What I’ve been Reading Lately

Clash of KingsClash of Kings by George RR Martin

It took all summer, but I knocked out the second book in a Song of Fire and Ice by George RR Martin. It’s cool how engrained in pop culture this world has become, thanks in large part to the HBO series that I am not watching because I wanted to read the books first. It’s cool that the more I read, the more apt I am to understand a gazillion memes and facebook references. And while the books are brutal and often hard to take, they are also (or have been so far) consistently compelling, which is a surprise when there are SO MANY characters and plot points to keep straight. The narrative jumps around all over the place, but I’m just as interested in (almost) every piece of it.

ShadowsShadows by Robin McKinley

We’re skipping a few books I read in the interim (and I re-read Dragonhaven, also by Robin McKinley, in the past few months as well), but Shadows is the NEW Robin McKinkey book. The new ROBIN MCKINLEY book. More people should be excited about this. I went to buy the book in hardcover on the day it came out (I’m actually a little ashamed of all the Robin McKinley books I’ve picked up used and at a discount, since she is a living writer that I adore and really want to support) and was sort of expecting that the bookstores would make as big a deal about the new release as I was making about it. You know, like there would be one of those window displays or something. But the local bookstore didn’t even HAVE the title. To their credit, it was ordered, and would be there on Monday, but that was WAY not soon enough. Luckily I was going to the mall anyway, and Books a Million did have the book on release date, but it was nonchalantly just back there on the teen Fiction shelf under M. You know, like it wasn’t even a big deal.

I’m not done with Shadows yet. This is not because it is not enthralling. It’s really good, and I’m making it last, because it will be a long time before the next NEW Robin McKinley book comes out. When I brought it home, I put it on display in the shelf in my living room and allowed the anticipation to build while I finished up A Clash of Kings, and a few other books I’d left hanging. Then when I finally started Shadows, I decided that, since it was a heavy hardcover book, I wouldn’t carry it with me all day. I would only read it at night, before going to bed. I purchased some fancy decaf vanilla tea specifically to drink at night while reading Shadows. And then I started reading another book, so that Shadows would take longer. I STILL HAVE OVER HALF OF SHADOWS LEFT. Winning. 🙂

BitterblueBitterblue by Kirsten Cashore

I’ve been wanting to read this since it came out over a year ago, but when I read Cashore’s other two [excellent] books they had already come out in paperback (or maybe I first borrowed Graceling from a library, and purchased it later when I started reading Fire?). I really like how the oversize paperback books look on my shelf, and I didn’t want to ruin it by buying Bitterblue in hardcover. I decided to just wait to read it until I could purchase the copy I wanted for my collection. It took a LONG TIME. Now I’m finally reading Bitterblue, and well over halfway through. It’s just as good and compelling as the books that came before it, and sometimes very funny. I’m going to have to reread Graceling and Fire again, because while these are all stand-alone, Bitterblue gives us a very different perspective on some of the main characters in the other books, and I want to go back and compare my initial impressions of these people with Bitterblue’s observations.

FinderFinder by Emma Bull

I bought this book in North Carolina a year ago (a fact I had forgotten until I found this old blog post) and I’m finally getting around to reading it. It’s been sitting around my room for the past month or so, and half-heartedly carried with me on expeditions where I thought I might be needing a book but wasn’t sure. I’ve finally dived into it this past week because the Bitterblue paperback was too nice (and heavy, it’s one of those big thick ones) to carry in my backpack to work and… because I wanted Bitterblue to take longer. Now Finder has ALSO gotten really good and exciting. And so, I am now reading three really excellent books (in addition to Game of Thrones 3 and some other oddments), and I don’t want any of them to end.

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Little Reviews

So I’ve schemed a scheme, and I’ve got a Big Thing coming up in a few days—big for me, anyway. I’ve been working hard to earn enough cash to enjoy the Big Thing, and I haven’t even had time to finish the post I’m writing about the wheres and the whys and what it means for Wanderlust. Right now, I just got home from eight hours of housepainting,  and I still have a list of things to do tonight: laundry, packing, cleaning, a little more painting, plus sorting out that real blog post, if I get a chance (I’d like to). I don’t have a lot else to give in the way of writing, so here’s what we’ll do: When I enter in a book at Goodreads, I like to write a quick review, a sort of off-the-cuff attempt to capture my impression of the book. Here’s what I thought of a few things I’ve read in the past few months, all books to which I gave five out of five stars.

The Mystery of Grace by Charles De Lint

This was really good. Shocking and heartbreaking, with just enough grit and grease to balance the themes of fantasy and faith. The Mystery of Grace is urban fantasy at its best.

 

 

 

Zombies vs Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

This book contained many fun and diverting stories. A very good read to pass the time, and some of the stories were surprisingly deep and challenging. Personally, I liked the unicorn stories best (and found the arrogant tone of the pro-zombie editor a little tiresome. Yeah, you like zombies. Do you have to be so insulting about it?).

 

 

Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

This is just as good as everyone says it is. Engaging and delightful and devastating, even if you thought you never wanted to start another one of those epic kingdom-building fantasy series again.

 

 

Pegasus by Robin McKinley

Robin McKinley has done it again. Those of us who played at pegasus-riding and My Little Pony in preschool may find it difficult to take a book titled ‘Pegasus’ seriously, but you can’t skip a book with the name Robin McKinley on it, and the sophisticated creatures in this book called pegasi may surprise you. Definitely give this book a read, but watch out for the cliffhanger ending. I can’t wait for the next book.