Joan Aiken, Nightbirds on Nantucket. I just finished this one, and I wanted to say -- finally! Finally I get why the Dido Twite books are so well-beloved by so many people I respect! I'd read two others, and they were fine, but I didn't really get into them. I'm not even sure why I was this persistent, because I've also read a couple of Aiken's other books, and my response was generally, "Huh. Well, that was fine, I guess." But I really liked this one. Part of it was that I slipped rather easily into the perspective of an extremely practical 11-year-old whose dear friend is a total fraidy-cat, because I had one of those. Bec, if you're reading this, I'm sorry, and you know I loved you dearly and the part of me that's still 11 will always love the part of you that's still 11, even if we haven't talked for years, but when we spent the night at each other's houses you made me sit in the bathroom while you took a shower because you were afraid of fictional clowns in plumbing, and then you made me throw your clothes over the shower curtain to you because you were afraid of being seen naked. Afraid of everything. Yes. I don't know what the rest of it was, why this book and not the previous ones in the series. But I expect I'll read the rest from here, rather more quickly.
Margery Allingham, The Mind Readers. On my comfort reading post awhile back, one of you mentioned Allingham, so I got one from the library. It read a bit like early Kate Wilhelm, I guess: 1960s technothriller. I didn't cotton to any of the characters the way I did to Kate Wilhelm's, and I think there were some things I read as clues that weren't even intended to be red herrings. Is this typical Allingham? or better or worse or different in direction?
Lois McMaster Bujold, Shards of Honor and Barrayar. Finishing off the Vorkosigan comfort rereads. I liked the ending of Shards of Honor not so well as I'd remembered, because it felt like it was putting the pieces into position for the rest of where we'd run into people once Miles was an adult, rather than ending the book it actually was. But Barrayar didn't suffer from that problem, in my opinion. And anyway we all know my weakness for political unrest.
Tove Jansson, Finn Family Moomintroll. I suppose you could call this a comfort reread, but I know I didn't read it when we lived in Kansas or after, and I'm pretty sure I didn't read it the year we lived on 104th St., which was after we'd been to Finland. Rereads after 20 years are a bit different. Among other things, 20 years ago I didn't know to say, "Oh, why doesn't Studio Ghibli do something with this?" But now I do. More Moomins in my future, I expect.
Diana Wynne Jones, Fire and Hemlock. Comfort reread. I want more of the rest of the string quartet.
James A. Owen (coppervale), The Search for the Red Dragon. Gorgeously illustrated sequel to Here, There Be Dragons. I had a few problems early on with the author characters. Specifically, the historical James Barrie creeps me out no small amount, and the post-Great War stuff with Tolkien and Lewis seemed like it was going to be hard to fit into what's primarily a children's book and still satisfy me as an adult. (And not just in terms of how dark things got, either -- just in terms of overexplaining things that don't have much directly to do with the story at hand.) Without going into a plot spoiler, something Jack did in the mid-to-late book that helped a great deal with this for me, without being intrusive to a child reader. Looking forward to the next, but also thinking of the problems of using historical adult figures in children's books.
Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade, Carpe Jugulum, The Last Hero, and Equal Rites. Err, yes. Comfort rereads. Witch books good.
Charles Stross (autopope), Halting State. Now look. You don't like the second person. You didn't like it when willshetterly did it in The Gospel of the Knife, and you don't like it any better now. You understand why it was done in a book this focused on gaming, for heaven's sake; you still find it intrusive and offputting, and the more so every time you really find yourself getting immersed in the book and get jolted out by the damn second person. You really begin to think that "unless it's for a really good reason" needs to be amended with "no, a better reason than that one." You liked, among other things, the use of the zombie flash mobs for evil. You just can't imagine you'll be rereading this any time soon, despite having fun with it, because you are just too narrow-minded on the subject of writing entire books in the second person. You can't help it. It's how you're made.