I enjoyed the relationships in this book very much - the banter, the history, the care shown, the way everybody knows everybody and can predict (not perfectly!) each other's reactions - even though it was the least comfortable in the series for me, because it spent more time than usual pointing out the very-well-worked-out, story-integral, first-cousins-hook-up weird familial sex that happens.* In this case, it helps that, aside from the weird family stuff, all the OTHER sex stuff in this book is *refreshingly* non-conformist in ways that make me happy. And it's only first cousins, which, let's face it, I grew up in PEI, it was not unheard of for first cousins to be married there. And, it is not that big a part of the book really, said book does actually have a world-in-peril plot and a mostly unrelated main romantic storyline. Anyway!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Leaving the part I don't like to think about aside, I really enjoyed this book. The main character's struggles to find the right balance between solitude and connection, and the way music winds through her thoughts, and through the story as a whole, are especially grand. And Tanya Huff remains one of my "yes, because SHE wrote it I will read it and enjoy it, no matter how much I might not read someone else's similar book" authors.
Wereduck, by Dave Atkinson
OMG this was cute and charming and uncomplicated-but-not-oversimplified and had a good message without being preachy and it was EXACTLY the middle-grade novel I needed to give my brain some fresh air after grappling with the issues just mentioned above in the previous book I read. So many happy duck butt-waggles for this one!
The Smurfs Anthology, vol. 2, by Peyo
I had forgotten just how much utterly awful, sexist, annoying bullcrap is in Smurfette's origin story. The rest of the stories in this volume were really fun though.
Born With Teeth, by Kate Mulgrew (ARC)
Very much a Celebrity Memoir of the old-fashioned school, except that (unlike many of those) it is funny and whip-smart and humane. Mulgrew tells some gut-wrenching stories (and some delightful ones), but always in the same easy, friendly, charming tone. As a fellow member of the Irish diaspora, it's a tone I know, and I found it particularly soothing today, because I am sick. That tone didn't keep her from some real depth and grit. Overall, a delightful, incredibly easy to read memoir that I'm so glad to have had in my hands today. (There was a paragraph, early on, that gave me a bad (albeit mercifully short) flashback, mostly because it came more or less out of nowhere. There's also a very difficult chapter about one of her own experiences that could easily trigger someone, though it didn't me. I thought the book was more than worth the discomfort, but I still feel I should mention these things. They don't stop me from reading but I always appreciate knowing them.)
(92, O35, A2)
20 h 17, rue Darling, by Bernard Emond
The sort of novel that, were the plot described to me in advance, I would give it a pass. Luckily, I read it without knowing anything about the plot because I was told that a) it was really hard to put down, b) it was set in Montreal (<3 <3 <3), c) it was really short.** Anyway, it's all three of those excellent things, and so wonderfully told that the plot is not very important to its appeal. A retired alcoholic ex-journalist doesn't get blown up and sets out to figure out why? See, that doesn't sound like my kind of book. But it was awesome.
*(I don't have issues with the particular characters being connected in this way - they all make sense as connections - I just have to LALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU about them being first cousins every time it comes up, which it does tend to because it's an important part of the world-building.) That said, I think it is very impressive that Huff has managed to sustain this weird context through all three books without making me give up or be unhappy with the series - usually I just skip a fun book if incest is in any way part of it, because it stops being fun for me to read. It has to reallllllllly make cultural sense, in a really-good-otherwise book, for me to run with it, and even then it still bothers me. (sadly, this criterion keeps me from reading more books than you might think. (also, cultural sense includes hapsburgs.))
** (re: short - I miss reading in French and part of the reason I don't is because, although my comprehension is more or less the same in either French or English, I read a LOT slower in French - less practice as a kid, when I read maybe 3 French books for every 10 English, if that. So long books take me soooooooooo much longer in French that I get discouraged, not being used to this normal human experience where it takes more than a day or two to finish off a novel. Hence my enthusiasm for Francophone novellas.)