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31 December 2013 @ 05:02 am
I just posted my list of books I read in 2013. I'm still on my pace of about a book per week that I've maintained for the past few years.

I've discovered some really great authors this year whose books I absolutely loved: Rainbow Rowell, Rachel Hartman, Scott Lynch, and Elizabeth Wein were all new to me, and I look forward to following their future work. I also finally made the literary acquaintance of Seanan McGuire, and look forward to reading her October Daye novels (and the latest Mira Grant medical thriller) now that I've caught up on her other projects.

I started out strong with JRI but lost momentum after my in-laws renewed my access to the larger library system in the next county over. I can't complain, since it gives me free access to new books I wanted to read anyway, but I'll try to do better at clearing out some space on my shelves next year.
23 September 2013 @ 09:43 pm
I read 20 new books (November of the year before to now) and 50 (when I finish this one) off the shelf ALREADY.

What I haven't done: Read more than one of the books Mike recommended, but as soon as I finish the one I'm reading now I'm starting Alexander at World's End.

New (with stars for the ones I loved best)

1) Fuse - Julianna Baggott *

2) Buffy S9 V2 - Whedon/Scott Tipton et al *

3) Witch World - Christopher Pike (* for the lulz)

4) Eleanor and Park - Rainbow Rowell *

5) Scarlet - Marissa Meyer *

6) Just One Day - Gayle Forman *

7) Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell *

8) The Moon and More - Sarah Dessen *

9) Gameboard of the Gods - Richelle Mead *

10) A Fairy Tale Sampler - Eloisa James

11) As You Wish - Eloisa James

12) Once Upon a Tower - Eloisa James *

13) If You Lived Here, You'd Be Perfect By Now - Robin Hardwick *

14) The Book of Lost Things - Cynthia Voigt *

15) Wait for You - J. Lynn

16) Charming - Elliot James *

17) Ultimate Comics Spider Man Volume 3 - Brian Michael Bendis *

18) MaddAddam - Margaret Atwood *

19) Spider-Men - Brian Michael Bendis *

20) Shade of the Moon - Susan Beth Pfeffer *

So, really, it's been a super-good year for new books. Even the James ones I didn't absolutely love, I liked. The only dud was the New Adult one.
26 May 2013 @ 10:35 pm
I was intending to do this anyway, so I'll go ahead and do it now, and hope the new LJ update page doesn't hate me.

#1: John Green & David Levithan - Will Grayson, Will Grayson (JRI)
#2: Orson Scott Card & Aaron Johnston, Earth Unaware: The First Formic War
#3: Terry Brooks, The Annotated Sword of Shannara
#4/5: Terry Brooks, The Elfstones of Shannara / The Wishsong of Shannara
#6: Mira Grant, Feed (Newsflesh #1) (JRI)
#7: Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl #1) (JRI)
#8: Robert Heinlein, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls
#9: Robert Heinlein, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
#10: M.T. Anderson, The Pox Party (Octavian Nothing #1)
#11: Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
#12: Mira Grant, Deadline (Newsflesh #2) (JRI)
#13: Joss Whedon et al, Serenity: The Shepherd's Tale
#14: Seanan McGuire, Discount Armageddon (Incryptid #1)
#15: Mira Grant, Blackout (Newsflesh #3)
#16: Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park
#17: Gareth Roberts & Douglas Adams: Shada
#18: Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3)
#19: Rainbow Rowell, Attachments
#20: Terry Pratchett, Dodger
#21/22: Brian Azzarello, Blood / Guts (Wonder Woman: New 52)

Currently on my to-read-next pile:
the most recent two Last Apprentice books
Octavian Nothing #2
Written on the Body
Kissing the Witch
The Cats of Tanglewood Forest (Charles de Lint)
The Devil You Know (Mike Carey)
The Lies of Locke Lamora (Scott Lynch)
The Rithmatist (Brandon Sanderson)
Just kidding. I keep forgetting to use this too, because everything I post here really belongs on my book blog anyway.

Hm. I don't even remember if I set any book goals this year...
29 December 2012 @ 10:50 am
I've recently been reading The Trumpet of the Swan with my kids, but of course I also have fond memories of Charlotte's Web and, to a lesser extent, Stuart Little. This biography of E.B. White delves into how his childhood and shy personality shaped his stories. Although almost no page time was devoted to TotS, I could definitely see how Louis' struggles to communicate his feelings mirrored the author's own, how Louis' parents were SO much like his own parents, and when mention was made of White's journal where he asked himself questions about various animal behaviors, I immediately exclaimed to myself, "That's Sam Beaver's journal!" So I got a kick out of seeing those connections. I also learned a lot about White's work with The New Yorker. I never read TNY at all until I had a housemate with a subscription, and I wasn't aware of White's long association with the magazine, or that he married one of his coworkers there.

I was very interested to read that the illustrations for Stuart Little were the first time Garth Williams ever did any work for children's books; he went on to become one of the most well-regarded illustrators for children of his generation, was highly in demand by the time CW was published, and was unavailable to illustrate TotS. Besides CW, I think he is most remembered for illustrating the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.

I also thoroughly enjoyed learning about Ursula Nordstrom, the head of children's books at Harper (later Harper & Row and now HarperCollins), who became a highly formidable and influential presence in publishing. It reminded me of John Green's frequent gushing about how wonderful his editor is; it seems likely that behind every successful author, there is a great publishing team - the unsung heroes of literature.
26 December 2012 @ 11:57 pm
This was a very readable book that alternated between Byrne's observations about the process of performing, recording, and marketing music, and reminiscences about his work with Talking Heads, Brian Eno, and his solo career. I had to skim some of it, particularly the bits about finances, in order to get it back to the library on time, but I think anyone even passingly familiar with his work would find this book of interest. Certainly other artists would find it illuminating and possibly instructive.
26 December 2012 @ 11:50 pm
This story was a lot juicier than I initially expected, knowing that it was going to be primarily Winter Knight stuff; it turned out to have a lot of new details about the long arc as well, including the true purpose of Demonreach.

I wished I'd reread Summer Knight first, since a lot of characters come back or are talked about here that we haven't seen since ten books ago, but there's enough backstory filled in that I wasn't at a total loss. I did look up a few minor character references on the DF wiki as I went.

Minor spoilers.Collapse )
06 December 2012 @ 06:57 am
I appreciated the sentiment of this followup to God and Football but felt it lacked the coherence and insights of the previous book. Only the chapter near the end that portrayed his high school football rivalry felt like it achieved any sort of profundity. The rest felt like a touristy mishmash.
This is one of those books that I had to read through in a single sitting. So good, and I'm glad the author is planning a sequel.

I didn't know anything about it when I started and I don't want to spoil it for anyone else, except to say that it's not as creepy as it might seem at first.

Part of the excitement of the first two books was meeting all of the new heroes, with the three main characters of each story taking turns as narrator. Now that the seven are finally together, it's Annabeth's turn to be front and center as leader of the group, with Leo as the sidekick in his role as captain of the ship. Piper and Percy provide occasional backup perspectives, but mostly Annabeth and Leo just get to be awesome, which suits me fine. Jason sort of gets shafted, but Jason is a little too perfect to be interesting anyway, plus he's so powerful that he has to be constantly placed in states of incapacitation or distraction to avoid nerfing all the challenges.

I am a bit tired of opening with the main female character flashing back on recent negative experiences that she refuses to divulge to the reader until a third of the way through the book. The author has employed this device in all three books so far, which makes me feel like he's just using it as a narrative crutch.

The Greek/Roman dichotomy continues to have fascinating repercussions, as we learn that when the two camps clash with each other, the gods' dual natures war with themselves, incapacitating them to the degree to which they differ in each pantheon.

I also appreciated that now that the kids are older, romantic relationships play more of a role in their emotional lives, and with so many protagonists, there is bound to be drama, hence Frank/Hazel/Leo and Piper/Jason/Reyna. Leo is taunted by the gods at one point that he will always be an outsider and the seventh wheel, which breaks my heart because he's my favorite, but he's determined not to be bitter about it, because he's too awesome for that. Meanwhile, it's interesting to see how the relationship between Percy and Annabeth has matured and deepened, which really affects the emotional weight of the story, especially toward the end, which features the first cliffhanger ending of any Percy Jackson book to date. (Argh.)