Posts

CC Spin Title (and Summerbook #12 ): Our Mutual Friend

Image
 Our Mutual Friend, by Charles Dickens This doorstopper tome came in at over 800 pages!  So, clearly, this is a story that is going to have a lot of characters and a lot of plot threads.  Dickens does weave all of it together into a suspenseful and exciting pattern, and for the most part I enjoyed the novel and often kept reading to find out what would happen. Our story revolves, mainly, around one hero and two heroines, but they are not in a love triangle.  In fact, we start with a murder; the body of John Harmon, heir to a large fortune and just arrived to claim it, has been found in the river.   Who killed him, and who will get the money?  It is not a spoiler to let you know that John Harmon is in fact alive, but is pretty iffy on whether he wants the money.  He definitely does not want to force Miss Bella Wilfer into marriage, which is what his father has ordained in the will, although the two have never seen each other.  So the family servants, the kind and relaxed Boffins, get th

Summerbook #11: All the Birds in the Sky

Image
 All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders I took this home because the inside cover had reviews that compared it to DWJ and Neil Gaiman.  It turned out to be a pretty good modern urban fantasy novel (and I don't mean 'urban fantasy' in the sense of 'werewolf romance'). Patricia and Laurence are both underdogs and social outcasts.  Their (improbably uninterested) parents don't understand them and usually do the opposite of what their kids need.  They're tormented at school and at home.  Patricia finds solace in nature, and is shaped by a strange encounter with a bird who speaks with her, while Laurence is a tech geek building an AI from discarded parts in his bedroom closet.  In junior high, they become friends, but social pressures and, eventually, parents make it increasingly difficult, until Patricia is whisked off to a school for magic users and Laurence finally makes it to the tech high school he's dreamed of. Years later, their paths cross a

Classics Club 10th Anniversary!

Image
 Wow, it's been ten years since Jillian started the Classics Club!  Unbelievable.  To celebrate, the Club has published some questions for us to answer.    Share your links in the comments, I'd love to see your answers too! When did you join the Classics Club?   I'm a charter member and have been in the whole time.  Here's my first post about the Club!     Here's my first list, and the second one that I'm working on now. What is the best classic book you’ve read for the club so far? Why?  That is a nearly impossible question to answer!  I've read a heck of a lot of books for this club!  But I think I will pick Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, for a few reasons: a)  it's an amazing novel and I just love it; b) I'd never read ZNH before, and I went on to read and love several of her works (not done yet!); c) I found a fascinating connection between ZNH, this novel, and an incredibly obscure Danish romanticist writer's first no

Summerbook #10: Honeycomb

Image
 Honeycomb, by Joanne M. Harris This is a rather fascinating collection of....very short stories?  chapters?  which all weave together into a complex set of tales.  Harris explains in the afterword that it started off as little stories on Twitter, which forced her to write tightly, and people would ask for more stories about their favorites, and after a while she had "a new medium for folklore.  An interlinked series of stories, all set in the same honeycomb multiverse as [two other books] and with an overarching storyline about love, magic, the power of story, and the quest for redemption."  Neat, hm? The stories revolve around the Silken Folk -- what you'd usually call Faerie, which here is also the world of insects -- and their interactions with the Sightless Folk, which are of course humans.  The Honeycomb Queen is the first of these, and her son, the Lacewing King, is the protagonist.  He grows up to be cruel and ruthless, and his various adventures, and long accide

The Keeper

Image
  The Keeper, by Guadalupe Garcia McCall My youngest kid and I both read this fun, spooky middle-grade novel, which claims to be "inspired by a terrifying true story" and enjoyed it.  I found the solution to be strange, though, for very GenX reasons. James and his family are moving from Texas (wide-open spaces, best friends) to Oregon (too many trees, really wet, no best friends) and James is Not Happy about it.  And his beloved abuelita passed away just a few weeks ago; the loss is still fresh for all of them.  Their new neighborhood does seem really nice, though; almost like a village backing onto the woods, but very close to Portland, and everybody is very friendly.  The neighbors invite them to play baseball, bring them cookies, and host a neighborhood BBQ to welcome them. Then James gets a spooky letter, daring him to explore and insinuating that he's not brave enough to live there.  Is it another chapter in the ongoing prank war with his little sister Ava?  Is it a

Summerbook #9: No One Is Talking About This

Image
Hello!  I went to visit a friend for a week, and I had a lovely time.  Now I'm back, and --  No One Is Talking About This, by Patricia Lockwood I kept hearing about how fantastic and unusual this story is, and so put it on my summer list.  It is unusual, that's true.  I kind of liked it?  The characters remain unnamed, and it seems to (perhaps) be set in a slightly alternative America, where an unnamed dictator rules.  The protagonist is a woman famous for her viral tweets in what she calls 'the portal.'  For some reason, this gets her regular speaking gigs at TED-talk-like events.  The story is told in an endless cascade of short fragments, so that it feels much like scrolling endlessly through a social media feed. In the first half of the novel, she seems to get less and less tethered to reality, spending hours a day on her feeds and convinced that only the portal is important, while real life (which contains a slightly worried husband) isn't quite as real.  She p

The Sandman, Part III

Image
 Sandman: vols 7-9, by Neil Gaiman et al. Volume 7, Brief Lives , is somewhat ironically named, since nearly everyone in it is, if not immortal, kind of close to it.  Delerium -- once Delight -- approaches her siblings, asking them to help her find their lost brother.  Destruction abdicated his post a few centuries ago, and asked to be left alone.  But Delerium misses her brother and is impervious to argument, so Dream agrees to travel with her.  They go on a road trip to track down some of the people who may know where Destruction is, but those people are showing a worrying tendency to turn up dead.  Morpheus ends up having to consult his son, Orpheus.... Volume 8, World's End , uses an old device: it collects many people into an inn to tell stories as they wait out a storm.  But this is no ordinary inn.  The people are from many different times, places, and worlds, and they have all run into a reality storm that tore them from their moorings and deposited them the inn at the end