Saturday, May 28, 2011

May you read these...I have during May

I was talking to a friend (about what else... a book) when he asked me how many books I had read this month. I do admit I read a lot but the number even surprised me this month. Especially since this past week I ended up reading 2 1/2 books, one that was 592 pages, another 325 pages and the half is 398 pages. So here are the books that I have read (so far) in the month of May

“It begins with absence and desire. It begins with Blood and fear. It begins with a discovery of witches” so starts the novel A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. TDOW is the reason my friend and I started our conversion in the first place. I was telling him about this book and bemoaning that the sequel would not be out until next year. I even gave this book a 9 ½ stars out of ten on my facebook account. The ½ point taken off was because the author talked too much about wine in my opinion but after I read her author blurb on the back cover of the book I understand why. Harkness, besides writing academic papers, has her own award wining blog on wine!

I must admit that the first few pages of the book had me thinking “Oh no, so much description, this book is going to be a drag". However by page 5 or so it had me hooked and racing to the end to figure out what would happen next! When I found out it was just part one of the All Soul’s trilogy ... major drama on my part. I want the next book now! I now know how Robert Jordan’s fans feel about the Wheel of Time series. This is the first time in a very long time that I have felt that way about a book.

In short, the novel is about historian Diana Bishop (a non-practicing witch) who opens a bewitched manuscript in Oxford’s Bodlein Library. This manuscript had been missing for centuries. Upon its sudden reappearance the other beings of the world (witches, demons and vampires) are now all on the hunt for Diana and this magical book They believe that the book will solve clues about the past and the future of their kind and do not want the other creatures to get it first. This is one book that I have been recommending to everyone I talk to so put it on hold for yourself before the list gets too long!

I have read a lot of Laura Lippman’s stand alone novels but I have never read any of her Tess Monaghan series so I figure that I would give them a try. Baltimore Blues is a good introduction to the series. Tess is an underemployed journalist with a love for rowing. It is her rowing habit that plays a part in this novel. Her rowing friend, Rocky, is accused of murder Tess takes it upon herself to find out the what the real story is. I liked this novel but I will have to read the next one in the series to figure out if I want to continue with them, or just stick to her stand alone novels.

One small book both broke my heart and gave me hope for the future. I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali - well the title kind of explains it all. This pint sized Yemen child bride is forced into marriage to a man three times her age. Though he promises her family that he would wait until she is older he brutally rapes and beats her, with his family’s blessing! Ali finally flees from her husband, only to find a judge and lawyer to take her case. Her divorce at the age of 10 helped other young brides in Yemen and the Middle East. Nujood is an inspiration for all of us.

Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris is the latest in the Sookie Stackhouse series. For those who do not know, Sookie is a telepathic waitress in a small back water town in Louisiana. Because of her special gift, she finds the world very tiring...after all who really wants to “hear” what people are thinking about all the time. When Vampires “come out “ to the world, Sookie is happy; she can not hear their thoughts. Thus begins a series of adventures, lovers and forays into other magical worlds. In this latest adventure Sookie finds out more about her own special abilities, family history and once again has to choose if she is with the right “man” or not!

Devil’s Diaries by Marcus Weeks I previously wrote about in my blog post, Sympathy for the Devil. A short recap is that this novel is written like a businessman’s journal. In it, Nicholas D. Satan writes about the beginning of time and the various events that he has had a part in; like small print and the creation of lawyers. I love that at the end he includes a list of employees and their e-mail address; especially the one for Martha Stewart.

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater by Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins are pretty much what you think they are. A reworking of the classic Carlo Collodi tale, these graphic novels show that Pinocchio does not live the fairy tale life of happily ever after. Pinocchio becomes a vampire slayer and his wooden nose becomes a perfect lethal weapon for impaling the undead. I can hardly wait to see what happens in the next adventures of this puppet boy. Btw, David highly recommended the first title in a previous post.

Another set of graphic novels I read were based on Stephen King’s The Stand. Captain Trips and American Nightmares are the first two of six adaptations of my favorite King novel. The original version is epic in scope and over a thousand pages. I am pleasantly surprised at how well the graphic novels are covering the story. For those unfamiliar with the novel it is a classic end of the world, good versus evil story with multiple characters playing for either team.

These Four Walls by Susan Cameron is the novel I am half way through now. I enjoy reading novels with settings I can easily imagine. Taking place in Halifax, dating from Depression era to present day, this family epic follow the lives of the Morash sisters, Violet, Lilly and with a focus on Rose. I have wondered if someone from “away” would have the same attachment. The effects of suddenly becoming orphans greatly impacts Rose’s view of the world around her. As Tolstoy stated “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” . Since I haven’t finished this yet, I am not sure if there is a “happy” ending to this novel but I am enjoying reading it so far.

Beside reading books in paper form I have been listened to Keith Richard’s Life on cd (also available as a download) and Dean Koontz’s What the Night Knows in audio book form or in these cases I downloaded from the library Digital Media. I liked Richard’s biography but I think having the photographs and having an index would make the hard copy more enjoyable. And as much as I enjoy Johnny Depp, I feel that he reads this work too quickly. But I suppose 546 pages, or 20 compact discs (22:30 hours) does make the reader want to cover a lot of ground quicker.

Koontz audio book is not available on cd format from the library but you can read the 442 pages or download the 12 hours and 24 minutes of listening pleasure from our website. Being a fiction work, as opposed to a biography, I felt you don’t have to pay attention to every single word (even thought I am sure the author has slaved over them). I am not sure who narrated the novel but they had a good voice for this horror story. Serial killer, Alton Turner Blackwood has reappeared in John Calivono’s life after a 20 years absent. John is the only survivor of Blackwood’s last killing spree. Will he survive this one??? Read (or listen to) it to find out.

So I admit that I have had no life this month. But I definitely have enjoyed myself and it seemed like the perfect time to read. Hopefully some of these titles might inspire the start of your own reading jag. After all the month isn’t over yet!

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