March 31, 2003
13. Daughter of the Forest, Juliet Marillier
I got this book way back when I first joined the Science Fiction Book Club, as one of my initial selections. Then I promptly stuck it on my bookshelf and forgot about it. Then, Friday, desperate for something new to read, I pulled it off the shelf and started reading. Wow, am I glad I did. Marillier does a fantastic job of retelling the old Celtic story of the brothers who are bewitched, cursed to remain swans until the spell can be lifted. She managed to do precisely what I always want to do with my mythic retellings, but never quite manage to do, which is, tell the story from a slightly new angle, introducing new elements to a familiar story. The main character, Sorcha, sister to the brothers, is strong and heartbreaking and well delineated. There are no real plot surprises, but then, you don't read myth to be surprised. I found out this afternoon that this is book one of a trilogy, and promptly ordered the next two books. I can't wait to get my hands on them.
March 28, 2003
10. The Summer Tree, Guy Gavriel Kay*
11. The Wandering Fire, Guy Gavriel Kay*
12. The Darkest Road, Guy Gavriel Kay*
Brand introduced me to these books last year, and I quickly came to adore them. With the Fionavar Tapestry, Kay manages to combine the type of fantasy, urban fantasy, and myth that I've always wanted to pull together. I've always been a sucker for stories of people from our world pulled away to a magical, mystical land (the love of which probably started back with The Wizard of Oz as a kid), and rarely has it been done so well as it has been done here.
March 19, 2003
9. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith*
Tree is one of those books I discovered by accident. When I was 20, I babysat the 20-month old daughter of some friends, full-time, for $70 a week. It was probably the worst-paying, easiest job I've ever had. Keilah was a doll. One afternoon while she was napping, I was bored out of my head, having forgotten my book at home. I found a copy of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and started to read it out of desperation. Maybe because I came to it with no expectations, I was completely swept away. The tone seemed so light and innocent, but sordid, awful things happened. The juxtaposition was startling and effective. Francie Nolan is one of my favorite characters. I guess in a way I've always related to her. When I first read Tree, I was desperately poor, perhaps not as bad as the Nolans, but bad enough. I had the same love of reading and learning that Francie does. She reminded me a lot of me.
No matter how many times I've read this book, it always sucks me in and holds me tight.
March 08, 2003
8. Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen*
I saw the movie version of this tonight and immediately had to sit down and reread the book. It's the first thing I've been able to read in weeks. The movie was pretty good, but bore little resemblance to the book. Anyway, the book is something amazing. It has some powerful things to say about mental illness, things that really speak to me, especially right now.