Sunday Status Update: October 28, 2012

Boys and girls of every age, wouldn’t you like to see something strange?

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kat: I half-heartedly finished Orson Scott Card’s THE TALES OF ALVIN MAKER this week. I was annoyed with this series after book 4 and not motivated to continue, but I already had book 6, The Crystal City, loaded into my audio devices, so I listened to it at double-speed. It was still boring. I also finished George R.R. Martin’s debut novel Dying of the Light which was highly imaginative but depressing. Walter Jon Wiliams’ novella The Boolean Gate entertained me during a couple of my daughter’s soccer practices this week. Lastly was Planet of Exile by Ursula LeGuin. It’s part of her HAINISH CYCLE and one of her first published novels.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kelly: My book club just finished Ordinary Beauty by Laura Wiess, which is not fantasy at all but was pretty good and a change of pace from my usual reading. And then I talked them into reading Anne Rice‘s The Witching Hour for next month! Muhahahaha! But since I’ve already read that, I’m currently reading Jacqueline Carey‘s Dark Currents and Jill Archer‘s Dark Light of Day.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Ruth: This week, I finally gave up on Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce. It was just too scattered and erratic to keep my attention when I have so many other good books sitting waiting for attention. I loved the Castle Waiting, Volume 1 collection of comic books by Linda Medley. They were charming with a mix of vintage fairy tale charm and modern sensibilities. I am reading the dark fantasy western The Dead of Winter by new author Lee Collins, and when I need something a little brighter and cheerier, I am reading the delightful Kenny and the Dragon by Tony diTerlizzi, his middle grade tribute to the classic The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame. And finally, I am almost done with Brandon Sanderson‘s novella, The Emperor’s Soul.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Steven: I finished reading Trucker Ghost Stories, and other True Tales of Haunted Highways, Weird Encounters, and Legends of the Road, edited by Annie Wilder and posted a review. Work and home responsibilities have kept me from putting in as much reading and writing as I’d hoped to do this week, but I did get to read Naomi Kritzer‘s new story “High Stakes” in the November / December Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine. It’s a sequel to to her story “Liberty’s Daughter” and I thought it was even better than the first story. Looking forward to more stories about the central character Rebecca and her experiences on New Minerva, the society in which she lives. I’ve also been able to re-read a little of two old favorites, Roger Zelazny‘s A Night in the Lonesome October which is another great work of his that doesn’t get mentioned as much as it should. It’s a wonderful mix up of Victorian era adventure, Cthulhu Mythos figures, and just about umpteen other fantasy, mystery and horror themes served up with wit and humor. I’ve also been going back and reading some of James Branch Cabell‘s Figures of Earth, which is a kind of prequel to his infamous fantasy Jurgen which Kat reviewed a while back. I may try to pen a review later if I can ever get things caught up. On the non-fiction front I’ve been perusing Jean Smith‘s biography Eisenhower in War and Peace and finding it well done. Happy Halloween everyone.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Terry: I’ve picked up Jeffrey Ford‘s Crackpot Palace again; Ford really knows how to write a short story. I’ve pulled a few other things off the shelves, wanting very much to be totally immersed in a novel, but so far nothing has caught. I’m thinking that the first Repairman Jack novel by F. Paul Wilson, The Tomb, might do it. Within the first few pages, the character seems already so complete that he’s jumping off the page at me. If given a complete hour to soak up a bunch of this novel, I’d find myself up until all hours to get more — it’s striking me as Crackerjack.  Oh, and I finally got Cassandra Clare‘s City of Lost Souls back to the library, so I’m no longer persona non grata in the Land of Loaned Books — that’s a relief.  I don’t know why I bothered to finish the book, though, as you’ll soon see from a review.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tim: This week I proceeded with Besieged, by Rowena Cory Daniells, and also began a very seasonal book called Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge. Honestly, that’s really all I’ve been up to, but as that’s a pretty terrible status update all by its lonesome, I’m going to add a short list of Halloween/horror books that I’d also be reading if I had the time. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury; ‘Salem’s Lot, by Stephen King; any short story collection by Edgar Allan Poe; and Summer of Night by Dan Simmons. Happy Halloween!

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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. Kelly, a friend just mentioned The Witching Hour to me this week. Perhaps I’ll get a chance to check it out soon.

    At the moment, I’m excited that I just got the newest Kindle Fire, which to me is not a tablet but a reading device plus. I waited for the 32GB version because digital comics take up a ton of space and that’s the primary reason I moved from the e-ink Kindle, which I still LOVE, to the Kindle Fire. For those of you who have not made the jump to digital books, I highly recommend Kindle’s e-ink readers. Being able to carry so many novels with you in your hand is a book-lover’s dream! And for those of us who get migraines, it’s nice not to have the light coming at you through the screen.

    As a side note, the Kindle Fire is why I write for FanLit: I originally met Greg on an Amazon thread when he asked about reading comics on the Kindle Fire. I answered, we continued to talk outside the thread, and then he mentioned this site he writes for. Something about Fanlit. So basically, I ended up here because of the kindle fire in a round about way. (And I’m working on it right now since this newest version allows me to hook up a Bluetooth keyboard–yeah! Guess what I’ll be using to write my reviews?)

    But basically I’m rambling on because, other than reading a few comics on the new device–primarily Hunter-Killer–I’ve been sitting with my eyes closed from a 3 day migraine that seems to ebb and flow depending on how much advil and migraine medication is in my system. So I worked hard all week looking forward to much weekend reading on my new kindle. Oh well.

    I’m also spending time going over favorite passages from my favorite crime fiction novels from the past 100 years as I prepare for a public lecture I’m giving on Crime Fiction (with an emphasis on the American Male P.I.). I doubt I’ll finish any novels this week either as I spend my time reading my old lecture notes and preparing. But it should be a fun night to talk about some of my favorite books to a random crowd from the local community.

    So my reading, just not as much as I want, and much of the reading is flipping though sections of old favorites. Fun, but not as satisfying as it could be. I’m envious of all you who are finishing so many novels on a regular basis.

    • I empathize with your migraines. No fun. Wish I could hear your lecture. Mystery is my other favorite genre. Who are your favorite American P.I.’s?

    • Brad, I love the Kindle e-ink for the same reason. I much prefer it to reading on my tablet.

      Sometimes when I have a migraine I lie in bed with an audiobook. It takes my mind off the pain AND I get some reading done.

  2. The Witching Hour is just completely engrossing to me. I’ve read it probably four or five times, and it’s massively long and never feels like it. The only drawback to it is that the sequels aren’t as good, so in recent years I’ve just sort of pretended they don’t exist.

  3. I just finished

  4. –rather abruptly! — CLOUD ATLAS. It was engrossing, thought-provoking and well written although a couple of stylistic choices bugged and baffled me. Now I’m wondering how they will make it a successful movie. The exquisite visuals of the book are tempting, but I don’t know how a film-maker is going to mimic that structure. Guess I’ll find out.

  5. Hey all,
    No status for me as no reading this week. Well, no book reading. I’m in the last two weeks of one school, which means reading and conferencing on final paper drafts (taking a break even as I type) and then next week grading the rewrites, so probably not a lot of reading then either.

    Tim, I’m currently reading Something Wicked This Way Comes aloud with my just-turned–11 son. The merry-go-round has just gone backwards for the first time and creepy little boy has left the fairgrounds. He’s enjoying it so far, though the poetic language sometimes throws him a bit.

    Marion, I’m curious as to which choices bugged/baffled you re Cloud Atlas. As for mimicking, the directors chose not to try and use the same structure–they kept the separate stories but not the ordering. I’m hoping to see it this week–I’ll let you know what I thought

    now back to our previously procrastinated grading . . .

    • Bill — following the independent story lines without matching the structure could work. Should be interesting. The author’s grasp of English was wonderful, but his choice (through style or ignorance, I don’t know) to invert Spanish grammar jolted me. Buenas Yerbas? Blanca Nina? Please!

  6. I’ve having a lot of trouble with comments these days. Anyway (and apologies if this shows up twice), Bill, I thought CLOUD ATLAS’s English was beautiful, but upending Spanish grammar — whether through style or ignorance — was jolting. Buenas Yerbas? Blanca Nina? What is the point of inverting those?

  7. That’s interesting Marion–not knowing Spanish I didn’t catch that. Wonder why he’d do that.
    You’d think an editor would catch that, so I wonder what the discussion about that was.

    I think I’m going to have to catch the movie quick if I want to see it in the theaters; it doesn’t seem to be doing particularly well.

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