Sunday Status Update: February 26, 2012

Lots more books as we approach the beginning of March.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Bill: This week my son and I dipped into some adapted classics and finished both Robin Hood and The Jungle Book. Dad still chokes up at Robin’s death scene. Sigh. We also started The Star Shard by Frederick C. Durbin, a young adult fantasy that so far seems might be dad’s to finish on his own, a bit of a slow start for a ten-year-old,but we’ll give it another sitting or two — there’s always hope. I also finished Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson for the MALAZAN BOOK OF THE FALLEN reread over at Tor — tragedy atop tragedy but oh so good. I just started Mountains of the Moon by Mark Hodder, whose steampunk/Richard Burton books I’ve had mixed experience with (liked book one but was disappointed in book two), but even as I’m writing this I’m eying Matthew Pearl‘s The Technologists. I just picked it up at Barnes and I’m thinking he’s up and down, but when he’s up it’s so good (loved The Dante Club). Lastly, I’ve got My Name is Mary Sutter to start and finish for Tuesday’s book club. Richard Burton may have to hold off on trying to find the Nile a few more days .fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

John: I am loving Iniate’s Trial by Janny Wurts. So nice to get another installment in a big series and NOT be disappointed.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews KatWildside Press has recently produced some of Lin Carter’s novels in audio format, so I read books 2 and 3 in his pulpy SF GREEN STAR series: When the Green Star Calls and By the Light of the Green Star. They were well done. Then, because Margaret Atwood is giving a conference at my university next week, I read Oryx and Crake, which was completely mesmerizing. I look forward to attending a reading and Q&A session with Atwood next Saturday night. I hope to read at least one more of her books before then. Should it be The Year of the Flood or The Handmaid’s Tale or something else? I welcome your suggestions.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsMarion: While I was traveling I read an action thriller in “The Girl w/Dragon Tattoo” vein, called The Informationist, by Taylor Stevens. It was interesting, and I would be willing to read the second in the series. The best read of the week, though, by an order of magnitude, was Catherynne Valente‘s Habitation of the Blessed. Once I finished, all my reading plans went right out the window and I dug out my unread copy of The Folded World. I’m halfway through it now.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Rebecca: It’s been a rather busy week for me, so I’m still only about halfway through Robin McKinley’s Rose Daughter, though I can say at this point that I definitely prefer it to Beauty. Hopefully I’ll have it finished and a review written by the end of the week.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Terry: I’ve probably started and put down close to a dozen books and magazines this week, feeling much like a cat who can’t find exactly the right spot in which to sleep. (I don’t mean to say that reading is like sleeping, just that as a cat spends 80% of its life sleeping, I’d like to spend 80% of my life reading.) I settled on three books: The Liminal People, a first novel by Ayize Jama-Everett that is a very promising novel — possible even promising a sequel; Reunion by Rick Hautala, a beautiful book received from the estimable PS Publishing, one of my favorite small presses; and The Murder of Edgar Allan Poe by George Egon Hatvary, which I’m reading for a scholarly paper I’m giving next month about the use of Poe as a character in fiction. I promise to write about The Liminal People soon, but in the meantime, my capsule review: this is my first really, really good book read in 2012.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tim: I finally finished up with H. Rider Haggard‘s She this week. Overall, I have mixed feelings on the text — it’s certainly not the best Victorian adventure out there — but I’m still in that intermediary phase between finishing a book and wholly casting off its influence, so I’m not quite sure what my eventual feelings will be. I have two new bargain books awaiting me next. The first is called By the Mountain Bound by Elizabeth Bear, which has the misfortune of bearing some truly ridiculous-looking cover art but from my glance at the first page may be rather fun. The other is an anthology of dragon stories quite simply called The Dragon Book, edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois. I’ll settle on one of them sooner or later, but for now I’m just relishing having the option to read either.

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TIM SCHEIDLER, who's been with us since June 2011, holds a Master's Degree in Popular Literature from Trinity College Dublin. Tim enjoys many authors, but particularly loves J.R.R. Tolkien, Robin Hobb, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Susanna Clarke. When he’s not reading, Tim enjoys traveling, playing music, writing in any shape or form, and pretending he's an athlete.

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  1. Second attempt — Bill, I am completely done with Hodder and have no desire to read the third book — but I look forward to your review!

  2. Kat, THE HANDMAID’S TALE has an especial resonance right now as the Republican Party revs up the controversy over birth control. It’s also simply an excellent book. I’d recommend you take a look at that one. (And I’m jealous of your chance to hear Margaret Atwood in person.)

  3. I went to Audible to download The Handmaid’s Tale and found that it is not available in that format. Drat. I don’t think I’ll have time to read it in print before Saturday since I need to go out of town for a couple of days. I do have 3 other Atwood books on audio, though: The Year of the Flood, Cat’s Eye, and The Robber Bride. Any suggestions on those?

    (The controversy isn’t so much about birth control as it is over forcing religious institutions to pay for services they don’t want to pay for. I’m all for birth control, but I’m also all for the government staying out of things that aren’t its business.)

  4. Marion, unfortunately I think you made the right choice. There’s a good book in here (I think), but it’s buried a bit and the story is definitely dragging.

    Just because you finished Oryx and Crake, I’d definitely advise Year of the Flood as it is set in the same world and so having things/people fresh in your mind will make it a richer read. Handmaid’s is a well-deserved classic, well worth not only a read but multiple rereads. I taught it for years and found new aspects through at least my first five or six readings I’d say. I think I liked Robber Bride but I know I liked Alias Grace more. btw–I’ve heard her speak twice and she’s excellent–enjoy!

  5. Started Year of the Flood. Thanks, Bill!
    Will read Handmaid’s Tale when I have time for print.

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