June 16th, 2011


Books read, early June.

Jeanne Birdsall, The Penderwicks at Point Mouette. I love Hilary McKay's Casson family books so very much that when someone says that another book is reminiscent of them, it gets my attention--and apparently my library request--immediately. This was a very good children's book, and I will definitely get the others in the series, but I don't recommend it quite as highly as the Casson books. The characters completely fail to have the standard adventures that foreshadowing hands them: for example, the adult does not fall in love with the person with whom she has a meet-cute--in fact, they become friends but are very clear that there is no romantic potential between them. So there's stuff like that, very refreshing, good fun, just not an absolute favorite at this point.

Rachel Caine and Kerrie L. Hughes, eds., Chicks Kick Butt, Discussed elsewhere.

Blake Charlton, Spellbound. Discussed elsewhere.

J. H. Elliott and L. W. B. Brockliss, eds., The World of the Favourite. This is a collection of essays about royal favorites in the time of Richelieu, Buckingham, and Olivares. Those three get the most focus for obvious reasons, but some of the essays go into Austria, Poland, and Denmark. One of the editors mentioned in the introduction that he would like to see more work done on female favorites in the courts of queens, and good heavens do I agree. I wish he hadn't put that in the introduction, because I kept thinking, "Yes, that!" while I was reading the actual book they had. Which was interesting and worthy.

Glen David Gold, Sunnyside. This is a very odd book. It's a pleasant read about things I would not really have thought I wanted to read about (Charlie Chaplin? really?), but the threads don't really come together in any very unifying way, and individual thread endings sort of fall apart a bit. I'm still not sorry I read it, but Charlie Chaplin and bilocation and...stuff. Yes. Definitely stuff.

Joseph Kanon, The Good German. I felt like I was reading this book forever. It was very well-done, but it was also very graphically realist about Berlin in late 1945. Which was not pleasant. A beautifully done murder mystery set in occupied post-war Berlin--interesting, but definitely not something that will brighten your day.

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club. I read this to talk about its structure with alecaustin, and also to go before Harmony (which I haven't read yet). It was so staggeringly misogynist that it actually bothered me less than more mildly misogynist books. It was sort of, "Oh, look, here's this incredibly readable prose...being misogynist some more, yay!" It was even worse than the movie in that regard. But oddly compelling in spots. Here's what impressed me: I have long joked that the first rule of Fight Club is that you cannot $#%*#@ get people to stop talking about Fight Club. But it turns out that's not actually true. What you cannot get people to stop doing is quoting Fight Club, and so there's all sorts of stuff including a major plot twist that just didn't get discussed, so it's been out for years and years in book and movie form, and I didn't get spoilered on any of it. Weird.

Arturo Perez-Reverte, Purity of Blood. Second Alatriste book. Inigo runs afoul of the Inquisition after they invade a convent to help a Judaizing nun who...yah. Swashes get buckled. Buckles are swashed. Much fun had by...almost nobody except the reader, actually. But better that way than the other way around.

Laurence Yep, City of Ice. Discussed elsewhere.