Maribou (maribou) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

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Slow Stoneheart; Ironhand Body; Against Silvertongue; Bathing Queen Father; Sky Waistcoats; etc

(Pardon the long post, but I am now CAUGHT UP!!!!!! For the first time since this summer. Woot. Not quite done for the year, mind you; I'm planning to make today a reading day ... )

The Slow Regard of Silent Things, by Patrick Rothfuss
This is a deeply odd book, full of twists and turns and complexity. Also there are many objects in it. I very much liked it but it is quite weird.

Stoneheart, Ironhand, and Silvertongue, by Charlie Fletcher
I really dug this series, set in an alternate layer of London where statues are animate, and either good or evil. There's more bits to the worldbuilding too, some of which overlap with Fletcher's new adult series, and they are very satisfying. The youthful characters' arcs are rather darker than is usual in fantasy series (more real-world problems in their families), in an enriching way. Over the three books the story gradually swells to a wonderful, tear-inducing close, but it takes long enough to get there. My heart was filled.
(297, 311, 312)

The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk
This really a splendid book - smart, moving, chockful of useful, previously peer-reviewed information and deeply human. It was really hard to read because it hits so close to home (I took a lot of Lego breaks), but I kept being drawn back to it, rather than having to make myself read it. Warm and compassionate and solid.
(298, O64)

Up Against It, by M.J. Locke
Another in the "sci fi books I was looking for as a teenager but couldn't find enough of because they mostly didn't exist yet. Solid, interesting, varied characterization; gripping plot; intriguing speculation.

The Father Christmas Letters, by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread)
A lot of years I like to reread this on Christmas Eve and this was one of those years. I love how absurd and prankish Tolkien's North Pole is, and it's neat to see larger themes develop over the years.
(305, O70)

To Visit the Queen, by Diane Duane
I love kitchen-sink books when all the elements are things I adore, and these elements are stuffed together so elegantly that it doesn't even feel kitchen-sinkish, unless you try to thumbnail a description. Time-traveling cat wizards in alternate timeline Londons, with guest starring role by Queen Victoria. :D (And I didn't even talk about the team management discussions....)

Bathing the Lion, by Jonathan Carroll
Such a strange book, but I couldn't stop reading it. Like a lot of Carroll's work, it skates on the edge of not making sense much of the time, but never actually crosses over. Also I couldn't figure out why I disliked all the characters until I came across Neil Gaiman's comment that it was like John Updike and Philip K. Dick at the same time. That is very true AND it explains a lot since I've never liked an Updike character in my life. Anyway, despite this ambivalent review, I really liked it, much more than I did his last novel. I am excited to read the voluminous short story collection of his I have on the shelf, now.

Waistcoats & Weaponry, by Gail Carriger
A steampunkish, manners-focused, high adventurous romp, as one could expect from Carriger. Lovely to see all the resonances with her previous series, written in such a way that they never muddy or overwhelm the current story.

The Dot, Ish, and Sky Color, by Peter Reynolds
Charming, beautifully illustrated, didactic stories about trusting your imagination. I dug 'em.
(309, O71; 310, O72; 311, O73)

Signore Tamborini et autre fictions, by YAYO
Short little poem/stories about odd / surrealist illustrations. I enjoyed them only so-so on their merits, but then there was a layer of "yay! reading in French! I have missed reading in French!" and another layer of being delighted that a very dear friend picked this book up for me and had it signed by the author, so I ended up with a surfeit of fondness for the book.
(310, O74)

Animal Artisans, by Michael Allaby
This was a really interesting book about animal behavior - especially around tool-making and other forms of "human-like" behavior (building, hitching rides, etc). It's from 1982 though, and biology has come a long way since then, so it isn't what you could call a reliable source. Also it was a bit repetitive and dry. Still! So full of neat animals doing cool things.
(313, O75)

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