Sunday, June 26, 2016

playing catch-up

Aw geez, I am so far behind on this blog. I'd cut myself some slack due to being pregnant, parenting a toddler, working full-time, and refusing to give up my reading, but I am certain there are women out there who do all that and keep their houses clean and cook gourmet meals into the bargain. So be it.

Anyway, not going to get into too much self-pity here. I'm in the tail end of the second trimester, and starting to get heartburn and having a very hard time sleeping, but I know no matter how uncomfortable I get and how endless the time seems, October will be here before I know it. As will the end of Perdita's nap, so I'd best hasten here!

Bitter Creek, by Peter Bowen. A very strange book in a mystery series I hadn't read before. This one comes late in the series, and maybe the others are more traditional procedurals, but this one was about a historical mystery and a lot of drinking and very strange dialogue patterns. I didn't dislike it, but I never felt that I got into its rhythm.

Lair of Dreams, by Libba Bray. Second in a series about teenagers in the 1920s who have magical powers. As with the first, the 20s dialect / slang is waaaaay overdone, and our main character is kind of repulsively selfish, but in this one other characters get more page time and the story is gripping. I do like Bray quite a bit.

A Single Man, by Christopher Isherwood. Angry and heartbreaking and lovely.

The Owl Killers, by Karen Maitland. Novel about a medieval town in the grip of a KKK-like group of men. It's incredibly disturbing and so well-written and I couldn't put it down, even though as in her other book I've read (The Company of Wolves) the villains are almost zero-dimensional Portrayals of Evil. And, in this one, the people you hope will win... don't (although the villains don't either, really). So I found the ending sad and a bit of a letdown, after staying up too late tearing through it. But lord, this woman can write.

A Feast for Crows, by George R.R. Martin. Yup, nothing happens. But I was prepared for that, and so just went along for the ride, and was fine with it.

Death in a Cold Hard Light, by Francine Mathews. Mystery set on Cape Cod. Efficient and enjoyable.

The Edge of the World: A Cultural History of the North Sea and the Transformation of Europe, by Michael Pye. A really fascinating popular history of what changed in Northern Europe during the Middle Ages and how that shaped the modern world.

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, by Sarah Vowell. Vowell's take on the American Revolution. Fun and informative.

Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein. Tense and upsetting and occasionally twee and very hard to put down.

That doesn't look like a lot for how long I've been away from this, but I've actually discarded quite a few books that bored or irritated me as well, after wasting several days on them (Chadwick: A Place Beyond Courage: story is set during the struggle for power between Matilda and Stephen and should have been interesting, but our hero is an asshole and his second wife / true love is absolutely impossible to bear in her relentless perfection - I gave up after she's "radiant" twelve hours after giving birth and has her old figure back six weeks later; Horne: Hubris: The Tragedy of War in the 20th Century: boooring, just gonna re-read Tuchman's The March of Folly instead; Theorin: Echoes From the Dead: child death and unpleasant characters). Anyway, excuses. Off to clean the house. By which I mean read and eat, probably. Let's not fool ourselves.