Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Hilcia's Weekly Reads & Updates
Hello everyone! I hope those living in the U.S. will have a fantastic Thanksgiving! And wish you all a wonderful holiday weekend with family and friends. I've been missing in action again and won't go into a long story, but I've been reading. These are the books I've read within the past week or so:
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (Reread)
I will be hitting more Faulkner in the near future. ;P
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
This contemporary fiction/romance has received some attention. I enjoyed that Simsion uses the first person point of view from the male's perspective in this romance. It makes for a great change and it's kind of refreshing. And the fact that Don's point of view is skewed because he suffers from Asperger's Syndrome makes this novel an even more interesting read. Simsion uses humor, tenderness, warmth, and the main character's personal frustration to develop the romance. The reader sees Rosie from Don's perspective and, in my opinion, this distances her from the reader to a certain degree. However, Simsion does a fairly good job of letting the reader "see" Rosie. I understood Rosie's need and insecurities, but frankly when it came to Rosie falling in love with our man I found there to be a disconnect... and hmm... maybe that was on purpose. I mean, if Don could not figure out what being in love felt like, how could he recognize it in her? Is an adult with Asperger's stereotyped in this romance? I wouldn't know, but, I do know that Simsion's novel is an enjoyable read all the way from beginning to end. Don, if not necessarily Rosie, makes it so.
What the Bride Didn't Know by Kelly Hunter
This category romance was enjoyable in the middle of all my other reads -- pure contemporary romance. It has a friends to lovers theme, which I love (and enjoyed), likable characters, and Kelly Hunter's way of rolling out a story. I was happy when Trig and Lena got their happy ever after, they loved each other openly but never told each other that they were "in love," and that was beautiful. I also loved Istanbul as the backdrop to the romance. I was not happy with the amnesia situation, the obsolete, action-less spy situation, or the fact that after a while I began to get that "kitchen sink" feeling when it came to devices thrown in for good measure. So this is a book that began with promise and a great premise, but along the way more or less became an average read.
The Birthday of the World by Ursula K. Le Guin
I haven't finished this collection of short stories by Le Guin yet, but the two stories I read, "Coming of Age in Karhide" and "Paradise Lost" were so good that I stopped reading the collection and went on to read my first complete novel by this author. Le Guin is one of those authors whose science fiction works I've been eyeing forever, but I never got around to reading. I'll be writing a post on her work so I won't go into detail now, but these two short stories are distinctly different. In "Coming of Age in Karhide," Le Guin returns to the Gethenian world-building she established in The Left Hand of Darkness and focuses on one particular aspect of what makes these people unique, "Paradise Lost," on the other hand, is a space voyage that takes place in a generational ship. Neither turned out to be what I expected, but were much more. I am definitely going to finish this collection and will write about it.
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
This book? Well... this book is fantastic! I will definitely write a review for it, but basically it is about a man who is sent as the Envoy or first alien to contact the Gethenian planet to convince them, not only that there are other humans in space, but also to join their union of traders. Now, if you haven't read this book yet and think this is your run of the mill "first contact" book, then you'd be wrong. It's a magnificent study of humans as a whole. I relished reading this book slowly, and Le Guin's prose made every second worth the read.
I am a fan, and already have The Dispossessed in my Kindle. I can't wait to read it!
Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
This non-fictional collection of accounts about princesses behaving "badly" throughout history is an ARC I received from Quirk Books. The summary really caught my attention with mention of pirate and warrior princesses from different historical periods and parts of the globe. It turns out that the sections about these princesses are rather short and written in a chatty, very mod style which of course would not take away from the content if the accounts had in fact some meat on the bones, or the author's attempts to make this a feminist piece had been truly successful. I think that perhaps for readers who are not quite interested in history but want to read a book with facts and "girl-power" flavor, this book might be fun with its light tone. Unfortunately, this collection did not hit the spot for me.
WHAT AM I READING?
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
This is a 1992 release by Tartt. I've never read a book by her, but my brother A. just read it and recommended it to me, so I picked it up. Anyway, I'm about 60% through it and I'm find it an interesting read. It's set in a Vermont university with six young students of ancient Greek as the main characters. They are a snobbish and self-contained group with a snobbish professor who inspires them to go far beyond their explorations of the language and culture. The result of these explorations lead the young group to commit murder, and the story is the progression of how it all evolves as well as revelations of what truly lies beneath the surface of each character and relationship. I will come back with more about this book because I haven't reached the meaty section yet. The story is quite arresting.
I'm hoping to read some uplifting holiday books this weekend -- romance! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'm in the mood for them. :)