Friday, July 2, 2010

June reads

Read it and weep, ya'll! Thirteen books last month! Thanks in no small part to finally finishing the epic-ly bad 28 CD audiobook Anathem, after which I need to listen to short, sweet, AND GOOD audiobooks to get the bad taste out of my ears. I'm not changing that. Also, my new, much beloved Nook, which accompanies me where ever I may go. Mucho helpful for all the time spent waiting in doctors' offices lately.

Lisbeth is back and badder than ever, and getting into more trouble than ever! The ever lovable and somewhat bumbling Mikael Blomkvist must race to save her. Seriously people, download it, check it out of the library, buy it, steal it, borrow it, BUT READ THIS TRILOGY!

Anathem by Neal Stephenson
My personal hell, long hand. People who like math, all living together, doing math for fun and talking about nerve gas farting pink spotted dragons. AVOID THIS BOOK AT ALL COSTS! If it hadn't been for a book group (and you don't get to vote if you don't read it and I'm depressingly honest at times and I want to give it a smashing bad grade), I would have accidentally dropped this in the pool. I may hate this book more than Catcher in the Rye...I'll have to ponder that awhile.

Troubles by J. G. Farrell
Due to a rule change in 1968, there was no Man Booker Prize awarded in 1970. In January this year, the Man Booker judges perused a pool of 22 books published in 1970 and awarded the Lost Man Booker and Troubles won! My book group was discussing Booker prize winners so I chose this one for fun. Very odd, and profits those most who have some background knowledge of the "troubles" of Irish history. Major Archer returns from war to seek out a woman to whom he seems to be engaged, based on her letters. Her family owns the Majestic Hotel, but it's anything but majestic when he gets there. In fact, things are quite batty indeed. Farcical, yet sad commentary on the decline of the gentry. I'm all for the decline of the gentry, but it was a bit sad at the same time. First in a trilogy which I may indeed finish one day.

Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis
Tregillis is part of G.R.R.M.'s Wild Card writers group and gets an endorsement from the big man himself right on the front cover! Alternate history of WWI. The German's human experiments result in a small, but deadly, superhuman force. Crazy good, and magnificently written for a first novel!

The last in the trilogy and the title could not be more apt. I lost sleep, skipped meals, and was absent-minded at work in my drive to finish this book! See GWPlayed with Fire above.

Dog Blood by David Moody
Um, yeah. This is not for everyone, I'm not even sure who I'd recommend it to but I'm addicted to these books. This is the second in what I hope will be a trilogy. Any more than that and it starts to get Left Behind-ish...minus anything to do with religion. Just plain old too much for too long. In the first book, a random change begins to occur in the population and some become Haters (the title of the first book). They see the rest of humanity as dangers to themselves and must kill them on sight. Apocalypse ensues. Book two follows one of the Haters, Danny, as he searches for the daughter he discovered was just like him right before his wife and children flee after he goes postal. VERY violent, VERY gory. See my review of Haters.

Crank by Ellen Hopkins
This is a YA novel, but for older, mature readers only! Christina goes to visit her father (parents divorced for many years) and falls in with the meth crowd. A heartbreaking journey down the rat hole. I listened to the audio so I didn't realize that the novel is written in verse. One of the Amazon one-star customer reviewers titled her review, "Unless your kids are already knocked up and hooked on drugs, they probably shouldn't be reading this." and I feel a certain amount of chagrin to kind of agree with her.

The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry
Barry's first book, The Lace Reader, blew me away! This, not so much. I loved it and I'm glad I read it (on my Nook!) but for me it missed the punch and the magic of that first book. Zee, a psychologist, has just lost her first patient to suicide. The woman reminds her so much of her own mother, and that suicide, that she is having real trouble dealing with it. Throw in her father's decline from Parkinson's and her own misgivings about her upcoming wedding and disaster is not hard to predict.

Willow by Julie Hoban
I'm not real sure why I'm on the Lifetime movie track of teen audiobooks. In this outing, Willow is a 17 year old girl who is a cutter. The previous winter, her parents asked her to drive them home after they had a little too much to drink at dinner. In the horrendous storm that night, she lost control of the car and her parents were killed in the wreck. Now living with her college professor brother, his wife, and their new baby, Willow can't deal with the runaway pain of her grief, but there is a pain she can control...the razor. Enter the knight in shining armor, Guy. Can the love of the right person help her past her grief?

A book group selection, though I was intrigued because it is asked for at the library ALL THE TIME. *sigh* I just don't get it. I found this tedious, silly, and way too self-righteous, even though the author mentions on SEVERAL OCCASIONS how unselfrighteous he is. Um, I think that cancels it out.

A not-bad fantasy novel, but not riveting either. This is for the sci-fi/fant book group I'm in. A deposed prince is captured and gang pressed into spying on the last stronghold in the kingdom. The motivation is the obsidian jewel they magically implant in his forehead to record the proceedings. Luckily for him, the leader of that stronghold is friendly and has a few tricks up his sleeve for dealing with their dark magic...and a beautiful daughter.

Okay, technically this is a short story, but the edition I read was a stand alone movie tie-in published shortly before the movie came out. I haven't seen the movie yet but look forward to it to see what changes were made. In short, a person (played by the now tiresomely handsome Brad Pitt) is born an old man and ages backward. It was kind of silly in the beginning with the father dressing a grown man in specially made babies clothes, making him play with rattles, and the kid sneaking down to smoke his father's cigars when he wasn't around, but it got more serious and thought provoking as the story moved towards its conclusion. Where does he end up when newborn is as young as you can get?

The Vanishing by Tim Krabbe
This slim novel is translated, from Dutch or German, I don't remember exactly, and was made into a film several years ago. I'll be watching it soon. A man and his girlfriend stop at a gas station. He fills up the car, she goes in for drinks and disappears. Eight years and uncounted police searches and newspaper reports later, an meeting with an oddly unemotional man may yield the answers he's been searching for, but at what cost. I noticed in the front flap text that the movie does not include the ending in the book because it was considered too shocking. I've been reading too many books like Haters and Dog Blood, not to mention my raging horror movie habit, to have found it shocking, but I give him many kudos for not even considering the hopeful ending, much less a happy one.

What are YOU reading?


Katie said...

Anathem = audiobook FAIL

Wine in Thyme said...

Seriously Holley, Brad Pitt will never be tiresome-anything.....
Today - reading The Wheel of Darkness by Preston & Child. Just finished the Illustrated History of Canada. Am also perusing Living in the Garden Home by P. Allen Smith (a little gay, not that there's anything wrong with that), and National Park guide 1994 (preparing for our family road trip to the Badlands in a couple of weeks.) Thank you Summit county Public Library!

Wine in Thyme said...

Also - any recommendations for books on tape for an 8-day road trip with teenage boys? Last time (4 years ago) we took Cheech & Chong (not a book on tape, their routing from the 70's). I want to keep them engaged, with iPod headphones off.....

Holley T said...

What ages? I may have some better suggestions after I know, but off the cuff:
The Teacher's Funeral by Richard Peck (historical, humorous)

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (1st in the Percy Jackson series)

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (sci-fi/fant, some mild cursing, may be some mild talk of sex..don't remember anything disturbing though)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (sci-fi/fant, adventure)

The Pendragon series by J.D. MacHale

Dragon and Thief by Timothy Zahn

The Death Collector by Justin Richardson

I'll think of some more and post them on your blog!

Wine in Thyme said...

thanks so much! T hey are 15 and 17. 15 has read The Pendragon series several times over. Might try the first book. I'm leaning towards The Lightning Thief (cuz I like the movie trailer) and the Teacher's funeral. Humor is good for these two. Otherwise, I get mostly grunts..