Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What I read January 2012

OWW: 0. Bad member.

“Anansi Boys” by Neil Gaiman. I actually finished this a bit after midnight on Dec 31, so it should have appeared on last month’s list, but whatever. It’s been lying around the house for years, and I finally picked it up and read it. I don’t know why I put it off for so long. It was very funny and charming. NG has such a comfortable voice to read.

“The Freedom Maze” by Delia Sherman. Another novel shot through with references to other books, which is neat. This was a quick read that I didn’t expect to tie up as nicely as it did. I think what I liked was that the changes that happened to Sophie were real, she really did have a growth spurt in the six months (20 minutes) that she was gone. That’s something that’s always bothered me about Narnia and its ilk, and also about more adult (is there a better word for this subgenre?) portal fantasy, like “the Mirror of her Dreams”, “Fionavar”, etc. is that the characters don’t seem to be temporally affected by their secondary world experience. This book did not have that problem. I also found the descriptions of life in antebellum Louisiana fascinating – I had no idea what it would be to be a slave, etc. Really good read.

“Fledgling” by Octavia Butler. I seem to have an unintentional theme this month (can you guess it?). I put this on my Christmas list more because I felt like I ought to read something by OB than because I wanted to, but the back of the book sucked me in. And then I started reading and wow. This book could have been so offensive to me (polyamory, what might look to an outsider as um sex with a 10-year-old, non-sparkly vampires), but it was not. It was amazing.

“The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” by NKJemesin. I read this because it fit with the theme, and I had it. There are some similarities with those Garth Nix books I read a while back, I think. Really good, though the ending wasn’t as engaging as I would have liked somehow (I can’t explain why without spoilers, so I won’t try). I will be looking for the sequels.

“Rhythms of the Game” by Bernie Williams and some jazz dudes. My dad gave me this for my birthday because I do oboe and karate. I actually think karate is closer to music than baseball is. There are a lot of good insights, if I can figure out how to implement them. It seemed, however, like it was written for the sort of person who reads one, maybe two books a year.

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