Saturday, January 28, 2012

It is good to see Katherine back to reading and posting.

Thought I'd just share a short list of books I've read over the last quarter of 2011 and those from current month (January 2012). Note that commas are not entered, author last name first. Added few short comments:

Paretsky Sara Bitter Medicine 9/11 
(her mysteries are good, solid, and captivating)
Rendell Ruth (writing as Barbara Vine) Anna’s Book 9/11 
(an excellent way to write a diary novel)
Walls Jeannette Half Broke Horses 9/11 
(don't enjoy her magazine style all that much)
Hiaasen Carl Sick Puppy 9/11 
(it's cute)
Oates Joyce Carol Broke Heart Blues 9/11 (not the best of her, but she's still a fav author)
Gerritsen Tess The Sinner 10/11 
(don't need any more of her I'm thinking)
Shields Carol The Stone Diaries 10/11 
(this was OK, not what I expected)
Carhart Thad The Piano Shop on the Left Bank 10/11 
(fantastic, but you should be interested in music and especially loving pianos and clever people)
Maxtone-Graham John The Only Way to Cross 10/11 
(coffeetable book, have had it for years, wonderful)
Winspear Jacqueline Messenger of Truth 10/11 
(mystery discussion group, a lot of us don't like her all that well)
Wilde Oscar The Picture of Dorian Gray 10/11 
(great classic, should be in the mood, though)
Rendell Ruth The Vault 10/11 (one of her new ones - just terrific as always)
Leon Donna Drawing Conclusions 11/11 
(her Venice is getting a bit less complex, rather bland)
Clark Robert Dark Water: Flood and Redemption in the City of Masterpieces 11/11 
(non fiction, history, not a good read per se, but lots of information)
Parker T Jefferson Silent Joe 11/11 
(another mystery discussion book, the men loved it)
de Rosnay Tatiana Sarah’s Key 11/11 (intriguing WWII story, group is going to watch the DVD soon. This put me to 52 books read for 2011)
Paretsky Sara Hard Time 11/11 (yes, she is good, still!)
Penzler Otto (ed) Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop 12/11 
(another mystery discussion, short stories, some were really dumb, but if you've been to NYC you can endure)
Plain Belva Whispers 12/11 (skipped a lot in middle - author is not a favorite - I gave away any others of hers I had on my shelf) 

Kraybill Donald R Amish Grace 12/11 
(non fiction, was a disussion book, very revealing)
Allende Isabel House of Spirits, The 12/11 
(she has ups and downs as author, I think I'll leave her alone for a while)
See Lisa Snow Flower and the Secret Fan 12/11 (missed putting on list earlier)
Buchanan Cathy Marie Day The Falls Stood Still, The 12/11 
(KL's gift to me, not what I expected, but an OK read - am passing it around my discussion group friends because of local interest)
Atwood Margaret Handmaid’s Tale, The 12/11 
(really dumb, and I was warned, too)
deMoor Margriet Virtuoso, The 12/11 (also pretty much a waste of time)
Bohjalian Chris The Double Bind 1/12 (I am building up my admiration for him! Such good development of characters and what an interesting topic. I recommend his work)
Bragg Rick Ava's Man 1/12 (such well-written tales, biography of his grandfather)
Grafton Sue V is for Vengeance 1/12 (not at her best)
Sayers Dorothy L The Nine Tailors 1/12 (I thought this would be long and tedious, but it sped right along and was wonderful. What a classic of the English genre)
Peters Elizabeth The Night of Four Hundred Rabbits 1/12 (a waste of last night it goes in trash, what was I thinking. Oh, cute cover.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

The Color of Magic

This book was a trip; a true psychedelic weird adventure. The first in a series of 39 Discworld books (Wikipedia notes as of September 2011), Pratchett introduces us to his wacky flat word that rides on four continent sized elephants that are on the back of Great A'Tuin the giant turtle that lumbers through space (hopefully not to meet a mate anytime soon). Yes, this is totally weird, but I'm sure there is a parallel with Earth that could be exposed to meteors, crashing planets, exploding stars or flips in polarity. Prachett pokes fun at us in clever ways through this wacky collection of four story-chapters.

Rincewind, the wizard, kicked out of wizard school for looking in forbidden magic books, has been forced (under threat of death by city's mayor, or "Patrician") to guide Twoflower, the tourist, through his scrappy home town, Ankh-Morpork. The destruction of the town unfolds as Twoflower introduces incredibe wealth in the manner of tips of gold coins and inn-sewer-ants policies into impoverished Morpork. The book is divided into four parts, each a new outrageous experiment in humor-fantasy.

If you read this work of very strange art, laugh and enjoy every word. The new vocabulary may on first glance be words of nonsense, but they were chosen to be words that are similar to words you do know. Morpork, for example, is More Pork? , Perhaps the word Rincewind makes you think of someone as hard to pin down as rinsed wind? This book is written for the strange by the strange, so hop on board for dragon rides and magic!

This wasn't a popular discussion book in our group. Matter of fact, I think there were some really unhappy people with this choice, so for your regular woman's book club, I would steer clear. However, if you like fantasy and have never tried this author, you should read one of his books. My guess is that Mark Twain would have loved these books, due to the incredible amount of parody, imagination, and no-nonsense nonsense. A web search indicates that good choices would be Night Watch, Small Gods and Going Postal (which I read and really really liked).

I would also like to add that this author has won awards for his discworld novels, and was also a best selling UK author in the 1990's.