January 25th, 2015

  • maribou

Happy Pool

How to Be Happy, by Eleanor Davis
This graphic-novel-composed-of-short-stories was dreamlike, vivid, and so well-done that I really liked it even though it's in a style I don't usually find compelling.

Dreamer's Pool, by Juliet Marillier
Very relaxing read that made me giggle and fret. Marillier's voices are like old friends for me at this point, even the ones I haven't met before.
  • Current Music
    listening to James Marsters read Harry Dresden again
Dead Dog Cat

#8, 9

As happens sometimes when you read several books at once, I finished up a couple more books in the last day.

First was As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes (AKA: Wesley)...though it appears that it was ghost-written, but whatever. It appears to be a typical recollection of production, patting everyone on the back, but there's some fun anecdotes and tales about the production that make the book worth reading if you enjoyed The Princess Bride.

Next was Osprey Fortress #105: Forts of the American Frontier 1776 – 1891: California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. Since I live in California, there were some bits and pieces of information about the history of this coast that sparked my interest. Pretty good work.


Our President has his laundry list of things to do, and so does the opposition.  There's a sometimes spot-on, and sometimes funny, such list laid out in Kurt Schlichter's Conservative Insurgency: The Struggle to Take America Back, material for Book Review No. 2.  Part phillippic, part polemic, part plausible, Insurgency might prefigure the changing domestic politics of the next twenty years, or it might be insider positioning for the Pajamas Media moguls.  The premise is plausible enough: another eight years of Hillary Clinton as president, confronting increasingly resistant states, with independent-minded legislatures and Republican majorities in Congress.  Some of the targets -- the legacy press, the elite colleges, the fine arts -- get the predictable treatment.  But Mr Schlichter's characterization of Wal-Mart as simply another enabler of the welfare state is hilarious.  What's missing, though, is any serious consideration of the United States in the world.  Yes, Iran gets nukes.  What happens next, though, might require careful thought.  Perhaps Insurgency exists to keep the opposition cheerful.  The serious work, though, will be in developing coherent replacements for the big-government policies that are failing in ways Insurgency anticipates.

(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops.)

Briana and Aunty Tara
  • blinger

Books 21 & 22 - 2014

Book 21: Flame by Amy Kathleen Ryan – 326 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Waverly and the other members of the Empyrean have been scattered, and their home ship destroyed. The mission to rescue their parents didn't go quite as planned, and now they're at an even greater disadvantage: trapped with their enemies on the New Horizon, trying to find a way to survive. Will Seth's health hold out long enough to help Waverly topple their enemy? And will Waverly find a way to unite her friends before the final battle? Nothing is certain and every second counts in this explosive and romantic finale.

This was an interesting end to this series. Half the story is told by the kids trapped on the enemy ship and the other half is told by a group of unknown survivors (also kids) on the original ship. The adults in this book leave a lot to be desired, and raise a lot of questions about the processes through which they were first chosen to go on the ship (which is touched on) and whilst all the kids are flawed in their own ways, they are streets ahead of their parents. Perhaps the one good thing to come out of it is that said kids become better adults by virtue of what they go through and what their parents do (fanciful perhaps, but oh well). The resolution is true to the characters, and secures some sort of future for humanity, despite the hard work of the more deceitful (and frankly sometimes creepy) adults to seemingly ruin humanity’s chances of survival because of their own selfishness. I still maintain that its very much like ‘Lord of the Flies’ in space, but perhaps with a more hopeful resolution. An interesting read.

21 / 50 books. 42% done!

7664 / 15000 pages. 51% done!

Book 22: A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce – 395 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
This winner of the William C. Morris Award for best YA debut novel is a ghost story, spun with a romance, woven with a mystery, and shot through with fairy tale. The gold thread promises Charlotte Miller a chance to save her family's beloved woolen mill. It promises a future for her sister, jobs for her townsfolk, security against her grasping uncle -- maybe even true love. To get the thread, Charlotte must strike a bargain with its maker, the mysterious Jack Spinner. But the gleam of gold conjures a shadowy past -- secrets ensnaring generations of Millers. And Charlotte's mill, her family, her love -- what do those matter to a stranger who can spin straw into gold? This is an award-winning and wholly original retelling of "Rumplestiltskin."

The story of Rumplestiltskin used to creep me out as a kid, but I have taken a liking to the character himself since getting into the show ‘Once Upon a Time’ and other re-tellings of fairytales. This one is a slightly more industrial version of the story, with poor Charlotte Miller struggling to run her family’s mill after her father dies. The mill supports the whole town and Charlotte feels a responsibility to keep it running successfully, and though she realizes this will be tough, she doesn’t anticipate all the problems that come her way. Whilst there are good things that come out of some of these good things (for example, she finds herself a husband), most are bad. Charlotte believes this is all just a case of bad luck, but her little sister thinks they are cursed, and along the way, a mysterious spinner who turns up just when they need him seems to suggest there is something slightly supernatural going on. This was a fascinating take on the Rumplestiltskin story, which took away elements of the malevolence of the original character, but also made the main female character more relatable. Recommended if you’re into fairytale retellings.

22 / 50 books. 44% done!

8059 / 15000 pages. 54% done!

Currently reading:
-        Sunshine on Sugar Hill by Angela Gilltrap – 310 pages
-        The Fictional Woman by Tara Moss – 323 pages
-        Hard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton – 596 pages

And coming up:
-        The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
-        The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages
-        One for the Money by Janet Evanovich – 290 pages