August 2013 book list

Books I’ve already talked about
The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols
Rusalka by CJ Cherryh
The Lost Kingdom by Matthew Kirby, very briefly
Pure by Julianna Baggott
Tortilla Sun by Jennifer Cervantes
The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow
The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia
The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell
Golden Girl by Sarah Zettel
Cotillion by Georgette Heyer
The Quiet Gentleman

Other books read
Daydreams of a Solitary Hamster by Astrid Desbordes: A nice juvenile graphic novel with a wry tone to it. I kind of expected it to have a more messagey resolution, but I was glad it didn’t. And I really liked the interactions between the different animals, and the way we see different sides to each.

The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax
The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax
Palms for Mrs. Pollifax
Mrs. Pollifax on Safari
Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station
by Dorothy Gilman: What can I say? I went on a bit of a Mrs. Pollifax binge this month. In some ways, the closest I can come to fulfilling the vain desire for another Agatha Christie book; perfect when you want to be entertained and not think too hard.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz: So much to love here! I can’t believe it took me this long to actually read this book, but I’m glad I did. Ari’s voice is really strong, and although at first I kept noticing the style, eventually I settled in and stopped noticing it. There’s so much depth and complexity in its depictions of both characters and their differences as well as connections.

The Beacon at Alexandria by Gillian Bradshaw: Rachel Neumeier recommended this one on my Historical Fantasy post (Bradshaw is straight historical fiction, to be clear), and I’m really glad she did! Lovely, lovely writing–the kind of historical fiction that looks completely effortless, which means it’s not. The funny part is that apparently my mom and sister have been reading Bradshaw’s books for years and have no idea how I missed her. I don’t know either, but I’m going to be catching up.

London in Chains by Gillian Bradshaw: I borrowed this one from my mom while I was in Connecticut; it’s not as good as Beacon, in my opinion. It’s not quite Bradshaw’s period somehow and the background gets a bit confused. However, I love how she treated Lucy’s character and her history.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan: There was so much about this book I enjoyed–the quirky cast of characters, the bookstore itself, the secret society. However, I generally liked the set up portion of the book much more than the resolution, and I really wasn’t convinced that the story managed the synthesis of love of books and love of technology that it was reaching for. I suspect others disagree with me, although this isn’t one I’ve seen many reviews for. Probably worth picking up just for the book bits, if you’re so inclined.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: I read most of this on the plane coming home from CT. Gorgeous writing, with beautiful, dreamlike descriptions of the circus and its inhabitants. I loved most of, but found myself slightly confused and distanced by the ending, which was a little too coy in places for me to follow.

The Ides of April by Lindsey Davis: A Roman mystery with a female protagonist/detective. I liked it a lot, in a mild kind of way, and will probably read the next one, as it seemed to be the first in a series.

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis: This book was unexpectedly harrowing! The Malones are a determined, brave, and resourceful family, but the world they live in is hard. I loved Deza’s voice, which managed at once to be wise beyond its years and naively young. That contrast worked really well for how I read her character. Heartbreaking and bittersweet.

Poems of Akhmatova, trans. by Stanley Kunitz: These were decent translations, but in some cases I was puzzled by the way the translation didn’t follow the original structure (parallel structures, which Akhmatova seems to have been very fond of) when it seemed fairly simple to me to do so. I’m glad at least that this was a side-by-side version, with the original Russian first.

Our Hearts Were Young and Gay by Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimborough
Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper

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4 Comments

Filed under bookish posts, monthly book list, reviews

4 responses to “August 2013 book list

  1. Thanks to your mention of Agatha Christie, I am now tempted to go find my copy of Murder in Mesopotamia….

  2. Ha, I stumbled across Gillian Bradshaw’s “Island of Ghosts” on Goodreads a few weeks ago and it looked amazing. Nice to have your confirmation that she’s worth checking out. 🙂

    I started reading Lindsey Davis’ books earlier this year. I do like her mysteries, but I was also impressed by “The Course of Honor,” which is a very well-done historical romance. I don’t tend to read a lot of romance, but this one I can recommend whole-heartedly.

    • Maureen Eichner

      I like her a lot, and definitely intend to read all her books!

      Requested Course of Honor–that sounds very much up my alley!

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