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January 9th, 2013

2012: Books 5-6

Read

5. Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford.

This was okay. I was tempted to not finish it, but it was short so I felt like I had to. And I was completely ready to not read the sequels, but now I find I am going to. It ends on a bit of a cliff-hanger, so I'm stuck. The novel is about Jane Austen as a vampire living in modern times and trying to get published again. It involves some famous characters from the Edwardian era as vampires and some modern characters and I just didn't really connect with any of them, including Jane. I'll give the second a try, but I'm not hoping for much. I will say that I have never been an Austen fan, though, so that might have colored my perception a bit.

6. The Secret Prophecy by Herbie Brennan

I adored his Faerie Kingdom series, so I was eager to try this one. One of the big twists I guessed pretty early on, but it wasn't a bad book. I might read sequels (while this could easily stand as a single novel, the very last sentence hinted that there was more to come), but I wasn't that into it. I think it might be because I'm older -- this book would probably be a lot more interesting for a 10-15 demographic, rather than someone more than a decade older.

Currently Reading

1. The Wild Queen by Carolyn Myers

Book 3 for 2013

Harry and the Wrinklies by Alan Temperley. 274 pages.

Harry Barton is orphaned and sent to live with his elderly aunts at Lagg Hall. Not only are these ladies a vast improvement over the ghastly woman his parents had hired to look after him, but they and their friends have a secret…

I enjoyed this book for the most part - it's pretty simple and fun on the whole - but I thought it a tad tasteless that the female villain was nicknamed "Gestapo Lil".

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This Town by Sidney Blumenthal

This Town by Sidney Blumenthal

This play perfectly captures the inanities of the media and especially illustrates the other sphere in which Washington, DC operates.

The political satire is hilarious, but I really like how Blumenthal captured the camaraderie that exists in the press even when they're trying to scoop each other.

The cast, led by Richard Kind and Gates McFadden, is spectacular. Each actor brings their character to life and imbues them with personality and faults.

I had a terrific time listening to this play and highly recommend it if you're a fan of politics or especially if you hate them!

Books completed: 6/50

Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman

Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Adam Rex

This is a children's picture book, but it's Neil Gaiman, so I had to sit down and read it. The fantastical author has woven yet another magical tale, this time featuring a little panda with a powerful sneeze.

It's whimsical, easily relatable, and I only wish I'd been able to read it to my six-year-old nephew before he returned home.

Children will adore it and adults will enjoy reading it themselves or especially to a young child.

Books completed: 7/50

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Number of pages: 333

The tenth discworld novel revolves around the arrival of "Holy Wood", and not surprisingly, this is a satire on the movie industry. The art of making movies is created by alchemists, and suddenly everyone is drawn to Holy Wood, wanting to become an actor.

Typically for a Discworld novel, things are not straightforward and in addition to a number of digs at the movie industry, with jokes about how everyone wants to be the first to make a talking picture, the story gets increasingly bizarre as reality and unreality start to merge. This book introduces the character of Gaspode, the talking dog, and various other talking animals show up that are intended to parody other well known cartoons (Bugs Bunny, Tom & Jerry and Donald Duck - a duck who is supposed to talk, but doesn't make sense to anyone). Not surprisingly, Terry Pratchett has also filled up the book with movie quotes, and obvious movie homages, particularly King Kong.

There are a number of characters who are familiar from the other books, including Sergeant Detritus of the City Watch and the wizards of the Unseen University, with Archchancellor Ridcully making his first appearance. One of the funniest sequences in the book involves the wizards when they attempt to disguise themselves as people badly disguised as wizards, "because no one would think that someone wearing a false beard had a real beard underneath" (moments like this show Terry Pratchett's comic genius at its best). There are also a number of appearances from the Librarian and, of course, Death.

I remember being a bit bemused by this one in the past, but reading it again, I have started to appreciate it for what it is. There are a few moments towards the end where the storyline gets a bit too confusing, but otherwise I had no problems with it.

Next book: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

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