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Marissa Lingen

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Books read, early June. [Jun. 16th, 2011|10:37 am]
Marissa Lingen

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.

[User Picture]From: columbina
2011-06-16 03:53 pm (UTC)
"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."

Yup. I enjoyed it a great deal and it surprised me how much I did, with those themes and that (lack of) structure. I think it's just that Gold writes very compellingly.
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From: dancing_crow
2011-06-16 04:01 pm (UTC)
I am so relieved to read of your hesitation with the Penderwick books, especially when compared to McKay.

I am absurdly fond of McKay's work, from her earlier things like the Exiles where she is practicing with large families to the beloved Cassons (from which I routinely quote Sarah who says despairingly once "oh you wonderful, horrible, dysfunctional, artistic Cassons!"). I think what irks me about Penderwicks is that it feels so mannered, and so safe, in ways that the Cassons never do.
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[User Picture]From: redbird
2011-06-16 04:39 pm (UTC)
Assuming my library is cooperative, where should I start with the Casson books?
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-06-17 02:44 am (UTC)
Saffy's Angel. I really think you might like them.
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[User Picture]From: auriaephiala
2011-06-16 06:17 pm (UTC)
I will never read _The Exiles_ again after the ending of that book. _The Exiles in Love_ is quite good, though.

But I really enjoyed the first two Penderwicks books, and didn't find them mannered at all. They had a particular style, but the characters were believable & quite funny in a natural way.

I skipped through parts of _Fight Club_ a few years ago (didn't feel obliged to read the whole thing) and was surprised that I had not heard about the ending, given what it predicted.

Thanks for the recc re _The World of the Favorite_.
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[User Picture]From: gaaldine
2011-06-17 03:48 am (UTC)


I couldn't finish the first book: it seemed far too nostalgic and the youngest child didn't seem appropriately portrayed for her age.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-06-17 12:17 pm (UTC)

Re: Penderwicks

I haven't read the first one. rushthatspeaks said the third one was measurably better than the first two, so I started there.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-06-17 12:17 pm (UTC)
I have not. This is relevant to my interests. Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: snickelish
2011-06-18 04:45 am (UTC)
The Good German quite surprised me with how much I liked it, since gritty historical is not usually my genre of choice. Beautifully written, yes.

So, was it the major plot twist that you didn't get spoilered for in Fight Club? Or something more minor?
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2011-06-18 01:13 pm (UTC)
The major, yes.
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