I did a fair amount of reading this summer, much more than I’d planned, given the two-plus-hour commute to work and keeping up with the guys’ schedules. I redeveloped my appreciation for books on tape, which helped immensely; but I also suffer from terminal curiosity and find myself often getting the book I am listening to from the library so I can read ahead! I know, defeats the purpose, but I also find that I get more out of listening and reading… two different sensory modalities, different processing pathways. Works for me. Anyway, a good bit of summer was spent in alternate realities, and it was a fine time.,
First up was the new Charlaine Harris novel, Dead Ever After. I got it from the library right after it came out, and had a chance to read some of the reviews first, many of which were negative and felt that the series had come to an unsatisfactory end. I enjoyed the book, and it was nice to see some of the old characters again and to tidy up some loose ends. I felt it was a fine finish to a fun series. I was a big fan of the TV series for the first few seasons, but at the beginning of last season when it became all about vampire politics, my interest waned. I will probably go back and watch last season and this season at some point, but am not in a hurry. I found the book on CD last week at the library, and am enjoying listening to it; I read the book so fast that it is like going back and savoring it.
Next up was Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton. I was prepared to dislike this book, based on her last few books, but like a car wreck, it was impossible not to look. I wanted to see how the characters developed. I was pleasantly surprised. There was actually a plot, and movement, and character development in places other than the bedroom (or shower, or gym… you get my drift). Some recent Anita Blake novels have seemed like LKH was playing with S&M Barbie and Supernatural Ken(s), where the entire novel was set in a few locations over a day or two, and the whole story revolved around the characters standing/sitting/lying around and talking about their issues, I could literally see LKH as the omnipotent hand, posing her characters and talking in each of their voices. We learned more about the characters, but at the expense of a huge amount of time invested. One of the things that LKH also does that is annoying to the longtime reader is that she spends an inordinate amount of space repeating what has been said earlier in the book. I can understand bringing a new reader up to speed on the series, but this is within the same book. Anita describes her feelings over and over, instead of moving forward.
But, that did not stop me from taking the little spark of hope and reading Kiss the Dead. Yes, I read this out of order; it came out before Affliction, but I read it after… and twitched a little reading it out of order. It was actually pretty good, too. I was so enjoying being in Anitaworld that I thought it would be fun to go back and compare Anita then and now, so I read the very first Blake novel, Guilty Pleasures. Just as much fun as I remember.
Next up was the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson. I found the second and third books on CD in my local used bookstore, and listened to them on my vacation car odyssey. Of course, then I went back and read the first book again, and fell down the rabbit hole and read the next two as well. What a loss was Larsson’s premature death. His characters are so compelling… makes me (almost) want to learn Swedish. Ikea! Fixa! Poang! Would love to know what else he had in mind for that world.
I also discovered a YA author that I had never read, solely by accident…Chris Crutcher. The library had a display of summer reading books, and Ironman was there in CD format. I enjoyed his look at high school kids and athletics in small-town eastern Washington State. With two teenage sons of my own, it gave me a lot to think about as to how their minds work, and how they relate to adults and each other. Nice to see it from another perspective. I went back and picked up several other books and a couple of CDs, and listened to Deadline, which I really liked. I am currently making my way through Stotan and Angry Management, both of which share characters from Ironman.
Seems like I waited forever to get a copy of Dan Brown’s Inferno. I liked his first two books, but did not like The Lost Symbol at all… seemed like a cheap shot, and a rush job. Inferno was somewhat better, and at least had an interesting premise and a few good twists. I won’t buy any more of his books, hence the wait for my turn from the library, but it was worth the wait to read it for free. Some things I don’t mind buying in print or on Kindle, but others will always be available in the library.
Finished Fatal Fleece and got halfway through Angora Alibi, both by Sally Goldenbaum before someone else wanted it from the library. Great brain Twinkies for summer reading. Will get back in line and finish Alibi soon.
My thinking reading is Padre Pio’s Words of Light. I have been reading this a bit at a time and loving it… I love the good padre and this is the first of his works that i have read. It is actually a compilation of some of his personal letters and writings. Highly recommended.
Cued up to read next:
The Blue Blazes and Under the Emyprean Sky by Chuck Wendig. He is hands down one of my favorite authors. Check out his Miriam Black sereis for some seriously messed up, foul-mouthed, thinking person’s fiction. Then go check out his blog (http://terribleminds.com/) and Twitter. Prepare to be horrified, and laugh your butt off… simultaneously.
Angelopolis by Danielle Trussoni. I really liked the precursor, Angelology, and thought it was pretty creative, but waited forever for this one to come out. Am seriously fighting the urge to reread the first one before starting this… they are sitting together on the bedside table…
Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I have wanted to read this for a long time… may be that now’s that time.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I’ve heard so much about this series, it almost put me off, but I picked it up this summer and was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked her writing style. I did not get far, and had to put it down, but will definitely pick it back up for some fall beside-the-fire reading.
Nice to see some of my own written words here for a change too… will try to keep it up.