February Reading (II)

And this is the non-romance list. In addition to this lot, I started Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies at the end of the month. I am progressing slowly, mainly because I am enjoying it so much. I have dogeared or postitnoted every other page as having something enjoyable I wish to share.

The non-romance bit.

Alexander McCall Smith – The Comfort of Saturdays and The Lost Art of Gratitude: I love the Isabel Dalhousie books. They are the ultimate comfort read- they make me generally peaceful and in favour of humanity. These two most recent books in the series involve medical fraud, tightrope walkers, bratty composers and a greater role for Brother Fox, but really, I’m just reading them for Isabel.

Francisco X. Stork – Marcelo in the Real World: I love this book. There are plenty of wonderful reviews on the internet that will give you some idea of why. You should read those.

Naomi Novik – Temeraire: I raced through this one. It was surprisingly addictive. It’s set in an alt-universe nineteenth century England with dragons. Will Laurence accidentally comes into possession of a dragon and has to give up his job and fiancée for his new duties. Luckily he discovers in an implausibly short period of time that he doesn’t mind this too much. The love between man and dragon is strong (and worryingly slashy, which would be fine if one of the protagonists were not a giant lizard). I really liked Temeraire, but it is too frequently obvious that it has been written by an American woman in the twenty-first century; sentence constructions like “wished he wouldn’t have done that” pop up occasionally and are a bit jarring. Still, it is set during one of my favourite periods in English history, it mostly gets the tone right, and it has dragons. I am definitely reading the rest of this series.

N.K Jemisin – The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms: Reviewed here, so I will not discuss it in this post. Except to say that it is a fine book and deserves your love.

Appupen (George Mathen) – Moonward: Lightning hits a tree, life originates and evolves, and eventually a god, Mahanana is born. Agriculture, cities and capitalism follow. Moonward is a set of loosely interwoven stories about life in Halahala under the increasingly dystopic rule of Mahanana, with the first and last stories dealing with people trying to look moonwards. With very little text all the focus is on the artwork, which does not disappoint. Appupen’s black-and-white artwork is incredibly diverse stylistically, beautiful, and manages to be funny, angry and depressing all at once. The occasional full-page pieces are especially impressive – particularly the illustration for the rat-fable and a piece that depicts a line of people carrying crosses on their backs. There are also the depressed mechanical birds which I (I do not know how the author would feel about this) wanted to pet. As is usual with Blaft books this one is beautifully produced as well. Definitely a keeper – I’m not sure I’ll be reading it at one go again for a while, but definitely in bits and pieces.

Terry Pratchett – The Unadulterated Cat: Adorable and (as far as I can tell) true. I remain a dog person, though.

Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games: This was an almost accidental reread – I was looking up a quote from the book and got sucked in so that I ended up reading the whole thing. Not that I’m complaining. I loved the book when I first read it last year, and this reread has reminded me that I am still to read Catching Fire, the next book in the series. (Mockingjay, the final book, will be published later this year.)

Hirsh Sawhney (ed) – Delhi Noir: Reviewing elsewhere, so that’ll probably be put up at some point soon. There are some excellent stories in this collection, though, and it’s worth a read.

I forgot, while listing the romance novels I’d read that I’d also reread Georgette Heyer’s The Grand Sophy. I will make up for this by posting an extract.

“I wish you will keep still!” she said severely, patting his arm with a soft cloth. “See, it is scarcely bleeding now! I will dust it with basilicum powder, and bind it up for you, and you may be comfortable again.”

“I am not in the least comfortable and shall very likely be in a high fever presently. Why did you do it, Sophy?”

“Well,” she said, quite seriously, “Mr. Wychbold said that Charles would either call you out for this escapade, or knock you down, and I don’t at all wish anything of that nature to befall you.”

This effectually put a period to his amusement. Grasping her wrist with his sound hand, he exclaimed, “Is this true? By God, I have a very good mind to box your ears! Do you imagine that I am afraid of Charles Rivenhall?”

“No, I daresay you are not, but only conceive how shocking it would be if Charles perhaps killed you, all through my fault!”

“Nonsense!” he said angrily. “As if either of us were crazy enough to let it come to that, which, I assure you, we are not—”

“No, I feel you are right, but also I think Mr. Wychbold was right in thinking that Charles would—what does he call it?—plant you a facer?”

“Very likely, but although I may be no match for Rivenhall, I might still give quite a tolerable account of myself!”

She began to wind a length of lint round his forearm. “It could not answer,” she said. “If you were to floor Charles, Cecy would not like it above half; and if you imagine, my dear Charlbury, that a black eye and a bleeding nose will help your cause with her, you must be a great gaby!”

“I thought,” he said sarcastically, “that she was to be made to pity me?”

“Exactly so! And that is the circumstance which decided me to shoot you!” said Sophy triumphantly.

4 Comments to “February Reading (II)”

  1. I absolutely love The Grand Sophy… it's one of the most entertaining books I've ever read! I haven't read any of the other books on your list though. Somehow or the other, I never seem to be able to find the time to read these days! Any free time I have (and I have a fair amount) goes in talking to friends, or downloading and watching something, or going out. I really want to make enough time to settle down with a good book and just read!

  2. Ahaha, please read the rest of the Novik series. You HAVE to come to #5. There is Wellington!

  3. Every time you post, I end up with another historical fantasy novel on my reading list, when what I should really be doing is concentrating on The Victorians. Enabler!

    (That said, I love hearing about the books you've finished, and I am always impressed by the sheer amount of reading you get done each month. When do you sleep?!)

  4. Sumedha – Honestly, I think it's something you have to make time for. I read during my commute, don't watch that many movies and (since the new job started) am generally not in the mood to go out once I've gotten home, which gives me an extra couple of hours in the evening.

    Ros – I blame you entirely for my need to read these books.

    KT – I fear sleep and work have suffered quite a bit in the last few months. If that helps?
    Surely reading historical fantasy will help you read The Victorians? Post-degree, I've been convincing myself that everything I read is "research".

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