Holidays! And books books books!

Happy holidays to everyone! I hope you had a good break from anything giving you hell. I know I did. I partook in many vacation delights such as: eating far too many cookies/fudge/candies, drinking too many holiday-themed brews, watching as many 90s movies on VHS as possible, hanging out with dear family and friends, and introducing my dog to the north woods. Fact: no less than three different types of wildlife creatures proved Her Speediness to be a colossal tortoise. Those three would be 1) a deer, 2) multiple cottontail bunnies, and 3) an ermine. A freaking ermine whose fur had already turned white for the winter, despite my area of Minnesota having a brown Christmas this year, and she still couldn’t catch it. I was glad, actually. I love ermine.

Long story summarized: A. and I had a very nice visit to the north of the country.

I read a bunch of books this year, but still did not manage to finish Anna Karenina. I am very ashamed, especially because I’m enjoying it! I really am! I just enjoyed a whole bunch of other books a lot more, and more quickly to boot. Brace yourselves, this is going to be long. And because I just took a refresher HTML/XHTML course, I think I’ll do some table magic to show my prowess… (Confession: some of these were rereads. I’m sorry, AK.)

FAIL/UNFINISHED Expert Comments
Anna Karenina / Tolstoy I’M STILL READING IT, OKAY?
The Sorceress and the Cygnet / McKillip I found this fascinating, but ultimately hard to get into and hard to keep reading. It probably didn’t help that I kept trying to read it on the bus.
“Love of shopping is not a gene.” Good. But it was on interlibrary loan, and I didn’t finish it in time. Pooh.
Dracula / Stoker Creepy and great. I was listening to an audio performance of this on LibriVox, which is something you should check out if you don’t already know about it. But I didn’t finish. Found the hardcopy version in a box of my things at my folks’ place this Christmas, though, so I’ll be picking it up again soon.
Poetic Edda / Hollander translation Still reading. Loved the gods bits, not so into the heroic lays yet. Hollander’s a bit snarky.
FINISHED! O THE GLORY Expert Comments
Macbeth / Shakespeare Badass.
Wuthering Heights / Bronte So much more engrossing to me than Jane Eyre (which I do love), it was like Brontean Jerry Springer. Also, die, Heathcliff, die. What a tortured, vicious dick. I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a character more. Except maybe Cathy. Oh, just click this link and have some crabby longhaired Tom Hardy. Also, whoa that’s Owen from Torchwood! Yay!
The girl who kicked the hornet’s nest / Larsson Less engrossing than the previous two, in my opinion, but I liked the closure.
Thomas the rhymer / Kushner Nice. Engrossing enough for the bus and easy to pick up.
The ladies of Grace Adieu / Clarke Lovely little stories, some creepier than I was expecting.
Dune / Herbert A reread. Seemed shorter than I remembered.
Dune Messiah / Herbert Even shorter than Dune, yikes. I still enjoyed both. Still haven’t reread Children of Dune.
The Lover’s Dictionary / Levitan Depressing and vague and heartwarming and exact. I recommend it.
Carnival / Bear A quick read. Interesting space intrigue that puts two former lovers/partners back together on a planet ruled by women.
Portraits of his children / Martin I loved this. Short stories by the guy who writes the Song of Ice and Fire books.
Gaudy Night / Sayers Good, very enjoyable. But I’d recommend reading the Lord Peter books in order. Also, I am never so aware of my lack of classical anything as when reading Dorothy Sayers. That should probably spur me on to Latin classes. Ha. Ahahahaha.
Jane Eyre / Bronte Reread inspired by Wuthering Heights and the new movie. Still enjoyable.
Wide Sargasso Sea / Rhys Was inspired in turn by the Jane Eyre reread. Fascinating look at Mr and Mrs Rochester, pre-marriage/England/Jane. Very readable, very sad.
Giovanni’s Room / Baldwin Apparently this was my sad book week. Very engrossing story about two men who become lovers in 1950s(I think?) Paris. Depressing, as to be expected.
Lord Peter Views the Body / Sayers Collection of short mystery stories starring Lord Peter.
In the Teeth of the Evidence / Sayers More Lord Peter and others.
Sphere / Crichton A reread, one I hadn’t read since high school. Was very hard to read this without picturing Dustin Hoffman and Sharon Stone. The actors, especially Stone, don’t really match the descriptions in the book. Eh, oh well.
Lord Peter / Sayers STILL MORE Lord Peter mysteries. I’m beginning to think I have very obvious reading kicks.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd / Christie Another mystery. I was very proud of myself for predicting the ending of this one without the aid of Wikipedia, until I realized that multiple media have been influenced by this story since it was published in the 20s and I shouldn’t feel proud for merely living in a world guided by Agatha Christie. Pssh. Anyway, check it out! Perhaps YOU can predict the end, too.
Incarceron / Fisher Nice juvenile/YA fiction about a young boy who wakes up in the sentient prison, Incarceron. Part of a duology, followed by the book Sapphique.
The Burglar in the Library / Block I fucking love Lawrence Block. Especially his Bernie mysteries. You should read them.
A Wrinkle in Time / L’Engle Excellent reread of a classic.
The White Mountains / Christopher First in the Tripods book trilogy. Humanity has been conquered by aliens. I liked this one.
The city of gold and lead / Christopher Book two in the Tripods series, a continuation of the story. I liked this one less, mostly because I couldn’t’ find a girl character in it. I might have to reread, but all the main characters seem to be men and boys. Oh, and aliens.
The pool of fire / Christopher Final Tripods book. Same complaint as above. I enjoyed the adventure
Robopocalypse / Wilson I think I hyped myself too far up for this one. I liked the first few chapters. I liked Mathilda. But I felt that the story followed a too-familiar path, and that most of the characters were formulaic and hard to connect with due to that fact. I found the two Boston guys to be the least interesting people in the book, and they were central characters. On a related note, I found it weird to read that the movie rights were snapped up the day the book was released, or even before. That’s pretty sweet news for the author, but… Ultimately, the idea is a lot of fun and the book is written in a fast-paced, multiple viewpoint style that reminded me almost exactly of World War Z, but I liked WWZ better. This of course does not mean that those who enjoy robots will not enjoy this book. Knock yourselves out, homo sapiens.
Hope was here / Bauer Homey YA book about a young teen waitress who, along with her aunt, is relocating from New York City to the boonies of Wisconsin. They work in a restaurant and get involved with small town politics, corruption, food, and romance. Quick read.
The 13 Clocks / Thurber Wonderful. My first read of this.
Snow Crash / Stephenson Wow. This was amazing. I’m sorry I put it off so long. I also had trouble reading it before bed, because I’d put it down and have the craziest damn dreams EVER.
The Hunger Games / Collins Pretty good. I’ve never read Battle Royale. I probably will now. I’ll probably also see the movie version of the book, although the actors playing the leads look too damn healthy.
Catching fire / Collins Decent. Made me want to continue the series.
Mockingjay / Collins Bittersweet.
Squirrel seeks chipmunk / Sedaris Funny and grotesque.
Sunshine / McKinley Annual reread of one of my favorite books ever.
Like a lamb to the slaughter / Block Note to everybody: read still more Lawrence Block.
The Mockingbirds / Whitney YA about a girl who is raped by one of her prep school classmates. She seeks justice from the underground student court, The Mockingbirds. An okay read.
The Monstrumologist / Yancey Jesus god, this creeped me out. It was mesmerizing and gushingly bloody and and the first book I’ve had to actually avert my eyes from in a long, long time. I may or may not continue the series. A slow-paced, suspenseful horror story. Not recommended for the squeamish.
The living and the dead / transl. of novel by Boileau-Narcejac Basis for Vertigo. Much more depressing for the main character.
Eight days of Luke / Jones Really, all I can say about this book is WHY HAVE I NEVER READ ANY DIANA WYNNE JONES. It kind of bookends my Norse mythology kick.

Damn, between all the books, the low-quality reviews and the piddling code stuff, that wiped me out. Thank you, Blogger compose. I will be seeing you shortly.

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