Thursday, July 27, 2006

Summer Reading

It's hot. And Humid. Every summer I remember why I moved away from the East Coast. I love the green of summer in the east - the gold of summer in CA never really seemed right. I love the winters, even when I'm cursing the snow and ice as I drive. I don't mind the cold. But I hate the humidity of summer.

The book list has been interesting. After a long interlude of old favorites (which don't count for counting purposes), I've gone back to reading some new books. Some of the books get to count (I finished them) and some don't.

Bill Bryson: Notes from a Small Island, Neither Here nor There, and A Walk in the Woods. The first two count, the last doesn't. A tremendously funny writer. I started with A Walk in the Woods and was alternately overtaken with hysteria and horror. The thought of setting out on the Appalachian Trail as ill-prepared as these two men seemed to be was totally appalling. His description of their first few weeks of hiking was absolutely side-wrenchingly funny and their dismay when they realized that all the work they had put in only amounted to 2 inches on the overall map of the AT was something I read and re-read to anyone who would hold still. He intersperses his humor with some serious considerations for the future of the AT and the general environment which I found very thought provoking and will necessitate some further research on my part.

Notes from a Small Island and Neither Here Nor There are completely entwined in my mind. I kept putting one book down and picking up the other because I could only find one of them at a time. Reading these made me understand his approach to the AT. He always goes hiking long distances on the spur of the moment without any particular (discussed) preparation. The first book is travel around Britain and the second is travel around Europe. Both of them alternated side-splitting humor with thoughtful discussion of the environment he found himself in.

Linda Berdoll: Mr Darcy Takes a Wife and Darcy and Elizabeth: Nights and Days at Pemberley. (I've gotten into reading Pride and Prejudice fanfic.) This is probably the best of it that I've tried so far. I found the language a trifle strained at times, but the books were good (and bawdy). The first one was better than the second, but there you go. Fun summer reading.

Carrie Bebris: Pride and Prescience. A mystery - reasonably well written. I'll need to try it again another time - I go in and out of reading mysteries and at the moment I'm not even into re-reading mysteries I know and like. I wasn't in the mood to do this one justice.

I'm not much of a fanfic reader as a rule, but I have gotten sucked into this genre just a bit recently on this one subject. It's rather interesting to see the difference between writing a book and establishing the characters and writing a book where you are absorbing already established characters. Of the ones I've read so far, Linda Berdoll has done the best job of explaining and expanding on the established characters.

Allegra Goodman: Intuition a novel. This is a well-written, seemingly well-researched novel about the world of medical research at a university. I thought it a good book but it makes me thankful that I don't have to live in that environment. I'd never make it.

Diane Duane: Stealing the Elf-King's Roses. I hate the cover of the book. I remember when the book came out and I didn't buy it then because of the cover. Unfortunate. It really is a good book. I bought it this time sight unseen, which was my good fortune. Fantasy, set in an alternate universe, complex and well thought out as most of her books are. A good read.

Naomi Novik: His Majesty's Dragon, Throne of Jade and Black Powder War. Three most excellent books. Very readable. Set in Napoleonic times, she seems to have a very good grasp of history and character development, and a very good ability to add a completely new element (dragons) into the set history. I borrowed the first one from the library, on recommendation from an email list. I couldn't wait for them to fetch the next two on library loan; I went and bought them. I'll be waiting for the next one in this series - I want to see where she takes it.

1 comment:

The Purloined Letter said...

OOh, I love Allegra Goodman's books! (We went to college together, too.)