Saturday, January 31, 2015

Reading In Winter

1.  The Rosie Effect, Graeme Simsion - I wanted to start the year off with something funny and light, and this fit the bill perfectly.  In fact, I read it in a single day because I was so engrossed.  True, it's not as good as Simsion's first book - The Rosie Project - but it was still a treat. I kind of hope that Simsion leaves Don and Rosie alone for a while, though.  I think more books wuld spoil them.

2.  The Natural History of Dragons, Marie Brennan - Loved it.  Absolutely loved it.  It's writen as if it's a memoir by a particularly headstrong woman who bucked (Victorianish) convention to become a dragon scholar and adventurer.  I'm going to credit the recent rise in popularity of "gaslamp" fantasy for this and for several other lovely fantasy books I've read in the last couple of years.  Always a delight to read books about fabulous women!  The second book in the series is out now, but I might wait until the final book comes out this summer and then read those two back to back.

3.  The Leftovers, Tom Perrotta (audio) - This has been on my reading list for a very long time, and yet oddly I hadn't made the connection between it and the recent tv show.  Derp.  I actually really liked where Perrotta took this story of what happens after the sudden disapearance of a large percentage of the world's population.  I also actually liked the fact that nothing really was resolved...rather, it was a portrait of a few years of people dealing with the fallout.  Very interesting.

4.  Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood (audio), 5.  The Year of the Flood, Margaret Atwood (audio), 6.  MaddAddam, Margaret Atwood (audio) - It's been a really, really long time since I read Atwood, and perhaps I need to read many of her books again...perhaps.  I struggle, sometimes, with the bleakness in her works.  (Can't stand The Handmaid's Tale).  This trilogy in many ways shares that...they are particularly damning for big buisiness and science, and the future portrayed here is so very horrible.  At the same time, her characters are amazing, and there is enough humor and humanity to draw you in and keep you with her until the very end.  Altogether it was about 36 hours of audio...and I can't say enough good things about the readers, who really added a lot of depth to the story.  Reading them back to back the brilliance in Atwood's writing - in her ability to make connections and in the details she creates - is very apparent.  My only quibble...some of the connections felt a little bit too coincidental...but that's a minor complaint.  I really, really loved this read.  I'm also really, really done with post-apocolyptical books for a while.

7. On Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan - Funny story...I checked the digital ebook out from my library on a whim, knowing the McEwan is the favorite author of one of the BOTNS hosts, and knowing this is her favorite book.  Then I forgot I checked it out until about 48 hours before it was due to be returned.  Whoops!  I don't know that I was actually all that interested (I've read Atonement, and while it was a gorgeous book it certainly didn't wind up on my favorites list nor did it send me running to read ore of McEwan's work.), but I sat down with it, and within a few pages was hooked.  On the surface, it's a very simple story about the night of a young couple's wedding.  Dig deeper and it's a gorgeous character study and tragedy.  Bonus...the language is to die for.

Attempted:
1.  Never Going to Let You Go, - Seriously, it's the third time I've tried it.  Booker prize and critics be darned, I give. 
2.  The Children Act, Ian McEwan - this is his newest, and I'd had it on reserve for quite some time.  I read about a chapter.  Maybe it's just that I tired it right after On Chesil Beach...I don't know.  I really love McEwan's characters and language, but darn it...does nothing good ever happen in his books?

Some notes on reading in 2015:
1.  As much as I loved last year, I have no intention of repeating the numbers I hit.  It may have been a bit much, in retrospect.  As I have other things I'd like to do this year, I think I'll try to take my parents - ahem - 'advice' and get my nose out of the book once in a while. 
2.  Part of this, I'm going to separate attempted books from completed books as I did this month.  I want to make sure they are included in the record, but I don't want them inflating my numbers at the end of the year - even if I do try to get through a fairly hefty chunk before giving up.  Part of being more experimental with reading as I have been for the last few years is that there are more books that I give up on because they aren't my cup of tea.  Fortunately, it's still a fairly rare occurrence.

Finally, a note on this month:
I dealt with a serious headache problem for most of the month, which was bad enough that it affected my eyesight.  Thus...the higher number of audio books this month. 

1 comment:

Ann Beck said...

I love reading these posts. It is funny because I hated On Chesil Beach, but LOVED The Children Act. Have you read Saturday? I find him to be an interesting author.