Saturday, September 6, 2014

Sept. 6: Before the Thunderstorms Arrive!

Had a good first nearly-full week of school, capped by a quiet Friday night where I fell asleep on the couch at 8 pm! Today offers lots of possibilities but no hard realities except a workout with Kiley at 9:30. . . perfect time to catch up on some books.

The Long Way Home (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #10)The Long Way Home by Louise Penny
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There are some authors that are just better to listen to than to read, I find. Louise Penny may be one of those! This, her latest, struck me as heavy-handed and pretentious: the repetitive descriptions of Ruth the foul-mouthed poet and her foul-mouthed duck, the ornate psychological descriptions of people's appearance, the annoying use of sentence fragments. . . all grated on me as I struggled through the first third of the novel. No one is a plain ol' normal human being in this work: they are haunted or prescient or torn or insightful or an "asshole saint". . . . oh please.

I skimmed the middle, read the end, and called it "okay."

I really like some of her earlier Gamache novels (probably also the ones that I listened to as audiobooks), but this latest one seems to be foundering under the weight of the plotlines Penny has created over the length of the series.

Seraphina (Seraphina, #1)Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Recommended by the same flyer that suggested Yes, Chef as a good summer reading book, so I scooped up Seraphina as an envelope-pushing choice. It was well-written and interesting, but its typically young-adult-novel emphasis on the protagonist's struggles to be accepted in society, her own identity, and her role as savior of the kingdom are, by now, trite, even when they come attired in scales and claws. Some fiercely original ideas in this book, but overall, I think I'm not its target audience. Probably an excellent choice for teenaged fantasy lovers!

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