WWW Wednesday 4-30-2014

WWW Wednesday. This meme is from shouldbereading.



• What are you currently reading?

As usual, I have several books going. (They tend to take up stations–an upstairs book, a downstairs book, a carry book, a research book, sometimes a late-at-night book, etc.)

A Call to Arms, by P.B. Nagle. I like how the author gets into the head of a woman of the mid-nineteenth century. I’ve hit the chapters when the blithe, easy-triumph expecting militia soldiers experience the shock of real warfare. Grim! And resonating with verisimilitude.

For a total contrast, Conspiracy, by Lindsay Buroker. This is the fourth in the “Emperor’s Edge” series, centered around one of the most delightful heroines in fantasy adventure, Amaranthe Lokdon. Buroker’s fantasy world is, as she says herself, pretty much of a kitchen sink design, painted in broad strokes, containing swords and trains and rifles and magic. The delight is in the characters, particularly Amaranthe and her band of outlaws, each with his distinctive personality. The banter is delicious, and the action pretty much non-stop.

Strange Bodies, by Marcel Theroux. Just begun, a beautifully written novel about the mutability of identity, with a science fictional and historical overlay. It was compared to Kostova’s The Historian, which I found dull and affected in an unengaging way, so I had misgivings, but one too many recommendations got me to get it. So far, so good.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Michael Vey: The Prisoner in Cell 25, by Richard Paul Evans. The beginning of a teen series about a boy with powers who finds a friend, then is kidnapped by sinister forces. The powers are accidental, and not every kid who has them is a good guy. Really violent for a teen book, though with no sex. Riveting pace–I read it in one night.

Also finished another reread of the Aubrey/Maturin novels by Patrick O’Brian, which I always deeply enjoy, plus a number of books on Trafalgar, and the commanders of the various sides. Including period memoirs.

How about you?




WWW Wednesday 4-30-2014 — 37 Comments

  1. I just finished re-reading Crown Duel and Court Duel. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read these wonderful books, but I re-read them from time to time with the same frequency as I re-read Pride and Prejudice!

    I am currently reading Thinking in Pictures, a book by Temple Grandin, about ASD.

    Next on my list to read are Jinx and Jinx’s Magic, and Fangirl.

    • There is a sequel to Jinx out? Interesting!

      Thanks! (Though I blush at the bad writing in Crown/Court Duel, old versions. The ebook is so much smoother)

  2. Not surprised that you and I think alike on the subject of The Historian. I’d unload even more, but I know for a fact that she self-Googles obsessively. There, Ms. Kostova, if you’re reading this: You’ll just have to wonder about my problems with your book, about which I was forced to lead discussions at two libraries.

  3. Read:
    Witches and Neighbors: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft by Robin Briggs
    There’s Treasure Everywhere by Bill Watterson
    Shards of Honour by Lois McMaster Bujold
    The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
    To Read:
    Necropolis: London and Its Dead by Catharine Arnold

  4. Books are scarce here in Rwanda, and I’ve gotten through most of the ones I brought with me, so it’s resulted in some unusual reads for me.

    My classmate brought A Wrinkle In Time with her, which she’s kindly loaning to me. Somehow I never read it when I was younger. I’m afraid I missed the boat, but I’m going to give it a try regardless.

    I’ve also finally started a book I got years ago, called: I Never Promised You A Rose Garden, which has an unpromising title & cover image, but is surprisingly beautifully written. It’s about a young woman living with schizophrenia, and the fantasy world she’s constructed to deal with trauma. Beautiful but difficult to read, due to the heavy emotional content.

    Also, randomly, Treasure Island, since it came for free with my Kindle app. A few chapters in and I’m surprised by how engaging it is. But I probably won’t finish it before I leave for the States, and then of course things will be too hectic for me to finish it for a while.

    Oh, and I finally read Night by Elie Wiesel, during Rwanda’s Commemoration Week.

    Also, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, which was excellent.

    • Oh, yes. I Never Promised You A Rose Garden. Haven’t read it for years, but I remember that book.

      I was not really surprised to learn it was an autobiographical novel.

    • I was given I Never Promised You a Rose Garden as a teen, and I hated it with a fiery passion, because the context of the giving (and it seemed the book) was that Writing Is Bad, and one must give it up in order to be sane. I decided I’d rather be nuts. (Of course back then, there was the worry that I was following in the footsteps of my truly schizophrenic uncle, who got exceedingly violent.)

      I suspect the perfect age for A Wrinkle in Time is twelve. I read it then, and it had a powerful effect on me. I loved that book to pieces.

      • Ah, I see. I haven’t gotten very far into it, so it’s hard for me to say what the moral takeaway seems to be. It’s interesting to think about it in the context of Among Others!

        • I quite liked I Never Promised You a Rose Garden when I read it in high school, but I was reading quite a few fictional portrayals of psychoanalysis at the time. (Although the only other title I can remember at the moment is Chaim Potok’s The Promise.)

            • It’s a sequel to the better known The Chosen and a fair bit of it covers Danny Saunder’s work with a psychologically troubled teenaged boy. Not really my favorite Potok, but I read it a couple of times.

              (I went on a bit of a Potok binge somewhere along the line so I’ve read most of his fiction. Loved My Name is Asher Lev, The Gift of Asher Lev, and Davita’s Harp. Never managed to finish I Am the Clay for some reason. And the rest have sunk into the primordial ooze that is my memory. 🙂 )

      • Yeah, several friends who tried A Wrinkle in Time as adults were really put off by it. I can still read it with my 12-year-old eyes, but I do see problems with it.

        • For me, it wasn’t so much A Wrinkle in Time (which I quite liked) as the other two books in the series, particularly the third (which I detested).

          Any time a book devolves into pure moralising it gets my back up. I loathed the final book in the Narnia series (The Last Battle) for the same reason. Even as a kid I was wary of overt literary finger-wagging.

  5. I finished Have His Carcase, the second in my re-read of the Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane arc. Enjoying it.

    I’m in the middle of Charles Stross’ Saturn’s Children. The second book in that universe, Neptune’s Brood is nominated for a Hugo. I’m told that the second isn’t a sequel, and can be read on it’s own, but decided to read the first one anyway. I’m glad I did, because I’m thoroughly enjoying it, and glad to spend more time there.

  6. I just finished reading Grave Memory by Kaylana Price.

    Haven’t decided what to read next. Have a huge TBR “pile” on my Nook.

  7. I’m currently working my way through Tanya Huff’s Confederation/Valor series (vol.3 the Heart of Valor right now). Kind of glad there was a recommender’s warning about characters dying (marines + ongoing war = death), although I don’t think the volume is as overwhelming here as in the two Honor Harrington books I previously read before giving up on that series. I was surprised by (& really like) the absence of CSI described bodies. And that all makes it sound as if the series is mostly about death, which it is not. I’m just struck by the difference in treatment compared to other war/military books I’ve read.
    Recently finished: Republic (Emperor’s Edge vol.8) and a couple anthologies bought a year ago for a specific author’s story & temporarily put aside after reading that one story in each.
    Next up (after the Valor series): Islands of Chaldea by DWJ, which will be bittersweet reading, and the fifth Green Rider book, Mirror Sight because the cliffhanger ending of book 4 a couple years ago has been driving me crazy.

  8. There were some choices that annoyed me in book 7, which is also the dark book of the series, but I’m really looking forward to what comes next because the fun is definitely back! I think it was book 5 (?) when Sespian really came back into play, which makes for some very interesting conversations.

  9. I like having books in several places too!

    I’m nearly done with Terri-Lynne DeFino’s Finder, which I’d been meaning to read since forever, and which surprised me (in a good way) with the direction it took. I really love the characters’ relations in it, and that you see the protagonists both as young people and as mature adults–that’s unusual. I’m using Laura’s Wolf as my relaxing reward-reading–it’s so delicious and fun. Then I’m reading The Grapes of Wrath with the healing angel, and WOW. I will never see my socks again, they’re knocked so far off. Then I’ve got a couple of books on interlibrary loan that are biographies of Timorese resistance fighters, that I’m reading for multiple reasons. And my book group book is Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, but I’ve barely cracked that one. And I read Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone in one gulp when I realized I’d be going to a talk she was giving–it wasn’t a story I would have picked up otherwise, but I was very glad to have read it.

  10. I always love coming here to pick up book recs!
    I’ve already told Sherwood about this one but maybe someone else will be interested. An expat British journalist named Nick Thorpe decided to go UP the Danube. His fascinating book is called, The Danube: From the Black Sea to the Black Forest.
    Patrick Leigh Fermor fans take note!

  11. Besides all my usual religious reading, plus my work related reading, I’ve been reading John Adams by David McCullough, as well as The Honest Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely. Both are pretty interesting, and I hope to make some inroads on them (and possibly finish The Honest Truth) this weekend…

  12. I came across the Nurse Matilda stories by Christianna Brand, the ones that the movie Nanny McPhee was based on. Pure British silliness along the lines of The Land of Green Ginger by Noel Langley (and yes, you do actually know this guy’s work–he is the one who wrote the screenplay for the Wizard of Oz). Inspired. Chuckled along for just hours, and far better if you can imagine some itty-bitty old Brit nanny reading them to you.

    In the middle of reading Sharon Shinn’s third Gillengaria book, but think I will have to stop for a while before going on to the next one. This is my third-in-a-row huge book. I think it’s me–the writing is good, the characters interesting, but I think I’m still used to the books I read when I was younger, the ones that were only two or three hundred pages, not five. It isn’t even lack of attention span, but I think maybe I have to wait to digest that much at one time. Does anyone have this problem besides me?

    Otherwise, I decided to spring-clean out my bookshelves and I am making a tottering stack of books I haven’t seen for a while and can’t just put them back before re-reading. Kind of like unexpectedly finding an old friend and spending the rest of the day schmoosing instead of doing the errands you set out to do. It’s going to be interesting to mix Paddington Bear with The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh.

  13. ‘Nurse Matilda’ is an absolute hoot. *Packed* with the antics of positively inspiredly naughty children. Was quite startled when they made a movie of it, but even with the changes, it wasn’t a half bad transposition.