Quick Lit [March]

Welcome to Quick Lit! This is where I partake in Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up and share short (sometimes) and sweet (cavities not included) reviews of what I’ve been reading lately.pages of the book as a bird flying awayAfter 10-book-January, I really wasnt suprised to hit a lull month right away. I am a little bit perplexed at it continuing well into March, but not too concerned. I have too many other goals I should focus on this year to worry too much about my reading goals–as long as I am reading.

LANDLINE  Rainbow Rowell
Rowell has written four books, and Landline was the only one I hadn’t gotten to yet. I knew it was quite a bit different from E&P and Fangirl, both of which I marathoned through at the end of last year, so I didn’t mind waiting a while on the holds list.

I liked Landline. I know I’m not alone in feeling that it didn’t live up to everything I adored with Rowell’s last two books, but withough the comparison, it’s an interesting women’s fiction sort of book with a magic phone mixed in for kicks.

THE RED TENT Anita Diamant

Last July. Andie took me to the Newberry Library’s book fair (after getting over her disbelief that I’d never heard of the thing). I was immediately disappointed that it was the last day and that I only had a few minutes, but I managed to pick up four or five books anyways.

And then I read none of them. Nothing I’d bought had actually been on any of my TBR lists, and I was reading a lot more recent books, so the stack just graced my shelves (an admirable purpose, but still).

Till for no apparent reason last month, I declared that enough was enough with all of my unread paperbacks, and picked one more or less at random (ie, from the closest shelf to my bed.) And was hooked, like, instantly

The Red Tent won me over so fast that I could probably justify a cliche about whiplash. It was right up my alley, even if it was an alley I’d forgotten about for awhile: historical/biblical fiction.

You have to go into a book like this expecting the author to take artistic license, and if you can do that, it’s beautiful.

Seraphina-cover

SERAPHINA Rachel Hartman

I just finished rereading this last week, but I don’t want to wait to write a few words about it, because by March Quick Lit I fully intend to be gushing about the sequel. (Which is currently ‘out for delivery.’ Which, weirdly, doesn’t always mean it will definitely come today.)

I. Love. This. Book. I’d forgotten how good it is, but rereading it was brilliant. When I like a book this much, I’m much more aware of how inadaquare I still am at reviewing and at explaining a book, but I can try.

“I became the very air; I was full of stars. I was the soaring spaces between the spires of the cathedral, the solemn breath of chimneys, a whispered prayer upon the winter wind. I was silence, and I was music, one clear transcendent chord rising toward Heaven.”

Hartman’s writing isn’t always this lofty sort of stunning–that would get cumbersome–but it is always good. Seraphina is a brilliant protagonist. She’s cranky sometimes, and I love that. The story tells you she’s smart, sometimes in particular ways that make sense with her particular background, and the character doesn’t betray that.

I look forward to writing about the sequel soon!

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Books, Lately [November]

I’ve finished two books since October 1st.

Oops.

(And one of those was a proofreading job—but if I say it counts, it counts!)

Before that, I was pushing to meet my year goal early—and I did!—and I think once I did that and the external motivation was gone, I relaxed a bit. I’ve still been reading, if not as much, but I haven’t been good at committing to finish anything besides these two below.

Also, I’ve been knitting. A lot. More about that later, but it’s butted into a lot of the sorts of times I normally would read: bus rides, solitary lunches, just before sleeping, standing in lines, walking, etc.

I’m kidding on the knitting while walking. Mostly.

 

Notes from the Valley  Andy McQuitty

Andy does dark humor very, very well in this book about his spiritual journey through cancer. The book is a sort-of series of letters, from Andy to anyone following behind him in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Notes releases January 1.

 

 

 

 

 

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making  Catherynne M. Valente
I had this floating around my TBR list for a bit, but that never could have lasted long: I mean, have you read that title? Yes, I would like to read this, please and thank you.

I was mildly disappointed, but only because my expectations were thrown off. It moved slower than I expected, but once I got moving I liked it. It wasn’t a “must know what happens next!!” book for me, but it’s quite good.

I’m part-way through book 2 now, and am becoming increasingly invested and interested as I go.

 

That’s it. Again, oops. I’ve got my paws in 7 or 8 books right now, and I just can’t seem to commit to finishing anything—but I’m enjoying it well enough, and that counts for something.

And there’s always next month!

 

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Reading, Lately [September]

The list below gives evidence of A) September simply being an inexplicably good month of reading; and B) my nerdish desire to make my Goodreads reading challenge in exactly 3/4 of the year, once I realized it was a viable possibility.

(And I did, in fact, pick the shortish novella A Tangled Web on September 30th to achieve that. Yes, that’s almost cheating. No, I don’t care.)

Fiction


Fortunately, the Milk  
Neil Gaiman

Sometimes I think that Neil Gaiman is my favorite genre. This kids book isn’t really in any way relevant to that thought—because it’s necessarily very different from his non-kids books—but this remarkably clever story makes me think it anyways.

I gave this as a gift to a friend who loves children’s books long before even reading it, because I knew it would be good. And now that I’ve listened to it on audio book (read by Gaiman, even better!), I’m trying to come up with an excuse to put my hands on a hard copy again, because apparently the illustrations are lovely.

Rules of Civility  Amor Towles
I think it was lovely. It was lovely, right? Perhaps it was mostly lovely. I got bored a few times, and that doesn’t lend itself to the description, but when I was enjoying it, which was much of the time, it was. Lovely, that is. And I finished much of the second third or so quickly, as I was just into it quite a bit more by then.

 

Big Little Lies  Liane Moriarty

Big issues, light book. It feels like reading chick-li, and I suppose it is, but Moriarty is good here are packing the best kind of fluff right around the tougher things. I don’t know much much sense that actually makes, but anyways, I enjoyed this one all the way through.

 

 

Left Neglected  Lisa Genova

This one has been sitting on my bookshelf, waiting for me to do this silly self-challenge to read the poor books waiting for me on my bookshelves. I picked it up from the used bookstore, even though I’d been wanting to read another book by Genova more — but this one was there! It wasn’t anything special, but I liked engaging in the story, and all of everything in here about left neglect was fascinating.

 

The Geography of You and Me  Jennifer E. Smith

Silly, fun YA… but also a bit of a downer for some of it? This was another one where I did enjoy the reading, and I was more or less motivated to finish the story, but it didn’t wow me in the slightest. Maybe it was the improbability of a teenage romance lasting too much past the last page, but I’ve read plenty of books where I didn’t mind that.

 

A Tangled Web  Mercedes Lackey

Short 90-page adventure through Lackey’s vision of what Greek Mythology looks like in her 500 Kingdoms world. Picked for my need to finish a book that day– and it was perfect for that. Not as good as the first two or three books in the 500 Kingdoms series, but significantly better than the final three.

 


 

Non-fiction

Bird by Bird Anne Lamott

I devoured the first few chapters of this right when I bought it several months ago, but once it became more focused on fiction it became a bit-by-bit book for me, since I don’t really write fiction. It took ages to finish, but was completely worth it: even the things that didn’t apply much to me were good. But if you’re also not a fiction writer, and don’t much care to read about it, the beginning and end are particularly great.

 

How To Be a Woman Caitlin Moran

I have absolutely no idea how to review this. The first who chapters feel quite a bit crass, but only so much in that we don’t really like talking about going through puberty all that much! It might not be for everyone, especially in my usual circles, but it was so worth it for me, particularly the later bits more specifically on feminism. Perhaps the most true thing I can tell you is that I carried this around at all times and finished it in under two days.

 

 

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Books, Lately

Read Letterpress

It would seem I’ve taken a break from all things non-fiction, but I swear it’s only half true. And thank goodness, because that was my biggest, main-est reading resolution for this year: to read more non-fiction. While there’s none of it here, I’ve been slowing eeking my way through several different non-fics, and hopefully I’ll be able to get them in next month!

In the meantime, look! Books!

Honeymoon in Paris: A novella  Jojo Moyes

This novella takes you a few years before each of the dual-stories in The Girl You Left Behind, following both Sophie & Edouard’s and Liv & David’s honeymoons in Paris. Quick read, interesting conflicts, enjoyable story. It’s hard for me to tell, having read this second, but I’ve heard others say this is a nice read even without reading Girl You Left Behind  first.

 

The Interestings  Meg Wolitzer
Initial draw: that cover. Final conclusion: enjoyable for the most part, but a bit too long and aimless. Still, probably a 3/5 for the times I was really liking it.

 

 

 

One Plus One  Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes ALL THE TIME. Apparently. And yes, I do intend to now go back and read all of her less recent books.

I mean, I do intend to read books by other authors. (Maybe.)

Ahem. It was geeky and fun and I liked it very much.

 

Summer Falls and other stories Amelia Williams, Melody Malone, Justin Richards

And then let’s throw in some Doctor Who, because why not? There’s three stories here: one children’s story by “Amelia Williams,” a mystery by and starring “Melody Malone,” and a murder mystery with Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax.

I liked the connections — both subtle and not to much — between these stories and the show’s main canon.


 

& on the docket for next month (provided I finish everything), is: Bird by Bird, Torn, Fight Club, Big Little Lies, and hopefully something else non-fic.

 

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