17 June 2007 by Published in: book list No comments yet

Cart and Cwidder by Diana Wynne Jones. (8) [YA]. I own this. I liked it a lot, no surprise there. Read it on the way to Argentina (yes, I’m that far behind on reporting). Argentina was the voyage of series, as everything I took to read seemed to be a first part of a trilogy or tetralogy. I’ll definitely be reading the next one of these, soon as I get through the impulse book checking out I did at the library. Finished 03/22/07.

Getting Things Done by David Allen. (9) [non-fiction, self-improvement]. I am getting things done! If I can ever go through my backlog, I’ll be an amazing, productive, organized me! Also, paper may cease to be the bane of my existence. This book is really useful. I borrowed it from Stan, then bought my own copy when I got back from Argentina. So I didn’t own it when I read it, but I do now. I didn’t get through the other Allen book that Stan had me take down for him, so I don’t know whether it’s worth my time. Finished 03/24/07.

Frommer’s Buenos Aires by Michael Luongo. (10) [non-fiction, guidebook]. I bought this for the trip (and when we returned found the guidebook I’d bought last time around but couldn’t find before we left). This was a good guide, and had some things I didn’t know about, and the recommendations helped me choose to take Sophia to the children’s museum in the Abasto, which was amazing. Sophia loved it. I was a bit perplexed by its warning against going anywhere that subways didn’t go, because it’s not like the bus system is all that complicated, but I guess it can scare people.

Freedom’s Gate by Naomi Kritzer. (11) [specfic]. I own this. This was a real eye-opener for me, because it’s the first time I’ve ever read a book and could see the plot structure so plainly. It’s like all that thinking about plot has finally had an effect! I was like oh, here’s raise the stakes, look there’s reversal…and it all followed totally straightforwardly. It didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book any, because I really liked the world, but never has a plot seemed so obvious to me before, on a structural level…the reason why things happened as they did and what they were setting up. Finished on either 03/27/07 or 03/28/07.

You Got Nothing Coming by Jimmy Lerner. (12) [memoir]. This was the infiltrator book, the one that was loaned to me (by my brother) and that I hadn’t planned on reading. It’s a man’s recollection of his time in prison. It was really, really immersive and interesting. I finished it on 03/30/07.

Blood and Iron: A Novel of the Promethean Age by Elizabeth Bear. (13) [specfic] I own this. I liked this a lot, though I have (as always) my quibbles. I’m less certain of Bear’s willingness to kill people off at the end of this, and I put great stock by what I believed to be her willingness to have characters pay a cost. I also felt like people were told to stand in their places until they were called on to make plot, resulting in some character actions that felt contradictory or at least needed a why now? explanation that was never given (or I didn’t pick up on it, perhaps). I got real tired of hearing about people’s heels clicking and their boots tapping and them turning on their heels and/or toes. The boot thing was definitely the author tic for this book (though hopefully not for the whole series). Still, for Arthuriana, it’s better than a lot of the places tread by such revisits. Finished on 04/03/07.

Girls will be girls by JoaAnn Deak. (14) [non-fiction, child-rearing]. I own this. I’m very glad I read this book, and in some ways, I wish I’d read it sooner. Valuable advice, especially in the area of the niceness pressure. Finished before 04/10/07.

La Primera Entrada by Alejandro Bedrossian. (15) [specfic, spanish]. I own this, it was a gift from the author. It’s sort of a Faust retelling. It was a good read, though slow in places, the way stories in Spanish are usually slow, by being somewhat indirect and circuituous. I was fascinated by the difference between the show/tell balance in this versus that in most English novels I read. Tell is much more acceptable in Spanish novels, for some reason. Finished sometime 04/07.

Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress. (16) [specfic]. I checked this out of the library. I really liked it a lot. Fascinating. Believe the hype, as they say. I know a book is good when I instantly start talking about it to people and trying to get them to read it. I’ve gotten at least one person to read this. I liked this much better than the short stories I’ve read/heard by her (2 on Escape Pod and one, “Shiva’s Shadow”, in a Year’s Best), though I didn’t hate those, they just didn’t fire me up and make me marvel quite the same way this novel did. This novel rocks. Finished sometime in 05/07.

Guilty Pleasures: Indulgences, Addictions, Obsessions by Susan K. Caba, Jane Holwerda, Cathy Luh, and Holly Silva. (17) [non-fiction, essays]. I was given this, but I’m going to offload it as soon as I can, as I know I don’t want to read it more than once. It’s a St. Louis writer’s group set of essays. Some of the essays were really good, but they varied wildly in quality and some were really lame. None of them told me anything I didn’t already know. Finished sometime 05/07.

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman. (18) [specfic, anthology]. I got this book out of the library. I liked most of the stories, though I spared myself a re-read of “The Problem of Susan” since we already know I don’t like that one. I enjoyed most of the re-reads (the Sunbird one, and “October in the Chair” particularly). My favorite one was probably the Cthulhu Lovecraft one, which I own, since I have (but have not yet read) Shadows Over Baker Street. Finished on 06/06/08.

Conrad’s Fate by Diana Wynne Jones. (19) [specfic, YA]. I got this book out of the library, though it’s clear I’m going to have to own it. Jones is a geeeeeeenius. I don’t know why she’s not more widely read. So we revisit the wonderful world(s) of the Chrestomanci books, this time seeing Christopher Chant as an adolescent. You know it’s a Diana Wynne Jones book if there’s an evil uncle, don’t you? This one has two. An ongoing theme in her books, a theme which interests me, is children full of magical power who are ignorant of what they can do, because they have no training and no practice. This usually results in their powers being used against them. Finished 06/08/07.

Blindsight by Peter Watts. (20) [specfic]. I got this book out of the library. Vampires in space + first contact! It was really, really good, and I’m currently campaigning to make my husband read this (and I also tried to convince A whole can of plot to look at it). Interesting dealing of the free-will question which continues to make me ponder. I was surprised by how much I liked it and how much it has made me think. Finished 06/13/07

From the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. (21) [YA]. I checked this book out of the library. Elaine recommended it to me sometime back. It was wonderful, I loved it. It’s the story of a girl who runs away from home, takes her most frugal (and most wealthy) brother with her, and lives for a week at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Finished 06/15/07.

I seem to have somehow slipped into reading multiple books at once, which I don’t usually do. Then again, I just deleted seven books and two short stories from my written desiderata, so that’s progress (though there’s over a hundred books on there still, not to mention my physical to read bookshelf which has another hundred).


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