Whatcha reading Jan. (09) edition

I’m halfway through Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer, the last book in the Twilight saga.

I have to say i’m very much enjoying it!

I just got done with Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell. He seems a dependable non-fiction writer; I’ve liked all his books so far.

I’m on my second attempt at The Marriage of Sticks by Jonathan Carroll. This one is from a woman’s point of view, and I think he’s doing a good job with it.

I made the mistake of going to Messrs. Barnes et Nobél yesterday. They finally had a copy of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 2. Said copy has left the store and is now residing in my closet to-read pile.

I’m halfway through Lonesome Dove. I think I like it, but I’m not sure. Sometimes at the halfway point I’m in love with a book and only a truly rotten ending could spoil it, but this is one of those novels that could easily go either way for me.

Typically I only check in at the beginning of the month with these threads and usually mainly due to my bad luck I’m reading or about to read something absolutely terrible. However I have just read an absolutely brilliant book, one so good that I felt the need to rush out and share it with people. After years of it being on my “I should read that sometime” list I finally got to the often recommended Bridge of Birds and it was everything that it was promised to be. It was witty, charming, more clever than it had any right to be, sorrowful, and touching. It’s magnificent and I could not put it down.

So there you go, I do read great books occasionally. :slight_smile:

And continuing that theme I’m about to read the last two volumes in the Lone Wolf and Cub graphic novel series but that may deserve a thread of its own when I finally finish it. For prose novels my next one is Mythago Woods.

I’ve had Bridge Of Birds in my Amazon queue more than once, but for some reason never buy it.

Maybe it is time I did.

I’m not given to hyperbole when it comes to my opinion on entertainment (if anything I’m often told that I’m far too critical), but Bridge of Birds is the rare book that makes me gush. To go into detail on why I found it to be such a delight would spoil the sheer joy of uncovering it bit by bit for yourself.

(For those who do need a rough plot outline, in 600AD China there is a village of dying children and a strong but good hearted villager hires an ancient sage to help them. Between the two of them they engage in comic misadventures and mystery solving while dealing with the problem. And really anything else I say would ruin the fun.)

Finished Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand. A quick easy urban fantasy. It introduced a little more magic. Wasn’t bad.

I’m reading Supreme Courtship, by Christopher Buckley. It’s light as a lemon meringue pie, but I’m laughing my butt off.

I finished Revolutionary Road, and really liked it. But I’ll probably wait for the movie to come out on DVD.

I also just read Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacher. Very well-written, funny in parts but also depressing. Not one I’d need to read again.

I’m currently reading Be Happy or I’ll Scream: My Deranged Quest for the Perfect Husband, Family and Life by Sheri Lynch. Not laugh-out-loud funny, but amusing and a good break from the more somber reading material I’ve chosen lately.

I’m reading a very interesting book about ships:

What Ship Is That?
Second Edition
A Field Guide to Boats and Ships
Author: Bobby L. Basnight

I read a big chunk of Three Bags Full: a sheep detective story by Leonie Swann, but I couldn’t really seem to lock on to the story. I liked the sheep, though. (Also, my daughter is reading Watership Down on my recommendation and if she comes along and catches me reading a book about sheep, well, that’s just going to look weird.)

So I set that aside and started on Storm Front by Jim Butcher. It’s my first Dresden Files book (if not the first, my library catalog is always sketchy about what order the books of a series go in). Pretty good. I expect I’ll be getting some more of these.

I just reread The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. I read this book originally when I was in my teens and I was very, very impressed with it. Revisiting it now, I found myself totally bored. Maybe I’m more cynical or maybe my teenage self had more tolerance for “on the nose” moralistic writing, but I thought Coehlo could have spent more time focused on the story and less time preaching and still had a good, popular book. The phrase “personal legend” is currently triggering my gag reflex.

I’m reading Meg Cabot’s Shadowland, the first in her Mediator series. Really fun. I like YA so much sometimes!

The Newbery and Caldecott winners for this past year will be announced next Monday, so lately I have been trying to read as many of the eligible books as I can to see how I do predicting the winners.

So these are all kids/YA books:

I thought these were great:
Masterpiece by Elise Broach – A beetle becomes an artist, it’s really cute and a little reminiscent of Cricket in Times Square.
The Porcupine Year by Louise Erdrich – Story of a Native American family in the mid-19th century, a little like the *Little House * books only from the native perspective.
We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson – AWESOME illustrations, decent-but-not-outstanding text.
*Waiting for Normal *by Leslie Connor – Fairly grim story about child neglect but the main character is so enjoyable and resourceful that it’s a satisfying rather than depressing book.

I thought these were so-so:
Alvin Ho Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look – A second grader has a lot of fears about every day situations.
My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath – Nice writing but the adventures were a bit of a snooze.
The Magic Half by Annie Barrows – a little girl goes back in time and meets another girl.

Rereading *The Maltese Falcon *as part of this year’sThe Big Read. Hiram Collegeis the center for the events in my area. Next up is The Age of Innocence, which is based at the Massillon Museum.

I’ve finished The Marriage of Sticks. It was very weird but quite enjoyable. I couldn’t put it down, even though I didn’t much like the main character.

Tonight I’m starting Already Dead, Charlie Huston’s first Joe Pitt book. I’ve only read one Huston, Shotgun Rule, and I think his dialogue is easily as good as Elmore Leonard’s.

I really liked Already Dead. Huston is altogether too dark for me, except that I absolutely love his dialogue so I clench my teeth and try to enjoy the ride. (I’ll have to look up this Elmore Leonard you speak of.)

I ended up liking Lonesome Dove. I didn’t fall in love with it, as many people have, and I don’t think I’ll become an aficionado of westerns, but I’m glad I read this one. The ending was strange: completely satisfying until the last few paragraphs.

I’m almost finished reading John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, and with apologies to those who are fans, I am not enjoying it at all. There are some absurd plot points, but they wouldn’t be a big deal if I liked the writing better. I enjoy this genre, but this book is doing nothing for me. If it weren’t such a quick read I wouldn’t finish it.

I have thrown the first book of 2009. This is the first book I’ve thrown in a couple of years, hence the announcement.

What book earned this dubious honor? A book I read because of a thread I ran across here last year. The Ladies of Missalonghi.

What pissed me off so much was not the fact that McCullough ripped off L.M. Montgomery. That is an unforgivable sin, true, especially since Montgomery is an actual writer who has style and doesn’t need to resort to clumsy sexual allusions. No, what pissed me off must be revealed in a spoiler as it didn’t show up until the end of the book.

Ghosts can’t be Justices of the Peace!

I’ve been to pig pickin’s that weren’t so ham-handed as this book. I think I might burn it rather than return it to the used book store. Crap this bad should not be inflicted on the unsuspecting.

Finished this one; now I’m reading I Hope They Have Beer in Hell by Tucker Max. Some of his stories are hilarious; others very cringe-worthy/gross. Very different than women who write funny anecdotes about their lives!