Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The (I Really Wish I Could Come Up With A Clever Title) April Reading Report

1.  Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - If I'm honest, I can't remember where, exactly, I first heard of this book.  There's a reason for that - it made many, many best of lists last year, and garnered a lot of publicity.  I do know that I set my mind to reading it when I heard Adichie in an interview on NPR's Fresh Air.  I then stumbled across her TED talk during a TED binge...and wow.  I'm trying to be a  good girl, though, and am trying to up my library usage even more...so I waited, and waited, and waited.  Now I must buy my own copy.  It's so beautiful.  For me, it was also a rare example of a book that needed to be read a bit slower...savored, enjoyed in it's fullest.  I did get worried towards the end when there was, I felt, rather a lot of things that needed to be wrapped up...and not nearly enough pages to do so.  Rest easy, there is a definite end...and this time it was such a surprise, such a delight and such a joy that it made me cry!

2.  What Makes This Book Great, Jo Walton - I fell in love with this book precisely five minutes after I checked it out of the library as I sat waiting for my daughter to finish her dance lessons.  Walton, the author of the phenomenal book Among Others,  has been writing a blog for TOR books for a long while, and this book is a collection of many of her blog posts.  The cool thing is that she was asked to only blog about books that she reread...which means that many of these are older books, and most certainly they are beloved by her.  These are not reviews, but are instead reflections and commentary.  I chose not to read it in order, but to skip around as fancy took me...which was a lot of fun.  Actually, I originally checked it out from the library, but realized I had to have my own copy so that I could really take my time with it...and return to the posts as needed.  The only problem?  Damn it...it made my wish list grow exponentially.

3.  Book of Ages, Jill Lepore - I thought this would be a fun book, but darn it, I HATE Lepore's writing style.  She's unnecessarily repetitive, overly dramatic and heavy-handed at times, and I honestly wonder about some of the conclusions she draws.  I would have preferred a more  straightforward analysis.  I'm afraid I gave up on the story of Ben Franklin's sister about half way through the book.  Part of the problem is that Lepore assumes the reader doesn't know much about the plight of women in that time period, so a lot of time was focused on general info that I already knew.

4.  House Girl, Tara Conklin - I find I have mixed feelings about this book.  It was a Books On The Nightstand recommendation, and I'm rather glad I checked it out through the library's digital services because I would be annoyed with myself had I paid for it.  It's not a bad book at all.  In fact, the characters are pretty darn awesome, I like the two separate time periods and the way they interacted, and the plot was interesting.  Having said that, I was very bothered by the fact that the two stories intersected way too neatly (and way too improbably).  I also found myself annoyed with the inclusion of a love story for the modern character, which was completely unnecessary. 

5.  Shards of Time, Lynn Flewelling.  Sigh...the last of her Nightrunner books.  Yes, as with all series these books floundered at times, but they were still better than most of the dreck out there.  They are also readable, and are not the 800+ page tomes that litter the fantasy aisle.  (OK, I loved 800+ page tomes...before I had kids.)  I must admit, I had trouble getting started - largely because I didn't want to have to say good-bye to Alec and Seregil at the end!  What's a girl to do but reread?

6.  The Mystery of Grace, Charles DeLint (audio)  My heart told me I needed to reread this book.  I tried ignoring the call..time has been short this month..but I couldn't get it out of my mind.  When our library introduced it's new Hoopla service, I was delighted to find that the audio was available.  Listening to it was rather like church, and in this 20th anniversary month of my Grandfather's passing it was just exactly what I needed.

7.  Seven Wild Sisters, Charles DeLint, art by Charles Vess - I'd been saving it for a rainy day.  The rainy day came, and it was perfect.  There is more than a little bit of magic in the collaboration between these two artists, and that magic whisked me completely away for a time.  I can't wait to read this one with Tanith!  I really rather think I'm a Sarah Jane sort of girl, and honestly I think I would be quite happy moving to a quite farm up in the hills near the forest....

8.  Jack In The Green, Charles DeLint, art by Charles Vess - A new DeLint is ALWAYS a treat!  .  (At this point I feel I should point out I didn't PLAN on making this month all about my favorite writer...it just kind of happened.  Also, I now feel a need to reread several other of his works.  And I really should write him that thank you letter.....)  I'm super-glad I found out about the signed copies available through Subterranean Press before they sold out! 

9.  Moonheart, Charles DeLint - The audio was also available through Hoopla, and so of course, I HAD to listen to this too.  It's been a long while since I read Moonheart, so listening was really a rediscovery for me.  I was struck all over again by just how well DeLint writes female characters, and I could hear the music in the background that I so often hear when reading his books. Magic!

10.  Redefining Realness, Janet Mock -  I honestly can't remember where I first heard about Mock's memoir.  I put it on my library hold list..and then waited for months.  I finally got ahold of it a few days ago, and within a few pages Mock became my new hero.  She's an amazing writer, and her story carries a powerful message.  Read the book, and check out her website.  You won't be sorry. 

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