Rather than thinking about all the people I’m not seeing here in NYC because I’m home in bed, I’m focussing on the upside of this endless flu: reading. In the past few weeks I’ve read scads and oodles and many, many more books than I normally do. Here are the ones I most enjoyed:
- Wild Seed and Fledgling by Octavia ButlerWild Seed was one of the first Butlers I ever read. It made me a fan for life. I was little worried it wouldn’t stand up to my memories of it. Shouldn’t have. Doro is still the creepiest villian ever. Butler makes you understand why he does what he does. You almost want him to succeed. Ack! This book is about everything (power, slavery, gender, sex, race, colonialism) plus there’s a shapeshifter and a psychic vampire. Aside from monkey knife fights and airships, what more could you ask for?
Fledgling is not one of Butler’s best, but it’s still one of the most compelling vampire novels I’ve read. My disappointment with it was that it ended too soon. It didn’t feel finished. Or, at least, it reads like it’s set up for a sequel that’s not going to come. I confess I cried thinking about that. (The shocking proofreading also made me want to cry. I lost count of how many missing articles and prepositions there were. There ought to be a law.)
I read this on the plane from San Francisco to NYC. I finished before they started the movie. It’s a beautiful and elegant morality tale. There’s not a single word wasted. Libby the queen of cool learns to rethink just what cool is and what friendship can be. Hmmm, that makes it sound kind of preachy which it isn’t. I was dead impressed by the way Castellucci took a largely unsympathetic protag and made you love her. I loved the glorious Tina, too. (Can she have her own book, too, Cecil? Please?) I just wish it had been much, much longer.
The Foundling by Georgette Heyer
This has to be the least romantic of all Heyer’s romances. The romance plot probably doesn’t add up to even ten pages. I love that she got away with doing that! And that she has a hero who’s short, not particularly good-looking, and loves to please. I wish a film version of this had been made with a young Jayne Mansfield in the role of the foundling. Also best unrepentent villian ever.
I believe this was just officially published yesterday so you can run out and get a copy immediately. (Or at least in the US you can.) A funny sharp examination of sexual politics in high school from the point of view of a girl who’s magically been transformed into a fly. Just gorgeous. Move over, Mr Kafka!
The Thief, The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
I thought on this reread of The Thief and The Queen of Attolia I’d be able to savour them, not rush to find out what was going to happen next on account of knowing what’s going to happen next. No such luck. Every single time I get caught up in the story and wind up reading until the book is finished and then greedily snatching up the next one. I was still shocked by every twist and turn. I still cried at a certain shocking event in the second book. Does The King of Attolia live up to its brilliant, genius, best-books-ever predecessors? Yes it does. There were less surprises because even a dumb reader like me has learnt after the first two that stuff will not be as it seems. Doesn’t matter, really. These are books that can be read and reread and they just get better. Sigh. Wish I could write like Turner. She is a goddess.
What books have youse lot been reading and loving of late? I’ll read pretty much anything (well, except cosies, can’t stand ’em). So fire away with recommendations.
Posted: NYC, 2:50AM