October reading list

The Shining Company by Rosemary Sutcliff: reviewed {HERE} (short version: wonderful)

The Mad Farmer Poems by Wendell Berry: poems written by Berry (with two by other writers) which follow a character who is supposedly not Berry but who bears a strong resemblance to him. I remember liking some of them, but I wasn’t blown away.

The Eddy Fence by Donna Henderson: poems by a local writer. As with the Berry, I remember liking some of them, but definitely not blown away.

Do Butlers Burgle Banks? by P.G. Wodehouse: reviewed {HERE} (short version: fun but not his best)

Lion in the Gateway by Mary Renault: a child’s history of the Greco-Persian wars. Very simply told, very much Greco-biased. I’d like to read a modern adult history and compare the two.

The Spellcoats by Diana Wynne Jones: reviewed {HERE} (short version: wonderful)

Something Rich and Strange by Patricia McKillip: reviewed {HERE} (short version: not her best by far)

Ombria in Shadow by Patricia McKillip: reviewed {HERE} (short version: one of my favorite McKillip’s)

The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer: reviewed {HERE} (short version: typical Heyer fun)

The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer: reviewed {HERE} (short version: Heyer fun, although a bit more serious)

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters: the first Amelia Peabody mystery. Enjoyable but nothing special.

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner: reviewed {HERE} (short version: READ IT)

The Crown of Dalemark by Diana Wynne Jones: reviewed {HERE} (short version: a great ending to the series)

Mort by Terry Pratchett: my first Pratchett. I enjoyed it a lot and will be on the lookout for more! (I’ve noticed that I have an odd affinity for books with Death as a character.)

And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander: This is the first in the Lady Emily Ashton series, which is quite similar to Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn. Both main characters are Victorian women in society marriages whose husbands die and who begin to investigate their deaths. I actually prefer Lady Emily and her series–they’re thoughtful and thought-provoking, but the secrets she uncovers aren’t nearly as dark.

Silhouette in Scarlet by Elizabeth Peters: one of the Vicky Bliss mysteries. I mistakenly thought it’s where John Smythe first turns up, but it’s not. Unfortunately, I don’t actually remember the plot. I’m getting it mixed up with Trojan Gold.

A Damsel in Distress by P.G. Wodehouse: not a Jeeves and Wooster nor yet a Psmith. I enjoyed it quite a bit–has the usual cast of Wodehouse characters, complete with amiable but spineless peers, tyrannical aunts, foolish but sweet young men, etc.

Dawn Wind by Rosemary Sutcliff: part of the Eagle of the Ninth/Silver Branch/Lantern Bearers series. It follows a young Romano-British boy in the aftermath of the Saxon invasions. While it didn’t have the emotional resonance of the other books in the series, it was still very solid.

Trojan Gold by Elizabeth Peters: another Vicky Bliss mystery. I will admit that I’m less enamoured of Vicky on this read-through. For one thing, I get really tired of her complaining about people underestimating her because she’s tall. But I think that’s almost a separate post, so I’ll leave it for now.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness: Wow. I’m still not sure what to say about this book. It’s violent and tragic and fascinating. Thankfully, Ness elides some of the worst of the violence, having it take place off-screen, so to speak, or hinting at but never fully stating it. Nonetheless, this is an excellent book if you can handle it. (I’d say, if you’re okay with The Hunger Games, you’re probably okay with this one.)

Solstice Wood by Patricia McKillip: eh. This is supposedly a sequel to Winter Rose, and while I think it does frame that book in an interesting way, I also have problems with the modern, real-world setting, which just ended up confusing me. I couldn’t figure out exactly where they were. And I just felt like Winter Rose wasn’t our world so the implication that it was just…didn’t work for me. So I’m still not sure what to think about this one.

Venetia by Georgette Heyer: I like this one. It’s wickedly funny in places and very sweet in others. While I can say that in general I have problems with the rake motif, in this particular instance I felt like the personalities worked. Anyway, it makes me happy.

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George: I’d read George’s re-telling of “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” awhile back, and this was on my TBR list. I enjoyed it a lot–a sweet interesting story. The writing seemed geared more for upper middle school, lower high school, but I thought it was good.

The Bell at Sealey Head by Patricia McKillip: McKillip’s latest. In Sealey Head a bell rings every evening at the last moment of sunset. Most people pay no attention to it, but some always listen. This is a story of interlocking worlds, of love and loss. It’s a story where no one is quite as they seem. I thought it was excellent, a bit of a return to form for McKillip after Solstice Wood.

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury: I always think I like this collection more than I do. I think it’s because I do like a number of the stories from it when I read them on their own. But taken collectively, it presents a fairly bleak view of the world and life.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: I feel like such a bad YA fan for not reading this before. Oh well. I have to say, that if someone asked me to choose between Graceling and Hunger Games, I’d go with Graceling. I felt like that had a newness and freshness to it, while The Hunger Games has definitely been done before. Which isn’t to say it was badly done–it’s quickly-paced and the voice of Katniss is both engaging and distancing, which makes sense given her circumstances.

Starcross by Philip Reeve: the first sequel to Larklight. The Mumby family, minus Mr. Mumby, go to the asteroid belt to the hotel called Starcross. Unfortunately, there are secrets there and a lot of danger. Just as enjoyable as the first book, in my opinion. I’m looking forward to reading the third.

A Poisoned Season by Tasha Alexander: the second Lady Emily mystery. I enjoyed it again, especially the way Alexander addresses the fact that not all of Emily’s friends are going to share in her new-found radical beliefs. I did notice some clunky constructions (I know not, for instance) which I think were meant to make it sound more old-fashioned. Unfortunately, they weren’t actually authentic and ended up just being jarring.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick: I couldn’t figure out at first why this would have won the Caldecott when it’s well over 500 pages long. As soon as I started reading I understood. It’s composed of pictures as much as it is of text. The words themselves are very simple which annoyed me at first. But the story moves quickly and eventually I was drawn in by the characters. I loved how Selznick did the skin in the close-ups of the characters–it looked like those fine cracks you get in older china. I liked it, but I didn’t love it.

1066 and All That by Walter Sellar and Robert Yeatman: a satirical look at English history as the average Briton would remember it. Very funny, especially if you have a good grasp on British history and will get the jokes.


Filed under bookish posts, monthly book list, reviews

11 responses to “October reading list

  1. you know… you read a lot of cool books! Thanks for sharing…

  2. Pam H.

    Some of Mr. Berry’s poetry is too pessimistic (I don’t need that) – I think it might be his earlier stuff. I have a copy of his Entries which I like very much, but overall I prefer his fiction – especially liked Jayber Crow.

  3. Pam H.

    My best friend got me started on Wendell Berry by recommending his essays. I like them, but I got hooked on the fiction.

    • Maureen E

      That’s interesting. I’ve loved his essays since the first time I read them, but I tried one of novels and just…couldn’t do it.

  4. Pingback: September 2012 book list | By Singing Light

  5. Pingback: Rosemary Sutcliff | By Singing Light

  6. Pingback: Patricia McKillip | By Singing Light

  7. Pingback: Georgette Heyer | By Singing Light

  8. Pingback: February 2015 round up | By Singing Light

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.