November 2nd, 2009

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Books 26 and 27 - 2009

Book 26: Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs - 315 pages

My little synopsis:
  While in Guatamala helping with an investigation into a grave of bodies in Chupan Ya left from an internal conflict, Tempe's expertise is requested in the case of a body found in a septic tank. The body is believed to belong to one of four girls, of which one is the daughter of the Canadian minister to Guatamala. However, there appears to be more political strife to the case than Tempe anticipates when two colleagues are shot and the septic tank body is confisicated by the DA.

I keep reading the Tempe Brennan books in the hope that they might become more like my much beloved TV show, or at least in the hope that Brennan won't manage to do something stupid this time around. I was met with some sort of thanks for my patience this time around. This book didn't necessarily read any differently than the other books, but for some reason, I did enjoy it more. I think this in part came from the fact that Tempe spent nearly the entire book with someone - be it one of her Chupan Ya's colleagues, Andrew Ryan or her Guatamalan detective Gailano - and this spared the reader from the monotony of Tempe's internal dialogue, which becomes so dry and boring after awhile. Moreover, Brennan saved her stupid I-can-save-the-world moment for right near the end of the book and therefore I was already interested enough in the plot to want to read it. This has renewed my interest in the Tempe Brennan books, though I am planning to leave them for the year and try and finish some of the other ones on my list before picking them up again next year with Bare Bones.

26 / 50 bookss. 52% done!


9684 / 15000 pages. 65% done!

Book 27: The Looking Glass Wars III: Arch Enemy
by Frank Beddor - 370 pages

My little synopsis: With both Redd and Alyss imagination-less after the dropping of W.I.L.M.A by Boarderland's King Arch, the fight for the throne of Wonderland begins. While the Clubs' incite a coup against the dominance of imagination, General Doppelganger, Bibwit, Alyss and Dodge try and figure out a way to keep the crown on Alyss' head. Meanwhile, Hatter is forced to remove a depressed Molly from the situation altogether - much to her disgust. And just what the hell Arch, and Redd alike, is up to nobody knows...and bloody hell, you've just gotta read it!!!

Firstly, I must say that I harrassed my beloved book website, for receipt of this book long before it had even been released. I've never been more excited for a book then I was for this one, and I took to ringing home every afternoon at 4 o'clock (when the mail comes!) to see if it had arrived. When it finally did turn up last Tuesday, I was so excited I almost couldn't pick it up to read it. I kissed it quite regularly, and did in fact tell my friend Natalie that it was more sacred than the Bible (Yes, I understand that this is totally inappropriate but I was REALLY excited!). Having said that, I think the best review I can provide you all with is the one I did on facebook just moments after closing its last page (I read it in five days - it would have been faster but I wanted to drag it out as long as possible, and also I have to work, and also I have an assignment to do). So, as it is excessively long and does feature a few revelations about the plot I have hidden my very excited review of Arch Enemy behind the below cut - please enjoy it...

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27 / 50 books. 54% done!

10054 / 15000 pages. 67% done!

Currently reading:
- From Modernism to Postmodernism: An Anthology
edited by Lawrence Cahoone - 600 pages
- The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 2: The One Tree
by Stephen Donaldson - 472 pages
Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee - 220 pages
A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton - 521 pages
- The True Story of Butterfish 
by Nick Earls - 280 pages

And coming up:
- The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory - 486 pages 
- Next by Michael Crichton - 540 pages
- Angels and Demons
by Dan Brown - 620 pages

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October books

It's now pretty clear that I'll make 60 books this year (I should do that before the end of November), but how far beyond that I'm not sure. Anyway, over the last month I finished:

51: William Golding: The Man Who Wrote The Lord of the Flies by John Carey. I've already noted this one here; it's a superb literary biography, a model of its kind.

52: Cloud and Ashes by Greer Gilman, reviewed for SF Site. This is certainly going to be one of my books of the year; not an easy read by any means but wonderfully rewarding.

53: The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster, re-read for an essay I needed to write for a reference book. This is still one of my favourites among Auster's novels, perhaps because (along with The Brooklyn Follies) it's one of the most humane books he's written. And I would love to see the silent comedies by Hector Mann that he describes.

54: The American Epic Novel in the Late Twentieth Century: The Super-Genre of the Imperial State by W. Gilbert Adair, reviewed for SF Studies. First of all: W. Gilbert Adair is not the novelist Gilbert Adair, which is perhaps a pity. Secondly, this is a book that doesn't even bother to explain two of the key terms from its own title: Super-Genre and Imperial State. Thirdly, this is a study of four big novels from the 1970s, including Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon and Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany; the close reading of the four books contains some interesting (though not always convincing) stuff, but Adair really does nothing to say why these particular books were chosen (other than their size) or what might link them. In other words, it is a book that significantly fails to do what it says on the cover.

55: On Joanna Russ edited by Farah Mendlesohn, reviewed for SF Site. With a couple of exceptions (including the Gilman, above), this has not been a particularly sparkling year for fiction; but it has been exceptionally good for non-fiction. The Csicsery-Ronay, the Ruddick and now this are all books that well repay the reader.

56: The Prestige by Christopher Priest, re-read (for I don't know how many times) for an essay I'm due to write about the film adaptation. This is the first time I've re-read the novel since I saw the film, and it brings home to you how much the film and the book differ, and yet how true they are to each other.

(no subject)

42. She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb

Delores is a normal child until her parents divorce, her mother is commited, she is raped and gains several hundred pounds.

This is a good book - not going to change the world, but good for cold, rainy winter evenings.


43. Both by Simone Lia

Cute little cartoon stories.

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Books 26-30

Been a while since I updated, and with my degree taking over my life and my challenge technically ending in January, things aren't looking so good for those next 20 books. But we'll see how it goes!

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