Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2012 Book 7 -- Deathless, Catherynne Valente

8 out of 10

In my reading so far this year, I have given two 8 out of 10 ratings.  That makes it a good reading year, so far.  For comparison, a 10 out of 10 would be Nabokov's, _Lolita_, or Winterson's, _The Passion_.   So I am giving high praise.

I am not making the effort to give real reviews here.  Just a few comments.  Valente is once again brilliant.  With _Fairyland_ and _Deathless_ she has gotten downright linear.  The language and description are lush and beautiful as ever, though not quite as wildly weird as the previous novels I have read.  And the plot is still like a jewelry setting, it is there to hold up and display the jewels about life an humanity that are embedded in it.  There is no rushing to a cathartic climax or ultimate revelation.

I recently heard someone say about a book, "I loved it and I didn't finish it."  I kind of feel that way about Valente's books.  I have finished most of them that I have started, but it wasn't required, and I think at some point I almost put down all of them before the end.

She writes lovely books that look at life with an unflinching lack of sentimentality, yet are gorgeous and humane.

+1 towards my goal of reading more books by women than by men in 2012.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Upcoming reads

I have these slated for the next reads

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente
 *I think Valente is one of the great writers of our time.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
 *Odd that everyone reads, The Lottery,  but I've never read anything else by her.

God's War by Kameron Hurley
*Lots of good buzz and reviews for this one.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2012 Book 6 -- The Etched City, K. J. Bishop

No rating, didn't finish

I read about half of this book.  It is completely OK, which is the problem.  Too many other books I want to give a try to finish one that is just OK.  I enjoyed the first section, in the desert, but it is too meandering once they reach the city.  I like the two protagonists, though.

If it was a quick read I might stick with it, but it is not.  That's not a bad thing in itself.  _Among Others_ was slow, and it was fabulous.  This one starting to feel like a slog, though.  Moving on.  I've got Valente's, _Deathless_, waiting for me at the library.

I read at least half of it, so I'm counting it as a +1 towards my goal of reading more books by women than by men in 2012.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

2012 Book 5 -- Among Others, Jo Walton

8 out of 10

Really, really enjoyed it.  I should say more, but its hard to explain why its so good.  My favourite depiction of magic.  Utterly charmed by the protagonist.  She's signing here in Albuquerque on the 26th!

The author is a woman, so this is a +1 for my resolution that over half the books I read this year will be written by women

Saturday, January 14, 2012

2012 Book 4 -- I Am Not A Serial Killer

6 out 10

Really enjoyed the first half.  Took a bit of a dive after that for me.  Being introduced to the sociopath trying not to become a killer, was interesting, and damn it was funny.  Him hunting the monster in the second half of the book didn't work as well for me.  Who the monster was was disappointingly predictable, but the back story of the monster was pleasantly surprising.  Also liked the bond between the protagonist and the monster.

But, the way it finished, where it left the protagonist, I'm not sure I'm going to pick up the second book in the series.

Count so far:  Women authors  2,  Men authors  2

Sunday, January 08, 2012

2012 Book 3 -- Shotgun Gravy / Chuck Wendig

Rating: 6 out of 10

The character voices in this novella are brilliant.  That's what most of the positive rating rests on.  It has a decidedly pulp sensibility, which might account for the escalation  in violence that I couldn't quite buy.  In the end, it was a little too grim, no win, for me.

Again, I enjoyed the novella length.  This might be a sweet spot for ebooks for me.

I have pre-ordered Wendig's, _Blackbirds_, out later this year.  I am hoping that the same brilliance of voice is there, and that the book has a plot I find more satisfying. 

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

2012 Book 2 - White Cat / Holly Black

No rating -- didn't finish

It might work for you; didn't work for me.  Really wanted to like it.  Seemed like it was moving towards an interesting mindf*ck plot.  I never started to care.

Although I didn't finish it, I gave it a good try, so I'm giving myself a +1 towards my goal of over 50% of the books I read in 2012 being by women authors.