SarahMichigan (sarahmichigan) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books #5-6

Book #5 was "Ever After," the 11th installment in "The Hollows" series by Kim Harrison, as an audiobook. This series is a guilty pleasure. I think Harrison's prose is clunky in some places, but she makes up for that with in-depth character development, intricate plotting and a breathless pace that keeps you reading on to find out what trouble Rachel has gotten herself into now. In this book, actions from a previous novel - creating a new ley line and battling but not killing a day-walkign demon - come back to haunt her. Rachel's ley line is leaking energy and causing the "Ever After" to shrink, which could mean the end of magic. If she doesn't fix it in three days, the demon collective will let their lab-made day-walking demon kill her. Rachel needs to form new alliances with former enemies to save the world. This book is one of the grimmer ones in the series - I don't remember so many deaths in any other book, and children are constantly in mortal physical danger throughout the book. I think Harrison does a fantastic job of pulling many threads together from previous entries in the series and changing relationships between established major and secondary characters. I'm really interested in reading the final two in this series to see how she wraps up the series overall.

Book #6 was "On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family" by Lisa See. See is the great-granddaughter of a Chinese merchant who married a white woman in California back when the transcontinental railroad was being built. Her family history - both from the caucasian and Asian sides - is laid out, along with context about racial relations and societal attitudes toward immigrants and interracial marriage. It's very informative, but it's also very personal, and See uses more novel-like narratives to make the past come alive. She doesn't shrink from family secrets, ranging from infidelity to alcoholism, discussing them very matter-of-factly. The book has three sections of photos from 5 generations in her family, both in American and living back in China. I had read two of her novels previously, and I can see where she mined her life and her relatives' life for some of the details. This book was fascinating and a joy to read. I'm curious to read a book or two by Lisa's mother, who is also a writer/novelist/journalist.

1. Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time" [nonfiction]- David Oliver Relin and Greg Mortenson
2. The Detroit Electric Scheme [fiction]- D.E. Johnson
3. Classic Philip Jose Farmer 1964-1973 (Volume 5  in the Classics of Modern Science Fiction series) [fiction/short stories]- PJ Farmer
4. "The Aspern Papers" and "The Turn of the Screw" (omnibus volume with notes and commentary) [fiction]- Henry James

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