Cough, cough

One of my lovely co-workers brought in some hideous bug last Tuesday that tapped her out for the rest of the week.  I felt it Thursday.  Went to a staff meeting on Friday feeling so awful that I forgot to put on shoes–I drove two hours without realizing I was still in my slippers.  My boss sent me home early.  Called off my Saturday overtime in favor of going to a doctor for a prescription.  Hooray drugs!  I feel less dead now.

I am using this time to do some light reading–book 1 of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.  I am totally loving it!  It is funny and imaginative and absolutely everything I want in a book when I am sick…

Advertisements

New books…

I’ve picked up (and by that, read “ordered from Amazon”) three new books:  The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg, Pere Goriot by Balzac, and North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.  And, if you want to be technical, I also grabbed a book for my Kindle–The Color of Magic (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett–because it was on sale for 99 cents and who can pass that up?

I am starting with the James Hogg book.  So far it has been pretty interesting and it reads easily–which, let’s face it, not all books written in 1824 do.  While I haven’t had a ton of time to read (mandatory work overtime is killing me), I try to grab a few minutes here and there.

Update later, gators.

Wish me luck!

2015 was not a banner year.  The majority of it was spent in seclusion and recovery!  I lost a cat I have had since grad school–we had to put her down (cancer).  My job faded away in April with no warning leaving me with less than part-time work.  In June, I spent almost three weeks in the hospital (one week to figure out what was wrong, 4 days to decide what to do about it, and another week after being gutted like a fish).  I spent 4 weeks at home healing (learning how to stand and walk upright) and another two banned from traveling in a car (some doctor thing about abdominal surgery and seat belts).  Basically, my whole summer sucked.

Then I landed a new job and have been working like crazy since September.  I haven’t had the brain power to really get back to reading or writing.  But, I think I am finally back and able to tackle the world again.

**Outside right now it is snowing.  But there is a train going by that has the most beautiful horn–it is more like a group of those Alpenhorns than the brassy squall of most trains that go through here.  I don’t know what it was–but I liked it!**

I have enough books to be getting on with, but the lure of Amazon is always there telling me that I want to get Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Unset (1920-1922), The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg (1824), and The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox by Barry Hughart (1998).

By the end of January, I’d like to at least start and finish one or two books from my shelf.  I think I’m gonna start out with things that are newer and probably less challenging than hopping straight into a classic novel.  I think easing into reading again will help me out…

Possibilities

  • Summerland by Michael Chabon
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  • The Cinder Spires:  The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
  • The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan

 

What shall it be?

 

 

 

 

 

A second chance

book of lifeOK.  I am going to give The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness–the final book her trilogy–a second chance.  I loved the first two!  So I am wondering if maybe I misjudged the whole thing as I raced through it the first time (see my initial reaction on Goodreads).  Was I too hasty?

I don’t want to be angry with this book.  I want it to do everything it should do (and do it well.)

Perhaps reading it through a second time–taking it in slowly–will let me know if I was completely off base.  However, it might just irritate me more to know I was not wrong the first time!

It’s been a while…

So, let’s play catch-up:

In July, I managed to rip through an impressive amount of books (although few were on my list):

  1. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
  2. Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
  3. Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
  4. Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
  5. Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
  6. Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris
  7. All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris
  8. From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris
  9. Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris
  10. Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
  11. Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
  12. Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris
  13. Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
  14. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness (which also included a re-read of A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night)

 

Currently, I am reading Jim Butcher’s latest Dresden Files book, Skin Game, which should be completed before the end of the month.

______________________

Earlier this year I also completed:

  • Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
  • The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
  • Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

Because I never read what I intend to…

So, this one time, I didn’t read the book I was supposed to…and regretted it.

Instead of jumping back in to Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings like I said I would I slapped Terry Goodkind’s newest SOT series book, The Third Kingdom, into my ipod.  Why?  Because I am a dumbass.

Also, I intended to leave off this novel in order to go through the entire series from front to back.

But now, I am stuck remembering why Goodkind’s writing can rub me the wrong way at times.  It isn’t the story that bothers me so much, but the actual presentation of it through the writing.  Sometimes I feel like I am being:  A) tortured with unnecessary repetition; or B) lectured; or C) being held away from the action by narrative explanation instead of being in the action itself (the show v. tell factor).

Even though it irritates me at times, I still like the overall original series (Books 1-11) possibly because it was the first full-blown fantasy series I read.  I’m holding off on this second arc until it is complete before I make a judgment…

I swear I will get to Sanderson eventually…!

King Solomon’s Mines

I said I’d get around to writing about this.  Don’t hold your breath.

  • Book:  King Solomon’s Mines
  • Author:  H. Rider Haggard
  • Publication year:  1885

King Solomon Mine coverThis book is supposed to be the genesis of all “lost world” genre books.  But, to me, it screams bigoted colonialism which pisses me off in any genre.  I don’t like the view (especially when it is author driven and not just character driven) that anyone–no matter race, gender, or beliefs–should be written off as a simpleton just because of a difference in technology and customs.

Yes.  I could be diplomatic and say Haggard was a creature of his time and values.  Well, times change.  Novels don’t.

If you can get around the arrogant “white man is the superior being” language in the text, the tale isn’t dreadful.  It does feel a bit simple–more like a teenage adventure tale–but there are still twists and turns to be had:  a lost brother, a treasure hunt, treachery, tribal civil war, witches, almost certain death, and stalagmite-bodies of dead kings.  Oh, and–in case you forgot where you were–the obligatory great-white-hunter scene of wanton destruction of animals.

But, as is to be expected to generate hope for any adventuresome reader:

So we left it. Perhaps, in some remote unborn century, a more fortunate explorer may hit upon the “Open Sesame,” and flood the world with gems. But, myself, I doubt it. Somehow, I seem to feel that the tens of millions of pounds’ worth of jewels which lie in the three stone coffers will never shine round the neck of an earthly beauty. They and Foulata’s bones will keep cold company till the end of all things.

Here lies the adventure of King Solomon’s Mines.

  • Did I enjoy this book?  Not in any particular way.
  • Will I read this book again?  That is highly unlikely without a specific reason for doing so.
  • Will I attempt to read more H. Rider Haggard?  I may give it one more shot.

PS.  If you do go digging in to this novel, you might hear the echoes of other adventure stories as you go.  While this book’s attitudes may rub me the wrong way, I do think this book has made serious ripples in the literary pond…

The Lies of Locke Lamora!

If I could convey my enthusiasm for this book, I might kick you in the shins until you felt compelled to read it.  Or pinching.  Yes, most definitely pinching with squealy-girl screeches.

Holycrapitiswayawesomeandyouhavetoreaditnowdammit!

lies of locke lamoraDetails

  • Book:  The Lies of Locke Lamora
  • Author:  Scott Lynch
  • Publication:  2006

I have been hearing about this book for several years but haven’t gotten around to reading it until now.  What the hell was I thinking?!  However, one great thing about my laziness is that I have two new books in the series to continue…but, like everyone else, will have to wait on the remainder.

This book was beyond excellent.  While it is technically a fantasy novel–and I mean that in the way that says “technically”–because this is a made up world and there are unique creatures and magicians and other curiosities that make a world “real.”  However, the non-recognizable is made commonplace by the fact that this is a story about a heist, a coup, and revenge.  Essentially, it is all about a small gang called the Gentleman Bastards and the lovably devious Locke Lamora in particular.  The fantasy fades into the background…

The interweaving storylines–the past with the present–while not really a new style, seem to be particularly effective for this story.  It made for a rich, full world by filling in little corners and shadows with detail that might not have been there had the story been structured differently.

As I listened to the book, it reminded me of some wild crossbred version of Charles Dickens, The Little Rascals, and those black and white crime movies (think Edward G. Robinson, Peter Lorre, etc.).  The book is witty and amusing and beautifully written.

The audiobook was narrated by Michael Page.  Page uses different voices to separate the characters–which is not always the case when listening to an audiobook–but it works so well with this novel.  Highly recommended.

  • Will I read it again?  Hell, yes.
  • Will I be continuing on to the next two books in the series?  Hell, yes.
  • Do I recommend this book?  With an ever-enthusiastic pinch, a kick in the shin, and a squeal!
  • Thoughts?  Scott Lynch is a brilliant new writer.  I can’t wait to see where he goes next!

_____________________

On to my next book:  The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

The reading plan…which will be tossed away by February

I can’t stick to a plan for reading.  Why?  Because I read according to my mood.  However, I like to keep trying.  Maybe someday I will be able to do it!

This year I want to stick to the 19th century as much as possible with my Classics Club reads.  I’m not saying I won’t stray from the list, but I’m feeling a bit old fashioned today so these are winning out.

Classics  Goals

  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  • Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
  • The Red and the Black by Stendhal
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  • Waverly by Sir Walter Scott

However, my main goal is to tackle a lot of science fiction and fantasy books this year.  I’ll talk about that in a different post.  But, a few of the newer contenders being published this year (2014) that I want to grab and will definitely be reading!:

  1. The Book of Life (#3 in All Souls Trilogy) by Deborah Harkness
  2. Words of Radiance (#2 in Stormlight Archive) by Brandon Sanderson
  3. The Crimson Campaign (#2 in Powder Mage Trilogy) by Brian McClellan
  4. Skin Game (#15 in Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher
  5. Magician’s Land (#3 in Magician’s Trilogy) by Lev Grossman

 

After that…well, we’ll have to see.

What to do today…?

I’m pretty sure what I’ll be doing today.  It involves a lot of grumbling and procrastination and small fits; I’ll be grading rough drafts of papers.

Why today and not tomorrow?  Because if I get all the misery done tonight my whole weekend is FREE!  No running errands.  No meetings.  No major housework.  I can do as I please for a whole 48 hours…

And what will I be doing?  Reading and playing with art stuff and knitting.

I finished up Book 1 (The Eye of the World) of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series last night and started Book 2 (The Great Hunt).  But what I really need to do is finish The Hobbit and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea!  I swear I will finish at least one of those this weekend or declare I am failing my Classics Club list!