October 24, 2002
40. My Antonia, Willa Cather#
I really enjoyed this book. It sort of reminded me of the Little House on the Prairie books, except in an alternate world where Mary ends up as a whore in San Francisco and Laura gets abandoned at the altar, desolate and pregnant. Or something. Did you know that Willa Cather was a cross-dresser who occasionally demanded that people call her William? I thought that was kinda cool. Anyway, interesting reading, MUCH better than Samuel Johnson. But then, being beaten to death by my own torn-off arms would be better than Samuel Johnson. I think I have a new standard for horrid reading.
October 20, 2002
39. Narcissus in Chains, Laurell K. Hamilton
Have you noticed, the more stressed things get about school, the fluffier my non-school reading gets? Deep down I'm almost ashamed, and then, no I'm not really. I flew through this book at my usual breakneck Hamilton reading pace, reading the 600+ page book in about two days. And really, I could've finished it yesterday, except I got distracted talking to people. Anyway, if Obsidian Butterfly was probably the bloodiest of the novels so far, then Narcissus in Chains is the closest to straight porn. Lots of sex! Lots of violence! Witty repartee! Romantic angst!
Lotsa fun, although Anita Blake is starting to become Hamilton's answer to White Wolf's Samuel Haight, the guy who was a mage who became a werewolf who got Embraced and so was a vampire too and kept all his powers through each incarnation, etc, etc, until he died and became a wraith and somebody turned him into an ashtray in the afterlife.
October 17, 2002
38. Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, Samuel Johnson#
The less said about this the better. One of my classmates suggested setting his copy of the book aflame to start a riot in protest of our midterm exam. My comment: "It should burn well. It's certainly dry enough."
October 15, 2002
37. Obsidian Butterfly, Laurell K. Hamilton
Anita Blake books are crack, pure crack. This is the ninth one in the series, which I just discovered a few months ago. There's only one more out so far, and now I want to get my hands on it. Hamilton does some wonderful cross-genre stuff: horror, noir, fantasy, mystery. Anita Blake is a vampire executioner in a world that vaguely (very vaguely) resembles White Wolf's World of Darkness--as in, vampires and werewolves and faeries and the like are all real, and coexist with humans. Just minus all the White Wolf crap about having to hide from humanity. Hamilton's beasties don't bother to hide. Although she's definitely not the best writer I've ever read, she's insanely readable.
Obsidian Butterfly probably isn't my favorite in the series, mostly because my two favorite characters, Jean-Claude and Richard (Anita's vampire and werewolf lovers, respectively) don't put in much of an appearance. But there's plenty of beasty-slaying and some fun mixing of mythology and history, as always. Much more enjoyable than the Samuel Johnson I'm currently reading for Brit lit (which is why I was reading Hamilton this afternoon, and not Johnson).
October 14, 2002
36. The Blue Sword, Robin McKinley
I enjoyed this far too much. I had a pretty good idea where the story was going, and there weren't exactly a ton of surprises through out, but it was a fun read, and McKinley set up a great world. Very believable, unique. And having a heroine who can kick ass is always a good thing.
October 05, 2002
35. Steering the Craft, Ursula K. LeGuin
Lord, I've been a reading fool today. It felt lovely to just read and ignore schoolwork for a bit. Which I should stop ignoring, starting right after I post this. But...
I've been wanting to read her book on writing for months--in fact, I've owned it for months--and today I settled down and did so. For pure entertainment value, I think I liked King's On Writing better, but LeGuin has more useful exercises and practical knowledge. I'd like to sit down and do some of the exercises sometime. Maybe at a Write Club meeting. Today, unfortunately, was out of the question. Still, some useful stuff on various "tools" of the craft and how to use them. And someone FINALLY successfully got me to understand exactly why and where "lay" and "lie" are different, and what things like "past perfect tense" mean. For an English major, I'm in desperate need of a grammar class.
34. Possession, A.S. Byatt
Books almost always outpace the movie adaptations, but never quite like this. I'm pretty much in awe of what Byatt did with this book, how she manages to tell a coherent story that crosses time and involves far more characters than the movie tried to. And she does it all using a combination of standard narrative, letters, and poetry. She talks about being a literary scholar and critic, the good and the bad. I realized how much I'd like to do that, although she raises some good questions. I mean, what's the point of spending your life analyzing someone else's words, right? But there is a meaning to it, a way of understanding another person's mind solely through the words they present. I know it's not curing the sick or anything, but to me it's more important, in a purely human sense, than adding numbers and counting dollars.
She wrote a lot about how distant Roland and Maud were, the constant image of an empty white bed to represent a sort of physical withdrawal and distance, of staying secluded in the realm of the pure mind. That's very appealing to me in many ways. Ultimately, I'm far more comfortable with my mind and my words than with anything else.
October 04, 2002
33. Return of the King, J.R.R. Tolkien*
Well, I finished the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the second time. I definitely got more out of it this time. Although there was definitely the draggy elements I remembered from before, I was much more emotionally affected than before. When Frodo and the old gang boarded the ship for the Grey Havens, I choked up. Admittedly, part of it, I'm sure, is because now I have very clear images of the characters and places, thanks to Peter Jackson. You thought I was geeked BEFORE about Two Towers coming out? Between finishing the trilogy and seeing the new trailer, I'm about to bounce out of my seat.
It's not listed on the front page, but I'm currently reading Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland by Samuel Johnson for lit class. It's killing me. It's about as exciting as watching an accountant's vacation slides.
October 03, 2002
32. Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe#
Well, I got tired of just listing out the books I'm reading, so I decided to steal Mer's book blog concept. I'll start with the latest one I've read, but maybe, if I get bored, I'll go back over the books from earlier this year.
Arguments over whether or not this qualifies as a novel or not aside, I really tried to enjoy this book. I read it for my 18th century Brit lit class, and it's just one of those books everyone's supposed to have read. Crusoe was a whiny little bitch who buried all of his numerous "spiritual reawakenings" in capitalist crap of the worst kind. And I think Defoe is where we first saw the development of the "who cares if it's unconnected to anything, this is cool, so it has to be in the book" school of plot design. I mean, what the hell? They get randomly attacked by wolves about ten pages after the story should've ended?