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WIB: Aug 31-Sept 6

September 11, 2014

I’m working in multiple directions to make sure I don’t forget too much about books by the time I post them, like I’ve been doing lately.

It could work!

First I read Linger, the second book in Maggie Stiefvater’s The Wolves of Mercy Falls series.  I got the “companion” book/4th book? at BEA, and I’ve heard so many good things about her writing.  This series and her Raven Boys books.  So I picked up the first two books.  The problem was, they stunk.  No, I mean, they actually smelled, leading me to write this post.  The second wasn’t as bad as the first, thankfully, so I read it a bit quicker.  It’s not as intense as the first book, and that’s okay with me, but I didn’t feel like it was filled with filler, either, which is nice.  The books are progressing, adding interesting characters, and the end–yeah, that hurt.  I usually find that when an author writes multiple perspectives, you still see everyone the same, but like Richelle Mead in Gameboard of the Gods, how the characters see each other skews how we see them.  Grace narrating is not the same as Sam narrating and telling us about Grace.  I’ll discuss the series’s premise when I talk about the first book soon, but I think it’s enough to say here that the second book is good on its own, and makes me excited for the third book.

Then I tried reading Larry Niven’s Ringworld for my speculative fiction book club.  That did not happen.  I made it until the rape joke around page 144 and I couldn’t take it anymore.  As I’ve said before, rape references don’t usually bother me, but it was just the icing on the cake for me quitting this book–and I don’t like cake.  I can handle sexism, and expect it from a book that was published in 1970.  I don’t mind the whole woman-child thing that was popular back then, or the focus on barely-legal girls that shows up with several authors.  I don’t even mind that the only woman in the book to the point that I read, Teela, was a giggling moron who brought nothing to the excursion but “luck.”  I don’t mind technobabble.  But put all these together with an extremely high level of technobabble, throw in a casual rape joke from the lead, and I’m out.

Finally, I read The Storied Life of AJ Fikry for another of my book clubs.  The best word to describe it is charming.  It’s Gabrielle Zevin’s little book of book-love, and I was with her for every page, through every little turn and big turn and cliche she turned on her head and cliche that was so well done that didn’t feel like a cliche anymore.  AJ Fikry is a crabby, snobby bookstore owner whose curmudgeony attitude would make you guess his age at twice what it is.  In another author’s hands, he’d be quirky for the sake of quirky, as would all the other characters, but he never falls down that pit.  When bad things happen to him, you feel bad.  When good things happen to him, you feel good.  This is a quick, short read that’s structured like a short story in many ways, and its literary references sneak up on you.  It was given the thumbs-up by every person in the book club.  I’m excited to see what her young adult books are like, if this is her adult offering.

Next up: either March or August, who knows?

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