kchew: (Default)
kchew ([personal profile] kchew) wrote2009-04-12 11:26 am

Books purchased, books read

The ratio of books acquired to books read is still out of whack, but it was my birthday last month and that always throws things off.

Read in March and the first week of April:

The Book of Negroes (Lawrence Hill) - very interesting. I wish I'd made it to the book club meeting I was reading it for, as one person mentioned to me that she was comparing it to Toni Morrison's Beloved and it was falling far short and therefore annoying her. I can see how you would, but I kept thinking "oh, Hill read this book and he must have read that one too."

Territory (Emma Bull): sequel in the works. Yay! I'm now interested in the Old West where I have never been before.

Dreamers of the Day (Mary Doria Russell): I love her work. I was expecting this one to be as emotionally devastating as her last book, but this one instead made me want to know much more about Lawrence of Arabia.

RMR: The Book (Rick Mercer): a series of rants about Canadian politics from Canada's top political satirist.

Snake Agent (Liz Williams): I was expecting more from this book, given some of the glowing reviews I'd seen of it. It did have a great premise, and I loved the total immersion into another culture (an alternate, franchised Singapore) and its religious structure, but it seemed that Williams had too much to say and not enough space to do so. There were too many viewpoints, and a number of loose ends that seemed to have been dropped more than left for the next volume. Characters seemed lightly sketched, and there wasn't enough depth, even though it was supposed to be a police procedural/horror/fantasy novel. I'll read the next one, but if she doesn't resolve some of these issues then I'll not read any more.

Bought (February and March):

The Book of Negroes
Coalition of Lions (Elizabeth Wein)
Ink and Steel (Elizabeth Bear)
Slumdog Millionaire (Vikas Swarup)
A History of Histories (John Burrow)
The Slave Trade (Hugh Thomas)
The Tiger in the Well (Philip Pullman)
The Tin Princess (same)
The Winter Prince (Elizabeth Wein)
What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self (ed. Ellyn Spragins)
Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer (Jane Brocket)
Court of the Air (Stephen Hunt)
The Conscience of a Liberal (Paul Krugman)
Books v Cigarettes (George Orwell)
Timbuktu (Marq de Villiers and Sheila Hirtle)
Inkheart (Cornelia Funke)

[identity profile] burger-eater.livejournal.com 2009-04-12 07:22 pm (UTC)(link)
I have Territory on my to-read list. I'm looking forward to it, and hoping it's not too like a project I plan to write someday.

I admit that I lost momentum on Snake Agent and never finished. The hook didn't hook me and the setting didn't seem fun.

The only other book I recognize is Blood and Iron which I really disliked. I'd love to read the Krugman someday, assuming I ever take that speed-reading class.

[identity profile] kchew.livejournal.com 2009-04-12 08:13 pm (UTC)(link)
I liked the magic system in Territory, and the characters. I also enjoyed that I didn't know much, if anything at all, about the setting, which increased enjoyment for me. The book does scream out for a sequel.

I had high hopes for Snake Agent, and made my husband read it to see if he could help me to put my finger on what didn't work for me as it should have worked. Part of the problem was that too much was going on, from too many perspectives. The chapters were unusually short, dividing perspectives and action even further. There was no time to delve deeply into what was going on in the characters' minds, or to establish depth. From a structural point of view, in the rush to tie everything up, certain threads felt just...dropped. Perhaps Williams intends to pick them up in the next book, but there was no indication that characters were thinking "hoo boy, I'd better keep that promise to the goddess, shouldn't I, or it's going to bite me on the ass in the next book." Well, you know what I mean. So I was disappointed.

The Krugman is a surprisingly easy book to read, and this is from a woman who has economic narcolepsy. Seriously. It's short, and spends enough time establishing historical context and reasons for what he's discussing that I'm not thrown off by the economics. Stealthy! It's also short, which means that it doesn't eat up as much time as you'd think it would.

I am trying to find the right Elizabeth Bear book to start in on. Blood and Iron sounds good on the surface for me (oo! Renaissance!), but it remains to be seen if I'm going to bounce off it. I may try Dust first, because a friend really liked it.

[identity profile] burger-eater.livejournal.com 2009-04-12 09:06 pm (UTC)(link)
Hm. I don't want to spoil you for a book so many (other) people loved, but Blood and Iron isn't set during the Renaissance, if that's what you meant above. It's urban fantasy, set mostly in the eastern U.S. and Fairyland.

[identity profile] kchew.livejournal.com 2009-04-12 09:25 pm (UTC)(link)
Hellfire: meant Ink and Steel. Entry changed (thanks).