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!