Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Books, Schmooks.

I keep meaning to blog about the books I've read lately, but can't seem to get to it. So, quickly now, here's the books I read in March that were worthwhile. Some information below might be considered mid-book spoilers, but no endings or magnificent twists are revealed.

My top book pick for this past month: The Wood Wife
My quick search for the cover again led me to Amazon. You can't really click to read more.
I'm not sure why they don't make it easier to get a quality file of the cover.
Don't they want people to know what they're looking for?

Anyway, here's the best of what I read, all checked out from the library, with one exception, noted below.
The Kingdom of Ohio by Matthew Flaming In the late 1800s, a young man tries to help a young woman who mysteriously appears near the subways in NYC that he is helping to build. He helps her track down her previous tutor, Mr. Tesla, who can't remember her, but is smart enough to understand that the information she has will make time travel possible. Very good read.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield Very fun YA steampunk. A girl masquerades as a boy so she can join the Royal Air Force on board a dirigible that's a living, hydrogen breathing, genetically modified whale. A young prince, Alex, recently orphaned when his parents, the archduke Ferdinand and his wife are murdered, must flee before he is killed too. They meet when the Leviathan is damaged near Alex's hiding place. Can any agreement be reached between the Darwinists, resposible for the Leviathan, and the Clankers that build fantastic, morally responsible machines. (Think giant walkers like in Star Wars with the Eewoks.) My nine year old son LOVED it, also. Recommended for ages 12+ on Amazon, but what do they know? ;)

The Giant's House by Elizabeth McCracken This book really explains why librarians are such an odd lot;) (That's for you Teresa, with love) A beautiful love story that really didn't make sense for me to like, because it's weird for an adult to fall in love with a young man 12 years younger than herself, then throw in that the young man is a giant (really, he had an unrelenting pituitary gland). The woman librarian was such a lonely person, so afraid to be unloved. I highly recommend this book.

The Golden Apples by Eudora Welty Ahhh/Groan! This was an academic exercise. I read 'One Writer's Life' and 'The Optimist's Daughter' in late February or early March, and just couldn't find the time to finish this one. This I can say: I read half the short stories and feel that my writing is less confusing by comparison. I was never sure that I was making the right assumptions or understanding what she was implying. Amazing dialogue. Amazing characters. But my brain hurts, and I'm trying to find comparable novels, so I moved on. I will definately be back.

The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard Read this this afternoon. A boy deals mourns the girl he'd secretly had a relationship with for a year after she dies. I'd flipped through it pretty heavily in the bookstore, but wasn't impressed. But I'd already requested it at the library and it came in, so I checked it out. I intended to read just the first chapter, as part of my personal study of opening scenes, but got hooked. On the scale of idealistic versus realistic, this was heavily weighted for realism (sex, drinking, a few instances of language) but I liked it. You are warned. I think the most surprising thing for me was that I sympathized with the main character so much. I didn't expect to after flipping through it and reading a few chunks.

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame Smith I saw the book trailer and then saw it at Sam's Club and bought it, on IMPULSE. I know. Book trailers aren't supposed to work. And I didn't realize that on the back cover, Abe is holding a severed head behind his back. I'm two thirds through and it's good. Not a character-driven story, but interesting and well-written. 

The Wood Wife by Terri Windling I got this book as part of my search for comp novels and loved it. It reminded me of The Forests of the Heart, by Charles DeLint, but much more intimate. A writer, Maggie, goes to live in the mountains of Arizona when a writer that she'd corresponded with dies and leaves her his house. She discovers that the land is more alive than she could have guessed when the shapeshifters and shaman and mages of the mythic world reveal themselves to her. Loved it, loved it. Great adult fantasy, not much language at all. I think the 'F' word was there, but I'm not sure, so it definately wasn't over-the-top.

Happy reading! Anybody else read any of these? Anything to add? I know I glossed over these, but I wanted to share and didn't think I would get to them if I made myself blog about them separately.


  1. I loved Leviathan and The Kingdom of Ohio! Now I really want to read The Wood Wife - it sounds intriguing.

  2. Thanks, Steph. You always have such interesting books. I feel like I'm just trying to keep up with the books that everybody else has already read;) I think the Leviathan series may be one that we'll buy for our family library.

  3. These are some great recommendations, Kelly. Thanks.

  4. Hey Krista- just trying to make people feel as hopelessly behind as I do;)

  5. Wait a second...did you read ALL of these in March? For real?

  6. Um, we had a vacation where I got to sit around reading while Nathan was in meetings and two days on a plane. Does that make you feel better?

    And I choose reading over housework almost exclusively. Seriously, we clean as a family. My kids can vacuum, sweep, do dishes, put their junk away, all that. I don't spend a lot more time than anybody else cleaning, probably only twice as much;)