November 2nd, 2011

did you know you could fly?

(no subject)

Haven't posted my book list in ages, which doesn't mean I haven't been reading. In fact, what with now taking the T to work, I have more time to read than ever. So, without further ado, the last month or so's worth of reading:

Book #69 -- Will Shetterly, Nevernever, 240 pages.

Continuing my re-read of the Bordertown series. I'd forgotten most of this one, honestly, and surprised myself with how much the ending affected me. Ambiguously happy never felt so sad.

Book #70 -- Isobel Carmody, Little Fur #1: The Legend Begins, 224 pages.

The first in a series for kids, this is an adorable adventure book with an eco-friendly message that refrains from being *too* dogmatic.

Book #71 -- Ying Chang Compestine, A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts: A Collection of Deliciously Frightening Tales, 192 pages.

This is an amazing collection of short ghost stories focused around food, with recipes to accompany each story. Absolutely wonderful.

Book #72 -- Keith McGowan,The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children, 192 pages.

Quirky retelling of "Hansel and Gretel".

Book #73 -- Susanne Selfors, To Catch a Mermaid, 272 pages.

Typical, but still fun, example of the children-dealing-with-death-of-one-parent-and-grief-of-the-other-discover-something-remarkable-that-helps-heal-family genre.

Book #74 -- Amy Gordon, Magic by Heart, 197 pages.

In one of those alternate realities in which magical abilities are rare but not unheard of a young girl with her own budding abilities brings together a family long separated by fear and resentment.

Book #75 -- Jane Lindskold, Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls, 288 pages.

Pretty impressive for an early novel with an amazing portrayal of a mentally ill protagonist trying to survive in a dystopian society.

Book #76 -- Barry Hughart, Bridge of Birds: A Novel of an Ancient China That Never Was, 288 pages.

How the hell did I manage to miss this one for so long? Based on a Chinese folktale, this novel has that indescribable *something* I associate with the 1980s fantasy of my childhood - something both simpler and deeper than today's polished, 'sparkly' fantasy.

Book #77 -- Megan Crewe, Give Up the Ghost, 256 pages.

Cass knows her parents are worried about her, but she wishes they wouldn't bother. With her dad always off in his own world and her mother always on the road, Cass has been taking care of herself since her older sister died. Not that death has stopped her from poking her nose into Cass's business. Besides, Cass has friends, they're just . . . well, dead.

Book #78 -- Dean Hale, Shannon Hale, and Nathan Hale, Rapunzel's Revenge, 144 pages.

Graphic novel version of a kick-ass, braid-whipping Rapunzel.

Book #79 -- Kerry Hardie, The Bird Woman: A Novel, 384 pages.

This is exactly the sort of domestic strife novel I wouldn't usually buy, but picked up cause it was free at ALA and I'm very glad I did.

Progress toward goals: 305/365 = 83.6%

Books: 79/100 = 79.0%

Pages: 23753/30000 = 79.2%

cross-posted to
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Haven't posted my book list in ages, which doesn't mean I haven't been reading. In fact, what with now taking the T to work, I have more time to read than ever. So, without further ado, the last month or so's worth of reading:

Book #69 -- Will Shetterly, <i><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0152052100/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=gwynraven-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=0152052100">Nevernever</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=gwynraven-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0152052100&camp=217145&creative=399373" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /></i>, 240 pages.

Continuing my re-read of the Bordertown series. I'd forgotten most of this one, honestly, and surprised myself with how much the ending affected me. Ambiguously happy never felt so sad.

Book #70 -- Isobel Carmody, <i><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0375838554/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=gwynraven-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=0375838554">Little Fur #1: The Legend Begins</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=gwynraven-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0375838554&camp=217145&creative=399373" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /></i>, 224 pages.

The first in a series for kids, this is an adorable adventure book with an eco-friendly message that refrains from being *too* dogmatic.

Book #71 -- Ying Chang Compestine, <i><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0048EL7O2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=gwynraven-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=B0048EL7O2">A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts: A Collection of Deliciously Frightening Tales</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=gwynraven-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B0048EL7O2&camp=217145&creative=399373" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /></i>, 192 pages.

This is an amazing collection of short ghost stories focused around food, with recipes to accompany each story. Absolutely wonderful.

Book #72 -- Keith McGowan,<i><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003NHRATG/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=gwynraven-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399369&creativeASIN=B003NHRATG">The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=gwynraven-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B003NHRATG&camp=217145&creative=399369" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /></i>, 192 pages.

Quirky retelling of "Hansel and Gretel".

Book #73 -- Susanne Selfors, <i><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005IURIAC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=gwynraven-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=B005IURIAC">To Catch a Mermaid</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=gwynraven-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B005IURIAC&camp=217145&creative=399373" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /></i>, 272 pages.

Typical, but still fun, example of the children-dealing-with-death-of-one-parent-and-grief-of-the-other-discover-something-remarkable-that-helps-heal-family genre.

Book #74 -- Amy Gordon, <i><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0823419959/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=gwynraven-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=0823419959">Magic by Heart</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=gwynraven-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0823419959&camp=217145&creative=399373" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /></i>, 197 pages.

In one of those alternate realities in which magical abilities are rare but not unheard of a young girl with her own budding abilities brings together a family long separated by fear and resentment.

Book #75 -- Jane Lindskold, <i><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003P2VCAM/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=gwynraven-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399369&creativeASIN=B003P2VCAM">Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=gwynraven-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B003P2VCAM&camp=217145&creative=399369" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /></i>, 288 pages.

Pretty impressive for an early novel with an amazing portrayal of a mentally ill protagonist trying to survive in a dystopian society.

Book #76 -- Barry Hughart, <i><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0345321383/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=gwynraven-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399369&creativeASIN=0345321383">Bridge of Birds: A Novel of an Ancient China That Never Was</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=gwynraven-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0345321383&camp=217145&creative=399369" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /></i>, 288 pages.

How the hell did I manage to miss this one for so long? Based on a Chinese folktale, this novel has that indescribable *something* I associate with the 1980s fantasy of my childhood - something both simpler and deeper than today's polished, 'sparkly' fantasy.

Book #77 -- Megan Crewe, <i><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003NHR9U6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=gwynraven-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399369&creativeASIN=B003NHR9U6">Give Up the Ghost</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=gwynraven-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B003NHR9U6&camp=217145&creative=399369" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /></i>, 256 pages.

Cass knows her parents are worried about her, but she wishes they wouldn't bother. With her dad always off in his own world and her mother always on the road, Cass has been taking care of herself since her older sister died. Not that death has stopped her from poking her nose into Cass's business. Besides, Cass has friends, they're just . . . well, dead.

Book #78 -- Dean Hale, Shannon Hale, and Nathan Hale, <i><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/159990070X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=gwynraven-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399369&creativeASIN=159990070X">Rapunzel's Revenge</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=gwynraven-20&l=as2&o=1&a=159990070X&camp=217145&creative=399369" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /></i>, 144 pages.

Graphic novel version of a kick-ass, braid-whipping Rapunzel.

Book #79 -- Kerry Hardie, <I><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316076236/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=gwynraven-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=0316076236">The Bird Woman: A Novel</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=gwynraven-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0316076236&camp=217145&creative=399373" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /></i>, 384 pages.

This is exactly the sort of domestic strife novel I wouldn't usually buy, but picked up cause it was free at ALA and I'm very glad I did.

Progress toward goals: 305/365 = 83.6%

Books: 79/100 = 79.0%

Pages: 23753/30000 = 79.2%

cross-posted to <ljcomm=15000pages>, <lj comm=50bookchallenge>, and <lj user=gwynraven>
book and cup

#107 A Pair of Blue Eyes - Thomas Hardy (1873)

A Pair of Blue Eyes, though early in the sequence of Hardy s novels, is lively and gripping. Its dramatic cliff-hanging episode, for example, is at once tense, ironic, feministic and erotic. With settings in Wessex and London, the novel also has some strongly autobiographical features, as the blue-eyed heroine, Elfride Swancourt, is based largely on Emma Gifford, who became Thomas Hardy s first wife. Elfride s vivacious nature attracts several lovers, but she is beset by sexual prejudice, and the ensuing ironies reveal the constraints of her times. A Pair of Blue Eyes provides an engaging and moving experience for today s readers.

Read this as part of the Thomas Hardy reading challenge. The second time I have read this novel, and yet I found I had remembered nothing of the story at all. I was puzzled by this as I found it hugely readable, and really very gripping in parts, which I must surely have done the first time I read it. The prose is beautiful, the descriptions of landscape, and buildings are lovely. It is a wonderfully accessible Hardy novel, and one I would recommend to people who don't like some of the better known later novels which can be much darker, not that this one ends all happily ever after or anything, this is Thomas Hardy after all.

What Hardy manages to highlight beautifully in this novel, are the double standards that society placed upon Men and Women at this time. Elfride is judged harshly by the men in her life. Another familiar theme is that of the disparity between people of different classes. Elfride's love interest's are each from a higher social standing from the one before. Essentially the story is of Elfride's relationships with young architect Stephen Smith, who's humble family background finally drives them apart, and then later with Smith's older friend and mentor Henry Knight. The stories of these three likeable people are portrayed with all the protagonists victims to circumstance rather than there being villains and heroes. Secrets, lies, an embittered widow who threatens to reveal all she knows, and a dramatic cliff top scene make for a brilliant page turner of a read
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