June 16th, 2009

good mris pic

Books read, early June

Steven Brust, Five Hundred Years After. Reread. I got lured. Well--in all fairness it might be described as mutual luring. In any case, those of you who are going to 4th St. should perhaps be a bit conversationally careful lest alecaustin and I start talking like a pair of Paarfi novels. (It is with surprising ease that I can come up with a fictional pair of Paarfi titles that the two of us might be. More than one pair, even. Uff da.) I love these. markgritter said there were lots more Teckla Republic references in this one than he'd remembered, and it was more than I'd remembered as well. I like the Teckla Republic.

Jim Butcher, Turn Coat. I could wish for the overarching plot (as opposed to the single-volume plot, which was fine) to be moving forward a bit faster than it was. Also, the traitor at the end of the book was not even remotely satisfying to me. Otherwise it was another one of those, and it did the things those do. Not enough Mouse and Murphy. This is my usual complaint.

Samantha Henderson, Heaven's Bones. This is not my kind of book: too much on the border of dark fantasy and horror. I knew this going in--the cover was obvious. (It was a gift; apparently a good one, because I wouldn't have read it on my own and did read and enjoy it.) Also it's not a very creative book: ominous mists and fogs, sketchily done Roma, bereft doctor/husband carving up other women after his wife etc. etc. etc. All kind of been done before. I started reading it with the understanding that I was under no obligation to finish it. Yet I did finish it. What this says to me is that Samantha Henderson knows how to construct a book. The prose never really shone or called attention to itself, but it did pull me along and keep me from bolting, when I was prepared to bolt at the slightest provocation. So that was sort of interesting in itself.

Georgette Heyer, Faro's Daughter and The Quiet Gentleman. I like the ones where the sensible people get together and laugh affectionately at the silly people.

Gwyneth Jones, Spirit. I think one SFnal retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo was perhaps enough for me. Anyway, this was fine but not my favorite Gwyneth Jones by quite a bit.

Louis L'Amour, Off the Mangrove Coast. Grandpa's. This is where "genre" and "generic" intersect: these stories all did what you knew they were going to do--with surplus exclamation marks, I'm afraid--because they were the kinds of stories they were. And they were more invested in being kinds of stories than in being actual stories.

James Patterson "with" Andrew Gross, 2nd Chance. Grandpa's. Oh dear, was this a bad book. I was wondering whether a co-author would help. No. There were little things and big things wrong with this book. I was completely creeped out by the main character's long-lost father's fixation on her looks. He told her she was gorgeous/beautiful/etc. thirty bazillion times. And the phrasing is not that member of the family, "Oh honey, you grew up so pretty, you look just like your mother/aunt/cousin's best friend's roommate." It was not well done. Also the bits even slightly related to motherhood and work were implausible and offensive. He really just should not attempt to write female POV. Also: do not try to have people "talking black" if you don't know what it sounds like. A black professional woman talking to three white professional women who are her close friends does not sound like someone with a tin ear trying to reproduce what he heard when he turned on Oprah for half an hour once. And--oh, well, anyway: not a good book. Since Grandpa had several of the others in the series and some of them were "co-written" by women, I will be interested to see whether that improves them at all. (I put "co-written" in quotes because the amount of writing each author actually does varies so widely that I have no idea whether the later books in the series are essentially completely written by co-author and given a light editing pass by James Patterson or whether he does a seriously equal job in that context. Collaboration varies so much, but he is clearly the "name" in this case.)

James Patterson, The Midnight Club. Grandpa's. The hook on this thriller is that the action-hero main character is in a wheelchair. I will not be spoiling anything if I tell you that he walks in the end, with many italics and adjectives and ellipses and exclamation marks, because you know he will; it's that kind of book.

Mark Twain, The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories. Grandpa's. Poor Mr. Twain. Most of the stories in this collection were written when he was old and was losing everybody he loved, and many of them had that "depressed cynic" feel, where if you enjoy eating a strawberry or looking at an interesting tree, you are DELUDING YOURSELF BECAUSE LIFE IS ALL PAIN AND MISERY AND WOOOOOE AND ANYBODY WHO SAYS DIFFERENT IS A FOOL AND THIS IS THE ONLY REALITY. And then you want to make him take deep breaths and possibly drink a cup of tea. Twain and Kurt Vonnegut: I want to bake them cookies and make them go weed my garden before they come in for their cookies. It just seems like the combination would be good for them.
getting by


Today is the most physically miserable I've been in quite awhile, and while the vertigo has been generally improving, it has not been monotonically improving. Today eating is hard (although that's not all vertigo, I don't think), and moving around the house safely is hard, and being comfortable sitting still is hard, and it's all just hard. And I'm hoping that it is the designated hard day this week, because I will do 4th St. either way, but it's going to be much more fun if it's more like yesterday than like today.

Also I have not been posting Grandpa stories very much, but oh, I miss my grandpa. I am still running into such difficult things. And sometimes it's not even related to a trigger at all. Sometimes I just want my grandpa, dammit.

We got markgritter back this morning, finally. That doesn't make everything better. But it doesn't make anything worse, and several things--notably the lack of markgritter--it does improve substantially. (His 5-day business trip was unexpectedly extended to 8 days. Not A Fan, but sometimes these things are necessarily.)

I think I can still manage the stuff what needs doing before the times when it needs to be done. But it feels--both literally and figuratively--like ground is slipping away beneath my feet.

I really hope sleep is a reset button.