Sunday, March 27, 2016

quick recap

A quiet, happy Easter with a toddler alternating between utter sweetness and utter barbarity, as toddlers do. We've slept in and listened to Handel and gone out for breakfast, and maybe after her nap we'll take a walk. Nothing to complain of.

Read lately:

Prudence, by Gail Carriger. Her latest steampunk series, featuring the children of the characters in her previous series. A bit too much about our heroine's irresistibility and perfection - the older I get, the less patience I have for characters in their teens who are insufferably confident and skilled - but decently fun.

Dead Water, by Ann Cleeves. People continue to murder each other on the Shetland Islands, and I continue to want to move there and wear big sweaters. Except for the part where to get anywhere else you have to take a tiny little plane. I would not do well with that. Cleeves falls into the trap of "successful confident women are evil" thing here a little bit, but she manages to keep that in a few characters' heads, rather than expressing it herself as an author. The last one of hers I read crossed that line.

Death Wore White, by Jim Kelly. Police procedural the plot of which I have already forgotten; I will not be reading more by this author. 

Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America, by Gilbert King. Amazing. Absolutely engrossing and terrible and infuriating (especially when you think how far we still are from that "New America"). I wanted to call out from work just so I could read this through in one sitting.

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town, by John Krakauer. Well done reporting, simply brutal to read. I had to put it down a lot.

Boundary Waters, by William Kent Krueger. Decent thriller about a former sheriff in Minnesota. The body count gets absurdly high by the end, and the Native American characters are noble stereotypes, but it kept my attention.

If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O, by Sharyn McCrumb. Didn't like it as much of some of her other books; it's trying too hard to be important and political, instead of utilizing the Appalachians and their legends the way McCrumb does to great and effective creepiness in her other books. Plus the murderer's identity feels like a cop-out.

Blood of the Tiger: A Story of Conspiracy, Greed, and the Battle to Save a Magnificent Species, by J.A. Mills. My Early Reviewers book. Less about actually wandering through the habitats of the tiger than I expected, and more about legislation and international affairs. Still sufficiently heartbreaking.

The Angel Court Affair, by Anne Perry. Her books at this point, in both of her Victorian series, have become very slight and forgettable. This one was surprisingly passionate in its discussion of religious faith, which read like Perry trying to work out a lot of stuff about forgiveness and redemption for herself (but would I have thought that if I didn't know her history? dunno) and which I found quite interesting. The mystery itself? Less so.

The Last Camel Died at Noon, by Elizabeth Peters. Campy series about Victorian archaeologists, and while fun it has suffered immensely from Peters' decision to give her hero and heroine a revoltingly precocious child. In this one, not only is the child in fine form but at the same time I was equally revolted by his mother's (our narrator's) indifference to, literally, whether he lives or dies. I mean, I feel that way as the reader, but it makes it very difficult to like your narrator when she continually puts her whole family in danger of their lives and then her concern is, in this order, for her husband, and then herself, and then eventually her small child. Peters tries to tell us near the end of the book that she actually has Enormous Maternal Love for this kid, but the whole rest of the book has been showing us otherwise.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne. Wow, super-boring! Infodumping is apparently not a new thing in literature.

Kraken: The Curious, Exciting, and Slightly Disturbing Science of Squid, by Wendy Williams. Brief but fairly interesting.

Happy Easter / We Like Sheep Day, if you celebrate. If not, enjoy your spring Sunday.

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