Maribou (maribou) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

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Beware the Mouse End; Butterfly Girl Street; Blood on the Loose

Believer, Beware, by Jeff Sharlet, Peter Manseau, et al
First-person essays about various aspects of religious belief. Definitely meant for people who are interested in religion, definitely not only for believers. Heterodoxy at its finest...

Somewhere Towards the End, by Diana Athill
Her writing is chiefly notable for its lucidity (one of my favorite qualities). She faces death and aging with a steady gaze. Elsewhere I talked about her fierce warm mind, and I would stand by that assessment a week later. This won the Costa Prize for Biography, but it's Montaigne- or Augustine-style biography, not celeb-of-the-week or doughty-historical-figure stuff. (PS I started reading Julian Barnes' Nothing to Be Frightened Of a couple of days ago, and was worried they would be too much alike - but even though they're both about writers confronting their own mortality they somehow manage to be VERY VERY different books - both good - so if you're interested in that subject, don't feel like you have to choose.)

Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game, by Luke Crane and David Petersen
I think this is the most perfectly constructed roleplaying manual I have ever read. Minimal jargon, engaging examples, logical-if-quirky progression, and the art (of course) is beeooooooootiful. Really hope my chance to play this online with some friends-of-a-friend comes through.

Butterfly Boy, by Rigoberto González
University-press-published memoir of a gay Chicano poet's boyhood, first lover, and relationship with his father. At this point you're either saying "oooooo" or you've tuned me out until I get to the next book. I quite liked it, but in a disengaged sort of way. It relies very much on specific moments to tell the larger story.

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, by Jeanne Birdsall
Charming middle-grade kids' book. I didn't connect with it as well as I did with The Penderwicks, I think because the plot was more 70s-problem-novel than I would've liked. (Only due to overaching premise, not due to incidents, which were as light and timeless as ever.) It still let me feel that going-back-to-my-Beverly-Cleary-days ambience though, which is what I was hoping for.

The Girl I Wanted to Be, by Sarah Grace McCandless
This is an excellent instance of the type of novel it is, but it's not really my type of novel. I frequently read "not my types" anyway, if they're urged on me by sufficient praise and buzz, because I never know when it will actually be EXACTLY my type of novel.... but this one wasn't. I know I'm always saying "I hate when novels are present-tense, but this time I LOVED it" .... yeah, no, this time I hated it. It was distracting. But the story, writing, characters, are very solid. (The thing I liked best is that overall it felt like I was sitting on a dorm room cot listening to a college friend tell me about her messed-up adolescence and this crazy thing that happened one year; it felt that conversational and honest.) And if I weren't so ungrateful and petulant, I probably would've really enjoyed this book. Instead of saying "oh, it's okay, I guess".

Bryant and May on the Loose, by Christopher Fowler
Oh, the zaniness. I was slightly disappointed by the last book in this series but the irrepressible duo are back in full form this time, along with the rest of the Peculiar Crimes Unit. Really liked the way he worked in the Green Man mythos, too, it felt organic to the story much the way the Pre-Raphaelite stuff felt right for The Water Room (my favorite Bryant & May).

Heart's Blood, by Juliet Marillier
Those of you who read all my bookposts know I've recently rediscovered gothic romances. This, my dears, is a gothic romance in pre-Norman-Irish fantasy clothing. Dug it. Also I love Marillier's authorial voice so even with her lesser works (among which I feel this should be ranked), I'm still enraptured the whole way through. Whee!

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