Since I got a free Kindle HD from my former cable company, I've been on a reading frenzy. Paperwise, I'm almost done with Robert Massie's Catherine the Great book, really good, and has kept my interest. There's still a shelf full of books to read here
Kindle-wise, I've been enjoying the daily deals and free books I've found. Loved 'Flowertown' - a city that was quarantined after a hazardous spill. Years later, it's breaking down in a big way. Midway through James Rollins/Rebecca Cantrell's 'The Blood Gospels'. I'm not into vampires, but these aren't sparkly and I love Rollins, so I'll finish it.
I do love the Kindle though. Don't tell Lep!
Oh, I saw it.
Someone hide me?
And I'm back to post that I seem to love fantasy with a science edge. And since I downloaded one sappy romance, they think I want to read every freaking one ever published.
For anyone looking for free books, I love www.kindlebuffet.com for freebies. They do a 2-3 page list every day. I've discovered some great books there. Resurrecting Lazarus, Texas (about a girl's basketball team in a backwater football is king town), was a recent gem. And I found random cookbooks and yoga books there too.
I finished a couple of library books over the past week (because it is too cold to do leave the house!) and both were fairly good. The first, Jane Austen Miscellany is basically a collections of quotes from Jane Austen's novels and letters under several different themes, with an introduction to each chapter that gives some background about Jane's life and historical context about the theme. For someone who's already read a lot of Austen biographies and background, there wasn't a whole lot new in the book, but it was worth reading for the few new tidbits I did pick up, plus it was well-presented, and I love almost anything Austen. It kind of makes me want to go back and re-read my annotated Austens but I should probably give it a little more time before going back, since I read them all in the summer.
The other one was a fictional novel about Wallis Simpson, The Shadow Queen by Rebecca Dean. It was pretty good, with my main complaint being that it ended before she got involved with Prince Edward. Although it was a fairly long novel already and the end of the book said the author was working on a sequel, so it should all be good. Anyway, it painted a fairly sympathetic portrait of Wallis...I kind of think of it as being a prequel to the other side of the story in The King's Speech.
I have three more books on hold at the library, and I'm hoping they don't all come at once.
I am so excited to finally get to start The Reluctant King by Sarah Bradford. I've heard so many great things about it and that this is *the* book/bio to read on King George VI. Have to finish the bio on Elizabeth I I've got on the go before I start in on TRK, but there's only maybe two or three chapters to go on it, so hopefully by tomorrow I can start TRK.
I'm reading Far from the Three by Andrew Solomon, which at over 700 pages is somewhat of a tome. But it's wonderful. It looks at families who deal with children with numerous disabilities (dwarfism, deafness, schizophrenia) and how they succeed, or don't. It also looks at the intersection between disability and identity. It's long, but I'm really enjoying it so far and have a hard time putting it down.
Yes. He may or may not be into royal bios but he is certainly no stranger to politicking. I was even more thrilled because that was the book I happened to be reading at the moment as well.
"Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."
from Speedy Death
I'm chugging along through A Memory of Light (250 pages to go, and for some reason life won't let me lie on the couch and finish the damned thing!), and there are certainly some issues. I hope one of the worst ones will be resolved somehow, but I'm not holding my breath. Since it weighs a metric tonne, I've started reading World War Z on my Kindle as my commuting book, so far I find the format interesting.
"There are three social classes in America: upper middle class, middle class, and lower middle class." -- Judith Martin
Just finished "Every Last Cuckoo". A 75 year old woman opens up her house and home to total strangers after her husband dies. Set in Vermont, and I now want to visit there since it's the star of the book. Very short on secondary character development, but nature and the widow made it worth the read.
I needed something to cleanse my literary palate after that craptastic mess that was "The Blood Gospel". Seriously - Judas and Rasputin were vampires? I kept waiting for Mother Teresa to show up to foil the plot.
Anyone looking for an epic fantasy type book, I loved this - "The Black God's War" by Moses Siregar. http://www.amazon.com/Stand-Alone-Pr...ck+god%27s+war There's a free novella intro if you're not sure you want to spend .99.
Tonight, I bought "The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family". Never heard of them, but they seem to have been an (in)famous English brood back in the 40's.
After finishing the drearyness that was McCall Smith's "44 Scotland Street", I've moved onto the audio of "Fire and Fog" by Dianne Day on my daily commute. It's the second in her Fremont Jones mystery series and is set in San Francisco during the Great Earthquake and fire of 1906. So far the mystery part is thin - Fremont finds contraband artifacts stored in her office building and spots her landlords, reported dead during the earthquake, entering the building before the fires. But the descriptions of the city in flames and the life of the people following the devastation have been fascinating. It's not an area of American History that I know much about so I'm enjoying the story while I learn a little something.
In print, I'm trudging through "Pillars of the Earth" still. The endless descriptions of building techniques are bogging me down.
"You just can't underestimate the power of positive underwear." 2013 Fruit of the Loom ad
McCall Smith is another author I find fascinating in that I absolutely love Mwa Ramotswe and the No.1 Ladies Detective series, and despise his Scottish series. All the Scottish series (he has several). He should stick with Botswana.
I picked up a Sara Paretsky V.I. Warshawshi audio book and am now reading the entire series from the beginning. She has a new foreward in the first book that explains how and why she developed the character as a female version of the hard boiled detective who had a sex life rather than the role most women were assigned to play. It's too bad that notion didn't really translate into other female detectives which still fall into the slut if they sleep with more than one person category. The earlier books are set in the late 70s. The most interesting aspect is watching the change in technology and social moires through the series. No mention of condoms or HIV in the early books, no cell phones---which plays a significant role in how V.I. "detects" through the evolution of the character over time. One thing she has done that so many other writers did not, is allow her character to age through time. (Unlike Stephanie Plum). I've never read Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone series, but I think she's done that as well. (I was waiting for her to get to Z). It's amusing the things that Paretsky didn't even think about at the time that are so glaring 30 years later. I was much more annoyed with the character in the later book (published in 2010) that I listened to, than I am in the early books. V.I. becomes a handwringer and "what have I done" wailer later. Too bad she didn't remain more of the she was in the beginning.
But as much as I love the No. 1 Ladies Detective series -- the books and the far too short-lived TV series -- I do think his treatment of modern Botswanan society is just a little bit precious (sorry, but it is the right word here).
Heads-up for NYC fans of Ian Rankin: he will be doing a reading and signing at the B&N on 86th and Lexington this Tuesday, 7:30 PM.
I've gone to 4 of his readings in the past - he's a great speaker and comes across as a funny, laid-back guy. Usually whoever is moderating has to intervene to get him to actually start reading - he always seems to have more fun chatting with the crowd than reading from his books.
At one of the readings I attended, he confided that he lives on the same street as JK Rowling and Alexander McCall Smith; they have nicknamed it "Writer's Block". At another; during the Q&A, he reacted with horror when I asked him if Rebus and Siobhan would ever hook up.