Today’s Book

The Red Wolf Conspiracy…I don’t think we were meant to be.  I’ve tried reading you twice now and really, there’s nothing wrong with you.  In fact, there are many things right with you that I’m beginning to believe it’s me.  Maybe I’m not in the mood for fantasy at this moment in time.  Epic adventure — perhaps I’m craving something on a small scale.  Conspiracies, war, a ship hundreds of years old on a journey with a child aboard who can read languages he doesn’t even know.  The possibilities were good, but alas, I think we need to go our separate ways for now.

Last night, I began The Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger.  It’s historical fiction and seems to be sticking.  After all, maybe I was in the mood for something more historical rather than fantastical.  Who knows…

Reading anything good today?

Today’s Book – To Say Nothing of the Dog

It’s been a few years since I’ve read science fiction and I don’t know why that is since it’s something I enjoy.  Historical fiction has become a large part of my reading the last few years and, sadly, it got pushed out.  This year I’m trying to read more of it and if the books are half as good as Connie Willis’s To Say Nothing of the Dog, it’s going to be a good science fiction reading year.  It’s funny, the time travel element has consequences, and the story is just all around entertaining.  Taking place in Victorian England with the main characters running back to the future to make sure their actions haven’t caused any major catastrophes makes for an amusing and silly book that I’m falling for.   I’ve heard good things about Willis, and this book in particular, and I can say it’s living up to those starred reviews.

Today’s Book – Spook

I’ve been reading Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach this week.  I can’t say that I heart this book as much as Packing for Mars, but it is absorbing.  I will admit up front that I don’t put much thought in the afterlife, which may or may not be the reason behind my not getting so sucked into this book.  (Oddly, I think this was also true of the author in certain chapters.)  I did find the chapter on reincarnation enlightening (Oh, indulge me. :-)) especially in the context of Indian society.  Granted, Roach was investigating a report of a reincarnation with a doctor in a poor Indian village where death is a common occurrence but it was the attitude toward death that struck me — and I’m paraphrasing here — why worry so much about death since there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be coming back and rather soon.  I thought it was defining in terms of how we, all societies and cultures, mourn and deal with death.

The chapter on fake mediums and what they went through to defraud clients/patrons/etc. was fascinating but then again seeing something debunked is a favorite of mine.  Ghost Hunters anyone?  “No, the bathroom isn’t haunted.  The seal on the faucet needs to be replaced that’s why it drips,” state Grant and Jay.  No Ghost Hunters, Myth Busters then.  You get where I’m going right?  I like bad television.  Well, that much maybe true, but no, point was that I like seeing fake things shown the light of day.  Anyway, the chapter on machines to register ectoplasm and the weight of the soul were a bit dry but considering the science around both of these topics is a little thin, you can tell the author is not so much impressed either with some of the things she’s shown, but both proved to be necessary to the book.  You can’t talk about death without soul involvement, and well, ectoplasm and ghosts go hand in hand.  Ghostbusters anyone?  OK, OK, I’m done with ghost references.

Roach has a very approachable reading style, especially for non-fiction which can sometimes lean toward the dry, and I enjoy the humorous banter she infuses in the footnotes.  If you ever find yourself reading one of her books, and you should, make sure you read the footnotes.

Today’s Book – Savage Kingdom

I wanted to read more non-fiction in 2011 (goal is about one non-fiction book a month) and decided to start with a topic I have some interest in, the Jamestown settlement.  I read a book about the settlement last year, The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown, and loved it so thoroughly I thought why not more.

Savage Kingdom is moving a little slow for me and it maybe that I’m feeling I already read this (reoccurring problem I have with non-fiction books of the same or familiar topic) but it does have one thing going for it — more information about the Native Americans and the role the tribes played in the settlement’s history.  The last year’s book had very little about the tribes the settlers came in contact with and that portion of the book is filling the gap I felt I missed last time.  I actually tried to find a book about the Native Americans settled in that area but had no luck with the library but this one came up on the search which is the reason why I picked it up.

Today’s Book with Extra Book Bits

I’m about to finish The Woman in Black by Susan Hill.  It’s a ghost story and while it has it’s conventional parts, it feels more like a slow moving thriller and it works wonderfully.  She dishes out details slowly, building a lot of tension for the ending I know is coming.  The best word to describe it would be atmospheric.  It has long, lush sentences that evoke a foreboding for the horrible ending.  It reminds me a lot of Shirley Jackson whose storytelling has the same feel.  In case, you’re wondering how I know what’s coming — I read the end already.

I haven’t done a library loot in forever so here goes.

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (See above.)

Time Travelers Never Die by Jack McDevitt (On my list and it fits a challenge, a twofer book.)

Savage Kingdom: The True story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America by Benjamin Woolley (I read a book last year about Jamestown and loved it so I’m trying another.  We’ll see if my interest holds up through this one.)

Also new to me but not a library loaner is A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.  I’ve been craving this one since it came through the door and it’s so my next book.  Admire that cover.  I love, love, love it.  Can’t really say why but the sapphire blue cover is working for me.

Today’s Book — A Game of Thrones

I’m reading A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin and let me say right here — it’s wonderful.  You should read it too.  If you love fantasy, it’s for you.  If you love great characters, it’s for you.  If you love a good story, it’s for you.

Of course, I’m only on page 252 of 787 so it’s possible that my thoughts will change but I doubt it.  A cold has made it nearly impossible to read the last few days as my addled brain hasn’t been able to focus (so please ignore my rambling this morning and any subsequent typos which I’m sure will occur) but each time I pick up the book, I don’t want to put it down.   The fact that I’m taking cold medicine and keep falling asleep is what makes me put it down.

The world created by Martin is fantastic.  Winter and darkness loom over everything and while summer is still warming the world at this point in the book, you know it’s coming and it seems few, especially the king, are prepared for it.  Did I mention there are dragons too? What good fantasy wouldn’t have dragons?  So far, they’re only legend, but I have a feeling some may find a place in the story.  All right, so I googled the book to find out.  🙂  I like spoilers.

There was one thing that worried me about this book early on — the sheer number of characters.  Each chapter is told from the perspective of one person and a few chapters in I regretted the fact that I wasn’t taking notes.  Thankfully, that worry has passed.  Yes, there are a lot of characters in this book but you soon become able to distinguish each one as they’re drawn so carefully.  It’s an interesting way of telling this story, and while I wasn’t sure about it in the beginning, I have to say it’s grown on me.

I had more I wanted to talk about but the brain is craving a rest.  Enjoy Thursday.

Today’s Book

I finished The Sherlockian by Graham Moore last night which has left me with a craving for some Sherlock Holmes tales but I’m going to pass on detective stories for the moment (although The Sign of Four is on my TBR to be read sooner rather than later) and move onto The Exile by Diana Gabaldon.

The Exile is a graphic novel based on Gabaldon’s first book, Outlander.  I’m excited about this book especially after hearing her talk about it at the National Book Festival back in September.  Outlander ranks high on the favorites list and the only problem I expect to have is being annoyed that the characters don’t look like the ones that have already been established in my head.  I’ll get over it but there’s always that initial shock of, “Hey, that’s not what Jamie Fraser looks like.”

Today’s Book

I usually participate in a meme of some sort on Thursdays but since Alyce from At Home With Books has ended My Favorite Reads and I don’t do Booking Through Thursday anymore (although I love reading the responses), I’ve been struggling with what to do with Thursdays.  There are tons of memes out there and I like them all but I thought I’d do something a little less memey.  I thought I would simply talk about the book I’m reading today.  Marg over at The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader does this every once in a while and I enjoy hearing about what book(s) she’s reading so I thought I would take a page and do something similar.  It won’t be a review or a re-cap.  I may even get lazy a few mornings and post only the cover and leave you wondering.  Mostly it will be my first initial thoughts on a book and whether or not I’m enjoying it.  Nothing fancy, nothing extravagant cuz I’m lazy in the morning and far, far, far from being a morning person.

Today I’m reading The Distant Hours by Kate Morton.

I requested this book which is something I don’t normally do (my TBR is big enough without adding promised reviews to the mix) but this made it onto my list a long time ago and when I saw an ad for copies in Shelf Awareness, I asked for one.  Then it sat because I had other things to read and it’s long (672 pages), and while I love long books, I kept putting it off.

Yesterday, I decided it was time.  So, here’s what’s happened so far (I will try to avoid spoilers and since I’m only 144 pages in that should be easy.) —

Edie Burchill is having dinner with her parents when her mother gets a letter that causes her to cry, something her mother never does.  Edie gets her to talk about the letter and she finds out that her mother was a child evacuee during WWII and was taken in by the Blythe sisters at Milderhurst Castle.  A short time later, Edie gets lost on a business trip and finds herself at the castle.  She talks the sisters into giving her a tour, and after a creepy encounter with the youngest sister, she now seems a little obsessed with the castle and the sisters.

If you want general info, the publisher’s website has it.  I don’t want to add more since that’s actually as far as I got in the book last night.  I’m enjoying it but it’s reminding me of another book, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, and I keep comparing the two in my head and  I need to knock that off or I won’t get through this one.

On another note — and since I’m talking about whatever I want today — I bought The Exile by Diana Gabaldon.  It’s the Outlander graphic novel and, YES, Jamie Fraser looks nothing like the Jamie Fraser in my head but that’s okay.  He’s still a hot Scottish guy in a kilt.  🙂  The Outlander series ranks high on my favorite scale so I had to buy this one since I own all the other books.  It’s told from Jamie’s perspective, and I don’t read many graphic novels which I’m trying to change for the better, and I think a hot Scottish guy in a kilt will get me there.