I’m experimenting a bit with the way I post in this blog. I had the idea lodged in my head that I could actually make a separate post about every book I read. The long list of titles and authors sitting in front of me going back to November begs to differ. So, I’m going to try posting weekly updates with much shorter blurbs, and will no doubt go on at length about anything I either love, or am seriously annoyed by, with the usual detrius of links and news showing up as always.
Here’s the round-up from the past two weeks:
Peppermints in the Parlor, Sparrows in the Scullery, and Ghosts in the Gallery by Barbara Brooks Wallace Poor orphan children, tangled plots, truly despicable villains and thoroughly satisfying endings where the good are rewarded and the bad are punished. Can you tell I’m working on a Lemony Snicket read-a-likes list?
Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill Adult fiction, CanLit. How the motherless child of a young heroin addict gets involved with the local pimp at the age of twelve. The book escapes being unbearably maudlin or so grindingly depressing I couldn’t finish it only because the protagonist is so totally unaware that there’s anything out of the ordinary about her life of extreme poverty. I kept reading, waiting for things to get better. There was a smidgen of hope at the end, but still.But still, not a happy fluffy-bunnies sort of read. (It’s not CanLit if nobody suffers.) Incidentally, this year’s Canada Reads winner.
For A Few Demons More by Kim Harrison Adult fiction, vampires! Sometimes, I need to read some grown-up books. Sometimes, I need to read something without any greater literary meaning. The latest book in a series, the main character is a witch, her roomate and boyfriend are vampires, there are werewolves, pixies, crime, peril, and murder. Like Anita Blake, only without the rampant Mary Sue syndrome. A full listing of the series is on the author’s website.
The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander Kids’ fantasy, of the epic quest variety. A reread of a childhood favourite. How an assistant pig-keeper ends up on a heroic journey, accompanied by a misplaced princess with strong opinions, a bard whose harp strings snap when he lies, a cranky dwarf, and a shaggy creature more concerned with his stomach than anything else. Add a runaway oracular pig, the ominous Horned King and his undead Cauldron-Born minions, and mix well for the first book of a sweeping saga I’ve been recommending to young Lord of the Rings fans for years.
Beans on Toast by Shelley Hrdlitschka Canadian kids’ fiction. Madison hasn’t made any real friends since she and her mom moved after her parents’ divorce. Now she’s stuck at band camp trying to get along with her cabin mates. Peer pressure, first crushes, and cougars in the woods. Okay for a first novel, but the dialogue is a bit clunky, and it reads like a book for a younger target audience than the main character’s age of thirteen.
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner Kids/YA fantasy. A thief is freed from from prison to steal the key to the neighbouring kingdom’s succession. This was excellent and I’ll doubtlessly go on about it at some length later. First of a trilogy. Book two, The Queen of Attolia just came in for me on hold. I may be up late tonight…
Currently reading: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch and Storm Front, the first Harry Dresden book by Jim Butcher, both adult fantasy.