards I picked several holes in the plot; while I liked the characters, none of them seemed real; and the writing was occasionally too try hard.

On the plus side, Aector is a great guy to hang out with for a couple of days. And it is lovely seeing a copper very much in love with his happy family. Not a whiff of alcoholism (or other dysfunction) in sight.

You know, I might come back for book #2...

***

(I did get this as a recommendation from someone on LT. Can't remember who now of course, and I'm sorry I didn't like it as much as they did.)

202wookiebender
Editado: Maio 20, 2013, 7:24 am

39. Daytripper, Gabriel Ba & Fabio Moon



A great collection of short graphic stories about Brás de Oliva Domingos, a writer of obituaries. Each story looks at a different time in his life, bringing different aspects of him to the fore (meeting his bombshell girlfriend in Brazil; dealing with a very famous father; writing his own acclaimed book), this is a great meditation on life and death.

I don't want to give away too much about this book, it is a great read, and part of the charm was seeing the layers added to Brás' character in such different ways without knowing what was coming up.

****

203wookiebender
Editado: Maio 20, 2013, 7:31 am

40. Snow, Orhan Pamuk



First the book group discussion from the other night: "Author was a wanker. Anyone want a beer?"

Australian book groups are brilliant some days. :)

I will say that it was a very interesting book in a number of ways, but the distancing of the reader from the action through the use of the sudden segues by the narrator and the sudden revealing of future plots (repeatedly) did make this a hard book to enjoy or even like. And I just wanted to scream at all the introspection all the (very unlikeable) characters went through all the time.

I was willing it all to end much sooner than it actually did. I struggled on to the end because I can be a very stubborn reader, and the author was not going to win this particular battle. However, reading should not be a battle.

***

204wookiebender
Maio 20, 2013, 7:34 am

Phew, reviews caught up! Can you believe it took me three weeks to read Snow? It was a long, hard slog some days. As a treat for finishing it, I'm now reading the highly entertaining (plot! oodles and oodles of lovely stupid plot!) The Bone Season. So far, I'm recommending it to fans of The Hunger Games, it's YA with that level of darkness.

205wookiebender
Editado: Maio 22, 2013, 7:15 am

41. The Bone Season, Samantha Shannon



It is 2059, London. Clairvoyants (or "voyants") walk among us, but are considered "unnatural" and so hide their skills from Scion and work illegal jobs to get by. Working for an illegal voyant gang in central London is young Paige Maloney. All voyants have different skills with the aether, which surrounds us. Paige can leave her body and travel in the aether and view other voyants' dreamscapes.

And then it all changes totally.

This was a good fun romp of a read, I polished it off in a few days and didn't want to put it down. But it was also incredibly irritating at times, needing a damn good edit and a another rewrite or two wouldn't have gone amiss either. (Characters knowing each others names before they introduce themselves. A few nights' scattered training is not a lot of training! Characters weren't always well distinguished, not helped by the large cast and several names for each of them. And several other major plot points one cannot mention for spoilers.)

It's an interesting world that Shannon has created, and I liked Paige a lot, she's tough and smart and angry. However, I hope the following books in this series are more polished and thought out.

Note that I did read an advanced proof copy. I won't complain about the typos (I assume they'll be fixed for the actual release) but I assume it's too late to fix the plot confusions.

***

206wookiebender
Maio 22, 2013, 7:09 pm

A book trailer has just been released for The Bone Season. Doesn't contain any spoilers: http://shelf-life.ew.com/2013/05/22/the-bone-season-exclusive-trailer/

207msf59
Maio 22, 2013, 7:58 pm

Hi Tania- I've missed you! Glad to see you are making it through the books. That's great news. I am glad you enjoyed The Windup Girl. I am looking forward to seeing if he will continue that story. I really liked his Ship Breaker books too.
I've been hearing about David Mark's latest book, which has been getting some good buzz, sorry yours didn't quite cut it.

208jfetting
Maio 23, 2013, 9:24 am

The Bone Season sounds like fun. Imperfect fun, but fun. I'll have to find a copy.

209wookiebender
Maio 24, 2013, 8:33 am

Hi Mark! I do hope the proxy at work will let me back on LT sometime soon. Hard to find time to chat at home! I did like The Windup Girl, but I read it so long ago that I don't think I did it justice in my review. And I would like to read another by David Mark, what I read was engrossing and entertaining, it just fell apart afterwards when I thought about it. Definite potential. (But for those who have also read Gone Girl, his wife is one of those "cool girls" who don't really exist in real life, IMO. Bit of a male fantasy there.)

Jennifer, I did read an advance copy, it's coming out in Australia in August or September. I will probably read on, again I think it's got potential, even if I kvetched about details.

Currently having a blast reading The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.

210wookiebender
Editado: Maio 28, 2013, 7:48 am

42. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle



A solid collection of Sherlock Holmes shirt stories, all told by his indefatigable companion Dr Watson. I love the little asides regarding his unwritten adventures (I do wish they'd all have been written!) and the relationship between Holmes and Watson is as charming as usual.

I was a bit surprised b the final story, in which we meet Professor Moriarty and he and Holmes plunge over the Reichenbach Falls in that there was no mystery to solve, and all the action happens when Dr Watson is not there to see it. Iconic, but quite out of step with the other stories.

Looking forward to continuing the series, because even if Sherlock has gone, we all know that he survives the fall. (Although I am curious how.)

****

211wookiebender
Maio 28, 2013, 7:56 am

43. Amulet: The Stonekeeper, Kazu Kibuishi

Borrowed this from the library for Mr Bear, only for Miss Boo to snaffle it off the stack and read it three times in the one weekend. We've now all read it, and bought the first three books from the library this weekend (one book each). And tonight I was informed that I needed to buy the next two books. Soon. If not right now. Yeesh.

Emily, her mother and her younger brother, move to an old creaking creepy ancestral house following a family tragedy. And find a way into a different world.

The art is lovely, and this is a great story with cthulu-esque monsters and steam punk trappings. I'm looking forward to the second book, once I wrestle it off the kids!

****

212judylou
Jun 1, 2013, 5:50 am

I've wishlisted The Bone Season. Sounds like my cup of tea.

213wookiebender
Jun 1, 2013, 9:01 pm

Oh, I'm glad that people are interested in The Bone Season after I was a bit grumpy about it. It was fun regardless, and I will be reading on (unless the annoyances get worse, of course).

214wookiebender
Jun 1, 2013, 9:14 pm

44. Dead Beat, Jim Butcher

Another excellent romp with Harry Dresden, this time battling necromancers wielding armies of zombies. The angst has been ramped up a bit with the danger level (armies of undead, people!) and the fate of the world if Harry fails.

It's a somewhat different group of sidekicks too, with Karrin away and the introduction of the fabulous polka afficianado and medical examiner, Waldo Butters.

As usual with Dresden, the action is non stop and the jokes and banter are laid on thick. Great fun, as always.

****

215wookiebender
Jun 1, 2013, 9:41 pm

45. Christine Falls, Benjamin Black

This book opens in 1950s Ireland, and a young nurse boarding a ship to go and work in the States is handed a baby to take with her. It's all a little fishy, and the remainder of the book is concerned with how the baby ended up in this situation, and her new life in the States.

Driving the story is pathologist Quirke who smells a rat early on and starts investigating, despite some powerful disincentives. He's a pretty classic dysfunctional detective, a widower and an alcoholic, with some very strange family relations. And he also has the classic compulsion to solve the mystery, regardless of the consequences.

It's very atmospheric, set in both Ireland and Boston, and beautifully written. I haven't read John Banville before (Benjamin Black is the name under which he writes the Quirke series), but I might have to try his literary works now too.

My only quibble would be that Quirke was not particularly attractive to me, yet seems to be irresistible to several of the women in the book. still, this is minor, and I will be back to see his future adventures (hopefully with fewer seductions).

****

216clfisha
Jun 2, 2013, 1:24 pm

Must read Daytripper, it's been on my WL for too long

217wookiebender
Jun 16, 2013, 1:02 am

46. Glamour in Glass, Mary Robinette Kowal

The second book in the Glamourist Histories, this continues with Jane newly married, and heading to the continent with her husband. The continent is newly liberated from the clutches of Napoleon, but is still divided between his supporters and his opponents.

The setting is fascinating, most of my regency reading hasn't left England, so it's good to see what was happening elsewhere. The less rigid morality of Continental society is also a relief for the modern reader, although something of an initial shock for Jane.

The plot is a bit silly at times, but the writing is delightful again, and I was entertained throughout.

****

218wookiebender
Jun 16, 2013, 1:18 am

47. Whispers Under Ground, Ben Aaronovitch

The third Rivers of London book, and just as much fun as the others. The plot took a while to kick in, but when it did, it was a rip snorter, with Peter and Leslie helping to investigate the murder of an American senator's son that seems to have magical overtones, or "weird bollocks" about it. Their investigation leads them to London's underground railway system and into the sewers of London, which is a place I'm in no hurry to see (or smell) first hand.

While Nightingale's past is ignored this book (matter of fact, he didn't seem to be in it much at all), the overarching Peter and Leslie plot was moved along nicely, with both of them improving their skills, both in mundane policing and um, weird bollocks. The writing is cheeky and fun, and I'm hanging out for book four to be released later this year.

****

219wookiebender
Jun 16, 2013, 1:32 am

48. Wild Strawberries, Angela Thirkell

Another delightful romp with the upper classes of Thirkell's Barsetshire. The wonderfully disorganized Lady Emily drifts and flutters with her large family (several children, and even more grandchildren, and I got them all muddled instantly) throughout several events one summer.

Poignantly, her family is not without loss - her eldest died in The Great War, and is still grieved for many years later. Another son is a widower, and the main plot (what there is of it) revolves around him moving on from hs own loss.

Lady Emily and her family are all delightful fun, and this was a charming story with some serious undertones that brought the gentle humour into sharp relief. Recommended.

****

220clfisha
Jun 17, 2013, 11:31 am

I am not saying I need to read Ben Aaronovitch yet again.. its getting embarrassing I haven't got round to it!

221jnwelch
Jun 17, 2013, 12:35 pm

Woo, lots of good reading you're doing, Tania. I'm glad you enjoyed The Windup Girl, even if it was a bit challenging at times with work and all. I know that feeling. I'm another fan of Daytripper. Different, and really well done.

222wookiebender
Jun 18, 2013, 7:45 am

#220> At least, when you get to them, you'll knock them over quickly, and then you can be ahead of the pack. :)

#221> Ah, The Windup Girl was one of your favourites, wasn't it? It was a good read, I just really need a year or two of no work stress, good sleep, and then I'll be able to tackle not-so-fluffy reads again. ;)

Speaking of which, The French Lieutenant's Woman is proving to be not-so-fluffy. :) Interesting, but I feel like I've been reading it forever (10 days on one book is forever, right?). I'm beginning to eye off the fluff in the stack next to the bed, planning my next read...

223msf59
Jun 18, 2013, 8:53 am

Hi Tania- How are you, my friend? Sounds like you are still very busy. I have had Christine Falls in the stacks forever. I think I have the 2nd book, as well. One of these days...
I also loved Daytripper. I've been reading Wool, which might be your cuppa. Have you heard of it?

224judylou
Jun 19, 2013, 2:26 am

ooh yes, Wool is good. I have the sequel to it now and am just looking for the window of opportunity to read it.

225wookiebender
Jun 20, 2013, 5:19 am

Hi Mark! I'm not sure what it is, but spare time seems to be in very short supply this year! I did like Christine Falls, it's probably worth bumping it up a few places on your Mt TBR.

And I was going to say "Judy recommended Wool, so it's already on my radar/wishlist" and then she popped by and beat me to it. :)

226BekkaJo
Jun 20, 2013, 12:56 pm

#222 LOL - I agree - I read French Lieutenant's Woman earlier in the year and it was definitely a surprise for me. A slower read than expected but a lot more to it than I had anticipated (though it is Fowles so I should have twigged earlier that it wouldn't be 'normal').

227wookiebender
Jun 21, 2013, 8:12 am

It was only my second Fowles, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but it definitely wasn't what I expected. :) Clever, over my head at times, challenging, but definitely worth while. Reading Raymond Chandler now for book group, then something with dragons or magic or spaceships or lashings of regency romance. :)

228BekkaJo
Jun 21, 2013, 10:32 am

LOL - I'm currently on a dragon based re-read in reaction to some biggies myself. Have you read Fowles Magus? That one is so so SO weird! Brilliant but messes with your mind.

229wookiebender
Editado: Jun 21, 2013, 11:05 pm

I've heard The Magus is the most *ahem* challenging one, so it's not high on my wishlist right now. :) I've read The Collector which was brilliant, IMO, but also so creepy.

230Zozette
Jun 22, 2013, 11:27 pm

I already have The Windup Girl on my wishlist and I will have to add Daybreaker as it sounds interesting.

231clfisha
Jun 23, 2013, 8:42 am

Jealous of the Raymond Chandler reread. Mind you I always get a bemused look when people don't like it, it does not compute :) I can see why really but.. but...

232wookiebender
Jun 28, 2013, 9:04 am

#230> both are well worth a read!

#231> oh, the entire bookgroup all loved The Big Sleep. I'm chuffed I bought an omnibus, so I have another one to read (I've already read Farewell, My Lovely so I've got The Long Goodbye to read still).

233wookiebender
Editado: Jul 2, 2013, 6:53 am

49. The French Lieutenant's Woman, John Fowles



Review pending.

****1/2

234judylou
Jul 1, 2013, 1:11 am

Studied that one in high school. Cannot bring myself to read it again.

235wookiebender
Jul 2, 2013, 6:53 am

LOL! I actually gave my copy to mum so she could re-read it, because she had a completely different memory of it. Don't think I'll mind too much if it doesn't come back, I doubt I'll be re-reading it, but I'm glad I read it once. Still mid-review, but I should point out that I mistyped the stars, I actually have it four and a half. :)

236wookiebender
Editado: Jul 11, 2013, 8:32 am

237wookiebender
Jul 11, 2013, 8:32 am

51. The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler



Review pending

****

238wookiebender
Jul 11, 2013, 8:34 am

52. Silent on the Moor, Deanna Raybourn



Review pending

***1/2

239wookiebender
Jul 11, 2013, 8:35 am

53. The Inimitable Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse



Review pending

****

240wookiebender
Jul 11, 2013, 8:37 am

54. The Shining Girls, Lauren Beukes



Review pending

****

241wookiebender
Jul 11, 2013, 8:40 am

242judylou
Jul 11, 2013, 9:01 pm

I've heard good things about The Shining Girls. I'll look forward to your review.

243msf59
Jul 11, 2013, 9:28 pm

Hi Tania- I finally read and loved Among Others. What a terrific read. I was checking out most of the other LT reviews, which seemed to be lukewarm. I don't know where they are coming from, because it sure worked for me.

^Is that a bodice-ripper up there?

244wookiebender
Jul 12, 2013, 9:14 am

Judy, I liked it, but it was rather gruesome/creepy at the same time. Not recommended for everyone!

Glad you also liked Among Others, Mark! And, yes, that is a highly entertaining bodice ripper up there. :) It's a rather fun murder mystery series with lashings of romance. Good for days when I have very little brain. :)

Reviews may be a while coming, I seem to be busier than ever! Good busy, but busy.

245BekkaJo
Jul 12, 2013, 10:48 am

#241 So glad you loved the Durrell - I always feel oddly protective about his books (even though I haven't read this one myself - though it's on the shelf for this year hopefully).

246Eyejaybee
Jul 12, 2013, 3:12 pm

#241. Seeing your 5 star rating I have decided to try this again.

I had to read it at school in the mid 1970s years ago, when I was taught English by the Reverend John Elliott, a nice man but one with absolutely no aptitude to teach teenage boys, and an amazing facility to wring the excitement or fun out of anything leaving it completely lifeless. Sadly, as with so many other books that we read in his class, I was pretty heartily put off it.

Still, I have rediscovered a fondness for a lot of other books that I came to loathe during Year 8 English, so I will definitely have another shot at Durrell.

247wookiebender
Jul 14, 2013, 2:15 am

Ah, the Durrell is an old favourite - my beloved fifth/sixth grade teacher read it to us (along with The Hobbit) and we adored it. I have vague memories of attempting to read it to myself but not getting very far. I bought a copy the other year, and it was to hand when I was looking for a new book last weekend. And it was awesome. One always worries returning to old favourites that they won't be as good, but worries were not founded this time! (and yay! For Mr Stratton! So many fond memories of his class).

248Eyejaybee
Jul 14, 2013, 3:56 am

It's amazing how much impact one's teachers have. Luckily I was only taught by the Reverend Elliot for one year. For the rest of my time at school I had the great good fortune to be taught by two excellent teachers who played a large part in the forming my love of reading.

249wookiebender
Jul 23, 2013, 4:56 am

Found this in my Twitter feed the other day, it's a rather wonderful project: art works for 100 books that SHOULD be written.

http://100daystyleradamsmith.tumblr.com/

250judylou
Ago 2, 2013, 1:19 am

Some extraordinary covers there.

251clfisha
Ago 2, 2013, 6:25 am

Oh I like those covers, some amusing choices too.

252wookiebender
Ago 19, 2013, 4:35 am

253wookiebender
Ago 19, 2013, 4:37 am

57. Proven Guilty, Jim Butcher



Review pending

****

254wookiebender
Ago 19, 2013, 4:38 am

58. Hounded, Kevin Hearne



Review pending

**1/2

255wookiebender
Ago 19, 2013, 4:41 am

59. The Stonekeeper's Curse, Kazu Kibuishi



Review pending

***1/2

256wookiebender
Ago 19, 2013, 4:42 am

60. The Cloud Searchers, Kazu Kibuishi



Review pending

***1/2

257wookiebender
Ago 19, 2013, 4:45 am

61. The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss



Review pending

****1/2

258wookiebender
Ago 19, 2013, 4:48 am

62. High Sobriety: My Year Without Booze, Jill Stark



Review pending

****1/2

259wookiebender
Ago 19, 2013, 4:50 am

63. Broken Homes, Ben Aaronovitch



Review pending

****1/2

260wookiebender
Ago 19, 2013, 4:51 am

64. The Long Goodbye, Raymond Chandler



Review pending

*****

261wookiebender
Ago 19, 2013, 4:52 am

65. The Final Empire, Brandon Sanderson



Review pending

****

262msf59
Editado: Ago 19, 2013, 8:26 am

Hi Tania- Nothing but books! You know I love it. Glad you liked the Gaiman and the Rothfuss. I wonder when he'll be finished with the 3rd Kingkiller book? Wow, everyone seems to be loving the Rivers of London series! I hope to get to the 2nd one, next month.
And I NEED to return to Mr. Chandler. I probably haven't read him in at least a decade. Bad Mark.

ETA- I have never read Sanderson. Should I?

263BekkaJo
Ago 19, 2013, 10:20 am

Hmmm - hubby is pushing me to read the Iron Druid stuff but you seem very unconvinced. I might wait for your review before I dive in :)

264ronincats
Ago 19, 2013, 12:46 pm

Oooh, Broken Homes won't be available here until February. Is it good? And I have Hounded in my tbr pile, so I'll be looking to see what you thought of that as well. Not so much, from your stars.

265wookiebender
Ago 20, 2013, 4:23 am

Hi Mark! Finally got my reading here up to date, but so many reviews to write now! I may never catch up... I did like The Ocean at the End of the Lane, but not as much as some of his other novels.

I was a bit peeved with the Sanderson (took itself too seriously, some clunky writing, characters did things that should not have worked, but did because it suited the plot), but then all of a sudden I realised I was racing home to read another chapter. :) I think overall it was an "enjoyed, despite the flaws". Not as good as the Rothfuss though, that was a great read!

Hi Bekka! Hounded didn't really work for me, I didn't like the main character who didn't have the vulnerability or self-doubt of a Harry Dresden. I won't be reading on. But it was recommended by a number of other people, so I may just be the odd one out here. :)

And hi Roni! I had a great time reading Broken Homes, another great installment in the series. I'm bugging Don to read it asap, we need to talk about it and where it's all going! (But he's slowly going through The Shining Girls, so I'm not allowed to push too hard with this new one, because that was also one I added to his Mt TBR. :)

266clfisha
Ago 27, 2013, 3:47 pm

heh heh I wait (very badly & impatiently) for my OH to read something I want to talk about and have thrust into his hands.

267wookiebender
Set 8, 2013, 1:21 am

I have to be patient, Don doesn't deal well with me bugging him to read books, especially since I read faster (in that I give myself much more reading time than he does!). And he's desperate for me to catch up with him in the Harry Dresden series, so I also have to be quiet so I don't look too hypocritical. (Although maybe I should read more there, too. :)

He did read Broken Homes in a day, when he did get to it. And now he's reading The Rook, another one I shoved onto his Mt TBR (and thanks to judylou for the recommendation).

268judylou
Set 8, 2013, 1:24 am

Happy I could be of assistance :o)

269wookiebender
Set 8, 2013, 1:25 am

66. The Homecoming, Carsten Stroud



Review pending

***1/2

270judylou
Set 8, 2013, 1:26 am

I'll be interested to see your thoughts on this one, having just finished it myself.

271wookiebender
Editado: Set 8, 2013, 1:29 am

#268. judylou, you do recommend far too many good books, including the Niceville trilogy - The Homecoming (Niceville Trilogy) being #2 in that series. Good fun again, although not as deliciously wicked as the first, I felt.

ETA: LOL, we keep on posting at the same time! :)

272judylou
Set 8, 2013, 1:30 am

Well, what else is there to do when the footy's on?

273wookiebender
Set 8, 2013, 7:06 am

Oh, is it the festival of the boot? I don't get much screen time on weekends, the kids commandeer the TV and the iPad and the computer. (How they can do that with three screens and only two of them is one of life's little mysteries.)

I'll try to write this up as a better review, but in summation: I felt there were pacing issues; the delicious wickedness of the first was either less, or it was less refreshing when you expect it; but overall I still enjoyed it, although I was shocked at the number of unfinished threads from the first book that I'd completely forgotten about! They definitely should be read much closer together (especially for those of us with shockingly bad memories).

The creepiness was still very creepy though. Those bone baskets in particular gave me the willies.

274wookiebender
Set 8, 2013, 7:10 am

67. The Rook, Daniel O'Malley



Review pending but wheee! good fun, with tentacles.

****

275wookiebender
Set 8, 2013, 7:12 am

68. Pattern Recognition, William Gibson



review pending, but a re-re-read, so you know I liked it. :)

****1/2

276divinenanny
Set 9, 2013, 7:06 am

Tentacles? That book just moved a million notches up on my wishlist!

277msf59
Set 9, 2013, 7:29 am

Tania- I hope you enjoyed a fine weekend. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on the Rook. It sounds fun.

278judylou
Set 13, 2013, 3:51 am

So pleased you liked The Rook. It was a lot of fun!

279wookiebender
Set 13, 2013, 9:17 am

Don has now read The Rook as well and enjoyed it. There is a sequel coming out sometime! (Yay!)

#276> & #277> yes, you both must read it!

And thanks for the recommendation, Judy! You do recommend the best books. Your thread can be very dangerous!

280judylou
Set 13, 2013, 10:49 pm

Bwa ha ha ha . . .

281PaulCranswick
Out 22, 2013, 1:31 pm

Tania - Thought to try and track you down so to speak as you have been so quiet over in that other group that misses you so. Benita is also worried that you have not been sighted around the threads since the forest fires started over in Oz.
Did notice that you had posted on facebook recently. Hope all is well. xx

282richardderus
Out 22, 2013, 2:27 pm

Joining Paul in his search...Benita in her concern. Hope you're well, and not so swamped by work *ugh* issues that you're too worn down to come and play.

283wookiebender
Editado: Out 28, 2013, 9:22 pm

Oh gosh, you guys are sweeties! I've just been flat out with work (*ptttft*) and family stuff. I'm nowhere near the fires, although I do have friends who are (they are fine), and I also got to breath in lots of the Blue Mountains (coff, coff) last week, as so much of the smoke ended up in Sydney. The kids had all their sports and outdoor sessions at school cancelled for the week due to the poor air quality!

This thread is so behind, I'm not quite sure what to do about it either!! (And it's telling that it took me a week to even notice the comments here.) Need to get organised and add in what I'm reading. I'm never going to catch up with the older reviews, I think I've realised that now. Sigh.

ETA: This is my "favourite" picture of the smoke from the fires: http://io9.com/a-mammoth-smokecloud-envelopes-sydney-harbor-1448019466 - I work on the other side of the Harbour Bridge, and, yes, it did look like that!

284msf59
Out 28, 2013, 9:28 pm

Wow! I haven't been back, since early September? WTH?

How are you Tania? I would LOVE to hear about what you've been reading.

285ronincats
Out 28, 2013, 9:46 pm

Quite a photo, Tania. Reminds me of our fires in 2003 and 2008.

286wookiebender
Out 28, 2013, 11:01 pm

Hi Mark! You're in good company, I haven't been on this thread since September either! (Bit sad when it's your own thread, though... :)

I've been reading to a bit of spooky theme in honour of Halloween (Mr Bear is going as Doctor Who - the 11th doctor, as played by Matt Smith; Miss Boo is going as a ninja, and I have to make her some origami shuriken tonight!). Hound of the Baskervilles was good fun (as always, this was a re-re-read). The Illustrated Man turned out to be more sci-fi than spooky, but wonderful stuff. Drood took up most of the month, but on the balance I did like it - the good bits outweighed the bad bits. And now I'm reading The Haunting of Hill House which is the perfect Halloween read. Even if I do have to sleep with the lights on.

Once I've finished that, I'll only have a day or so left before Halloween itself. I might try and squeeze in Susan Hill's Dolly: A Ghost Story, or may start her Mrs de Winter and just keep on reading spooky stuff into November. (Not that I'm sure how spooky the later is. It may just be the gothic cover that makes me think it should be spooky.)

Hi Roni! I must admit, the light quality with the smoke is quite fascinating. It doesn't show up in the photo (not taken by me, I hasten to add!), but Sydney was glowing with an eerie orange tinge. Great sunsets too, although the one red dawn I saw was a bit freaky.

Much cooler weather this week, even a bit of a downpour early on Monday morning. And the wonderful Rural Fire Service (RFS) did a brilliant job of fighting the fires AND back burning so hopefully it'll be a bit more under control if it does flare up again. Absolute champions.

287jnwelch
Out 29, 2013, 11:57 am

I remember Something Wicked This Way Comes as a good, creepy Bradbury, Tania. The Haunting of Hill House creeped me out as a kid, too.

288wookiebender
Out 30, 2013, 2:49 am

The Haunting of Hill House is creeping me out as an adult!! I did go to sleep with the light on last night. (I wouldn't have, only Don turned out his light first, and I just couldn't turn mine out and leave the room dark. Something might have started knocking on the door...) Woke up early and turned it off so I don't think he ever even noticed. :)

289msf59
Out 30, 2013, 7:09 am

Sadly, I have never read The Haunting of Hill House. I should remedy that oversight.

Hope the week is going well, Tania!

290jfetting
Out 30, 2013, 5:20 pm

Shirley Jackson is so great. Everything she wrote. Creepy short stories, creepy novels, hilarious family essays...

291wookiebender
Out 30, 2013, 5:35 pm

A week with a dentist visit is *never* going well, Mark. :) But on the plus side, it was just for a checkup and clean. (And he got me to book in to see the dental surgeon to have a bad tooth extracted next month. Meep.)

Happy Halloween all! I finished The Haunting of Hill House and the last 1/3 or so was far less creepy in terms of things-that-go-bump-in-the-night but a good finish to the novel. And attempted to start Mrs de Winter on the bus this morning, but there was someone nattering on their phone behind me and I couldn't concentrate.

Kids' costumes are all ready for trick-or-treating tonight: Mr Bear is recycling a Doctor Who costume (11th Doctor, as played by Matt Smith); while Miss Boo is going as a fearsome ninja (she's got a heap of origami shuriken from me, and a plastic katana sword and sai (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sai_%28weapon%29) from Don, so she'll be the most heavily weaponised girl in the neighbourhood tonight, I think).

Don's got pumpkins and designs, so he'll be doing carving tonight. We had some ferocious winds on Tuesday so walking home from school with the kids that evening I managed to scavenge a couple of large bare branches to be dead trees - they're already on our fences with some fake cobwebs and plastic spiders. Miss Boo cut out black cat silhouettes and they're in our window. And I drew some ghost faces on empty milk cartons - put a tealight / glow stick in, and they're great ghost faces. Then it's just a matter of blowing up the orange and black balloons, and pouring the candy into a bowl! Yay! I love Halloween. :)

292wookiebender
Out 30, 2013, 5:36 pm

#290> Jennifer, I've only read her creepy stuff - The haunting of Hill House, The Lottery and other stories, We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Will have to track down some of her other books!

293mabith
Out 30, 2013, 9:47 pm

Wow, the smoke picture is amazing in a horrifying way.

Hope you had a fun Halloween! I keep thinking of shuriken on seed paper and using my niece and nephew to seed bomb my city...

294wookiebender
Out 30, 2013, 11:43 pm

LOL. what a great idea!

I'll post any good pictures of Halloween I take tonight. I only have an iPhone for a camera, so no guarantees of quality...

295wookiebender
Nov 7, 2013, 6:07 am

69. Wool, Hugh Howey



Review pending but I did like it, after a bit of an awkward start. Nice to see older characters in sci-fi.

****

296wookiebender
Nov 7, 2013, 6:09 am

70. Blood and Iron, Elizabeth Bear



Review pending but a good retelling of various fairy legends, tying in Arthurian legends. She doesn't spoon feed you anything, so you need to keep your mind on the book and your wits about you.

****

297wookiebender
Nov 7, 2013, 6:11 am

71. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins



Review pending but I did enjoy it, although the actual ending (no spoilers!) did seem to come out of left field and not make sense. Looking forward to the movie, and book #3!

****

298wookiebender
Nov 7, 2013, 6:14 am

72. Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare



Review pending but a bit of a disappointment after the great fun of the original trilogy. She hasn't managed to create as fun a romance as she did with Jace and Clary, although I did enjoy the steampunk setting.

***1/2

299wookiebender
Nov 7, 2013, 6:19 am

73. My Dead Body, Charlie Huston



Review pending but a great ending to the series. I shouldn't have left so long between book 4 and this one though! (What can I say? I didn't want to say goodbye to Joe Pitt, vampire standover man.)

****

300wookiebender
Nov 7, 2013, 6:22 am

74. The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle



Review pending but a re-re-read and always a great instalment of Sherlock Holmes' adventures.

****

301wookiebender
Nov 7, 2013, 6:24 am

75. The Illustrated Man, Ray Bradbury



Review pending but quite marvellous collection of short stories. Having just seen "Gravity" this week, I was reminded of the story of the spacemen floating off to their deaths following the explosion of their ship.

****

302wookiebender
Nov 7, 2013, 6:26 am

76. In a Lonely Place, Dorothy B. Hughes



Review pending but THANK YOU to whoever it was who brought Ms Hughes to my attention. I was expecting a less misogynistic main character (and that character may have ruined Humphrey Bogart for me forever, no mean feat), but a great story, even if very very creepy being in that man's mind.

****1/2

303wookiebender
Nov 7, 2013, 6:29 am

77. Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth, Rick Riordan



Review pending but another fun read with Mr Bear, even if Mr Riordan is scraping the bottom of the barrel classic-Greek-monster-wise. (A monster with one head and three bodies? What were those Greeks smoking??)

***1/2

304wookiebender
Nov 7, 2013, 6:31 am

78. Drood, Dan Simmons



Review pending but overall quite fun, but Wilkie Collins (the narrator) is a total twerp. I kept on wanting to reach into the book and *SLAP* him. HARD.

***1/2

305wookiebender
Nov 7, 2013, 6:33 am

79. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson



Review pending but I did have to sleep with the lights on at least once while reading this.

****

306wookiebender
Nov 7, 2013, 6:35 am

80. Mrs de Winter, Susan Hill



Review pending but while atmospheric and beautifully written, it did lack something in the plot department. Shame, given how great the original story is.

Also, slightly peeved that the blurb said it was a ghost story, when it clearly wasn't.

***1/2

307wookiebender
Nov 7, 2013, 6:35 am

Caught up! Going to bed. :) Night all.

308wookiebender
Editado: Nov 7, 2013, 7:27 pm

Whoohoo! I'm a lucky girl. Don went out last night (so I managed to get some mini-reviews done at last), and when I woke up this morning, there was a copy of S. by JJ Abrams to open! And I mean *open*, it's in a sealed slipcase and is stuffed full of ephemera - postcards, photos, maps, etc. It's a totally gorgeous artifact, and I'm looking forward to reading it!

(And I understand librarians are unhappy about it. I would be too, it's far too easy to lose bits! I've been banned from reading it on public transport, even.)

309msf59
Nov 7, 2013, 8:45 pm

Hi Tania- It's great to see all the minis! I have done awful on reviews, these past few months. I just don't feel like tackling them I guess!
I love seeing charlie Huston up there! Not enough people reading him, that is for sure.

I just started More Than This, the new Ness book. It holds much promise.

310wifilibrarian
Nov 7, 2013, 9:00 pm

Post #301 Book 75. I only recently read Illustrated man too and was also noticed that similar story that felt like the Gravity with a bigger cast. Did you see the Simpsons couch gag for the latest Treehouse of Horror? There's a reference to Illustrated man, along with dozons of other sci-fi & horror references! www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtgYY7dhTyE Directed by Guillermo Del Toro

311wookiebender
Nov 7, 2013, 11:36 pm

Hi Mark! Oooh, a new Ness book! I must admit, I haven't read any of his past the wonderful "Chaos Walking" trilogy. (And what a fabulous cover! I have book lust happening now...)

Mini-reviews are the way to go this year, I think! No time for much else, unless I want to give up reading (no way!).

Hi wifilibrarian, and welcome to my humble thread! Yes, similar to Gravity with the adrift-in-space theme, but very different with it being more about the people rather than the adrenalin rush of exploding lots of expensive things in space. (I went and saw it with some old mates, and you could tell we were all engineering-types because afterwards the chatter was about the explosions and the heartbreak of all that hard work going boom, rather than the heartbreak of Sandra's plight. LOL.)

I haven't seen the Simpsons Halloween episode (has it even screened in Australia, I wonder?) but I have scanned the couch gag thanks to YouTube. There's an annotated version somewhere... ah, thank you Google: http://io9.com/all-the-references-in-del-toros-simpsons-intro-with-ha-1441460232

Miss Boo won't let me watch the Halloween episodes. She's freaked out by blood and gruesomeness. So was I at her age, so I have sympathy.

312divinenanny
Nov 8, 2013, 3:11 am

Great to see all the mini reviews. I'm way behind in reviewing too, and determined to catch up. Somehow.
S. is a book I just learned about, but sure sounds interesting. I just have to get it new I guess :D

313wookiebender
Nov 8, 2013, 6:45 am

Shhh! Don just informed me that I shouldn't talk about S. because I don't think it's on shelves yet, it was from a friend in the book industry. I repeat, shhh! (But it is quite beautiful, I'm really looking forward to it.)

Ms divinenanny, I am on my way to visit your thread right now!!

314divinenanny
Nov 8, 2013, 8:52 am

I just posted more reviews, just for you ;)

I saw S. on the Tor website, just think of your mention like an early review, and an extra push for to get the book. And nice friends!

315clfisha
Nov 8, 2013, 10:48 am

oh wow lots of cool books here. and you beat me to In a Lonely Place, I loved her The Expendable Man

and a round of applause for finishing Drood that is one meaty book, that is menacing my TBR pile

316rosalita
Nov 8, 2013, 12:13 pm

'The Expendable Man' is a great book. I had never heard of Hughes before I read that last year after finding it in a NYRB sale. I want to check out her other books now.

317wookiebender
Nov 9, 2013, 1:35 am

#314> LOL, thank you. :) Nice to see what you're reading, I particularly like the classic sci-fi books you read, because I'm unlikely to read them, but I like knowing about stuff.

#315> Oh, I'll be searching out more Dorothy B. Hughes! And Drood was pretty good, the story itself is good, it was just the narrator and the size of the whole thing. Could have been quite a bit snappier and it would have been an improvement. (But then again, I do tend to be slightly allergic to very long books!)

#316> Okay, I'll be finding a copy of The Expendable Man next. :)

318divinenanny
Nov 9, 2013, 4:19 pm

#317 Great that you enjoy my reviews of classic sci-fi because you probably won't read them, that is a pretty original and cool reason ;)

319wookiebender
Nov 30, 2013, 7:57 pm

81. Boneshaker, Cherie Priest



Air ships. Zombies. Need I say more?

****

320wookiebender
Nov 30, 2013, 7:59 pm

82. Jack Glass, Adam Roberts



Three interlinked sci-fi stories featuring murderer Jack Glass. Very, very good. (Not to mention one of the prettiest book covers I've seen in a long time!)

****1/2

321wookiebender
Editado: Nov 30, 2013, 8:03 pm

83. Tamara Drewe, Posy Simmonds



A graphic novel about a small English village with a writers' retreat and what happens when young Tamara Drewe (with a tiny new nose) returns to the village. Very good.

****

322wookiebender
Nov 30, 2013, 8:07 pm

84. Every Breath, Ellie Marney



A great young adult novel about teenagers (Rachel) Watts and her best friend, the dead sexy (James) Mycroft. They stumble across the dead body of a homeless man they had befriended and set about trying to solve his murder. I had heaps of fun reading this one!

****

323wookiebender
Nov 30, 2013, 8:12 pm

85. Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein



Eyejaybee did the better review, go and read his. :)

I thought this was excellent, a great telling and intertwining of two wonderful stories. A big shout out to the depth of characters on both sides - the bad guys are human, the good guys can be jerks.

****

324msf59
Editado: Nov 30, 2013, 8:16 pm

Hi Tania- Miss seeing you around, but I am glad to see the book count. I've been meaning to read Boneshaker for a couple years now. Opinion seems to be mixed on this one and that's probably what is keeping me from jumping in.
Hope all is well, my friend.

ETA- I think you might be ready for a new thread, unless you are waiting for the new year. LOL.

325wookiebender
Nov 30, 2013, 8:25 pm

86. Throne of Glass, Sarah J Maas



Well, finally a disappointment. I was expecting a fun read, but it was a bit of a mess of tropes, awkwardly described characters that didn't make much sense, and some strange disconnects. (I mean, gummies and chocolate in a fantasy novel? Although maybe there should be room for gummies and chocolate in a fantasy novel...)

The pluses were that I did read to the end, I was curious (maybe in a ogling-a-car-crash way) as to how she was going to resolve it all. And I thought the love triangle was an interesting twist.

***

326wookiebender
Editado: Nov 30, 2013, 8:29 pm

Hi Mark! Spare time just doesn't seem to happen very often nowadays. Or rather, spare time with a *screen*. The kids keep on commandeering the iPad and the desktop. :P

I did have a lot of fun with Boneshaker, I've already bought the next in the series. I thought it was a great bit of world building, good strong characters, and I was scared of the zombies (which hasn't happened since World War Z). They are fast zombies, which is something I don't always approve of, but they made up for that by being scary.

ETA - I did contemplate a new thread, but with only a month of 2013 to go, I decided to just stick it out here. :)

327iftyzaidi
Dez 15, 2013, 9:18 am

Hello wookie! Just caught up on your thread (I think the last time I had the chance to visit it was back in March!) Looks like you've been reading some great books!

328wookiebender
Dez 16, 2013, 9:38 pm

Hey there, stranger! :) Been having a fun reading year. As I've told friends/family/whoever will sit still long enough to listen, if it doesn't have zombies/airships/vampires, I ain't reading it.

Currently going on NOS4R2, which has a vampire and is nicely creepy. (Especially when there's a BANG! in the book and then a split second later something fell down in my wardrobe last night when I was the only one awake in the house. I think I may have surprised a neighbour or two with my startled swearing.)

Sadly, will probably not make 100, although maybe if I include The Magician's Nephew (which I'm mostly reading to Miss Boo, although she also reads chapters to herself at times) and Saga which I'm reading in individual issues on my iPad, I might sneak it up a bit. (Currently on my 90th book!)

329mabith
Dez 16, 2013, 10:54 pm

I must have been the laziest child, it never occurred to me to read ahead in the chapter books my parents read us. Though I did always read ahead in the ones any teacher was reading us (they kept telling us not to read ahead, the fools).

330wookiebender
Dez 16, 2013, 11:55 pm

Mr Bear won't read ahead (we're on the final Percy Jackson book), but does happily read his own books (currently enjoying a combo of Life in Hell, Conspiracy 365 and looking forward to Zombie Baseball Beatdown - little does he know he's getting more books for Xmas, bwahahahaha!).

Miss Boo reads all over the place, which can be annoying if it's a book I don't already know and I have to start in the middle of somewhere, no idea who is who and what is what. And she does assume that I know everything and of course, that includes all the plots of all books ever written. But, at the same time, *proud* of her reading.

331msf59
Dez 17, 2013, 7:31 am

Hi Tania- I grabbed an ARC of Zombie Baseball Beatdown last June and haven't been able to bookhorn it in. It looks like a lot of fun. Have you started vacation?

332BekkaJo
Dez 17, 2013, 4:31 pm

#330 It's brilliant when they do that isn't it? By which I mean, presume you know absolutely every story line of every book/film/words to every song. Nice to know they have faith but sometimes worrying.

I've been contemplating reading The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe etc to Cass - how old was Miss boo when you started reading these with her? I'm so SO fed up of the Rainbow Magic fairy books I just have to read her something else! She's welcome to read them herself but at around book 26 I feel like my brain is melting.

333Nickelini
Dez 17, 2013, 9:12 pm

ak! Rainbow Magic Fairy Books . . . I think I only ever let my daughter read them to herself--I couldn't face those ones. Around that time I read her Anne of Green Gables, which she enjoyed. I also tried Black Beauty, and she liked it, but I liked it significantly less than I did when I was 11 and lost it on purpose. My daughter was around 11 when she read Narnia herself--I had tried to read it to my older daughter when she was about 9, and she could understand the words, but often not really grasp the sentence. You could also try the Hobbit.

I once read an interview with the editor of the New York Times Children's Book Editor, and she said she would read any book once to her kids--but if she didn't like it, never again. I read that when my eldest was about 2, and have used it as a principle ever since. Hence, no Rainbow Magic Fairies!

334wookiebender
Dez 19, 2013, 3:30 am

#331> Hi Mark! The kids are on holidays already (first day today!) but I've got one more day to go. Then three weeks off! Hoping for a fun and relaxing break. And some time to read!

#332> Hi Bekka! I read several of them to Mr Bear when he was in year 2 I think, probably about seven years old. The worst bit was trying to explain all the Christian bits when I didn't necessarily get them myself!

#333> And hi Joyce! I must admit, I refused to read the Rainbow Magic books after a while. Miss Boo still loves them, and we get several from the library each visit. She can read at a higher level, but these are good for her short attention span. But after the first few, I just wanted to gouge my eyes out with a rusty spoon than read any more.

Must admit, a lot of my favourite childhood books don't quite make the cut with these young 'uns!

335wookiebender
Dez 19, 2013, 6:10 am

87. Old Man's War, John Scalzi



An entertaining militaristic sci-fi novel, where old people join the space army (argh, returned it to the library, haven't got the right nomenclature to hand!) in the hope of being made young again. They are, but not quite in the way they expected. I enjoyed this, but as Don pointed out, I don't really feel the need to return to this world.

Unless another Scalzi book serendipitously pops up at the library, like this one did.

(Don also pointed out it's very Heinleinesque, which I did not notice at all, not being a Heinlein fan.)

***1/2

336wookiebender
Dez 19, 2013, 6:15 am

88. The Affinity Bridge, George Mann



Air ships! Zombies! I think this may be my latest favourite sub-sub-genre.

Alternate history, London, investigation of a crashed air ship, with a revenant plague stalking the poorer areas of London, and I can't remember the third seemingly unrelated plot, but he somehow pulls it all together in the end into a satisfying conclusion.

It didn't quite spark at times, but I loved the coda, and am now bugging the local bookshop to order in a copy of the next in the series. (How annoying, it wasn't just *there* on the shelves as it should have been. When I rule the world, bookshops are going to have to be better on stocking books...)

***1/2

337wookiebender
Dez 19, 2013, 6:20 am

89. Dreadnought, Cherie Priest



Again with the air ships and zombies! Continuing on in the same world as Boneshaker, but this time starting in the southern states of America, 20 years into the American Civil War.

I bought book three this afternoon and am lining it up for some Xmas reading. I think I'm addicted to this series. Nice having strong female characters, and I'm enjoying a break from the need for them to fall in love all the time. No romance in the first two books! It's a refreshing change. (Not that I mind the romance, but it was good to be reminded that it's not essential.)

****

338wookiebender
Dez 19, 2013, 6:24 am

90. NOS4R2, Joe Hill



Scary and atmospheric, while I did mean to read this for Halloween, I only sourced a copy in time for Christmas. But then again, given it's about a creepy old man who steals children to take them to Christmasland in the back of his Rolls Royce Wraith while stealing their life force to keep himself alive, maybe Christmas is the time to be reading it. At any rate, I don't quite feel the same way about Christmas carols as I used to...

****

339BekkaJo
Dez 19, 2013, 10:09 am

I'm glad that the Rainbow Magic pain seems to be universal...I've told her she can have to the end of the current 7 set and thats it. NO MORE! And this time I will be strong. She can easily read them herself so she will just have to do so.

I'm thinking maybe Hobbit next, but I don't want to scare her. She's still not quite 6. Lucky hubby gets to read Dahl to her but I am not allowed (yes she is that much of a little madame at times).

#333 Thanks Nickelini - Cass would probably like Anne of Green Gables. May try her on it before The Hobbit.

340clfisha
Dez 19, 2013, 4:37 pm

I always seem to feel that with Scalzi, good but not great, I never seem to want to rush out & seek more.

NOS4R2 is truly creepy & really fast for a giant book!

341msf59
Dez 19, 2013, 5:21 pm

I have still not read Scalzi, maybe because he gets such a lukewarm reception here on LT. I've wanted to get to RedShirts forever.
I am glad you loved NOS4A2. I am right with you on that one.

342wookiebender
Dez 19, 2013, 7:26 pm

#339> Rainbow Magic aren't *appalling* books (I was rather relieved the two main characters seemed to be quite sensible girls, no "let's bake cookies for the boys!" moments or anything; I've been warned about Ashley & Mary-Kate books...), but they are exceedingly simplistic and there's only so much of them I can take. But I'm very happy Miss Boo enjoys them, because they are perfect for her short attention span. I rarely actually finish a book with her, she's always off onto the next before finishing the first. Sigh.

Maybe I should try Anne of Green Gables, I haven't actually read that myself. But I did love the TV series from the 1980/90s!! (Bad Tania.)

#340> Joe Hill does write excellent page turners. I also got Horns out of the library for some Xmas reading, and volumes 4 & 5 of Locke and Key which is just gorgeous. I don't think NOS4R2 is going to give me continuing nightmares, which is a relief, I still find it hard to walk around the house at night after reading Heart Shaped Box about three years ago. DAMN YOU, JOE HILL.

And I'm going to be visiting Stephen King for the first time ever in January: we're doing The Shining for our book group! Meep.

341> Mark, if you're going to try Scalzi, do try Redshirts. It's quite unlike his other stuff, and was a whole heap of fun. I was a little surprised by how straightforward Old Man's War was after that. It was a good solid read, and he does write great dialogue, and I was entertained, but it was strange the way I just felt satisfied without feeling the need to continue in his world. You never know though, another Scalzi novel may tip me over the edge into rabid fandom. :)

343mabith
Dez 19, 2013, 7:50 pm

Have you tried the Time Warp Trip books for Miss Boo, by Jon Scieszka? They're short chapter books, and really neat. Plus the cartoon they made based on them is excellent.

344wookiebender
Dez 19, 2013, 9:23 pm

I haven't heard of the Time Warp Trip books, but I see the author also wrote The Stinky Cheese Man, which is something I've heard very good things about (but is always sold out when I'm at the shop!). Will keep those in mind, thanks!

345richardderus
Dez 20, 2013, 10:51 am

In high hopes of a happy school hols plus time off work you've MORE than earned, Tania:



Celebrate the return of the light with feasts, merriment, and gratitude for all the wonders of this wide green earth.

RMD

346BekkaJo
Dez 20, 2013, 11:18 am

#342 That's true - there are worse role models! Still :/

2013 was my first King year - with Carrie my first 2013 read and then The Shining for my book group a couple of months ago. Loved both I have to say. Though I found I could only read The Shining in bright, well peopled places... but then I'm a big woose! I have Doctor Sleep lined up but I've only manage about 6 pages and all the Shining fear came back so I put it down for a while!

347wookiebender
Dez 22, 2013, 9:01 pm

Thanks Richard, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas too! (And I did buy a couple of pomegranates just the other day for salads on the day. Such beautiful fruit.)

Bekka, I'm a wuss too, so The Shining is going to take a bit of nerve for me. Must also buy a copy! (Being on holidays, I'm in the city and walking past my second favourite bookshop far less often. This is good for the budget, but annoying for my book obsession. :)

348clfisha
Dez 23, 2013, 5:33 am

Good luck with Stephen King, I admit I prefer his shorts/novellas to his novels but he has such a captivating style.

349msf59
Dez 23, 2013, 7:28 am

Speaking of Mr. King. I am totally immersed in Doctor Sleep. What a great read. I also finally started dirt Music, my very first Winton.

Tania- I hope you and you family have a wonderful Christmas. Big Hugs!

350wookiebender
Dez 24, 2013, 5:37 am



Merry Christmas to all! Kids are in bed after the traditional reads of Night Before Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and we're waiting for them to fall asleep before we get cracking on wrapping their presents. Tomorrow morning will be at my parents' for mince pies and tea, and oysters and champagne and present unwrapping.

I hope everyone's Christmases are wonderful, filled with rest, relaxation, and good friends and family.

351jfetting
Dez 24, 2013, 9:31 am

Merry Christmas!

352wookiebender
Dez 24, 2013, 11:01 pm

#348> Claire, King's short stories often get picked up as good movies, don't they?

#349> Mark, I hope you like the Winton! (And if you don't, I hope you try one of his others, I find him a bit hit and miss until his last few books which were all winners.)

#352> And a Merry Christmas to you too, Jennifer!

Well, I'm stuffed full of oysters, mince pies and tea (I was driving, so Don drank the champers :), and Mum served up trout pate and smoked salmon, while my sister turned up with cherry strudel. Oink.

I got a copy of More Than This, the latest by Patrick Ness, huzzah! And money towards books. Huzzah!

The kids are building their Lego, so I've got a few minutes with yet another cup of tea to unwind and catalog my books here (Dad also loaned me The Cutting Season which was his birthday book from Mum, recommended by LibraryThingers via me - and apparently it was excellent). Merry Christmas to all! Hope there are lots of books under the tree for you all this holiday season.

353wookiebender
Dez 24, 2013, 11:09 pm

91. Locke and Key: Keys to the Kingdom, Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez



I left too long between these books so was a bit puzzled at times. But the story is still chugging along well, I'm still loving the keys and OMG the cliffhanger! NooooOOOOoooooo! Luckily I have #5 to hand (and I'm first in the queue at the library for when they buy #6).

****

354wookiebender
Dez 24, 2013, 11:12 pm

92. Seeing a Large Cat, Elizabeth Peters



Hm, not sure if it's the patchy reading time this time of year, but this one didn't always gel for me. But I do like the older Ramses, and it was nice seeing Amelia from his point of view at times, and also great getting inside of his head.

***1/2

355BekkaJo
Dez 25, 2013, 2:45 am

Merry Christmas! I hope Santa brought the kids all they wished for ;)

356wookiebender
Dez 27, 2013, 2:20 am

Well, they got lots of Lego, so I think Santa did very well. :)

357wookiebender
Dez 27, 2013, 2:26 am

93. Bitterblue, Kristin Cashore

After the rather disappointing Fire, this was a great romp, lots going on (at times, too much going on!), and all tied together well at the end. I did shed a tear or two as well, with the damage done by the evil King Leck (in Graceling) becoming more and more apparent as the book progressed.

And it also tied Fire into the previous story well, so I'm feeling more forgiving of that book now.

****

358clfisha
Editado: Dez 27, 2013, 4:51 am

Well since its past Christmas, Happy New Year :)

@352 I think they do hold up the best. Stand by Me is a favourite and The Mist is ok (even if they did change the ending. Then again there is The Raft.. shakes head sadly.

and don't you just hate cliffanger endings :)

359wookiebender
Dez 27, 2013, 6:05 am

Oh, I think we can still wish people a merry Christmas for several days yet. It's like a birthday, it lasts for more than one day. :)

360wookiebender
Dez 27, 2013, 6:09 am

94. The Unwritten volume 4:Leviathan, Mike Carey

Finally getting back to this series! And wishing I had actually finished Moby Dick. But there are other whale tales in literature, and we visit all the ones I knew (um, that would be Pinocchio), plus a couple more. And Pauly reappears, hurrah!

****

361msf59
Dez 27, 2013, 7:24 am

Tania- Always good to see the GNs mentioned. The Locke & Key books ran out of steam for me, but the first 3 or 4 were really good. I am enjoying Dirt Music. Very dark, edgy stuff and he seems to really have a nice grasp of place and atmosphere. I don't think it needs to be 460 pages, though.

362wookiebender
Dez 30, 2013, 1:42 am

Hi Mark! Glad you're liking Dirt Music. I didn't think it needed an edit, but I did think it was his book with the least depth. But good on him for writing something that was very popular, in Australia at least. Our authors do struggle quite a bit, very few can live off their book earnings.

363wookiebender
Dez 30, 2013, 1:47 am

95. Ganymede, Cherie Priest

The third in her clockwork century series, this one is set in a swampy New Orleans, occupied by the Texians during the epically long American Civil War. Brothel owner and spy Josephine Early is trying to smuggle a submarine to the northern armies, and brings in old acquaintance Andan Cly from Seattle to "fly" the sub down the Mississippi to the ocean and waiting northern navy.

As usual, it's a nice mixing of real historical fact and steam punk, with zombies. I wanted more zombies this time though, without them the tension didn't quite ratchet up enough for me.

***1/2

364wookiebender
Dez 30, 2013, 10:49 pm

96. Locke & Key: Clockworks, Joe Hill

Lots of backstory in this one, as the Locke kids discover the timeshift key. I believe this is the penultimate book, so it's also ramping up the tension for the final showdown.

****

365wookiebender
Jan 1, 2014, 2:41 am

97. Raising Steam, Terry Pratchett

The fortieth (!!!) in the marvelous Discworld series. In this one, a very very clever young man with his sliding rule and loggysticks invents the steam engine, which takes Anhk-Morpork by storm.

It's been a long while between Discworld books for me, so people (and the main character that is Anhk-Morpork) have changed in the meantime. But not too much, it all fit together well. The humour isn't as constant as the earlier novels, but the satire is excellent. Mr Pratchett is a wonderfully clever chronicler not just of Anhk-Morpork, but of our times.

****

366wookiebender
Jan 1, 2014, 2:43 am

98. A Question of Upbringing, Anthony Powell

Read this one so long ago, I can't remember details! But yes, it is as good as people say.

****

367wookiebender
Jan 1, 2014, 2:43 am

99. A Buyer's Market, Anthony Powell

Again, I read ths too long ago to be able to give a coherent review.

****

368wookiebender
Jan 1, 2014, 2:45 am

100. Saga, Brian K. Vaughn

A truly excellent graphic novel, well worth a read. Contains adult content, so be warned.

****

369wookiebender
Editado: Jan 1, 2014, 2:51 am

There we go, 100! The creative accounting is: finished the Pratchett on the 1st (but is was still 2013 for some of the world!); I read the Powell books as part of an omnibus and *still* haven't gotten to the third, which I was going to count as one big read; and I read Saga in individual issues on my iPad, so I have no idea how to catalogue them here or where I'm up to, graphic novel wise (but I know I'm in the second volume somewhere).

But damnit, I just missed out on 100 in 2012, and I wasn't going to do so in 2013 as well!

You can find my 2014 thread here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/162805#

So onto 2014! Happy New Year, all!

370Eyejaybee
Jan 1, 2014, 3:17 am

Well done, Tania :)

There's a wide range of styles included in that hundred.

Best wishes for great reading in 2014.

371divinenanny
Jan 1, 2014, 10:27 am

Well done!

372mabith
Jan 1, 2014, 3:28 pm

Congrats!

373jnwelch
Jan 1, 2014, 4:14 pm

Congrats, Tania, and Happy New Year!

374wookiebender
Jan 1, 2014, 7:00 pm

Thanks all! Hoping to get some stats up later today, but we'll see how much time I have...