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WiB 2010: Fall Edition, Week 1

September 12, 2010

I keep thinking I didn’t read much this week, but it’s a lie.  A vicious, vicious lie.  I guess I did last week’s post earlier in the weekend than this one.  You can always tell by sheer numbers.

I can’t tell you the order in which I read these, really, because I’m terrible at that sort of thing by the end of the week.  But I’m pretty sure I started with the 4th and 5th hardback trades of The Walking Dead.  Kirkman continues to impress me by refusing to take the easy route with either his plot or his characters.  Some friends are lost, some secrets revealed, but it’s just par for the course in this post-apocalyptic nightmare.  I’ll tell you that I had much more of a visceral reaction to these books than those previous, but to say more would be to venture into spoiler territory.  Frankly, this series is fantastic, and zombie fans as well as students of human nature (with strong stomachs) should enjoy it.

Next, I read some palate-cleansing dick lit, specifically Mike Gayle’s Mr. Commitment. I’ve never used what boils down to about four gallons of cotton candy (or “candy floss,” for those from Gayle’s side of the pond) as a palate-cleanser before, but let me tell you, it wasn’t a very good choice.  Apparently, I’ve grown past caring about why young men fear commitment, just as I don’t think I ever cared why young women are so desperate to find men and buy shoes.  The cotton candy gave me a stomach ache and made my teeth hurt.  I’m sure other people can enjoy this examination on the nature of commitment, but I only didn’t want to hit my head against a wall after the obvious revelation that one is committed far before one admits to it.

Next, I either read Honor’s Splendour by Julie Garwood or Strange Brew, a collection of short stories by the usual crew of authors in such collections.  The Garwood was more of the same, although a bit weaker than the others I’ve read lately, but the anthology was a step up from the other collections I’ve read just to assure I’ve hit every Dresden File there is.  I actually enjoyed every story in Strange Brew.  Harris once again writes about her vampires and werewolves (throwing a witch in the mix to suit the collection’s theme), and I find myself caring not nearly as much as I did in the last story of hers that I read, but I think that’s because there’s a flatness to her character Dahlia that bugs me.  Dahlia reminds me of Pam from the show, and in book form that doesn’t work, as there’s an alienness to one so removed that makes getting into their heads as tedious for the reader as life appears to be for the character.  But that’s not to say the story itself still wasn’t solid.  It was.  I just didn’t find it as interesting as “An Evening with Al Gore.”  After reading so many entertaining stories, I cringed when I saw Caitlin “Obviously Not British” Kitteredge’s name on the next story, but even she brings her A game (which on others would be about a B).  Rachel Caine got to do what she does best, and it’s a far cry from the mediocrity of her pirate stories.

I was pleased.  And I think I might look up some of the authors from this book.

Ugh, I also read Midnight Blue by Nancy Landon, one of my Harlequins for my project.  The less said about it the better, for now.  That’s what made me feel like I didn’t read much–that book took forever to get through.

Finally, I finished up Turn Coat this afternoon.  This was another Dresden File book I gave five stars to, not because of my enjoyment level (which was like a four and a half), but because of Butcher’s writing and ability to plot like a madman.  To explain this book to someone unfamiliar with the series would be ridiculously convoluted, because the world that Butcher has created is so layered and its inner workings are complex and dense.  Harry’s growing ever more scarred by what he’s been through and what he’s going through.  I feel like it’s sixth season Buffy without the crappy metaphor.  It’s dark, it’s real, it’s filled with loss and heartbreak.  Bravo.

Next week: Um…I know I have the next Dresden book, and I need to finish the Mean Streets anthology, and after that I forget what I have from the library, if anything, so it might be back to the good old to-read bookcase, which has a small but noticeable gap in it from the progress I’ve been making.  GO ME.

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