Friday, August 5, 2011

Round Up 2

Here's another catch up post of five books I read on my summer vacation:  Now I'm only three behind on my daily book posting.  Notice I'm not behind on reading, just bragging about them afterward.

When I'm reading books, sometimes I'm having fun while reading them, and sometimes I enjoy having read them.  Ideally I like both -- those are my favorites! -- but sometimes I'll roll along in a story but afterwards regret the time spent, or find that unpleasant memories linger longest.  Other times I'll cringe through the text, but afterward find that my soul has stretched and strengthened and I like myself better now that I incorporate that book.  Or just that I've got a good memory stored away from hard winter nights.  And then there are the books that I read while wishing I were better at putting books down -- reading is painful and all memories of the book will burn my brain.  Blogging helps me pick out which books I'm reading for which purpose, and maybe in my next life I'll be better at aiming at the golden quadrant.

  • Truth and Beauty, Ann Pratchett. (NOOK) I always meant to read Autobiography of a Face, the story of writer Lucy Grealy; the descriptions of it in Daedulus book catalogs looked fascinating.  Sadly, it's still on my TBR list. But the memoir by Ann Pratchett of her friendship with Grealy and her delight in Grealy's brilliance and unbridled race towards life and happiness, as well as her equally impetuous drive towards misery and failure gives a poignant description of a relationship between a grasshopper and an ant who never tired of each other.  As an added bonus, Pratchett ends up in Tennessee, so I'm crediting my state quest here.
  • The Eternal Tomb: Oliver Nocturne 5, by Kevin Emerson.  I liked this book because the author's name is Kevin, but otherwise it was a pretty blah read.  I read it as part of the Read-My-Library project, and it's a middle book from a series in the children's series section.  It's a boy book about vampires, so I'll tell my son about them; he could race through them but he'd insist on reading in order.  It seems to be like Animorphs in terms of reading interest; if you don't know what those are it is unlikely you'd be interested in this. Not much fun, not too many good memories.
  • The First Cut, by Dianne Emley:  I picked up this book because I saw an internet book club going through authors by the alphabet, which I like because of my A-Z challenge.  Unfortunately, my current library stack of 65 items meant that I didn't read it until the month after its selection.  It's a murder suspense story, so a bit gory and scary, and I think it's the first of a series.  It's a cop procedural, with the twist being that the main character has just returned to work after being dead for a few minutes after an on-duty attack.  She's still dealing with the ramifications, from panic attacks in nice homes to strange communications from the victim.  I would have preferred to skip the woo-woo stuff altogether, since it didn't really fit in with the gritty realism of the rest of the book.  I had more fun reading the book than I did thinking about it afterward.
  • The Search, Nora Roberts.  Our July book club book was an unabashed beach book, chosen for that very characteristic.  Orcas Island, off the coast of Washington, stars as an important love interest, along with the word working, laconic hero and the dog-handling reserved heroine.  Many of the women in the club found the man's terse, sometimes rude manner unlikable, but I figured he made up for it by his habit of carving deck rocking chairs and dropping them off at her house.  There is some ickiness with an ooky serial killer, and Roberts seems to take as much joy in describing the horror scenes as with the love scenes, but as the book is meant to be read in bright sunlight (never candlelight) I guess she felt she had to impose her own darkness.  A fun read if you find it in your beach house, but not really worth hiking into town to pick up.
  • No Where Near REespectable
  • Nowhere Near Respectable, Mary Jo Putney.  By now I'm reading the Putney books mainly out of habit; the anachronistic feel of her regency romances has become familiar while the strange situations feel impossibly contrived.  Her current series follows alumni from an incredible boarding school who all find themselves astonished to be in the nineteenth century.  Yet this one crossed over so many implausible hurdles as to almost transform itself into alternate history, allowing me to relax and enjoy the story with its strong female lead dashing about using her special snowflake knowledge of martial arts and birth control and the equality of women while the more hesitant man followed along with his reported death and fancy club owning and master of disguise abilities.  The conversations are often earnestly insane but in a warm and fuzzy sort of way.  It's not a book I'm proud of enjoying, but I can't quite begrudge myself the time to read it.

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