FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

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Re: FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

Postby FranW » 27 Mar 2010, 07:50

Nurse Jo wrote:I didn't find this book that funny either HH. I enjoyed it and it was an excellent study of family dynamics.


wildlx wrote:I liked the humour in the book. But, as I said in my review, it is an acerbic humour.
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Re: FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

Postby FranW » 27 Mar 2010, 07:50

#15. Stay, by Nicola Griffith:
L. Wow. I loved The Blue Place, and the sequels are even better. Stay was probably my favourite: It's got a thriller-action-get-the-bad-guy plot with as much action and excitement as The Blue Place, interspersed with the incredibly realistic story of a woman dealing with grief and loss. Had it not been a first-person narrative, I would've actually felt uneasy, ashamed at reading someone's deepest, rawest emotions laid bare, but the first person POV implies permission being given. (Yes, I know, Aud isn't real and it's all fiction, but it sure doesn't seem that way when you read it.) 5stars

#16. Always, by Nicola Griffith
L Always has an interesting structure in which the chapters, all written in the past tense, alternate between the "now" of Aud in Seattle chasing down bad guys and dealing with relationship issues, and Aud prior to her Seattle trip teaching a weekly self-defense class to women. The tension in the latter storyline is, unsurprisingly, fairly low, but it's so informative and thought provoking that it totally works, and with the action storyline forms a perfect diptych. 5stars

And now every other book I read is going to fall flat by comparison. Thank you, Nicola Griffith.
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Re: FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

Postby FranW » 27 Mar 2010, 07:52

Nurse Jo wrote:I agree HH, I found all three of the Aud books excellent.
Maybe Baker would like them :;)


ElaineB wrote::-) Glad you liked them, HH. Yeah, kind of raises the bar.


wildlx wrote:I also found Stay better than The Blue Place.

Nurse Jo wrote:Maybe Baker would like them :;)

:secret: Why do you think I lend her The Blue Place :;)?


Nurse Jo wrote::secret: :lol: I hadn't realised you'd sent her that one. A very good move :-) . :


Baker wrote::lol: Not only did Widlx send us The Blue Place (where do you think HH got a copy to read?) but she also shamelessly encouraged HH to buy copies of the others. So, yes, TBP is on my to-read pile.


HH wrote:Also, I need to buy my own copy of The Blue Place so I can loan the set to all my friends (or at least the ones who have good tastes).

Also, I wrote on my lj about how these books are totally made of awesome and NICOLA GRIFFITH COMMENTED! She said nice things to me! She has validated my existence! OMG, NICOLA GRIFFITH typed something on my very own lj! Little weenie nobody me! I'll treasure that moment forever!!!!!! SHE IS AS AWESOME AS HER BOOKS!

Phew, I'm so glad I didn't mention on my lj that near the end of Always Aud is still having dairy-product taste-bud problems, yet at a restaurant with her mother she eats some fancy dish consisting of an egg in creme fraiche without comment, but a day later she has to have soy milk in her coffee because her taste buds are still wonky. It's the only inconsistency I caught in all three books, which is pretty good, but still, I know how authors ignore a glowing review and focus on the one teeny tiny criticism.
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Re: FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

Postby FranW » 27 Mar 2010, 07:54

#17. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See:
L, AoC, CoC. Set in (??) early 20th century China, this is the story of a young girl from a lower middle class family who signs a legal contract to be laotong, "old same" (roughly equivalent to BFF, with an emotional intensity deeper than sistership or marriage) to a girl from an upper middle class family. A physical relationship between the girls as they grow up is hinted at but never really discussed. It's fascinating to read the life in such a society, including footbinding, arranged marriages, life with in-laws, and the secret language developed by women. The first-person narrative voice is clear and vivid. However, the protagonist herself is shallow and banal, and remains deliberately ignorant of the world outside the women's upstairs rooms. Her life and station improve as she moves into an upper class family, and she has a fairly good and uneventful life. Her laotong, on the other hand, is a much stronger, more likeable character who undergoes severe trials and tribulations, and would've made a better protagonist. 3+stars.

#18. Night of the Demon Queen, by Barbara Hambly:
I really liked the first book in this series. Somehow I read this, the third, without having read the second, and it really suffered for that. The prose is very good indeed. I like how Hambly creates realistic, imperfect characters and drops them in the shit. Her settings are vivid and fascinating. Though I did suffer from confusion due to my not having read the books in order, I was quite liking it till the end -- which culminated either on a massive gigantic cliffhanger, or on an unresolved No One Lived Happily Ever After, Or Indeed Lived At All ending. I suspect the latter, but either way I found it really disappointing and it just didn't work for me. 3+stars
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Re: FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

Postby FranW » 27 Mar 2010, 07:54

#19. Lost Daughters, by J M Redmann:
L. A murder mystery with a PI protagonist, but I quite enjoyed the fact that the character's day to day life and personal life issues were more of the story than the find-the-serial-killer plotline. The character was real, believable, and interesting, and both storylines kept my attention. The New Orleans setting was vivid and clear. The dialogue tags did rather drive me nuts (no one says anything; rather they question, answer, state, shout, exclaim, query, repeat, etc etc). The prose doesn't sing but it's perfectly serviceable and, other than the book-saidisms nothing ever threw me out of the story. I'll avidly look for more books by this author. 4+stars

#20. Sisters of the Raven, by Barbara Hambly:
A fantasy set in a pre-industrial society that is kind of Eastern-Asian-Byzantine-ish, with several protagonists. In this world, a subset of the men have magic abilities, which has given them power and status in society. But the wizards have now lost their magic and, worse, some women seem to have developed magical powers. Court politics and religious factions tangle as society and gender-power undergoes a bit of a meltdown. I quite liked how the author handled the realistic changes individuals and groups would go through as privilege was lost by a few men and gained by a few women. The story was a little slow and dense, but quite enjoyable. 4stars
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Re: FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

Postby FranW » 27 Mar 2010, 07:55

#21. The Penelopiaid, by Margaret Atwood:
(Thanks, Wildlx!) A fanciful, stylised re-telling of the Odysseus story, from the POV of Penelope and her 12 maids. Witty, insightful, and unusual, this prose-poetry combination has Atwood's trademark stiletto-sharp observations of patriarchy, misogyny, and double-standards. 5stars
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Re: FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

Postby wildlx » 27 Mar 2010, 16:32

Is that a new British spelling, Fran :hh:?
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Re: FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

Postby FranW » 30 Apr 2010, 09:57

#22. Cutting the Curd, by Katherine Mowbray:
This is one of those fashionable, beautifully illustrated books with more gloss than substance. The first half discusses cheesemaking and gives recipes for making cheddar, feta, halloumi, etc; the second half provides recipes for using those cheeses in various dishes. It's quite thin on detail, contains no information on how various changes to a procedure will affect the resulting cheese, and, worst of all, the recipe for making feta cheese doesn't call for adding lipase to the cow's milk -- a crucial ingredient to create the classic feta flavour. It's considered the cheesemaking book in New Zealand, probably because it's the only cheesemaking book written by a Kiwi, but -- meh. 2stars[/quote]
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Re: FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

Postby FranW » 30 Apr 2010, 09:58

wildlx wrote:Is that a new British spelling, Fran :hh:?

:neener:
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Re: FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

Postby Baker » 30 Apr 2010, 12:22

:snigger:

Re the cheese book. Someone summed it best, I think, with her comment: "Well, I'm glad I got it out of the library and didn't waste $30 buying it".
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities ~ Voltaire
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