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Monday, October 11, 2010

What are you reading?

Okay, so my resolve to post more about my reading didn't last very long. I'll blame it on Monday, since that IS the night my gaming group gathers, and there's usually at least one person who stays late. (You know who you are.)

Okay, so it's actually my own fault.

Anyway, I've been reading bunches and bunches of books. Physical books, ebooks (thanks to my iPad), audiobooks, podcast novels…I love books. If I went back over everything I've read since the last time I posted, we would run into a few problems.
  • You would run away before I made it a quarter of the way through my list.
  • You would decide I was even more insane that you thought.
  • I can't remember EVERYTHING I've read.

So, recently finished books it is.

Lamplighter (Monster Blood Tattoo #2) by D.M. Cornish
I love these books. The setting is intriguing and original–a bit steampunk, a bit medieval, with a good dose of oddball semi-organic primitive technology. Plus, the characters are well developed with distinctive personalities. My husband's only complaint is that the hero, Rossamund Bookchild, doesn't seem like a fifteen-year-old boy. I'm okay with it, because at his age in this setting, young people are out working as soldiers, risking their lives fighting bogles (deadly monsters). I think that would sort of skip over much of what we associate with the teen years. I can't wait to read book three, which comes out this month in Australia and New Zealand, and next month in the US, UK, and Canada. (I'm not going to give the title, because the title of each book is Rossamund's profession during that book. It would be a bit of a spoiler.

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins

Like The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay are emotionally harsh. I'm not kidding; lots of characters you come to adore will suffer in grueling, cruel ways, physically and mentally. Some will die.

Strike that; many of them will die. In fact, the games are supposed to end with only one person out of twenty-four still alive. They entire idea is to kill lots of people in a highly entertaining fashion. The entire point of the books is to fight against it.

Despite the gruesome premise, the books are all wonderful. The struggle to overcome a great, pervasive evil is riveting, as is Katniss, the heroine. I find the battle to win over the hearts of the people, inspiring them to join in fighting the corrupt, evil government at least as interesting as the physical battle. (I waited to read Catching Fire until Mockingjay was released because I couldn't stand to wait between them!)

If you can take it emotionally, I highly recommend the series.

New Spring (Wheel of Time prequel) by Robert Jordan
I reread New Spring late last month, as part of the run-up to the release of Towers of Midnight (Wheel of Time #13) on November 2. I finished all the other books, but wanted more WoT, and realized that I had only read New Spring once!

As a result, I think I gleaned more from it than any of the other re-reads. The first time through was when it was first released, so a lot has happened in the series since them. Insights into the characters of Morraine, Lan, Elaida, and Siuan (even glimpses of Liandrin) have been illuminating. Certain events that start in The Gathering Storm involving Lan make the bits of Malkieri custom, from a time closer to the fall of Malkier, especially enlightening.

I highly recommend it for all fans of the Wheel of Time; it still shocks me that some haven't read it! And of course, I recommend that all fans of epic fantasy give the Wheel of Time a shot. Not that I'm biased…

Distinctions: The Prologue to Towers of Midnight (Wheel of Time #13) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
I heard one section of the Prologue to ToM at Dragon*Con, read by Brandon, and couldn't resist buying this on my iPad, through the Kindle app. I loved it. It has made me even more excited about the release of Towers of Midnight in just over three weeks! Of course, now chapter one is posted for free on Tor.com. I will say this: it's excellent!

Nim's Island
This is a "middle readers" book. That means about fifth through seventh or eighth grades. I enjoyed it, and finished it quickly. The setting is interesting, and all the characters, human and (non-speaking) animal, are fun. Totally clean and age-appropriate. It could almost convince me that living almost alone on a tiny, remote island would be fun!

Current Reads
The Way of Kings* (Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
The Outsider by Ann H. Gabhart (Kindle app)
Flatland: A Romance in Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott
Homespun Bride by Jillian Hart
The Herbal Body Book: A Natural Approach to Healthier Skin, Nails, and Hair by Stephanie L. Toules

*I've been reading The Way of Kings since I got home from Dragon*Con. I am absolutely forcing myself to prolong it. I have definitely enjoyed it, but it helps that it's a huge book, and I'm afraid of damaging it. So I only let myself read it at home.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Loving the Fall!

For most of my life, summer was my favorite time of year! As a kid, it was easy: summers meant no school, which translated to lots of fun time with my mom, siblings, and (until I was twelve or so) my cousin. Lots of time at the pool, and constant trips to the library for more books. Add in Girl Scout day camp and occasional summer camp, and it's a clear choice. Plus, I have a summer birthday. :D

Even when summer meant more time at my part-time job, I was still a die-hard fan of summer. Even summer classes during my very extended college years didn't change that.

But over the last few years, I've come to really love the fall. There are awesome fall festivals everywhere, and the weather is so wonderful: still warm, but breezy and not nearly as humid. The North Georgia mountains are so beautiful, too, come fall, with all the leaves changing. (I'm also a big fan of Halloween, as well as all the winter squashes like sweet dumpling squash.)

Of course, it helps that I am absolutely addicted to hats of all sorts and interesting socks. Summer is so very hot in Georgia that I don't wear socks unless I am hiking, and only straw hats or cotton canvas bucket hats are bearable.

This year, I've already been to the Atlanta Arts Festival (where I browsed but didn't buy) and the Duluth Fall Festival, which is small but one of my favorites! It rained on us, but we still had a blast. I bought my usual supply of handmade soaps from Thistle Ridge Soap out of Walhala, South Carolina and my favorite huckleberry honey from Allen White of Dalton, Georgia. I also bought my first Christmas gift of the year, for my mom.

Tonight I'm headed to the Atlanta Greek Festival, for souvlaki, pastries (yum), music, and street dancing, my favorite part! (I hope I remember the dances; I usually forget half of it!) Next weekend we head to Andy's Trout Farm in Clayton, Georgia with my husband's family, including three of my four nephews. I think we are planning a side trip to Helen for Oktoberfest (which is actually over in Germany!), but I'm not sure.

Hope you're enjoying your fall as much as I am!