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WIB Jan 12-18

July 27, 2014

Yes, I know how far behind I am.  Fortunately for me/you/no one, my sister ignores things like depression and lack of creativity and my whining and says, “Write!”  So I am writing.  I am going to try to write far more often, because honestly, other than looking for a job, I really have no excuse not to.  WIBs are easier than creative writing, and I’m something like seven months behind.

So let’s get to it.

I finally finished Elizabeth Moon’s Deeds of Paksennarion in January.  If you remember back when, I said the first book was very military and the second book is very D&D.  The third is pretty D&D, and then goes pretty batshit.  I could be wrong.  Lots of fantasy epics might end in the graphic* and shocking manner that this book does.  But I haven’t read one like it, so I was quite taken aback.  At the end of the second book, if I remember correctly, Paks had fallen pretty low.  But don’t worry, she can go even lower.

My husband swears to me that the end of this book is supposed to be about power and faith and all sorts of geeky stuff.  I put an asterisk next to “graphic” because I actually think the book could be far more graphic, and props to Moon for taking it down that path.  Let’s call it “uncomfortable for anyone,” but for a reader like me, I maybe could’ve used a bit of a content warning.  So for those that are interested in that sort of thing, I’ll say this: Content warning for torture.  It was because I am not usually a fantasy reader that I took Paksennarion’s journey so literally; only long after I was done could I see some of the religious intent in the work.  Mostly I thought, “Holy hell, I was playing a paladin really incorrectly.”

More Jeanne D’Arc, less Crysania, maybe?  And if you don’t get the reference, that’s okay.  I still love you.  You love me even though my entire knowledge of D&D comes through the Dragonlance books.


Mark Waid, one of my favorite comic book authors in small doses, took over Daredevil and I read five volumes of that while I was sick.  Daredevil is a character that I’ve ducked in and out of reading for many reasons.  I tried Frank Miller’s run about ten years ago and I could take it or leave it.  Then I read some of Bendis’s stuff and enjoyed it, and wanted to read Brubaker but the library didn’t have all of them, so I ended up reading I think the first two and then having to give up on it because it wasn’t as important to me as trying to ILL all the Civil War trades anyway.  So I didn’t seek out Daredevil after that, until I came upon these.  I saw Waid’s name and picked them up, and I’m glad I did, because Waid lightened the book up and made a strong starting point.  Obviously, in comics you can never have control for long, and it’s easy to see where Waid is working by himself and working by committee, but hey, if someone can make me want to read Daredevil, they’re doing something right.


Prudence Shen’s graphic novel Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong is a forgettable title for a cute book about geeks versus cheerleaders.  It takes a while to get going, but once it does, it’s a fun ride.  The robotics club and the cheerleaders are duking it out for funds, and that’s pretty much it.  A fast read, probably good for reluctant readers of either gender.


To hold me over for the next Dresden Files, I read Ghoul Goblin, one of the graphic novels.  If this is a pun, I’m not getting it.  It’s a good book for Dresden completionists, but otherwise leaves a lot to be desired.  It’s a bit muddled, and it needed someone to pull it together.  I don’t know if Butcher had a hand in this one, but if he did, he either can’t do comics or SOMETHING because I’m always like, “Well, that was okay” after I read one.  And I love the Dresden Files.  Seriously, this should be a slam-dunk.  But it wasn’t.


I want to love Hope Larson’s work.  But Who is AC? did nothing for me.  I had no idea what was going on.  I couldn’t bring myself to care.   It took me a while to figure out it was a magical girl-style book, except by then I didn’t care.  I have literally forgotten almost everything about this book, it was so forgettable.


The problem with being sick is that you read while you’re sick and then everything seems fuzzy afterward.  That would be the meds.  While I remember that I liked Stephen King’s new-back-then-but-he’s-probably-put-out-more-since Doctor Sleep, I would be hard-pressed to tell you much about it.  It’s a sequel of sorts to The Shining, and partially revolves around Danny Torrence, now all grown up and an alcoholic.  It’s depressing to think he didn’t make it out of the cycle of addiction, but such is life.  Danny, now Dan, has been haunted by his past and the creepy-as-heck things that still follow him around since his childhood.  Drinking helps.  (I’d drink too, Danny.)  He settles into a life he can handle, and meets a girl with even stronger powers than his.  Unfortunately, people like them attract creepy-as-heck not-ghost people, and it’s weird and Kingesque and awesome.  I’m glad I read this.  I always take all this time off from King and forget how much I actually enjoy him.


Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane was something I did not reread for book club, but the discussion helped jog my memory of it.  I did love it, but in the way you love something familiar.  This work does not deviate far from Gaiman’s other works, and I wonder if as time passes, I may get the details confused with other things he’s written.  I told the book club that, to me, it was a grown-up Coraline with a male protag, and that’s a bit unfair and maybe a bit true too?  An unnamed narrator goes home for the first time in a long time, and remembers his childhood and the strange women who lived nearby.  Gaiman’s work is always creepy, but it’s a samey kind of creepy.  The women are powerful, but it’s a samey kind of powerful.  The writing pulls you in, like it always does.  It feels like an old-fashioned horror story, but so did The Graveyard Book in some ways, and Coraline, and so on.  It’s a good starter book for the author, or for those who have read all of them.  But I’m hoping for something different in his next work.  The way American Gods felt different.  I wonder if it would feel different today.


Hollow City, the second book in the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series, didn’t scare the heck out of me like the first one did.  I didn’t freak out at the vintage photographs of people doing things they shouldn’t be able to.  But I found the book as good as the first.  By the time it came out, I barely remembered what had happened in the first (other than my sweating terror-bullets), but the book doesn’t care that you don’t remember, thank goodness.  The children head to London, and that’s all I remember, other than bits and pieces of things that aren’t that plot-heavy.  And an ice fight?  Blame the meds on this one, because I do know I really enjoyed the book.


Finally (whew!), I read Laurie Halse Anderson’s The Impossible Knife of Memory, a book about a girl whose father’s PTSD is making their lives miserable.  I found the main character, Hayley, a bit difficult to get into compared to Anderson’s other leads, but Anderson quickly finds her stride and pulls the reader along for another painful, beautiful book.  There was a girl at a local bookstore who overheard me talking to a friend and asked me to choose a “sad book” for her, and I should have asked her about Anderson, but instead did what I always do and pointed her to Cynthia Voigt.  Still, if I ever see her again, we’ll be talking this one.  Or Wintergirls.  Or Speak.


And that was my sick week.  Next up: from superheroes to vampires to Ayn Rand.

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