Maribou (maribou) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

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Elegance of una gaviota; Bookmarked Line Inferno

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery
I am absolutely in love with this book. It's mostly a series of philosophical digressions in the general realm of aesthetic existentialism, but somehow the soupçon of plot and heaping handful of character study combine to make it a page-turner of a novel as well. Not sure why. It really worked for me though. Particularly recommended for those fond of Jun'ichiro Tanizaki.

Historia de una gaviota y del gato que le enseno a volar, by Luis Sepulveda
Cute little story about a seagull, a cat, and a code of honor. Charming if deliberately one-note secondary characters. The illustrations are marvelous and while the story was a bit on the didactic side, I still enjoyed it. Proud of myself for being able to read second-grade books in Spanish that aren't translations of classics I already know ;). Progress!

Bookmarked to Die, by Jo Dereske
Light mystery whose chief attraction is the main character, an old-fashioned but not Luddite reference librarian type. Fiercely proper and beset by irritating people. I could see why people like them but it didn't quite work for me enough to seek out more in the series.... I am sensitive to "mean" humor and some of this stuff felt mean to me even when I was amused. (That's REALLY subjective though, so don't let me dissuade you from trying them!) My favorite part was her sidekick, Ruth, the obstreperous artist-sterotype:P.

The Line, by William Urseth (complimentary copy from ECW's "shelf monkey" program)
This is a straightforward collection of anecdotes about some really great hunting dogs (and a few terrible failures as well). If you are in the mood for exactly that, as I was, you will be delighted with this book! The prose does a great job of not getting in the way of the story, something I wish more writers could do this well. Charmingly free of stuff that doesn't have to do with dogs (I'd read a lot more hunting books if I weren't worried about having to slog through political & other unrelated disquisitions) and emotionally honest. I really enjoyed it. I do wish this breed of dog didn't need to have docked tails to conform to breed standards, and I suspect that if I actually sat down and tried to talk to the author about this and other issues, we might end up yelling at each other. So I am glad he didn't talk about anything but the dogs and the hunt. Brought back a lot of good childhood memories for me.
(60/200; also, I'm at -9 in the ARC bank tsk tsk)

Inferno, by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven (reread)
The first time I read this I thought "wow, they really like CS Lewis; this was a fun romp." Second time around, pretty much the same except there's an essay included that talks (in part) about how they like CS Lewis, so I feel marginally clever;). Always enjoy a good fish-out-of-water story, too. Anyway, if you think a science-fiction retelling of Dante's Inferno using Lewis-ian theology sounds like your cup of tea, you should read this book! I am forty pages into the sequel and eating it up with a spoon.

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