One of the bloggers that I follow often reviews books that he’s read. I love this idea, both from a reading point of view and a writing pov. That said, I don’t know that I would be an especially insightful reviewer. I am reading a book at the moment that got very good reviews. I’m not “getting it”. I think it might be satire. I have a feeling I’m very bad at satire. 🙂 If I know the topic well, I can recognize satire and enjoy it (or not, depending on the quality of the writing). If I don’t know the topic, and I’m not familiar with the author, I’m often quite lost as to how I’m ‘supposed’ to react. Many years ago a friend gave me one of Carl Hiassen‘s books, telling me that I would LOVE it because not only was it a mystery but it was funny. I don’t remember the book (it was YEARS ago) but I do remember wondering when the humor would happen. Given Hiassen’s success, I am apparently out of step with the reading public on this. I wonder if now that I’m older (much older) I’d better appreciate it.
I’m not always very good with irony, either, although that one might have definitely been because I was too young to appreciate it. I believe I might be the only living soul who didn’t love Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I have an acquaintance who has read it something like 10 times (seriously? aren’t there any other books you want to read????? who has the TIME to read something 10 times??). Obviously this is also something that needs another attempt. I KNOW I had almost no sense of humor when I was younger. As I look at the first sentence of Pride and Prejudice now, the humor is completely clear.
There was another author I discovered many years ago and I really loved the writing, the characters and the plots. But she never allowed her recurring characters any happiness. Whenever she wrote them in a bit of joy, she made sure to destroy it in the next book. I really can’t keep reading that. I understand that no one has a perfect life. But most of us do find some sort of peace, even if not major joy. Our lives are not an unending stream of betrayals, loss, misery and guilt. Or maybe they are, but I don’t need to read it. I felt the same way about the TV series “Once Upon A Time“. I loved the premise, it started out great, and then no one ever got to be happy. Ever. That doesn’t work for me.
I read to relax and escape – I rarely read to better myself. I do a lot of things in my day-to-day living that better myself. *grin* Or so *I* think. *laughing* Feel free to disagree. Reading gives me a vacation and escape. I really enjoy mysteries, because that genre has the tradition of closure – we get to know “who did it” even if that person isn’t always brought to formal justice. I do like a good romance novel periodically because I know exactly what I’m getting and I can pretty much guarantee I’ll feel upbeat at the end of the book. Yes, it is better when it also includes good writing, believable characters and a good story, but if I can’t escape to a warm tropical beach sometimes escaping into the romance genre is a great escape. 🙂 I love historical novels too. Ask the folks who know my family about us and our dinner conversations (especially Hannibal and the elephants) and they will laugh and roll their eyes and say – oh yeah, them and history!
So what authors have I been reading in the last year or so and enjoying? Louise Penny (LOVE), Michael Connelly, Elly Griffiths, Faith Martin, Robert Galbraith (yes, I know who that is REALLY), Peter Grainger, and Charles Todd. There were 2 books I read digitally that I found so intriguing, and that I thought my son would enjoy, that I bought them in paperback for him as well: ‘The Girl With All the Gifts‘ by M.R. Carey and ‘14‘ by Peter Clines. I also enjoyed ‘Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel‘ by Robin Sloan. It occurs to me that my brother-in-law might enjoy those 3 as well. I think they are all probably classified as science fiction or fantasy, but I don’t really think of them that way. There are aspects in all that step out of what we’d call ‘reality’, but the plots and characters are what capture my interest. I also recommend Naomi Novik’s “Uprooted” and “Spinning Silver“. Those 2 are classed as fantasy but again what makes them so interesting is not the fantasy part, but the people and relationships. I’d also recommend Caimh McDonnell‘s Bunny McGarry books. How can you NOT love a series that begins: “The first time somebody tried to kill him was an accident. The second time was deliberate.” It is a very funny series with strong characters.
As I said, this is not really a book review, but I do enjoy seeing what Donald has to say about what he is reading. I thought I’d toss out my opinions as well. Happy reading!
3 thoughts on “Not Quite A Book Review”
Oh crap. Now you’ve given me WAY too much to track down to read! If you are looking for something good and don’t mind stepping just a little bit out of reality (i.e., characters having conversations with Egyptian gods, fx), I recommend three books by Jo Graham– “Stealing Fire” was the first one I read (just after the death of Alexander the Great), and Black Ships (the Aeneid) and Hand of Isis (Cleopatra.) The protagonist is the “same person” who keeps living in different times and places with fleeting memories of past (and also future) lives. The writing is really good. Unfortunately i’m not such a fast reader, and i don’t seem to read as frequently as you do. I’m only half-way through the book I picked up at the library six days ago. ALso i read more than one book at a time, which slows me down
. And yes, i HAVE read SEVERAL of my books about 10 times… i thought everyone did! If you are interested in trading book ideas, have you checked out Goodreads? I found a Norah Lofts fan group there– they do group readings of her book and discuss them as they go. I’ve read so many of her books more than once, but they still manage to give me some insights i might not have had on my own. (And if you want to try them, i have them all. My “favorite author”.)
OK, i’m going to go read now. Good blog post! Try some more reviews when you are actually finished with a book. (BTW, i don’t think i ever DID finish Pride and Prejudice.)
*grin* I’ll tell you which of those authors/books I think YOU might like. And YES – please lend me Stealing Fire. That sounds like a fun read.
And I’m very happy and surprised to hear that YOU never finished Pride and Prejudice. I finished it so I’d know who ended up where, but I know I didn’t enjoy it in the least. Curious that you didn’t appear to like it either. Maybe our upbringing… 🙂
I know about Goodreads. Fantastic idea. I don’t have enough time to do all the reading that I want to do after going to Goodreads. *grin* I don’t think I have ANY book that I have read start to finish more than 3 times. I liked having tangible books (not ebooks) to pick up, let it fall open wherever, and start reading. ebooks don’t work that way for me. 😦
I think you’d like the Caimh McDonnell books. Elly Griffiths. I’m not sure about Charles Todd for you – you’ll have to try one and let me know (but read them in order)
oh – and thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed this post! 🙂