Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen

Books read, late July

Lucy M. Boston, The Children of Green Knowe. I can't believe I never read this as a child, in part because I seem to have picked up several of the references by literary osmosis. What I liked best about it was the relationship between the boy and the old lady. I am a firm believer that the very young and the very old are natural allies when we don't put all sorts of social barriers between them.

Steven Brust (skzbrust), Jhegaala. This will teach me to hear what elements a Vlad book has and think I will have any clue about how it will actually read. Happily (but not, I think, as a matter of pure luck), this did not mean that I was disappointed. Just required a little mental adjustment about how much the paper mill was going to play into things directly. Good stuff.

Peter Cameron, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You. Meh. This was fine, but not nearly as vivid as I'd like for a YA character study-ish thing. And I really didn't much like the ending. I think I'm comparing too much to Garret Freymann-Weyr, and maybe I should just go read some more of her stuff.

Colin Cotterill, Curse of the Pogo Stick. Fifth in my beloved Laotian historical magical realist murder mystery series. It was a solid but not outstanding entry in the series, in my opinion: don't start here, but if you've enjoyed the first few, this one should be good for you, too. Some more Hmong stuff that was familiar from living in Minneapolis; that was fun.

Amanda Cross, Death in a Tenured Position, No Word from Winifred, Poetic Justice, Sweet Death, Kind Death, The Question of Max, and The Theban Mysteries. So I'd read the first few of these before. And then I got to Poetic Justice and fell completely in love, and The Theban Mysteries was almost as good. So I'm not on a complete binge on these, but that's mostly because I have library books and birthday books to sometimes intervene. Also it's interesting for me to watch which changes in social assumptions since these books were written are easy for me to roll with and which completely knock me over. The idea that a reasonable adult woman would not think of having been roofied if she didn't think she'd been drinking heavily and then suddenly had a several hours' gap in memory -- would not, for obvious reasons, have the verb "to roofie" in her vocabulary -- was sort of a sweet glimpse into a world I've never lived in and can't entirely wrap my head around. So that no one comes in and patronizingly informs me: I realize that rohypnol, in specific, is fairly new. But it came into more widespread use along with my teen years, and so it sort of seemed like before there was rohypnol or GHB, there'd have been something else, right? Apparently not. Lucky, lucky us. Sigh.

Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Okay, look: I saw that it had no quotation marks in the dialog. And I kept reading it anyway. There were some issues with male gaze stuff prevailing into the supposedly female-POV sections, and I wasn't thrilled with the ending. But oh, the nerdliness. In some ways this was the opposite of that horrible thing literary authors do when they try to write SF and hold you by the hand for every step: don't be frightened, dear, this is what we call a spaceship. Shhh, it's okay. I will talk about this in a very boring way so that you don't get spooked and run off. Instead, the exposition -- both the incluing kind and the expository lump kind -- was handled approximately like a well-done science fiction novel, only with the Dominican Republic and Dominican-American culture instead of a far-off future planet. I loved that. Throw me in the deep end and let me flail around figuring out what these people are calling each other and why it matters. That I can do.

Edward Eager, The Well-Wishers. Another in the series with Magic or Not?, and therefore not very high on my list of favorite Eagers. Some larger social issues in this one. Pretty well done, I guess, but I prefer most of the others.

Stan Fischler, Those Were the Days: the Lore of Hockey by the Legends of the Game. This was largely edited transcripts of interviews with old-time hockey players, just letting them tell their stories. Some of it was boring, and some of it was awesome.

Tove Jansson, Moominvalley in November. Moomins without Moomins. What a lonely pretty little book.

Gordon Korman, The Stars from Mars. I grumped my way through this, as it was not science fiction at all, and also not, in my opinion, up to the Bruno and Boots books. Will not be reading the sequel.

Nancy Mitford, Love in a Cold Climate and The Pursuit of Love. Reading these in quick succession was probably a mistake: having the main character as fascinatedly wrapped up in the lives of two other women, without much attention to her own, worked less well in proximity to each other. Also it was strange to read Ha'penny first and these second. But I chuckled at the right bits, I think.

Daniel Pinkwater, Once Upon a Blue Moose. Pure weapons-grade silliness.

Ruth Rendell, A Guilty Thing Surprised. A solid entry in the Inspector Wexford series. Another one where the social assumption changes between then and now are of interest to me.

Will Shetterly, Witch Blood. I kept thinking I must have read this when I was in high school, and then I got to the middle and became pretty sure that I had not, or I would have remembered a rather key bit. I think. I hope.

Jessamyn West, The Friendly Persuasion. Episodic novel or short story collection, whichever. American Quakers in the 19th century. A very gentle book. Proved that gentle and plotless do not have to be the same thing. Also I think this may be the book where my grandmother and I intersect in taste? Maybe? That'd be lovely if so. I will put it on my Christmas shopping list.
Tags: bookses precious

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