Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Books Of February

1.  The Curse of the Thirteenth Fey, Jane Yolen - Another of Yolen's beautiful revisited fairy tales.  This time....Sleeping Beauty as told from the point of view of the 13th fairy!  It was lovely, and I enjoyed it...but I don't have much else to say. 

2.  The Broken Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin - and

3.  The Kingdom of Gods, N. K. Jemisin - books two and three of the Broken Kingdom trilogy that I began a couple of months ago.  Must say, I adore Jemisin!  She's amazing, and has done the near impossible...she's created a fantasy world that's truly unique with characters that are well-rounded, fully-developed individuals.  Can't wait to read more of her work!

4.  The Invisible Woman, Clair Tomalin (audio) - Tomalin's book is a biography of Charles Dickens's mistress, Nelly Ternan.  It's a fascinating story, especially as those in charge of the Dickens legacy did their absolute best to erase Ternan from the record.  Tomalin fills in the gaps with a lot of great information about the lifestyle of actresses and theatrical families during the timeperiod.  As a side note, I realized that I truly prefer nonfiction in audio form.  With a good reader it goes beyond facts and enters the relm of storytelling. 

5.  This is the Story of a Happy Marriange, Ann Patchett (audio) - I checked this out from the library after listening to Patchett's Fresh Air interview.  I think I like her...but I couldn't make it through the book.  Perhaps it would be better to read this collection of essays rather than listen to them.  Patchett has a pleasant enough voice to listen to, but she's not a vocal artist.  I did rather enjoy the lengthy essay on writing I listened to.  It was amazing. 

6.  The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles, Katherine Pancol - Read it in a day.   Could NOT put it down.  Extremely upset that the two sequels haven't been translated from the original French yet.  Pancol's book was a runaway bestseller in France, and I'm very grateful to NPR's Fresh Air for bringing it to my attention!

7.  The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion - and the very next day, I read this entire book!  Again, could NOT put it down.  BOTNS introduced me to this book as a part of their Christmas recommendations, and so I snapped it up when it appeared on BookBub's daily sale alert.  It's an utterly charming love story told from a unique perspective.  Funny and heartwarming...and even a bit thought provoking!

8.  The Matchmaker of Perigord, Julia Stewart - BookBub alerted me when this book went on sale as well, and as it has been on my wish list for years I immediately purchased it.  I LOVED Stewart's The Tower, The Zoo and the Tortoise.  I was dissapointed with The Matchmaker.  I like Stewart's charm, her characters and her basic plot.  Her repetitive storytelling style came across as too precious, though, and was irritating. 

9.  Mistborn, Brandon Sanderson - My husband has wanted me to read the Mistborn books for years...and after listening to a great discussion about science fiction and fantasy on Literary Disco that centered around their reading of this book I decided to give them a try.  Um.  No, dear husband, I don't think Sanderson is the be all, end all.  Not by a long shot.  I'll give him that his version of magic is pretty darn cool and unique.  I'll also freely admit that I really enjoyed reading this book, and am looking forward to the next two.  However.  His characters are very much one-dimensional fantasy stock characters - a fact that was all the more obvious having just read Jemisin's book.

10. By Blood We Live, Glen Duncan - Woo Hoo!  The conclusion to Duncan's brilliant literary horror Werewolf trilogy!  These books are NOT for everyone - being VERY graphic - but wow, I certainly enjoy them!  If nothing else, the character study is pretty amazing. (and yep, reading this right after Mistborn again focused attention on how flat Sanderson's characters are)  For fun, here's an interview with Duncan that I enjoyed. 

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