Friday, February 01, 2013

What I read -- January 2013



“Fragile Things” by Neil Gaiman. I’d read some of these before, so the entire thing didn’t take long to read. I realized about 2/3 of the way through that as much as I love NG books, I would never have written any of these stories. The things I obsess about are so different! I read this while also editing a too-long short story, and got an infusion of how to write cleaner, I think.

“Changeless” by Gail Carriger. TNH had tweeted a link to a Jane Eyre/Firefly fanfic mash-up as part of (I guess) a discussion about how much exposition readers really require (less than you think). And I had gotten this book out of the library because I had to get out something, since I had to renew my library card. It’s book 2 of a series, and I haven’t read book 1 (and it wasn’t in at the branch, though 3&4 also were). So it was neat to read and rely, for a change, on that exposition that you have to wade through when you start a second book and you already know what’s going on. Either it was done really well here, or maybe I would be happier if I didn’t tend to read series so much back-to-back-to-back. Though when I finished this one, I was totally ready to start the next one (if I had it). The story was a bit soap opera, but moved right along, and so much changed at the ending.

“Speed Tribes” by Karl Taro Greenfeld. Holly Black mentioned this book in an interview in Locus, as a place where she got ideas for her Curse Workers series. It’s a series of journalistic (not that short) stories about different young adults in Japan in the 90’s. While I would have loved to know how these people are doing now, that’s entirely not necessary. Each little tale had a wonderful ending. The one about the motorcycle thief was my favorite. Some of the one-star reviews on Amazon said it was racist, but I didn’t see that. Maybe I lack the context to be able to tell. At a certain point the stories started seeming not totally verifiably true.

“Quatrain” by Sharon Shinn. It’s a collection of four novellas, each set in one of the author’s distinct worlds. The first one the world was really neat, but the story was ruined for me by a problem that wrapped up way too easily near the end. The second one was great – I loved the use of language(s) in the dialog. The third one went deeper into detail on how one becomes entranced by faerie than anything else I’ve ever read. That was neat. I didn’t really get the motivation of the fairies, though. Maybe if I knew more of the world it would have made sense. And the main character of the fourth one was really interesting, though it left me wondering what else was going on. The lengths were nice.

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