WWW Wednesday 3-27-13

WWW Wednesday. This meme is from shouldbereading.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Little finishing, mostly in the middle of. . .

• What did you recently finish reading?  Team Human, a YA novel by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan. It started out as a satire of Twilight’s less thought-out aspects, as feisty, competitive Mel is appalled when her best friend Cathy falls in love with a vampire boy who suddenly begins attending their high school. What is a hundred-plus year old vampire doing at high school, even if he looks seventeen? He can’t be up to any good, and Mel means to find out, in order to protect her friend. The book is quite funny, but it takes some unexpectedly thoughtful turns toward prejudice and gender expectations, especially when Mel meets and likes Kit, a human boy who was raised by vampires. A real page turner, especially toward the end, when we find out what happened to the father of Anna, Mel’s other friend, who’s been mysteriously missing.

The Wynne Diaries, edited by Anne Fremantle. I reread these periodically, loving the voices of the three sisters who kept diaries from 1785, when they were little kids in the heart of France, studying three languages, to the 1820s, when unfortunately Anne Fremantle ceased publication. (Betsy apparently kept a diary until she died, in the 1880s.) They moved all over Europe during the Revolution, then ended up in England during the Regency period. Betsy married Captain Fremantle, who sailed with Nelson, and wrote back exciting naval letters of his engagements with the French, which are as exciting as anything in Patrick O’Brian.

• What are you currently reading? Digger, a graphic novel about a no-nonsense wombat who finds herself in increasingly extraordinary circumstances. The characterizations are engaging and complex, the world imaginative, the art complementing the storyline in wonderful ways. Finished last night. It’s funny and magical, with a lot of kick-ass female characters.

“Madame, sein ist ein elendes Handwerck, by Dirk Van der Cruysse. After reading the too-short collection of letters of Liselotte von der Pfalz in A Woman’s Life in the Court of the Sun King, and falling in love with Liselotte’s distinctive voice, I have long been on the watch for a good biography. Liselotte, like the Duc de Saint-Simon, wrote volumes and volumes of letters–thousands of them.

She was connected to every court in Europe, and lived for her correspondence (and hunting, until she got too old and staid). Unlike Saint-Simon, who was stuffy, humorless, and agonized for pages about the encroachments of Louis XIV’s charming bastards onto the prerogatives of those of “true blood,” Liselotte was pragmatic about her total lack of good looks, observant, and trenchantly funny, which made marriage with Monsieur (who had little use for women) bearable for them both. There they were, housed in the brilliant Versailles, the center of power politics . . . and they had farting contests to make their two children laugh.

Ernst Lubitsch, Laughter in Paradise, by Scott Eyman. When Ernst Lubitsch came to the USA from Germany, his brilliance lured filmmaking away from the D.W. Griffith model toward the more subtle and sophisticated continental comedies. Recently I finally got to watch Trouble in Paradise, which I’d read about for years, but hadn’t seen, as the Hayes Code kept it from being show for decades. The film was every bit as delightful as promised, and sent me in search of a good bio about Lubitsch.

Roumeli: Travels in Northern Greece, by Patrick Leigh Fermor. The best description comes right off the back cover: “Roumeli is not to be found on present-day maps.It is the name once given to northern Greece–stretching from the Bosporus to the Adriatic and from Macedonia to the Gulf of Corinth, a name that evokes a world where the present is inseparably bound up with the past.”

Fermor writes with such clarity, evoking vivid images while deliberately laying palimpsests, so that the entire world becomes a Trojan model, layer after layer of vanished customs and cultures, present in ancient sites and buildings like ghosts. It’s slow going, reading his books, not because the prose is difficult, but because I need time to appreciate the breadth of his vision.

Oath of Fealty, by Elizabeth Moon. Many years ago, Moon wrote the Paks, books, about a female foot soldier named Paksenarrion. Moon wrote with both grit–the kind that comes of personal experience in the military–and compassion. I loved those books; in those days a female hero was rare enough to find. So, knowing there was a new series, I waited until all were out to begin them.
• What do you think you’ll read next?


Argh, she said, looking at her gigantic TBR stack. Besides the Moon series? Maybe I’ll shut my eyes and pick one.

What about you? What have you been reading lately? Put the link to your WWW Wednesday entry in comments, or just tell us!

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WWW Wednesday 3-27-13 — 20 Comments

  1. I hate to have to tell you this since you waited and all, but the rest of the Oath of Fealty series is NOT out yet. Limits of Power (the 4th book) is coming this June and Elizabeth is still writing book V.

    • Ohoh! Well, I have the fourth as SF-Site wants me to do a review. I was going to review all four . . . hmm. Thanks!

  2. Finished reading the last one this morning, so technically between books. But

    Read: Operation Chaos by Poul Anderson
    To Read: Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire.

  3. I’ve just started both Throne of the Crescent Moon and And All the Stars. I just finished my reread of HP and the Half Blood Prince, and kinda sorta started my reread of HP and the Deathly Hallows – I ended up leaving my Dana behind the last time I went to a friend’s place for craft night, and since she had none of the other books I meant to read first, got a couple of chapters in. But I want to get through the other two. and finish Cold magic, which I’ve been reading even more piecemeal, which is a pity, as it doesn’t deserve the treatment.

  4. Just Finished:

    Life of Pi by: Yann Martel I felt “meh” about the story at first, but it was an enjoyable read. Parts of it were set very close to where I was born, and like the protagonist I moved to Canada as well, so that resonated with me. I saw the movie after reading it, and the movie was beautifully done.

    Currently Reading:

    20th Century Ghosts by: Joe Hill (I’m reading as slowly as possible, each story has been more interesting than the last.) He’s marketed as a horror writer but the stories in this collection have a lot of dimensions other than horror.

    Zoo City by: Lauren Beukes Noir urban fantasy set in South Africa. The beginning was slow but I was hooked by the scene which plays out a 419 mail scam.

    Sherwood: Is Patrick Leigh Fermor primarily a travel writer? Any travel writers you would recommend?

    • Read his A Time of Gifts. One of the best travels books I have ever read in my life.

  5. Just finished:
    The Shattered Mountain by Rae Carson — A short story e-book to tide us over until The Bitter Kingdom comes out this fall. I really can’t wait for The Bitter Kingdom and may soon re-read books #1 & #2.

    Grave Goods by Arianna Franklin — Third in a series, but I accidentally started with this one. I liked the main character and her logical outlook on life, as well as her “created family”. This is historical fiction, and really a mystery

    Hold Fast by Blue Balliett — A children’s book that gets filed as a mystery in our local library, but doesn’t feel like a traditional who-dun-it. It DOES feel very much like a Blue Balliett book, so if you liked Chasing Vermeer, The Wright 3, and The Calder Game, then I think you’ll like this book. It deals with children living in rather tight circumstances and then being made homeless (living in shelters, dealing with others who come in & go out of their lives, being made fun of in school for being homeless, etc.), as well as a parent who is naive enough to get caught up a crime ring.

    Currently Reading:
    The Silent Dragon by Irene Radford — So far, I like the description of the book better than the book itself, although some of the characters are interesting. The unknown evil voice is throwing me off a little.

    Sea Glass by Maria Snyder — This is 2nd in the Glass series, which is technically a follow-up to the Study books. I liked the first book in the series, but this one is hard for me to get into for some reason.

    Will Read Next:
    Spirit’s Princess by Esther Friesner

  6. I’d heard about , but then forgotten about, Digger; thanks for mentioning it again! I’d like to check it out one day. Team Human sounds like fun, too.

    I’m still reading A Tale of Two Cities with R. On my own I finished up Their Eyes Were Watching God.

    Next books? My overwhelming TBR list always makes me cringe at trying to make a choice, but I think I might try reading Seraph on the Suwanee, another novel by Zora Neale Hurston. I was intrigued because Wikipedia said that it was notable for focusing on poor whites, and I thought it would be interesting to see white characters as written by a black writer, since so often we get the other thing. Or maybe I’ll read another China Miéville novel–I really liked Railsea. Oh: but first I’ll finish the ARC of When We Wake that I’ve got. I think I may have mentioned it some earlier Wednesday, but it’s the story of a girl who was cryogenically frozen just when she died and then revived 100 years in her future (her present is already some decades into our future).

  7. Currently Reading:
    The Last City by Nina D’Aleo
    The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord. A re-read; I kept thinking of Ursula K. Le Guin’s work and Andrea K. Host’s Medair duology the first time I read this at the beginning of the month, now I’m concentrating more on the character interactions.

    Just Finished:
    Gillian Bradshaw’s Magic’s Poison series
    Written in Red by Anne Bishop
    a comfort re-read of Patricia Brigg’s Sianim series

    To Read Next:
    Hunting by Andrea K. Host
    Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells
    Economy of the UnLost by Anne Carson

  8. Just finished Revenant Eve – hope to be have a review up soon.

    Now re-reading The Penguin Book of Historic Speeches and The Prince (a beautiful new illustrated edition I indulged in for Passover).

    Which ties in with my problem, what am I reading next. I am unsure, because I have much to read and much to do. I need to find a good way to read my e-books… lacking that, I’ll probably turn to some psychology books and God Plays Dice, a fascinating book about evolution and why it does not conflict with religious belief, by Rabbi Doctor Michael Avraham.

    • Three volumes. One of the best sets of letters/diaries of the period, and I have a lot of them.