January 15th, 2011

frost rose

Books 5 to 8 for 2011

The housework is slipshod and I'm behind on laundry, but I have taken a lot of time to read. Such good books I've been reading of late.

5. Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris, 2002, 291 pages.
6. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, 2002, 276 pages.
7. The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry, 2008, 312 pages.
8. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, 2008, 374 pages.

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El Corazon

10. The Walking Dead, Volume 4...

The Walking Dead, Volume 4: The Heart's Desire
by Robert Kirkman

Started: January 13, 2011
Finished: January 15, 2011

This isn't a bad read, but it's probably my least favorite of the series so far. It was a tad bit more soap opera-ish. Plus I'm having a tiny bit of trouble telling some of the characters apart in the artwork. 136 pages. Grade: B-
Total # of books read in 2011: 10
Total # of pages read in 2011: 2,161
women, picasso, reading

2. The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

Alice Sebold wrote "The Lovely Bones", which is about a girl's murder, and "Lucky", which is about her rape. This one is about a woman who kills her mother. Sebold has the ability to talk about horrible things and somehow compose an ode to life in the process. Brilliant. This story is about what lurks under the surface, unseen but present anyway. What keeps us on the bright side of life? Why don't we all succumb, like Helen Knightly? What ties a mother and daughter together? What pushes them apart? It's easy to relate to the characters in this story. Perhaps that is why it resonates so strongly.

5/5 stars
der Mut
  • maribou

Permanent Moby; Hard Diagnosis; Fox Pursuit

Permanent Rose, by Hilary McKay
Sweetnatured and mildly subversive British kid's book. Not my favorite in the altogether brilliant Casson family series, but it was still a lot of fun.
(1/200, 9/100)

The Diagnosis, by Alan Lightman (unabridged audiobook)
Ugh, this book. This book took me the better part of TWO YEARS to listen to, at least, and kind of put me off audiobooks. Luckily when I finally got to the end of it there was a tasty tasty snippet of When We Were Orphans included, so I think it's the book's fault, rather than the format. I don't even know what was bad about it - I normally love Alan Lightman - I think it's just... well, there are some books I like a lot better if I can skim some parts, and there's no pleasant way to skim when you're listening.
(2/200, 10/100)

Moby Dick, by Herman Melville
Dude. So glad I finally read this. There are tiresome bits, but the awesome bits FAR FAR FAR outweight the tiresome bits. Plus the other members of my book club made me feel like a mensch for finishing the thing - even though it was pretty easy to read as long as I stuck to 50 pages a day or so. I was often surprised, often charmed, often made to think.
(3/200, 11/100)

Hard Magic, by Laura Anne Gilman
Whee. Spinoff of her Retrievers series, which I really enjoyed. This one suffered a bit from first-chapter-somehow-incomprehensible-itis, as urban fantasy novels often do, but once I got the groove, it was nifty. Neat to go back to the beginnings of an established secondary character, and I always wanted to know more about PUPI. Already have a hold on the next one even though it's not out yet.

The Pursuit of Happiness, by Maira Kalman
Her art is SO lovely, and I found the text of this book (which is considerably textier than her other works that I've read) exceptionally friendly in style. Like reading over someone's shoulder as they kept a journal about learning American history. Very inviting read.

Fox, by Martin Wallen
Alright, so Duck had clunky writing and I was a little worried the rest of the Reaktion series would not be all that. No worry needed! This one was masterfully written and I really enjoyed reading it. Even though the author was occasionally obnoxious and shaped his information pretty hard to support his thesis. As always, LOVED the panoply of pictures included.
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  • cat63

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The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff. 473 pages.

I like Tanya Huff's books a lot usually. I liked this one too, mostly, but not as much as many of her others. It has many good points - humour, interesting characters and plot - but it also has problems.
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson

Finally! This is the third time I've tried to read this book-- I always got stuck on the first chapter (which is a conversation about flowers). But I saw the Swedish film adaptation and really liked that so I knew the third time would be the charm.

I liked how situated the book was in Sweden, Swedish society, politics, and even the economy. I appreciated Larsson's efforts to make violence against women the focal point of the book.

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

Journalist Demick recounts the lives of 6 North Koreans through to their escape to South Korea. This book is utterly amazing: North Korea is such a closed country that even a small glimpse like this is looking through to another world. The book slowed down when Demick had to explain things about North Korea to give the story context, but those parts are necessary enough. It didn't diminish the book's impact: the famine was especially heartbreaking to read about.

Rest of my Reading List