I'm a huge sucker for the 1920s, as I said, and Barbara Hambly did what I need in books about the '20s: she remembered that it wasn't all Jazz Age and Prohibition, but that for all adults in 1923, the Great War and the influenza epidemic were quite immediate, vivid memories. So I really liked that part of it. With all that said, I thought she spent too much page space on evoking things she'd already evoked perfectly well and not enough space on things actually happening. It wasn't a dull book, but it had stretches of nothing much, and for no particular reason I could see.
Also, I really felt that Bride of the Rat God strayed into some Nancy Reagan territory with its attitudes about cocaine. There was no Horrible Comeuppance for everyone who dared to use the stuff, so that was something, but it was still very...prim, I guess. Never tried it myself, don't intend to; in fact, I haven't tried any illegal drugs at all and don't intend to. But going to grade school in the 1980s has made me fairly averse to Drugs Are Bad messages, even when the specific pharmaceuticals are in the "I'd really rather my friends didn't" category instead of the "they hold no interest for me, but I don't care if my friends do as long as they're careful" category.
Anyway, thanks to yhlee for passing this one on.
I had not had sufficient nonfiction impulses to pick up Tolkien and the Great War until this weekend in the car. We all know (you don't? I'm telling you) that the Great War has burrowed into my brain and refuses to come out. A bit like greykev's brother's hedgehog and my mitten...anyway, I'd recommend this book to Tolkien fanatics, Great War fanatics, and people with moderate but not fanatical interest in both. Garth follows Tolkien and his immediate circle of school friends, and he manages to balance the group dynamic with our (and his) greater interest in Tolkien and Middle-Earth than in these other guys who were, I'm sure, very nice, but were not...were not Tolkien, is I guess the point.
Either the ending dragged a bit or my neck stuff made it difficult for me to focus. Possibly both.
Otherwise I read Laurence Klavan's The Shooting Script, which was mediocre, Joy Chant's Red Moon and Black Mountain, likewise, and Gary Paulsen's The Quilt, which reminded me of my deep-set personal hatred for Gary Paulsen. I would not spit on the man's shoes if I met him, but I would imagine doing it. I'm still mad at him for how he treated the dogs at the end of Winterdance. Also, Hatchet: HAAAAAAAATE. I am done giving this guy more chances. He is out of chances.
Most of the books I'd been avoiding from my to-read pile were...not that great, actually. Hmm. I think this is because I took the ones I suspected I would put down in favor of something better if I was at home. It didn't make for an unpleasant weekend, however, especially with the Tolkien book thrown in as something I hadn't had the energy for but wasn't actually avoiding.
Still. Maybe I just should have packed Athyra.
I'm now reading Dorothy Dunnett's Checkmate, which has a good deal of momentum with the rest of the series behind it. I almost feel as though I'm racing to catch up with it. Almost. Not enough that it's overtaking such fascinating tasks as the laundry, however. And I'm starting to do well enough that I'm peering skeptically at the notecards, so we'll see about that.